Written by Julie Graham
When heading to Africa on your safari holiday the last thing you want to be worried about is your health. It is common knowledge that malaria poses a threat in some regions of the continent and, though easily avoided by taking anti-malarial medications, it can be worrisome for travelers – particularly those traveling as a family. The good news is that there are a host of world-class destinations in South Africa that offer a fully malaria-free safari experience at some of the most luxurious lodges in the country, meaning you won’t need to compromise on quality to ensure your health remains intact. The team at Ker & Downey® have compiled a list of some of the best luxury lodges in South Africa, each offering a completely malaria-free safari experience par excellence.
Set amidst the magnificent Waterberg Mountains of Limpopo, Marakele National Park is a malaria-free wildlife sanctuary, supporting an abundance of game including lion, leopard, elephant, brown hyena, and a number of antelope species. Located within the park is Marataba – a 21,000 hectare privately managed concession, and home to Marataba Safari Lodge. Ideal for families and children of all ages, Marataba Safari Lodge is situated on a plain at the foot of the mountains and comprises 15 luxury tented suites that take glamping to a whole new level.
After an exhilarating family morning game drive, adults can enjoy a delectable in-suite spa massage while the kids play, explore and learn more about the bushveld from the experienced guides at the lodge as part of their kids programme, packed with specially organised kids’ activities. For utmost privacy, look no further than Marataba’s Mountain Lodge, secretly secluded within the Waterberg mountain range. The five ultra-luxurious eco-suites blend seamlessly into the surrounding mountain landscape and the whole lodge can be booked for exclusive use.
Shamwari Private Game Reserve is a pristine wilderness, spread over 25,000 hectares of malaria-free safari land in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. It is home to the big five, and several superb luxury safari accommodation options. A great option for families is Riverdene Family Lodge – a luxury oasis with expansive views of the magnificent surrounding bushveld.
The lodge comprises nine inter-leading luxury rooms, a sparkling pool with a shallow area for children, and a spectacular dining boma overlooking Bushman’s River. The warm, friendly staff at the lodge supervise the Kids Club, Toddler Play Area, and Kids Adventure Centre, meaning adults can relax with a drink in the bar or swimming pool, enjoying views of the gentle giants of the bush roaming in the distance.
For a different type of safari experience, head to the vast wild expanses of the southern Kalahari to Tswalu – South Africa’s largest private game reserve and completely malaria-free. Tswalu is renowned for its unusual and extraordinary wildlife like black-maned lions, meerkats, pangolins and even the elusive aardvark.
The Motse is made up of nine legae (or dwellings) that take contemporary luxury and authenticity to a whole new level, with indoor and outdoor showers, private sun and starbeds, viewing decks and more. For an even higher level of privacy and exclusivity, the Tarkuni Homestead – once the Oppenheimer family home – can be booked out for a family or big group and comes with a private chef and guide. While adults soak up the Kalahari sun in style, or dine at Klein JAN (the culinary brainchild of Michelin-star Chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen) children are kept entertained and enthralled by Tswalu’s Junior Ranger Programme, which includes archery, bush walks, tracking and more.
The malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve is an expansive wildlife sanctuary that edges onto the Botswana border in the far north of the North West Province. It is a fascinating safari reserve that houses the Big Five amidst some of the country’s most diverse and unique topography.
Madikwe Safari Lodge is a luxurious haven that blends seamlessly into the pristine surroundings, with a selection of lodges to suit all travelers. Families and bigger groups can enjoy Lelapa Lodge, which comprises 12 suites, each with a private plunge pool and indoor and outdoor shower. Dithaba Lodge, situated on the mountain, is also a firm favourite amongst groups or families and boasts incredible views over the wide plains below. There are tailored activities for young guests to enjoy as part of the action-packed children’s club, while the adults embark on thrilling guided game walks, sip on sundowners, or bask in the afterglow of a rejuvenating massage.
The Leobo Private Reserve is a vast 20,000 acre estate located within the malaria-free Waterberg region, surrounded by exquisite pristine landscapes. It is also home to the award-winning Observatory Private Villa – one of the most exceptional and luxurious safari houses in Africa.
This exclusive-use villa sleeps six adults and three children and is serviced by a private butler, cleaner and chef. It has a heated infinity pool, jacuzzi on the roof, and an automated observatory for evenings spent gazing at the stars. There is no schedule at Leobo, and the reserve is yours to explore, with knowledgeable guides at your side. Offering a truly unique African experience, game drives aren’t the only thing on the menu. At Leobo, activities on offer also include quad biking, clay pigeon shooting, horse riding, fishing and at an additional cost helicopter flights and skydiving. Children of all ages are well catered for with guides tailoring each day to suit the ages and interests of the group.
The Eastern Cape in South Africa is a malaria-free province and home to one of the most scenic parks in the country – Addo Elephant National Park. Situated in a dense valley with rolling hills and lush evergreen forests, the park is home to the Big Five and the densest population of African elephants on the planet, with over 550 African elephants calling the park home.
Located within the park, Gorah Elephant Camp is a luxurious camp comprising 11 tented suites with a style recalling the golden era of the 1900s safari experience. Children over 12 years old are welcome, and guides take extra special care to ensure time is spent with them, teaching them through fun activities about the wonders of nature and the African bush.
Together with the expert team at Ker & Downey® Africa, you can rest assured that your adventure to Africa will be done in absolute style, while not having to worry about a thing. These malaria-free regions and ultra-luxurious lodges are the ideal care-free escape for you and your family. Get in touch with one of our LuxVenture® Designers today who can help you start planning your unforgettable trip to Africa, kids in tow.