5 Malaria Free Game Reserves in South Africa

I’m originally from Africa so we go back every couple of years and it’s always an incredible experience, and the kids just love it!

WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN GOING ON SAFARI WITH KIDS

However, there are a couple of things that make traveling with children on safari so much easier. These are:

  • Malaria Free – Malaria is one of those diseases that you really don’t want to get. And it’s so much easier when you are traveling with kids not to have to take Malaria Tablets.
  • Close to a major airport or shuttle service – my criteria would be less than 4 hour transfer.
  • Big 5 – African Lion, African Elephant, Cape Buffalo, African Leopard, Rhinoceros
  • Animal Experiences / Kids Clubs – If you have younger kids it’s always great if there is some child entertainment.
  • Working with local communities – the investment in local communities and their well-being is a wonderful attribute of Safari properties (this doesn’t make traveling easier per se, it just makes you feel so good that by being on safari you are contributing to changing people lives in a really positive way).
Phinda Safari Lodge

We stayed here as a family in December/January and it was magnificent.

The experience is so Boutique and personal. You are allocated a Guide and Tracker for the duration of your stay so you get to develop a relationship with them and they get to know what you are really looking for. Every need is taken care of, I had left my iPhone charger behind and one was found for me almost immediately.

We had not seen a Leopard and it was the last animal of our Big 5 and on the very last game drive we found it, it was truly a spectacular experience.

It was on my bucket list for years and my beloved In-Laws surprised with a stay at Phinda.

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Phinda

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Phinda

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Phinda

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Phinda

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Phinda

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Phinda

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Phinda

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Phinda

My checklist:

Malaria Free ✓

Close to a major Airport or provide shuttle  ✓

Big 5   ✓

Children’s Program ✓

Investment in Local Communities ✓

Kuganha Safari Lodge

This lodge is only 2.5 hours from Cape Town!

You could tailor a visit that includes ocean, wineries, and safari! Beautiful.

From their website, Kuganha “ is known for meaningful safari experiences and exclusive up-close encounters with Africa’s magnificent Big Five.

Look at the accommodation! It’s stunning Safari Glamping!

You get to experience luxury tented accommodation, an authentic safari experience.

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Kuganha

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Kuganha

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Kuganha

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Kuganha

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Kuganha

My checklist:

Malaria Free ✓

Close to a major Airport or provide shuttle  ✓

Big 5   ✓

Children’s Program  (I’m not sure)

Investment in Local Communities ✓

Jaci’s Lodges, Madikwe

Jaci’s Lodges at Madikwe tops the list as being incredibly child-friendly.

The owners raised their own children on Madikwe and so know intimately what children need when they are on the property.

There are two separate places to stay, either at the Tree Lodge or at the Safari Lodge.

Madikwe is on my bucket list, but my family has all stayed here and loved it!

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Jaci’s Lodges, Madikwe

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Jaci’s Lodges, Madikwe

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Jaci’s Lodges, Madikwe

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Jaci’s Lodges, Madikwe

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Jaci’s Lodges, Madikwe

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Jaci’s Lodges, Madikwe

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Jaci’s Lodges, Madikwe

My checklist:

Malaria Free ✓

Close to a major Airport or provide shuttle  ✓

Big 5   ✓

Children’s Program  ✓

Investment in Local Communities ✓

Kwandwe Safari Lodge

This is a beautiful piece of land and is rich with wildlife.

From their website:

  • A 22,000 hectare (54,000 acre) private wilderness comprising only four small luxury lodges, according it one of the highest land to guest ratios in South Africa
  • On 30 km (19 miles) of privately owned Great Fish River frontage
  • Game-rich country with Big Five (black & white rhino, elephant, lion, buffalo and leopard) as well as remarkable variety of predators and general game, including cheetah, kudu, springbok, eland, red hartebeest, giraffe, black wildebeest and gemsbok
  • A paradise for birdwatchers, the Fish Eagle and endangered Blue Crane are among a wide variety of birds found on the Reserve
    • Excellent nocturnal viewing – aardwolf and aardvark are regularly seen
    • Immensely rich in history
    • The perfect add-on to an itinerary featuring Cape Town and the Garden Route
    • Malaria-free destination
    • Ideal for families and small groups of friends traveling together
    • Three sole-use safari villas – include private ranger/host, tracker, butler, chef and exclusive use of an open 4×4 safari vehicle
    • Specialist Safaris: Big Game Walking Safaris, Save the Rhino Drives, Rhino Conservation (darting and notching) Safaris

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Kwandwe

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Kwandwe

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Kwandwe

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Kwandwe

My checklist:

Malaria Free ✓

Close to a major Airport or provide shuttle  ✓

Big 5 ✓

Children’s Program  (I’m not sure)

Investment in Local Communities ✓

Samara Safari Lodge

Samara is referred to as “the Serengeti of the South” and it’s not at all difficult to see why.

This is a beautiful property that is easily accessible. It is only a 2.5 hr drive from Port Elizabeth Airport. You can also catch a shuttle from Plettenberg Bay daily.

Plett is so divine so you can combine a glorious beach stay with safari! Win Win if you ask me!

What I loved about is the StarGazer experience, check out the bed under the stars, how sublime would that be! I love it!

Now it’s not a traditional “Big 5” property, and their sightings of Leopard are quite rare, BUT they do have an incredible cheetah rehabilitation program and they offer an opportunity to track them on foot! That for me outweighs seeing the Big 5.

With regard to the checklist that is important to me:

Malaria Free ✓

Close to a major Airport or provide shuttle  ✓

Big 5

Children’s Program  ✓

Investment in Local Communities ✓

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Samara

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Samara

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Samara

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Samara

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Samara

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Samara

Aren’t these Lodges just sublime, which one would you love to go to?

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