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South Africa Safari & Malaria

First the good news: malaria in South Africa is restricted to a very small area of the country and is seasonally driven. In fact, you can enjoy a South Africa safari and avoid malaria entirely: there are many malaria-free reserves across the country which offer excellent Big 5 game viewing and they are easily combined with Cape Town to deliver a well-rounded and completely malaria-free safari.

Read more about South Africa’s best malaria-free reserves here.

So far so good: the downside is that South Africa’s biggest and best game reserves do lie within the malaria belt. If you plan to visit the Kruger National Park, its private reserves such as Sabi Sands or the safari destinations of northern KwaZulu Natal, then malaria is something that needs to be considered.

Elephant in Front of Waterhole in Madikwe

The Kruger’s private reserves offer some of Africa’s best Big 5 viewing & the risk of malaria can be effectively managed.

WHAT IS MALARIA?

Malaria is a disease caused by a microscopic parasite called a Plasmodium, introduced into the human body by the bite of a certain type of mosquito – Anopheles gambiae. An infected human starts to show signs of malaria within a week or so of being bitten – fever, body aches and chills – similar to the symptoms of the ‘flu’. Although there is no vaccine against malaria and it can be life-threatening, it is a preventable and curable disease.

HOW SERIOUS IS THE MALARIA RISK ON A SOUTH AFRIA SAFARI?

Minimal and only in the Kruger Park region and northern KwaZulu Natal. Local malaria cases begin rising around October as the rainy season begins; the number of cases peaks in January/February and tails off by the end of May.

Elephant in Front of Waterhole in Madikwe

Safari lodges in the malaria zone are set far from urban areas where the risk of malaria is highest.

However, not only is malaria is on the decline in South Africa but the incidence rate – the number of new malaria cases in a time span – is far lower than in other parts of Africa. And the disease is mostly prevalent in semi-urban areas with relatively dense populations and poor infrastructure (not the conditions you’ll find in the game reserves) and so the risk of malaria transmission in these areas is even lower when on safari.

HOW DO I MANAGE THE MALARIA RISK EFFECTIVELY IN KRUGER/KZN?

By carefully choosing the time of year you go, and by adopting simple malaria-prevention measures.
The best time for a safari with the very lowest risk of malaria is between June and October: you’ll enjoy clear skies and sunny weather, virtually no rain and – in June, July and August – the mildest temperatures of the year. This is when malarial mosquitos are mostly in the dormant stage of their life cycle as well as the period generally regarded as the best time for game viewing.

Once on safari, adopt a ‘prevention is better than cure’ approach: make use of the mosquito net that covers your bed – there is usually an electric fan too, and some suites are air-conditioned. Mosquito-repellent is supplied in your room – apply it to exposed skin before your morning and afternoon game drive (mosquitos are active at dawn as well as dusk) or simply wear long-sleeved tops and trousers plus socks and shoes to cover up during these times.

Elephant in Front of Waterhole in Madikwe

Safari accommodation in South Africa’s malaria zone with a netted bed & ceiling fan for protection against mosquitos at night.

SOUTH AFRICA SAFARI & MALARIA – THE BOTTOM LINE

Although the risk of contracting malaria is extremely low, if you are planning to go on safari to the Kruger Park or northern KwaZulu Natal then it is highly recommended that you consult a medical practitioner before departure. Many visitors to these risk areas do take some form of malaria prophylaxis, especially if travelling in the November – April summer months, and the type of medication varies, especially for children.

The bottom line however is that unless you are travelling with very young children, malaria should not be a discouraging factor is choosing these areas for a safari: they offer arguably the best wildlife experience in South Africa and have been delivering successful safaris for generations of visitors.

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Very helpful good suggestions for holiday ideas always available for questions good organising

Excellent service and they supplied good suggestions for our holiday they also organised all internal flights and arranged check in for us so we had no worries while on holiday. We have had a most memorable holiday staying at wonderful places thanks to Sabrina and Safari Online. Would recommend Safari Online to organise your holiday.

Lorraine (UK)
It was a safari of a lifetime and exceeded all of our expectations!

Our mom grew up in Central and South Africa so we had visited the continent many times. My sister and I wanted to take our teens and husbands to Africa to experience the magic. We had a limited budget but big and specific expectations and by some miracle Walter was able to manage both.

Heather (USA)
Professional, patient, efficient and responsive. Met all our travel needs and requirements spot on

Communication was excellent – I asked A LOT of questions and did a ton of research myself and Walter was extremely patient with me and very responsive. he was straight forward and extremely professional. Tour itself was excellent – an incredible experience and one never to be forgotten. Everything was spot on.

Neena
Best trip I have ever been on. Highly recommend.

Would highly recommend. Safari online asked questions when booking and were efficient and knew exactly what we were looking for in terms of accommodation and animals were wanted to see. Gave advice on a few little extras with no pressure, which we did and am very grateful which make trip even more exciting. Would definitely recommend booking with them.

Safari Online made our fantastic family holiday dream come true!!

Safari Online have been nothing but professional and incredible from the time we made our first enquiry to the last day of our stunning holiday. Nothing was too much trouble for Walter. We are now starting to plan our next family Safari for 2019. Guess who we will be booking with??? Safari Online we hope you are ready!!!!!

Penni (AU)
Safari Online were extremely efficient and absolutely charming to work with.

Our 28-day itinerary took us to South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana. A magnificent and unforgettable adventure. Everything ran smoothly and efficiently from the flights, transfers, rides, connections, etc. Absolutely wonderful! Can’t thank them enough!

Ann and Mario (Canada)
Karina was absolutely instrumental to our safari success.

Our experience with Safari Online was excellent. After becoming very frustrated trying to search for a safari destination on our own, we turned to Karina for help and she was a lifesaver.  We had an amazing safari adventure at the lodge–the experience of a lifetime–and are so grateful for her help. We literally couldn’t have done it without her!

Chris (USA)
An incredibly well organised tour with no hassles whatsoever.

Safari Online understood our needs and was able to present us with sensible options to choose from. It was evident that this tour operator has knowledgable and experienced agents who can arrange a seemless tour. We were provided with a professional online itinary which was comprehensive and easy to use, knew exactely what to expect, and encountered no stumble blocks along the way.

Gwen (AU)
Walter has always been an excellent communicator and has supported us fully

We have been to Africa for 24 of the last 27 years so know a bit about what is involved. Walter has arranged the details for the last couple of years, and has done a superb job. He is always quick to respond and comes up with answers immediately……..no evasive tactics, always head-on!

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From the very first contact we’re very happy about the respond time and quality of information from safari-online.com. Based on the received first tailor-made quote, which is a weblink with all the details about the flights, photos of the lodges etc. we knew that this is “our” partner for this trip. Our expectations were excelled!!!

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