Many people have concerns about malaria when traveling on safari and while there are tablets to take to ward off contracting malaria, nothing is 100% effective. While some countries in Africa might have a small risk of malaria, South Africa is the only country that can provide a full safari experience in a malaria-free environment. Not every destination in this country is malaria free, but there are game lodges in the Eastern Cape and the Madikwe Game Reserve which can state with absolute certainty that they are malaria-free.
The Shamwari Game Reserve (www.shamwari.com) in the Eastern Cape of South Africa offers 6 different lodges, all of which are rated 5-Star. It’s kid-friendly (although no children under 4 years of age are allowed on game drives) and offers fun outdoor activities such as a visit to the Born Free Foundation Big Cat Rescue Center and indoor activities including scrapbook making, family board games and puzzles.
In the Madikwe Game Reserve, the Tuningi Safari Lodge (www.tuningi.com) sits within the a 165,000-acre, malaria-free reserve and offers “Big Five” game viewing. Along with its private and exclusive feel, the lodge also welcomes children. There are activities galore for them, including treasure hunts and private boma dinners with an appointed chef who allows them to make their own treats. Other free time can be spent drawing, using modeling clay, and swimming in the pool. Young children can participate in shorter drives with age appropriate activities. There are nannies on site to watch the youngest children who may not be able to participate in game drives (for an additional babysitting fee).
Walking safaris are all the rage (in the safari world), and there’s no better place to be introduced to the idea of a walking safari than at the Norman Carr Safari Lodge (www.normancarrsafaris.com). Located in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park, Norman Carr himself was the first to introduce the idea of walking safaris over fifty years ago. The main lodge here, Kapani, is a luxury facility accommodating up to twenty guests. It consists of eight standard suites and two larger, more spacious suites. Additionally, there are four individually designed “bush” camps, operational in the dry season. The bush camps are even more remote than the main lodge, deep in the heart of the park. Zambia is the real deal, and although quickly gaining popularity, it’s still a bit off the beaten path.
In contrast, Robin Pope’s Nkwali Lodge (www.robinpopesafaris.com/nkwali) sits just outside the Park, ideally located directly on the banks of the Luangwa River. With open-air, high-end accommodations, spacious rooms are in clear view of hundreds of hippos wading in the river located directly in front of the lodge’s beds.
The latest addition to the Singita portfolio is the recently launched Singita Mara River Tented Camp (www.singita.com). This 16-bed, eco-sensitive and solar powered tented camp is located in the pristine Lamai area in the most undiscovered part of Tanzania. And with their “fewer beds in larger areas” philosophy, the camp is situated on the northern banks of the world-renowned Mara River, famed for its annual wildebeest migration crossings. With only six tents, two of which are designed to accommodate families, the camp was created to have minimal environmental impact.To complement its remote and isolated location, it offers a bohemian-chic, Ralph Lauren style in a natural and relaxed environment.