South Africa is the top choice when it comes to picking a country with malaria-free game parks. The disease is transmitted by mosquitoes infected by the malaria-causing parasite, and it can be fatal if not treated. Whereas most African countries are high-risk malaria zones, including Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique, with Namibia and Botswana as intermediate-risk zones, South Africa is largely free of Malaria. It is predominantly in the far north of South Africa in which malaria is found, which encompasses the north-eastern region of Kwa-Zulu Natal Province; northern Limpopo province; and Mpumalanga Province. The popular Kruger National Park is located in Limpopo and Mpumalanga, and, unfortunately, carries the risk of malaria, as does Mapungubwe National Park and Tembe Elephant Park.
While a first-time traveller to Africa may be alarmed by the risk of malaria, there is no need to be, as it can easily be prevented, and in the unlikely event that you do get it, it can be treated. Despite this, there are reasons why someone may choose to skip these areas altogether, as in the case of being unable to take the prevention treatment. If this is the case, there is no need to give up your dreams of going on an African safari, as there are many malaria-free game parks in South Africa.
Prominent Malaria-Free Game Parks in South Africa
Safari sites that are safe and free from malaria in South Africa are in the Eastern Cape; the North-West Province; and the Waterberg. A few well-known malaria-free game parks include:
- Pilanesberg National Park is South Africa’s fourth-largest park and located just a few hours’ drive from Johannesburg between the Kalahari Desert and the Lowveld. The park has all of the Big Five – lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and buffalo – and because the park is relatively small in size, your chances of seeing all of them are increased.
- Madikwe Game Reserve is north of Zeerust against the border of Botswana. The vast woodlands and open grasslands are scattered with rocky hills, and unique in its devotion to sustainability and conservation. Home to sixty-six mammal species including the Big Five and many bird species, the Madikwe is a prime safari site. The focus is on luxury travel, with 4 and 5-star accommodation, and because one is only granted access to visitors who have booked their lodge, the reserve remains private and free from crowds.
- Marakele National Park is in the Waterberg Mountains. Elephants, rhinos, leopards, antelope, and one of the largest colonies of the Cape Vulture can all be found here, and the Chacma baboon and vervet monkeys are sometimes caught getting up to mischief around the park. The mountainous region is great for bird watching and hiking.
- Addo Elephant Park is near Port Elizabeth and is the third largest national park in South Africa. Huge herds of elephants can be seen drinking water from the dam, and game drives will yield sights of lion, leopard, buffalo, giraffe, zebra, rhino, hyena, and antelope. One can also go whale watching and may even spot the Great White Shark.
South Africa is famed for its beauty, and although the distinguished Kruger National Park is a high-risk malaria region, there are many equally spectacular parks in South Africa that are abundant in wildlife. Malaria-free game parks allow you to relax and have fun without having to remember to take medication or worry about the possible risks to your health, and these are only a few out of many spectacular malaria-free game parks.