Our top six malaria-free reserves in South Africa

Embarking on a safari is one of the most incredible ways to get up close to some of the world’s most intriguing and beautiful wildlife. It’s a perfect experience for everyone of all ages – families, honeymooners, even solo travellers, but we understand that sometimes the need to take anti-malarial medicine can be a bit off-putting.

But South Africa is home to so many malaria-free reserves, where you can head off on a safari adventure without the risk of malaria – particularly great if you’re planning on taking kids along. Our South Africa experts have hand-picked their favourite malaria-free game reserves – have a read, pick your favourite and get in touch to start planning your trip.

Blue wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus) in dust at sunrise, Kalahari desert, South Africa

Tswalu Kalahari

With a strong focus on conservation, the 1,000 square kilometres of Tswalu, the largest private game reserve in South Africa, are abundant with wildlife from black rhino to cheetah. And it’s all just a two hour flight from Cape Town – a perfect option for a city chic meets safari combo.

Why we like it

When you’re not out on a game drive, the little museum displaying ancient artefacts is a fascinating way to while away those quiet desert evenings. And there’s nothing quite like waking up on your private deck to the sun appearing over the horizon and the calls of the wild.

Leobo Private Game Reserve

Settled in 12,000 acres of astounding African wilderness in the heart of the Waterberg region, Leobo is just a three hour road trip from Johannesburg, or an hour-long helicopter ride away (with incredible views en route to boot).

Why we like it

You won’t see another soul – Leobo is for exclusive hire which means you’ll have the entire reserve to yourself. It’s not just about the safari (although the game drives here are incredible), try your hand at hippo camping in a tent atop a hand-crafted tree house above the hippo dam, feast on a traditional South African braai around a boma pit or gaze at the stars from Leobo’s own observatory with local astronomer Dr Phil Calcot.

Shamwari Private Game Reserve

Situated on the Eastern Cape, Shamwari offers six luxury lodges nestled within 25,000 hectares of land, overlooking endless wild savannahs and five eco-systems.

Why we like it

Shamwari is situated just 75km from one of South Africa’s largest cities, Port Elizabeth, and each villa boasts a private pool. But our favourite thing about this luxury safari retreat is the photo safari with the pros – join award winning photographers on an incredible game drive to spot the big five.

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

A wildlife experience with a difference, Grootbos is less about a traditional safari and more about experience South Africa’s other wildlife, from whale watching to cage diving with sharks (if you’re feeling brave). Set in the midst of lush forest and overlooking Walker Bay, you’ll find Grootbos in Hermanus, just a two hour drive or 30 minute helicopter flight from Cape Town

Why we like it

This is the place to be for nature lovers. Set on a 2,500 hectare hosting over 750 different plant species, embark on a flower safari, explore the Fynbos Lowlands, watch whales from land, sea or air or just relax with a glass of South African wine and watch the sun go down over the incredible landscape.

Bushman’s Kloof

Nestled in the foothills of the Cederburg Mountains, Bushman’s Kloof is a slice of wilderness just a two and a half drive from Cape Town.

Why we like it

We love the Spa, which has been inspired by the healing essences of Africa, has introduced its own anti-ageing body and skincare treatments, which are said to harness the power of African plant extracts and essential oils. The San rock art dotted around the surrounding countryside makes you feel like you’re in the world’s largest ancient art gallery too.

Samara Private Game Reserve

One of the largest private reserves in the country, Samara Private Game Reserve showcases the mind-blowing diversity in landscape and wildlife South Africa is known for. Located on the Eastern Cape, the reserve is under an hour by air and three hours by car from Port Elizabeth – both journeys offering stunning views.

Why we like it

This is simply the ultimate luxury safari experience; blending five-star comfort with a genuine and authentic focus on wildlife and conservation. The reserve is continually making efforts to reintroduce game into its bush, and the photo opportunities are endless – from white rhinos to mountain zebras, even the elusive cheetah if you’re lucky. Of course, education plays a major part in life on the reserve; Aardvark club gives little explorers the chance to understand the importance of conservation.