Planning your first family safari? We understand that you might be wondering about malaria. Our safari experts are here to reassure you that your family can enjoy a safari without concern.
Many of Africa’s best safari regions are low to very low risk of malaria, particularly if you travel during the summer holidays. If you would prefer to visit malaria-free safari reserves, then South Africa has many malaria-free regions that offer excellent Big Five safaris.
Simple, preventative action is the best way to rest assured on safari. Before you travel, visit your GP or Travel Clinic, who will be able to prescribe suitable malarial prophylactics for the whole family. Then while you are away add to that protection by taking other small steps; use insect repellent and cover your arms and legs in the evenings.
When you travel plays its part too. Generally speaking, the risk is lowest during Africa’s dry winter months—June to September. This is because mosquitoes live around still water, which is diminished during the dry season, and the lower night time temperatures.
In parts of Africa, population density is key. Botswana is low risk for malaria because people are widely spread. Mosquitoes can only spread the disease from person to person, so where there are fewer humans, there is less transmission. In Namibia, low population density combined with the arid landscape means that many regions are malaria-free.
In other countries, such as Kenya and Tanzania, the altitude and climate lower the risk. Mosquitoes thrive in hot, humid conditions. The anopheles marsh mosquito cannot transmit malaria above 2,000-2,500 feet above sea level. When you combine the altitude of many safari regions with cooler night air, the risk is greatly reduced.
However, we understand that this may not be an option for everyone. Some of our favourite safari regions in South Africa are malaria-free. Madikwe and the private game reserves of the eastern Cape are all Big Five and combine well with other parts of the country for a diverse trip. You’ll spend a week or so on safari before we whisk you off to Cape Town, the Winelands and the beach.