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Malaria in Kruger National Park


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Kruger National Park welcomes thousands of travelers each year, most of these travelers visit Kruger for the first time and is uncertain about the risks involved with regards to Malaria in Kruger National Park.

It is for this reason why we have put this informative post together that will focus on topics such as what Malaria is, how to prevent Malaria and high-risk areas for Malaria, etc. to mention but a few!

Let’s start…

Malaria prevention is better than cure

It is always wise to rather prevent something before it actually happens instead of letting something happen and then finding a “cure” or solution to resolve the problem. This is why I say “Malaria prevention is better than the cure”. What I mean by this is as follows…

When you first consider going on a new adventure, there is almost always some form of planning involved. Your planning should include the topic “Malaria”, especially if you are thinking about going to Africa, South Africa, Kruger National Park or any other country that has a tropical climate.

You will find some interesting and informative information about Malaria and Malaria in Kruger National Park for that matter below. Take this Malaria information into consideration when you plan your travels.

Malaria is no longer a life-threatening illness that comes without any cure like years ago. Luckily due to modern technology and science, the Malaria threat is no longer that much of an issue like how it used to be years ago. But it comes without saying that you still need to take some precautionary measures to help prevent contracting the Malaria virus, hence me saying “Malaria prevention is better than the cure”.

What is Malaria?

In short, Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite. The parasite is transmitted to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes. People who have malaria usually feel very sick, with a high fever and shaking chills as well as a few other symptoms.

How do you get Malaria?

The Plasmodium parasite is mainly spread by female Anopheles mosquitoes, which mainly bite at dusk and at night. When an infected mosquito bites a human, it passes the parasites into the bloodstream. Malaria can also be spread through blood transfusions and the sharing of needles, however, this is very rare.

Most types of mosquitoes that are encountered will not carry the malaria parasite and if an individual is bitten, it does not mean that they will contract malaria, as previously mentioned; it is only the Anopheles mosquitoes that spread the Plasmodium virus. Female mosquitoes will only drink blood prior to reproducing. Their main diet is usually nectar based. Malaria is transferred in the saliva which the mosquito injects after it has fed on the blood. The saliva can leave an itchy, red bump, which will have you scratching for days.

Peak breeding occurs during the rainy season, which is during the summer months in Kruger National Park. Be extra cautious during these months and take the necessary preventative steps. Mosquitoes kill more people in Africa each year than wild animals.

Mosquitoes don’t only carry the malaria virus, but they can also transmit encephalitis, yellow fever, and dengue fever. Unlike malaria, these other types of illnesses are very uncommon.

Is malaria a bacteria or virus?

Malaria is not caused by a virus or bacteria. Malaria is caused by a parasite known as Plasmodium, which is normally spread through infected mosquitoes. A mosquito takes a blood meal from an infected human, taking in Plasmodia which are in the blood.

Can malaria kill you?

Malaria is a serious and sometimes life-threatening tropical disease that spreads through parasites. Yes, it can kill you if left untreated.  Malaria kills thousands of people each year.

How long does it normally take to show symptoms of malaria?

It can take anything from 7 days to several weeks, sometimes months or even a year. The typical incubation period (the time between being infected to when symptoms start presenting) is 7 to 18 days. This will also depend on the specific parasite that you have been infected with. The first initial symptoms of malaria are flu-like symptoms combined with fever.

Can malaria go away without professional treatment?

With professional treatment, symptoms of malaria usually go away quickly, with a cure within two weeks. If left untreated, it could kill you. Untreated malaria cases can cause continuous episodes, compared with fever, chills and sweating that can last for years and can eventually cause death.

Is Kruger National Park a malaria area?

Yes, you can contract Malaria in Kruger Park; however, it is not that common. When you follow the Malaria preventative steps, the risk for contracting Malaria in Kruger is very low. It is a known fact that the Kruger National Park is one of the two South African National Parks that are situated in malaria risk areas, due to all the water sources in Kruger, so it’s advisable to take Malaria prevention medication when you do travel to Kruger. Rather be safe than sorry!

Can I get malaria in Kruger National Park during a safari with an open safari vehicle?

The risk is very low for contracting malaria in Kruger during a safari with an open safari vehicle. Why? Well during the safari you will be driving around in Kruger with the open safari vehicle. A mosquito is very small and light and will most probably not be able to sit on you to bite you while you are driving as the wind will prevent the mosquito to do so.

It is however advisable to take the necessary precautions, for example: the use of prescribed prophylactic malaria medication by your doctor, the frequent use of insect/bug/mosquito repellant during the safari.

Will I get malaria when I spend a night in Kruger National Park?

  • It is uncertain to say. But what we can say is that you can safely enjoy your Kruger overnight safari experience if you do the following:
  • Take your prescribed prophylactic malaria medication by your doctor
  • Use your insect/bug/mosquito repellant several times a day
  • If you do a BBQ outside, you can sit in the smoke as most insects including mosquitoes hate smoke
  • You can burn citronella candles or mosquito coils at night or in the room before you go to bed or when you are busy with a BBQ outside. Make sure the candle is safely blown out before you go to bed.
  • You can wear long sleeve T-shirts and trousers, with your trouser ends safely tucked into your socks so the mosquito cannot bite your ankles.
  • Wash yourself with a bar of citronella soap
  • Close all your windows and doors before the sun starts to set as mosquitoes are most active at night.
  • Sleep under mosquito nets if you want added peace of mind.

Tips for how to prevent mosquito bites

Mosquitoes most often bite between dusk and dawn, so it is advised to stay indoors during this period, or cover exposed skin with light clothing or insect repellents. Remember to spray one’s ankles. Burning anti-mosquito coils and ensuring netted screens are kept closed will significantly reduce your risk for contracting insect bites. All of the accommodation available in Kruger is fitted with netted screens.

Should I take malaria pills when I visit South Africa and Kruger National Park?

It is advisable, but not compulsory to take anti-Malaria tablets when visiting any subtropical, or tropical destination. It is also advised that you take anti-Malaria medication is you know that you will be visiting an area that experiences a high-rainfall and has plenty of water sources, for example, rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, dams, etc.

People visiting a malaria area during the daytime and staying in good hotels in the evenings and are using either mosquito nets, insect repellent, and anti-Malaria tablets have a slim chance to contract the Malaria disease.

The South Africa Department of Health recommends anti-malaria medication to be taken from October to May.

Do you need malaria pills for Kruger National Park?

It is up to you whether or not to take Malaria preventative medication if you visit Kruger National Park. It is best to speak to your doctor before you decide to travel. The Doctor will give you all the information you need, along with symptoms and side-effects that you may experience when you take certain preventative medication.

It is recommended to take malaria prophylaxis when visiting Kruger Park. During the day-time, mosquitoes are not really that active. At night, however, the activity levels for mosquitoes increase.

Most importantly, it should be known that taking malaria prophylaxis does not 100% guarantee that an individual will not contract malaria; it will however decrease the risk of contracting the disease. Malaria should not be excluded in anyone who presents with unexplained fever within 12 to 35 days after entering a malaria area. A blood test is the most accurate, although rapid tests are available that are also very accurate.

What does a mosquito bite look like?

A bite area is usually puffy-looking, compared with a white and reddish bump that appears a few minutes after the bite. A hard, itchy, reddish-brown bump, or multiple bumps, appearing a day or so after the bite/s.

What vaccinations do I need when visiting the Kruger National Park?

Speak to your doctor about this topic.

Immunizations and vaccinations may vary depending upon the circumstances of the trip and the medical history of the traveler, as well as the vaccination requirements for each country.

Why is malaria so deadly?

When a malaria-carrying mosquito bites the human host, the malaria parasite enters the bloodstream via the bite-site. The parasite then multiplies in the liver cells and is then released back into the bloodstream, where it infects and destroys red blood cells.

How to check if you have malaria?

By doing a thick and thin blood smears

The diagnosis of malaria involves performing blood smears. For a blood smear, a drop of blood is applied to and spread onto a glass slide. It is then treated with a special stain and examined under a microscope for the morphology of infected blood cells and the parasite.

Which malaria tablet is best to prevent Malaria in Kruger National Park?

It is a difficult decision whether or not to take malaria prophylactics when visiting the Kruger National Park. The risk of contracting malaria needs to be weighed up against the side effects of the malaria prophylactic medication, and all the drugs available have various side effects.

The below is only a short list of Anti-Malaria medication available, we cannot safely say which one is the best, or “best suited” for an individual. Consult your doctor about using anti-Malaria medications.

  • Atovaquone/Proguanil (Malarone)
  • Tafenoquine (ArakodaTM)

What’s the long-term outlook for people with malaria?

The long-term outlook for patients with drug-resistant parasites may not be too good, as malaria may recur and this may ultimately cause other complications.

People with malaria who receive treatment, typically have a good long-term outlook. If complications arise as a result of malaria, the outlook may not be as good. Cerebral malaria, which causes swelling of the blood vessels of the brain, can result in brain damage.

Common symptoms of malaria include:

  • shaking chills that can range from moderate to severe
  • high fever
  • profuse sweating
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • abdominal pain
  • diarrhea
  • anemia
  • muscle pain
  • convulsions
  • coma
  • bloody stools

When malaria becomes severe, it can cause symptoms such as:

  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Dark or bloody urine

YES! We offer affordable Kruger National Park safaris

Our rates include the following:

  • Transfers from a pre-arranged pick-up location to Kruger National Park and back (this can be at your accommodation where you are staying, depending on the location). This includes Nelspruit | Kruger National Park | KMI Airport | Skukuza Airport | White River | Hazyview | Malelane | Komatipoort and Marloth Park

  • Full Day safari with a luxury open safari vehicle

  • An accredited & professional Field Guide doubling as the driver of the vehicle on the day of safari

  • A snack box per person consisting of various treats to munch on during the day of the safari

  • +- 8 Hours of sheer “entertainment” in the world-famous Kruger National Park (this excludes travel time outside the Park)

  • Assistance with Kruger National Park entrance/conservation fee payments, paperwork and permits

  • The use of high-quality, waterproof ponchos on-board the vehicle when needed

Please note:

Our area of operation covers Nelspruit and surrounding areas, White River | Malelane | Hazyview | Komatipoort | Marloth Park | Kruger National Park | KMI Airport | Skukuza Airport.

Please contact us if your accommodation falls outside of our area of operation.

We also conduct safari tours in the North of Kruger upon request and need. You also have the option to hire the safari vehicle privately, email us to find out more. Additionally, you have the option to add your Kruger entrance fee/conservation fees when you make your booking so you don’t have to go to the office on the morning of the safari to make payment for entrance fees.


Fantastic experience

We really enjoyed our safari with Liz and the web photographer. They pointed out many sightings which we would never have seen on our own. We saw 3 leopards, many elephants, rhinos, cape buffaloes, giraffes, zebras, hippos and different types of antelopes and birds.
They provided binoculars which helped a lot, especially when observing the leopards in the reed!
The service is top: on time, friendly, very informative and you get a feeling how much they enjoy “going the extra mile” for the customer. They tried to keep ahead of the crowd and do not enter thru Numbi gate which is usually very crowded. Its great the park fee is included in the price because then you do not need to queue at the entrance like in the case of some of the other operators. We will definitely recommend you!

dorischristina2015, TripAdvisor
Emocional experience

When we thought about that trip, my wife, my stepson, our friend and I ,had never imagined how amazing could be , and how deep can touch us. From the first moment when we founded Lizelle, our guide at the Malelane door, the magic begins to happen.She was so unreal in some way, that my wife said ( in Portuguese,) she seems to be a caracter from a movie!, We had very good luck , and in just 2 full days, 20 hours total, we could see the real big five, including black rhino and leopard, and many many other species, of course. Lizelle was so nice, so professional and so dedicated that we are recommended to our friends around the World to do the same program.. .. we will repeat it for sure. There is not words, not video or pictures, that can transmit this experience, .. believe me, after you live it you will understand it .

FellowTraveler507918, TripAdvisor
Great services! Amazing commments

The guide was very friendly and helpful!
She really knew the way around the park and we were able to see a big variety of animals

344hama, TripAdvisor
Super accommodating and informative.
Liz was super patient in making sure we get the morning bush walk and night drive within limited dates. They know lots about every animal we saw. I love that they provide parkas for their guests because it gets super chilly as the truck moves. Their truck is clean and not loud like other trucks which tend to scare the animals away.
Zzame Em, Google Review
Leading Safari Company

Lion Roar Safaris offers safaris in Kruger Park. In an excellent car and with professional equipment we discovered in a small groupe the big 5. The guide was an expert and is very customer oriented.

DutchAdventurer, TripAdvisor
Spectacular day in the Mighty Kruger!

Even if the weather was cold during the day, the spectacular sightings we had made up for it all. Luckily this company is not one of those that rush from one big sighting to another but rather take it at a slower pace and therefore not miss even the small things like some bird species and trees and plants, lizards and much more.
Oh and I am so glad their Photographer was also on board with her very sharp eye sight. She spotted plenty of animals where the rest of us missed them…especially that Cheetah! And she took the most beautiful pictures (and some short videos clips) of all our sightings that day. We were surely one lucky group of people seeing all those magnificent wildlife, especially the Elephant Calves, Wild Dogs as well as Hyena Pups!
Oh and let’s not forget the snack bags that was packed for us!!
The Guide was very informative and interactive with our group. Evidently her kindness and helpfulness is not only restricted to the time a guest is on her vehicle still busy on the Tour but even helping when one of our group members was staying over at a place in the Kruger Park, she assisted him from booking in at the camp to taking him to where he would be staying, to briefly showing him around on what is where and available to him in the camp. And this all took merely a few minutes.
I would definitely be recommending Lion Roar Safaris.

Grifinne, TripAdvisor

Best experience ever!

Lizelle was very informative and made sure we had the best views of all the animals!

Johan , Google Review

Some of the services Lion Roar Safaris Offer…

Upmarket Luxury Safaris  I  Tailored Safaris  I  Professional Personal Holiday Photographer   I  Hire a Professional Field Guide  I  Hire a Private Safari Vehicle   I   Accommodation in and around Kruger   I  Photographic Safaris   I   Safari catering – picnic lunches, dinners and BBQ’s and more…

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Information about Malaria in Kruger National Park
Article Name
Information about Malaria in Kruger National Park
All you need to know about Malaria in Kruger National Park. | Prevention of Malaria | Malaria medication | High-risk areas | Necessary Malaria precautions | Mosquitos in Kruger National Park, etc. Malaria is one of the most serious and common tropical diseases known to man. However, there is no reason why this disease should prevent you from going on a safari in the world-renowned Kruger National Park.
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Lion Roar Safaris (Pty) Ltd, Kruger National Park South Africa
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