This is a fantastic safari area, it is one of South Africa’s largest wilderness areas and has far fewer visitors than other parks, so it is no wonder that it is our favourite non malarial destination, perfect for families or those looking to do something a bit different to the Kruger. Located in the north west of the country, right on the Botswana border and is easily accessed from Johannesburg, being so close to the Kalahari the area has a very interesting ecosystem with a mix of different habitats.
It is a Big 5 area and an excellent example of pioneering South African conservation and collaboration with the park having reintroduced a huge number of species to the area and being run by a mixture of private investors, local community organisations and the national government. This has really worked for Madikwe and it has resulted in some really great properties and serious investment in infrastructure and tourism.
There are a number of reserves between Cape Town and the Eastern Cape that offer very good non malarial safari within easy reach of the Garden Route, Winelands and, of course, Cape Town. There are quite a few on offer so picking a good one and the right one for you is important and which that is will depend on the rest of your itinerary, how far you are wishing to travel and who is travelling.
Our favourites are Shamwari and Kwandwe for offering the most classic safari experiences with Amakhala offering fantastic vale and Sanbona being really easily accessible from Cape Town. These are all fenced and managed reserves and while they do offer good game viewing and a variety of accommodation from family lodges to safari camps, they are not wilderness areas and those looking for an authentic and wild safari would be better looking at alternatives.
This is one of the largest private areas in South Africa, with only two lodges in the whole reserve and an incredibly remote feeling if you are looking for malaria free and wilderness then look no further than Tswalu. On the edge of the Kalahari it offers good game viewing, while it is not Big 5 it does have the stunning black-maned Lion a very special desert dweller and many species that are either interesting or rare such as Meerkats, Porcupine etc.
The standard of accommodation is incredibly high here the climate and environment requires that the property is more of a lodge that a camp but is suits its surroundings and with the two camps able to accommodate only 30 guests between them it makes the reserve incredibly exclusive. A variety of activities are offered including horseback safaris and sleepouts for the more adventurous, along with game drives and walks. This is a very cool place and for families looking for something different or those looking to get off the beaten track in South Africa this is a really good option.