Why Choose a Malaria-Free Safari?Malaria-free safaris are an excellent option if you're traveling with children, if you're elderly, if you're pregnant, or in any way unable to take anti-malaria medication. For some people, even the idea of catching malaria is enough to put them off a trip to Africa. If that's the case, you'll be happy to know you can enjoy an African safari without running a million miles upon seeing a mosquito.
Malaria Free Safaris in South AfricaThere are many areas in South Africa that are malaria-free and can offer world class safari experiences. While some of South Africa's best game parks are unfortunately not in the malara-free zone (like Kruger National Park and others in the Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal regions) many private game reserves have set up in the Eastern Cape area, Madwikwe, Pilanesberg and the Waterberg area. These reserves have successfully relocated a large number of animals and besides the Big Five you can also see rare mammals like cheetah and wild dogs.
The Eastern CapeThe Eastern Cape region is very popular since you can combine a safari with a visit to Cape Town. Some of the best Game Parks in this region are along the Garden Route and include:
- Kwandwe Game Reserve -- Three lodges provide excellent accommodation in this large private game reserve near Grahamstown. Day and night drives are available to view the numerous lion, cheetah, rhino, elephant, hippo and leopard in the park. Bush walks, canoeing and fishing are also activities you can enjoy. Children are welcome but the recommended age to enjoy a safari here is 6 and over.
- Addo Elephant National Park -- Soon to be one of the largest national parks in South Africa, Addo offers the visitor not only the Big Five, but sightings of whales and great white sharks as well. Situated just north of Port Elizabeth, Addo is home to several luxury lodges as well as the Addo Main Rest Camp which provides more budget style accommodation; chalets, tents and rondavels. Hiking, horse riding are also popular activities besides safari drives (which you can do in your own vehicle). Children under 6 are not allowed on drives organized by the park.
- Shamwari Game Reserve -- Situated along the Bushman's River, Shamwari is a private, family-owned game reserve which offers visitors a chance to see the Big Five and much more. Lodges are luxurious and game drives and meals are included with the package. You can enjoy a spa, daily game drives, bush walks and if you fall in love, you can come back and volunteer to help protect the parks' animals.
- Amakhala Game Reserve -- Formerly farm land, the family-owned Amakhala game Reserve is now home to Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Cheetah, Giraffe, Zebra and numerous other antelope. Situated just east of Port Elizabeth, Amakhala offers game drives and a variety of very comfortable lodges. Day visits are easily accommodated as are children over the age of 6.
- Kariega Game Reserve -- Situated along the Kariega River the game reserve offers canoeing safaris, fishing, a river cruise and more besides the excellent game drives. The wildlife is abundant and the lodges are luxurious with outdoor pools and decks. A minimum of least 2 nights are recommended at the Kariega Game Reserve to enjoy the activities on offer.
Recommended Safari Packages for the Eastern Cape
Because the Garden Route is so popular, many packages will combine a few days in a game park, with a visit to the beach and other highlights of the area.
- Safari Packages from locally based tour operators.
- Safari Guide Africa has a great list of packages and deals for malaria-free and family-friendly safaris.
- Rhino Africa offers several safari packages on their own or in combination with the Garden Route.
- Travel Butlers offers specials on nearly every safari available in the Eastern Cape area.
Madikwe Game ReserveMadikwe is in the north of South Africa's North West province on the edge of the great Kalahari Desert, bordering Botswana. Madikwe used to be private farm land but with the successful relocation of more than 8000 animals (Operation Phoenix) in the 1990's, Madikwe is now winning awards as a conservation success story.
The best way to get to Madikwe is either by charter flight or car from Johannesburg (3.5 hours) and Gaborone in Botswana (1 hour). A popular add-on for visitors to Madikwe includes a trip to Victoria Falls (but the Falls are not in a malaria-free zone!) and some of Botswana's fine National Parks.
Madikwe is home to some truly wonderful private lodges and camps, some of the best are listed below. Note that visitors cannot enter the park without staying at one of the lodges. The lodges are luxurious, but with favorable exchange rates you may be pleasantly surprised with what you can afford.
Best Lodging in Madiwke includes:
- Jaci's Tree Lodge is a perfect choice for families since the 8 rooms are actually tree houses built around a giant Leadwood tree. There are outdoor jungle showers as well as en-suite bathrooms. Raised wooden walkways lead to a restaurant and bar.
- Madikwe Safari Lodge is situated in the heart of the reserve and has nice sweeping views of the plains. The lodge is small, with 16 suites and is very family-friendly. A pizza oven and several plunge pools will certainly please the kids.
- Madikwe River Lodge is beautifully situated on the Marico River in a riverine forest. There's a lodge with family rooms as well as 16 chalets. Children of all ages are welcome.
- Thakadu River Camp is a community owned luxury tented camp that is very child-friendly. A lovely swimming pool overlooks the Marico River. Each tent has its own private viewing deck.
- Etali Safari Lodge is very luxurious and intimate with just 8 suites available, each with its own private sun deck and whirlpool.
- Family Safari from CC Africa which includes Madikwe.
- Madiwke Safari packages from Wildlife Africa.
- Discounted rates on Madikwe accommodation from Madikwe Info.