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Malaria-free Safaris

Want to go on safari but worried about malaria? Here are some locations you can go without any fear!

Ruth

Ruth

Africa, Indian Ocean, and Caribbean Specialist
Published on

14 Nov 2023

Updated on

12 Jan 2024

Malaria Free Safari

Traveling to a malaria-free safari park offers a wealth of advantages for those seeking a unique and thrilling adventure. Firstly, the absence of malaria risk ensures peace of mind, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the awe-inspiring natural beauty and wildlife without worrying about health concerns.

We have compiled a list of our top ‘Malaria Free’ destinations to help overcome the commonly perceived stress of travelling to an area where Malaria is prevalent.

Our main focus is on the traditional African safari, but we also wanted to put a spotlight on the beautiful safaris available in Sri Lanka. We’ve chosen some of the top regions with a variety of camps and hotels which will hopefully suit most budgets; be it a romantic honeymoon/babymoon; a lifelong ‘bucket list’ item or a much-needed family adventure, there is something for everyone.

Firstly, South Africa offers a plethora of breathtaking safari parks, which have long been synonymous with thrilling wildlife encounters and unparalleled natural beauty. To be open and honest, if you’re used to the vast, ‘fenceless’ expanses of East Africa these parks don’t offer the same experience, but to ease you into the world of safari they are perfect. If it’s your first experience or an extension to a wider South Africa/beach itinerary it really is ideal. Incredible ‘Big 5’ sightings and easy access via road or light aircraft they really do tick a lot of boxes.

Madikwe  Game  Reserve Home Of The  African Wild Dog
African wild dogs at the Madikwe Game Reserve

Madikwe National Park is a true wilderness in the North-West Province of South Africa, close to the southern border of Botswana. The park boasts a truly enchanting landscape and amazing wildlife encounters. Spread across vast plains and rugged terrain, this conservation haven is celebrated for its Big Five population. With its blend of natural wonders and conservation efforts, Madikwe National Park promises an unforgettable safari experience ideal for if you want to dip your toes into this magical part of the world.

Top Tip: Get out on foot!

Take a look at some of our trip ideas here

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Some of our favourite lodges:

Madikwe Safari Lodge

This property is divided into three separate lodges - Lelapa (meaning ‘family), Dithaba (meaning ‘mountain’) and Kopano (meaning ‘small gathering’). I loved to flexibility of choice and price-points and there are fabulous Family Suites at Lelapa which suit those travelling with younger children. They also offer a fabulous ‘kids safari’ programme so the children will come back educated and entertained in equal measures.

Best for: families with young kids

Madikwe Lelapa Lodge
Pool at Lelapa Lodge
Madikwe Dithaba Lodge Bedroom
Bedroom at Dithaba Lodge

Impodimo and Rhulani Safari Lodge

Impodimo Lodge seamlessly blends into the surrounding wilderness, with its thatched roofs and earthy tones that mirror the colors of the savannah. The lodge boasts just ten exquisite suites, ensuring an intimate and exclusive experience for every guest. Each suite is meticulously designed to provide ultimate comfort and immersion in nature. The private viewing decks offer breathtaking panoramas over the reserve.

A truly unique draw card for Impodimo is that they have their own underground viewing den called Tsembo Hide which is linked to the lodge through a tunnel so you don’t even need to leave camp to game view!!

Top Tip: If time will allow, have breakfast in your suite one morning and simply watch the game from your deck - an underrated ‘activity’ in my book!

Best for: Couple looking for an up close and personal game-viewing without even leaving the lodge

Impodimo Lodge
Impodimo lodge welcome
Impodimo Deluxe Suite Pool
Watching elephants from suite pool

Rockfig Madikwe

For couples and families that are looking for a more boutique hotel style lodge in the heart of the wilderness this is a real hidden gem. Above all, Rockfig Lodge promises you a safari experience that leaves an indelible mark on your heart. The memories you create here, whether it's witnessing a leopard's stealthy hunt or sipping sundowners by a watering hole as elephants frolic nearby, will stay with you long after you've left this extraordinary corner of South Africa.

In summary, Rockfig Lodge offers a harmonious blend of wilderness exploration, luxurious comfort, and authentic African experiences. Whether you're an avid wildlife enthusiast or seeking a romantic escape in nature, Rockfig Lodge promises an unforgettable journey into the heart of the African bush.

Top Tip: Stargazing here is a must as well as a trip to the spa to unwind from your adventures!

Best for: people looking for a truly stylish bush retreat

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Pool with a view Rockfig Madikwe Safari Lodge
Pool with a view
Underground Hide Rockfig Madikwe Safari Lodge
Underground Hide

Marakele National Park


Marakele National Park, located in the picturesque Limpopo Province of South Africa, accessed via road or light aircraft. Nestled in the heart of the Waterberg Mountains, this conservation gem offers a mesmerizing blend of rugged landscapes, lush valleys, and pristine grasslands. It's renowned for its unique mix of flora and fauna, including the iconic Big Five (lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo, and rhino), and serves as a vital sanctuary for numerous endangered species. With its awe-inspiring vistas, rich biodiversity, and commitment to conservation, Marakele National Park is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers.

Marakele has an amazing amount of wildlife and predators, but not in the volume as Kenya for example….however we saw Lions when we were there, amazing numbers of elephants as well as incredible Rhino sightings…. One thing to note however is that you aren’t allowed to drive off road like you are in other South African parks so you’re limited to the tracks. However this is the case in the Maasai Mara too as well as the majority of Tanzania.

Zebra Marakele South Africa

Our favourite Marakele lodges

Marataba Safari Lodge

I am fortunate enough to have visited hundreds of safari lodges throughout Africa and this one truly took my breath-away. The national park is away from the hustle and bustle of The Kruger and the surrounding regions of the Sabi Sands etc….. and this is a real blessing. They have an amazing back drop of the mountain which visually are stunning, and the suites are beautiful. I really enjoyed having the variety of activities and the guiding was superb. The game viewing here is fabulous and they also have the big 5, so you will certainly not leave disappointed. However the real icing on the cake is the Thabametsi Tree House sleepout ……it’s amazing!!

Top Tip: Take a book down to the pool and watch the warthogs playing in the garden!

Best for: Epic scenery

Marataba Pool
The pool
Marataba Game Walk
Game Walk at Marataba

Marataba Mountain Lodge

Marataba Mountain Lodge (the sister property to Safari Lodge) is nestled within the breathtaking Waterberg Mountains. This luxurious safari retreat offers a harmonious blend of opulence and nature and works well if you wanted to explore more of this magical park. With its secluded location, lavish accommodations, and immersive wildlife experiences, Marataba Mountain Lodge adds another element to any safari trip, especially if you want to include some exhilarating hiking trails into your itinerary.

Top Tip: Water levels permitting a trip on the Matlabas River is a must and adds a unique and laidback game viewing experience

Top Tip: Stretch your legs and take a hiking trip up into the mountains.

Best for: Active couples, independent travellers looking for a true escape from it all

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Thanametsi Treehouse Marataba Mountain Lodge South Africa
Thabametsi Treehouse
Elephants Marataba Mountain Lodge South Africa
Elephants on a game walk

Eastern Cape


Kwandwe Ecca Lodge

Nestled in the heart of South Africa's Eastern Cape, the Kwandwe Game Reserve stands as a first-class conservation and safari adventure. Spanning over 22,000 hectares of untouched wilderness, this remarkable reserve is a sanctuary for both wildlife and travellers seeking an authentic African safari experience. Here, amidst a backdrop of rolling plains, lush valleys, and meandering rivers, you'll discover a world teeming with diverse flora and fauna, from the Big Five to rare and endangered species.

Easily accessible via short flight from Cape Town or via road if you’re incorporating as part of a larger ‘Garden Route’ itinerary this is a great option for couples and families alike.

Ecca Camp offers six stylish and spacious suites, each designed with a contemporary African flair and equipped with modern amenities. Enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding wilderness from your private deck and immerse yourself in the sounds of the bush as you relax in your luxurious suite.

During your stay, you'll embark on thrilling game drives led by expert guides and trackers. Early morning and late afternoon drives provide the best opportunities for ‘Big Five’ encounters. For a more intimate exploration of the African wilderness, take part in guided bush walks where you'll discover the smaller wonders of the bush, from plants and insects to tracking the spoor of elusive animals. You’ll also have the opportunity to learn about and participate in conservation and community initiatives gaining a deeper understanding of the region's ecology and the positive impact of sustainable tourism.

Top Tip: get involved in the community initiatives.

Best for: easy access from Cape Town

Kwandwe Ecca Location
Exterior of the Camp
South Africa Kwandwe Rhino Conservation
Rhino at Kwandwe

Elephant House Stable Cottages

Addo Elephant National Park is just a short drive from Port Elizabeth, making it easily accessible. Its proximity to the Garden Route, a famous South African travel route, makes it an ideal stopover for those exploring the region.

The park's scenery is equally captivating, with a mix of landscapes that range from lush valleys to arid plains. This ecological diversity adds to the park's charm and provides a beautiful backdrop for your safari adventures.

Nestled in the picturesque surroundings of the Sundays River Valley, the Stable Cottages sit on a vast expanse of four hectares, offering a tranquil escape under the endless blue skies. With open, sprawling lawns and a well-equipped playground, these cottages provide a family-friendly haven, perfect for those traveling with children. Comprising six spacious cottages, including two designed specifically for families, these accommodations have been lovingly restored from stables, preserving their historical charm with reed ceilings and rustic floors. The result is a perfect blend of old-world character and contemporary elegance, making the Stable Cottages a delightful and stylish choice for your stay.

Best for: Families with young kids looking for an adventure

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Cottage Elephant House Stable Cottages Addo South Africa
Cottage at Elephant House
Bar Elephant House Stable Cottages Addo South Africa
The bar at Elephant House

Laikipia, Kenya


One other area that it would be remiss not to mention would be Laikipia in Kenya. Although not technically classed as ‘Malaria Free’ like the above, the remoteness of this region means it is ‘ultra-low’ risk and one to consider.

The absolute stand out option for this truly magical region would be El Karama Lodge, nestled within the heart of Laikipia. This eco-friendly safari haven is a testament to conservation and sustainable tourism, offering an authentic safari experience like no other. Surrounded by sprawling savannahs, lush riverine forests, and a thriving ecosystem, El Karama Lodge provides a sanctuary where you can truly connect with nature. Whether you're on a game drive tracking the Big Five, strolling along the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River, or simply relaxing at camp, El Karama Lodge promises an unforgettable adventure in the heart of wild Kenya.

Best for: active families and couples looking for a true African adventure!

Best for: A truly immersive experience away from the crowds of the Masai Mara

Take a look at our favourite Kenyan family safari suggestions here

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El Karama Upstream Cottage
Upstream Cottage El Karama
El Karama Fly Camping Campfire
Campfire El Karama

Sri Lanka


Sri Lanka, which is often overlooked is a fabulous alternative to the more traditional African Safari. Malaria free this can often be a great introduction to children, but please be aware that there are long drives between the main areas of interest, but as long as you’re comfortable in the car it’s an incredible way to see the destination first hand. You can also add in a train journey for a change of pace and scene!

Asian elephants Sri Lanka
Elephants in Sri Lanka

Yala National Park is a vast expanse of protected land, spanning over 979 square kilometres. Renowned for its thriving population of leopards, Yala presents a unique opportunity to witness these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Beyond the elusive leopards, the park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including elephants, sloth bears, and countless bird species. As you venture deeper into Yala's untamed terrain, you'll encounter scenic lakes, dense forests, and arid plains, each offering a different perspective to this extraordinary ecosystem.

Leopard Yala National Park Sri Lanka min
Leopard in Yala National Park
Peacock Yala National Park Sri Lanka min
Peacock at Yala National Park

Minneriya National Park

Nestled in the heart of Sri Lanka's cultural triangle, Minneriya is famous for hosting one of the world's largest gatherings of wild Asian elephants. During the dry season (June to September), hundreds of these majestic creatures congregate around the Minneriya Tank, providing an awe-inspiring spectacle. This ancient reservoir, dating back to the third century, is the central water source for the park's wildlife. It also adds to the park's scenic beauty, with its lotus-covered surface and picturesque surroundings.

You will explore the park in a 4x4 and see for yourself the diverse landscapes, from lush forests to expansive grasslands. This is your opportunity to spot not only elephants but also leopards, sloth bears, sambar deer.

Minneriya isn’t just about four-legged friends, it is also a haven for bird lovers, with over 170 species of birds including the iconic painted stork and vibrant kingfishers – a true photographers paradise.

While exploring Minneriya, you can also immerse yourself in Sri Lanka's rich culture by visiting nearby historic sites like Polonnaruwa, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its ancient ruins and temples.

For inspiration on trip ideas click here

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Elephants at Minneriya National Park Sri Lanka
Elephants at Minneriya

These ideas are just to inspire you, we create every trip from scratch so can work with you to find the perfect malaria free safari depending on when you are looking to travel and what else you want to do. Call us today on 01768 603715.

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Start planning your Malaria-free safari

  • Ruth

    Ruth

    Africa, Indian Ocean, and Caribbean Specialist

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