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Malaria in South Africa

South Africa is an inspirational destination for those who want to discover the most spectacular wildlife, culture, communities, mountains, rivers, coastline, hiking, biking and nature conservation good practice. Popular sites include the Kruger National Park, Umfolozi Wilderness area, Table Mountain, Zulu War Battlefields and many more breathtaking attractions. But knowing about the popular sites to visit is just half of the story. The other half would be ensuring good risk management so that everyone in your group has an amazing and safe experience.

Malaria is endemic to certain parts of South Africa which can be alarming for both locals and visitors. There’s no sense in traveling to these parts of the world and being unprepared by not knowing key facts about the places you visit and how to protect yourself from Malaria.

Listed here is some information you can review so that you and your group can enjoy South Africa with Africa Wild Trails, without worrying about Malaria.

Knowing the destination

Locations are often marked as “high”, “intermediate”, and “low” risk areas for malaria. With this knowledge, you can have a basic idea of what precautions are required before visiting the destination.

The risk areas in South Africa include:

  • the north-eastern parts of Limpopo (along the borders with Mozambique and Zimbabwe)

  • the Lowveld areas of Mpumalanga (including the Kruger National Park but excluding Mbombela and immediate surrounds)

  • the far northern areas of Kwa-Zulu Natal

Visitors of Kruger National Park may worry about this, however, while the park does fall in the malaria risk area, the transmission risk would be considered low to moderate, depending on the specific camps visited for overnight stays.

Knowing the malaria risk periods

Did you know that Malaria is seasonal in South Africa and that there are low-risk periods and moderate/high-risk periods in the country?

The moderate/high-risk period is usually from November until May of the following year with a peak of high risk between January and April. The other months such as June, July, August, September, October are low risk.

Knowing who is being targeted

Mosquitos have their favorite meals and scents too… They have a nose for scents such as lactic acid, uric acid, ammonia and other compounds emitted in sweat. Warm sweaty people are a clear target for Mozzies!

Research shows that those of us with Type O blood are tastier to mosquitoes and noted that certain species of Mosquito landed on the skin of people with Type O blood nearly twice as often as they did on the skin of people with Type A blood

Fragranced deodorant, soaps and perfumes are also very attractive to our annoying little mozzie friends, so if you really want to get serious about deterring them, bin your nice smelling toiletries and take unscented ones.

Knowing what to do

There are things that you can do as a precaution to avoid being targeted by a mosquito. Small things that can make a big difference such as wearing long-sleeved trousers and shirts, applying insect repellent to the skin and using a mosquito net are some ways.

For higher risk areas, malaria prophylaxis must be used to ensure that you cannot be infected.

During ventures with Africa Wild Trails you will often be sat around a fire at night time, and the smoke from the fire is very good at keeping mosquitoes and other insects away.

These are some of the basic ways you can do to avoid being infected with malaria. It will not take much time, it will not take much effort, and it won’t cost you much money. This way you can enjoy your journey in South Africa without worrying about malaria.

If you want to learn more about traveling to Africa, send us a message today. We’ll tell you all about how you can plan your adventure!

Please ensure you visit your Doctor or Travel Nurse for professional advice and guidance before traveling to any malaria area.



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