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Dreaming of an African Safari is exciting but should be paired with preparation. Let us answer your questions on a sensitive topic that travelers are often concerned about; Malaria.

Your concerns are understood, fear of the unknown can capture the best of us.

With years of experience living in and traveling through the depths of Africa, we are here to provide you the honest facts and help you prepare so you are ready for your next adventure.

What is Malaria, Exactly

Malaria stretches back to a prehistoric origin, first spread among the primates of Africa. An insect-borne illness spread by mosquito bites; each person affected may present slightly different symptoms. Commonly the initial indications are flu-like, with a cyclical occurrence of sudden coldness followed by shivering, then fever, and sweating.

The disease is serious and at worst, can be life-threatening if treatment is not provided. Fortunately, Malaria is an easily diagnosable and easily treatable disease, when caught early.

Malaria Areas on Safari

In the 21st Century, the disease is widespread in over 100 countries across tropical and subtropical regions existing in a broad band around the equator. This includes Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa.

Africa accounts for approximately 90% of cases worldwide, and it is still prevalent in Safari destinations. There are sadly a high number of cases as many isolated villages either don’t have access to doctors or hospitals or cannot afford the simple and effective treatment. However, things are changing. In 2015 the WHO targeted a 90% reduction in deaths from Malaria worldwide by 2030, and Bill Gates noted in 2016 that global eradication may be possible by 2040.

Two factors affecting your chances of being bitten by disease-carrying mosquitos: still water and people. Mosquitoes breed in still water, and Malaria always comes via someone already infected and sick with Malaria.

There are notable exceptions in large parts of South Africa and Namibia, and further below we list Safari lodges that are Malaria-free. The prevalence also falls above 4,600 feet (1,400 m) altitude and is virtually absent above 5,900 feet (1,800m).

Am I at risk?

Traveling with a trusted safari operator will limit exposure.

Rothschild Safaris use operators and providers who adhere to stringent safety and ethical standards. Mosquito nets are rigorously deployed, effective mosquito repellant is always on hand and the health and wellness of staff and the local community is a priority. Fortunately, the lodges we send you to are often in remote locations, away from villages and towns where Malaria is more easily spread. Lodge guides and staff do all they can to minimize mosquito presence, however, this cannot always be prevented and so a level of awareness and preparation is recommended.

If you feel ill or are presenting symptoms after returning from a Malaria-prone country, visit your doctor as soon as possible. Receiving prompt treatment will result in you feeling better within a few days.

Complications usually only occur when someone is pregnant, or, unable to see a doctor within days of symptoms occurring.

Prevention is the best cure

Traveling in the dry season to avoid standing water is ideal, as the wet season can bring pools of water not usually present during drier months.

Many travelers take anti-Malarial medication, and a conversation with your doctor will determine if this is suitable for you.

The best way to avoid malaria is to avoid being bitten. This can seem easier said than done, but it is quite possible to prevent mosquitos from dining upon you if you are prepared and follow these three tips:

* Wear long sleeves and long trousers (it is possible to find safari material specially treated against mosquitoes), especially at dawn and dusk when the female mosquitoes are quite active

* Use the best insect repellent on the market. Apply it liberally, especially at dawn and dusk

* Ensure your mosquito net has no flying visitors before you retire and keep the net and your tent securely closed throughout the night

africa family vacation


Malaria Free Safari

Luckily, you don’t have to compromise.

Africa offers a range of Malaria -free areas where all your safari dreams can come true without worrying about contracting the disease.

The most popular malaria-free safari areas can be found throughout many of South Africa’s Provinces. These safari regions that don’t have the malaria mosquito also just happen to be incredibly beautiful, have fabulous Big Five viewing opportunities and cater elegantly for multi-generation and family trips.

Because more children come on safari here these areas feature a plethora of activities and adventures for the younger members on safari.

…And when the young ones are immersed in their environment and being entertained it leaves the grown-ups free to enjoy their safari exponentially.

Every safari experience we promote in these areas is handpicked for exclusivity. Each guest can expect to be presented with a combination of impressive gastronomy, ultimate spoiling luxury, and immersive wildlife and cultural experience. From the North West Province to the Cape, all these properties all work hard to achieve completely bespoke activities and experiences for every guest.

North West Province

Bordering Botswana, Madikwe is a Big 5 hot spot that also promises wonderful wild dog sightings. A three-hour game drive through the 76,000 ha delivers the experience all of Africa is famous for. In addition to the Big Five, you may also spot the aardwolf, brown hyena, and over 340 species of birds.

Northern Cape Province

The largest game reserve in South Africa lies just south of Botswana’s border. Tswalu Kalahari was built on the principles of conservation with only 30 guests allowed within its borders at any one time. Welcome to complete desert serenity in one of the two lodges in the reserve – both named as National Geographic’s 24 Unique Lodges of the World.

Eastern Cape Province

The home of the black and the white rhino, a swathe of the Great Fish River sweeps through the Kwandwe Private Game Reserve. Guests can expect great wildlife sightings, very few properties (there is only 22 beds within the entire reserve), exclusive use options and a beautifully diverse landscape.

family safari kwandwe ecca lodge

The stunning Samara Private Game Reserve lies amidst mountains, rivers, never-ending.plains and an abundance of wildlife. The reserve is known for rejuvenating the endangered cheetah in the reverse and offers a range of three properties to choose from.

Limpopo Province

A wide variety of flora and fauna nestled within diverse topography can be enjoyed by vehicle on foot or from horseback (this reserve boasts excellent equestrian options for both novice and experienced riders).

A 36,000-hectare private game reserve in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, and a comfortable 45-minute flight from Johannesburg. Welgevonden is an accessible, exclusive, and Malaria -free gateway to untouched African wilderness and breath-taking Big Five wildlife.

This blog does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

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