Written by Lauren Maker

South Africa is well known for its excellent game reserves and national parks, offering top Big 5 safaris to multiple destinations around the country.

However, we at Explorer are mindful that many families want to travel and enjoy the wild experience safely.  

Catching malaria is easily preventable, by taking appropriate prophylactic medications, however some people simply prefer visiting malaria-free safari destinations, particularly families and multigenerational groups that have young children and grandparents.


The good news is we have incredible Big 5 safari destinations in South Africa which are malaria-free, true authentic national parks that offer prolific game viewing, with diversity of species and mind-blowing landscapes. Here are our top malaria-free safaris: 


Eastern Cape safaris offer you luxurious tented camps, and beautiful safari villas that you can book out for you and your family to enjoy the bush, exclusively.  

Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge, Eastern Cape

These game lodges are fully inclusive and have morning and evening game drives. Walking safaris are a big plus in the Eastern Cape.  Enjoy being spoilt with 2 game drives daily, scrumptious meals, and sundowners at sunset. The safari lodges of the Eastern Cape are an absolute must to combine with Cape Town and the Garden Route to experience an utterly unique wildlife adventure. All the reserves in the area are malaria-free, making this best choice for families. Eastern Cape private game reserves and national parks offer a unique selection of luxurious safari lodges that will satisfy even the most discerning traveller.  

Cheetah – Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge, Eastern Cape

Read More about our recent experiences at Kwandwe Ecca Lodge in the Eastern Cape. 

Best Time to Go: Average temperatures in the Eastern Cape are moderate year-round. Winter is chilly (June through August). While summer is hot (January to March)  

Our top trip: Hermanus, Karoo and Shamwari Luxury Self-Drive Safari from US$5,500 per person sharing for 10 nights, full board.

Black wildebeest – Kwandwe Great Fish River Lodge, Eastern Cape


Madikwe Private Game Reserve is situated in South Africa’s North-West Province, close to the border of Botswana. The reserve stretches across 76,000 hectares and is known as the largest private reserve in South Africa, that is completely malaria-free.  

Madikwe Safari Lodge, Madikwe Private Game Reserve

Madikwe is also home to the Big Five and has luxurious accommodation fit for couples and of course, families. This reserve also has a growing population of the painted wild dog, as well as all the Big 5, and has 340 species of bird. Madikwe is also easy to get to; simply take a scheduled flight from Johannesburg, which is an hour in duration. 

Lion cubs – Royal Madikwe, Madikwe Private Game Reserve

Best Time to Go: Between March and November, when temperatures are lower, the summers are hot. Expect the rainy season from October to April with the highest rainfall expected between November and February. 

Our top trip: Escape to Africa Family Safari, from US$4,537 per person sharing for 9 nights, full board.

Elephant – Royal Madikwe, Madikwe Private Game Reserve


Known as South Africa’s best kept secret, the Waterberg is found only 3 hours’ drive from Johannesburg. This region is easily accessible from by road transfer, self-drive or scheduled flight. It is a malaria-free park surrounded by the spectacular Waterberg Mountain Range in the Limpopo Province in South Africa. This rugged landscape covers a vast 150,000 hectares. Known for its beauty, bushveld savannahs and large animal population, you will certainly enjoy a unique experience here. 

Thabametsi Treehouse, Marakele Private Game Reserve – Waterberg

Surrounded by pure bushveld, this region has a warm climate, making it perfect for exploring and discovering the Big 5. The Waterberg also has picturesque rivers that bring amazing birdlife into the reserve. There are so many activities to do, such as horseback safaris, game drives and bush walks.  

Horseback safaris – Ant’s Hill, Waterberg

Even though it is close to the city, the Waterberg feels like it is a million miles away from the city, you are guaranteed a truly wild experience.  

Best Time to Go: The dry season is the best time for wildlife viewing from July to September the remainder of the time, after the rainy season the grasslands are in full bloom which makes wildlife spotting a little more challenging. 

Our top trip: Wonder More Cape & Marataba Safari from US$2,500 per person sharing for 6 nights, full board.

Sundowners – Ant’s Hill, Waterberg

If you are looking for that ultimate family safari experience, then why not consider a malaria-free safari in one of these top destinations?

Our expert Travel Planners will always be able to advise you fully on safety measures, as well as when is the best time to go. Chat to us now to start planning your 2022 African safari.  

Related Trips

View All