Don't let malaria be a buzzkill (pun intended!) on your African safari. Take a look at our hand-selected list of the most fab malaria-free safaris in South Africa for peace of mind and a whole lotta fun. These destinations are perfect in particular if you're travelling with little ones in tow, or if someone elderly will be joining the trip. Plus, they're all gay-friendly, honey! Let's explore them…
Malaria-free safaris in Africa promise stress-free fun
The Garden Route is like that super attractive yet humble crush who's adventurous yet calm and is always a good time. How can you not fall in love?
Nicknamed South Africa's "Garden of Eden", it winds along the Indian Ocean coastline and is lush with greenery. It's also super easy to get to from Cape Town, so it's an good add-on to your stay in our Mother City.
But our favourite part? Oh, yeah, she's malaria-free! There are many pockets of private game reserves offering uber-luxe and exclusive accommodation. When choosing a private game reserve, you're also privy to some special activities like walking safaris, night game drives, and much more!
Spellbinding scenes all around, Image Credit: Kwandwe
Here's where we love going for a malaria-free safari on the Garden Route.
Oh, how we love a Kwandwe safari! This place is truly special. It has a unique environment that flanks the northern and southern banks of the Great Fish River. On the one side, the south-facing slopes transform into dense forest-like thickets of euphorbia trees. But on the north–facing side is more bushveld, creating two distinct yet different ecosystems.
They have many accommodation options with something for everyone, from child-friendly to adults-only for those wanting privacy and silence.
Make Kwandwe your safari home, Image Credit: Kwandwe Melton Manor
Located about a four-hour drive from Cape Town, Gondwana is easily accessible. Here, you'll appreciate the emerald rolling hills, fynbos vegetation, and all the many wildlife species roaming free. It's home to all the usual suspects like the Big 5, giraffe, hippo, cheetah, zebra, and antelope species. Bonus? You could be lucky and see the black rhino!
When it comes to your luxury safari nest, there's a treat for every taste! Think villas, chalets, and even luxury tented camps if you embark on their adventurous Pioneer Trail slackpacking trip. You'll walk through the bush to admire the big and small details but sleep in luxury at a different camp every night.
The party that never stops, Image Credit: Gondwana
Located in the North West Province of South Africa, Madikwe Private Game Reserve is not only easy to reach from Johannesburg, but it's a conservation success story. What used to be a (not very successful) cattle farm is today a wildlife paradise!
We're talking Big 5, cheetah, giraffe, hyena, many antelope. However, what makes Madikwe stand out is its special setting on the edge of the Kalahari, where some unique and endandered species occur, including the African wild dog.
Whatever the occasion, we've got the place for you. Here's where our Travel Experts love to stay when in Madikwe.
A stay at Jamala Madikwe is all in the details. And we're a sucker for that! After all, you deserve the royal treatment, queen! This owner-managed and run lodge promises personalised service and sensational safaris. With luxury villas including rim-flow swimming pools, this is a great base to stay at for your malaria-free safaris.
So the accommodation is fab, and so are the activities... But Jamala Madikwe has another trick (or should we say, treat) up its sleeve! It's been awarded the Best Safari Cuisine in Africa over multiple years. Bon appétit, sweetie!
Sofa safari without even leaving the lodge, Image Credit: Jamala Madikwe
Travelling with the fam? Or perhaps planning a birthday bash with friends? Tuningi Safari Lodge has four luxury suites and two family suites, accommodating a total of 16 guests. Plus, they have a little kiddies' programme for children under the age of five, including shorter game drives, interactive dinners, and treasure hunts.
However, if you're envisioning something extra-exclusive, look at The Little Tuningi private camp with one family suite and one luxury suite sleeping a total of six guests. With your own private plunge pool and boma, it's perfect for an intimate party setting with a small group of family or friends.
Stop and stare, there’s wildlife everywhere, Image Credit: Tuningi Safari Lodge
KwaZulu-Natal, or KZN as we locals call it, is a province located in the southeastern part of South Africa. And on the border of iSimangaliso Wetland Park, you'll find Phinda Private Game Reserve, which is a divine place to go for your safari. Although technically not malaria-free, it's considered low risk and we simply could not omit it from our list!
With a whopping seven distinct habitats, there's a whole host of exciting activities and wildlife species to see, including the Big 5. And did we mention you could see their famous white rhinos? A favourite way for us to experience Phinda is on foot by following your Zulu tracker as they point out fascinating shrubs, indigenous trees, and wildlife, all while sharing stories to colour in the experience even more.
Let's explore where to stay in pretty-as-a-picture KwaZulu-Natal for malaria-free safaris.
Want to paddle in a cool pool with a G&T within easy reach, watching as a wildlife documentary unfolds in real life in front of you? Meet Phinda Vlei Lodge! With just six suites with their own private decks set on the edge of the wetlands, you're treated to an African safari display to remember.
There's plenty to do other than your twice-daily game drives, including riverboat cruises, rhino-tracking walks, and more.
Gather around the fire to share safari stories, Image Credit: Phinda Vlei Lodge
Now, let's go into the malaria-free heart of South Africa's Limpopo province, the Waterberg Mountains, where the underrated yet simply fabulous Marakele National Park awaits your arrival.
With a flourishing diversity of flora and fauna, it's also a refuge for some endangered species like the black and white rhino, as well as the largest population of Cape vultures. Plus, there are plenty of ways to explore the area, including plenty of immersive and family-friendly activities.
Want to explore Marakele? Here's where we love to stay.
Easy to access from Johannesburg (a quick four-hour road trip), Marataba Safari Lodge lies at the foothills of the simply stunning Waterberg Mountains. So you can just imagine the views, oh the views, honey!
And if you're besotted with the dotted beauties called leopards, this is your sign to come to Marataba! Here, they have a large population of the usually elusive leopards, so sightings are delightfully common.
Your stress-free zone, Image Credit: Marataba Safari Lodge
All right, your marvellous malaria-free safaris in sunny South Africa are waiting for you! We're well-versed in all things luxury LGBTQ+ travel, and our fabulous Travel Experts will tailor a trip not even your wildest imagination can conjure!
Reach out today, and let's start planning!
Featured Image Credit: Tuningi Safari Lodge
Stories from our Africa Experts
Featured February 27th, 2024
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As your very own queer Travel Experts, we know all the ins and outs of where to go as a gay traveller in Africa and have first-hand experience of everything we plan for you.
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