Malaria-free safari destinations for the family

Family safaris are a great way for kids to get those hands dirty and learn about various fauna and flora species.

The wildlife of South Africa is a big part of the country’s heritage; particularly lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino – who were once fair game for hunters. They were considered to be the five most difficult animals in Africa to hunt on foot. 

These animals are now an icon for tourism in Africa and everyone wants to see them out in the wild, particularly children with a deep appreciation for nature. Family safaris are a great way for kids to get those hands dirty, learn about various fauna and flora species, and even become good trackers. 

Families with young children are generally concerned about malaria and would prefer a safari destination where there is no risk.

Here are some of the best malaria-free safari destinations for a family getaway:

Shamwari Private Game Reserve

Picture: Shamwari Game Reserve

Shamwari Private Game Reserve spans across 20,000 hectares of verdant bush, providing sanctuary to an abundance of wildlife; including the Big 5, cheetah, caracal, wild dog, and various antelope species. 

Six unique lodges nestle on the reserve but Shamwari Riverdene is the most popular choice for families. The lodge boasts nine gorgeous inter-leading luxury suites that are equipped with an en-suite bathroom, air conditioning, lounge, minibar, tea & coffee-making facilities and a private patio that opens up onto the manicured gardens. 

Besides a central lounge and bar, the lodge also has a swimming pool and children’s centre for the kids. The centre keeps them busy for hours with climbing towers, elevated walkways, zip lines, a toddlers’ play area, maze, and a mini soccer field. 

Generally, children under the age of six years are not permitted on game drives but Shamwari allows children from four years of age to go out on game drives.

Visits can also be arranged to Shamwari’s Born Free Foundation Animal Rescue Centre, Ian Player Rhino Awareness Centre and the Shamwari Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre.  

Madikwe Private Game Reserve


View this post on Instagram


The Royal Madikwe Luxury Safari Game Lodge within the Madikwe private game reserve allows for some thrilling moments even from the comfort of your own suite. With a waterhole close by is often visited by wildlife. Be it elephant taking a mud bath or Giraffe and zebra mingling, the excitement gets in the air.⠀ ⠀ —⠀ Follow @salute_africa⠀ Find out more on our platform:⠀⠀ ⠀ ???????????????????????? ???????????????????????? ???????????? ???????????????? ???????????????????? ???????????????????????????? ???????? ???????????? ???????????????????????? ????????????????????????, ???? ???????????????????? ???????? ????????????????????????????, ???????????????????????????????????? ???????????? ????????????????-???????????????????????????????? ???????????????????????????????????????????? ⠀ #SaluteAfrica #africa #travel #madikweprivategamereserve

A post shared by Salute Africa (@salute_africa) on

Madikwe Private Game Reserve lies in the North West and is accessible by road and air. The malaria-free reserve has rich vegetation that supports various animal and bird species, including the Big 5 and endangered wild dogs.  

The reserve has several family-friendly lodges but a popular choice is Madikwe Safari Lodge, with its family suites, world-class facilities and unique activities. Guests to the lodge can look forward to morning and evening game drives in open safari vehicles, bush walks, bird watching, astronomy, ecology house, and local community village tour, bush dining, and spa treatments.

Between family game drives, children are kept busy with a programme that was designed to have kids discover, create and express themselves. There is everything from animal tracking, meeting Debbie the bearded dragon, baking, arts & crafts, dress-up plays, outdoor movies and pool games. 

Pilanesberg National Park

Pilanesberg is one of South Africa’s most accessible reserves, just ten minutes from Sun City and a two and a half-hour drive from Johannesburg. This malaria-free game reserve is a particular favourite for families with children younger than six years of age as they have the option to self-drive the park in their own vehicle. 

Pilanesberg is home to all members of the Big 5 as well as cheetahs, zebras, giraffes, hippos, and crocodiles. It is also a bird-watching paradise with more than 300 species recorded in the park. 

Bakubung Bush Lodge is a particular favourite for families as children under the age of 12 years stay free of charge in the room with their parents and enjoy one complimentary game drive per day, provided they are six years or older. The studio rooms are spacious with two double beds accommodating up to two adults and two children. 

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.

Read more on these topics

family Safari travel Your Stories

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits