Malaria Prevention in the Kruger National Park
We are not doctors and it is therefore important that you speak to your doctor about malaria prevention before travelling to a malaria area. The following information is not intended to replace that issued by your doctor. The Kruger National Park is in a malaria area, but if you come prepared, you should be able to easily avoid infection. Mosquitoes and other insects are more active in the summer months (November - March) than in the cooler winter months. If you are concerned about malaria, there are numerous safari options that are not in malaria areas such as the Garden Route Safaris and Madikwe Game Reserve.
Rule One : Avoid getting bitten
Rule number one of malaria prevention is that if you don’t get bitten, you won’t get malaria. Unfortunately, the female Anopheles mosquito that transmits malaria is a silent little mozzie and doesn’t buzz to warn you of its presence. Mosquitoes can bite at any time of day but are usually most active at dawn and dusk. Use the repellent sprays and wear long-sleeved shirts and long trousers in the mornings and evenings. The mosquitoes can bite through thin clothing so it's important to spray insect repellant on covered skin as well as non-covered skin.
Most of the lodges have screened windows and doors, mosquito nets, air conditioning, fans, and plug-in deterrents. These all help to prevent you getting bitten, but should not be the used on their own.
Rule Two : Take anti-malaria tablets if you are in a malaria area
It should be noted that no malaria prophylactic is 100% effective, as the malaria parasites become resistant to the various drugs. It's vital that you speak to your doctor or travel clinic to advise you on the best prophylactic for you. Travellers should remember to take the tablets regularly and continue to take the prescribed dosage of tablets even after they have left the malaria area.
Chloroquine, Proguanil and Maloprim: Malaria in certain parts of Africa (north of South Africa) have become Chloroquine resistant and therefore these drugs are decreasing in their popularity and fewer people are taking them.
Mefloquine (Larium): For many years Larium has taken a bit of beating. It is a very effective malaria prophylactic but it needs to be carefully dispensed as patients with a history of psychiatric disturbances can get unpleasant side effects.
Malarone: With virtually no side effects and a simple daily dose, this prophylactic is becoming an increasingly popular choice for travellers. In addition, Malarone has now been launched in the UK in a children's formulation and is the first ever malaria tablet designed just for kids. It is also licensed in the USA, Denmark and is becoming increasingly available in Europe. The children’s version is a chewable once daily dosage that only needs to be started one day before travel commences.
This is the Prophylactic that we recommend but we urge you check your personal suitability with your doctor prior to travel.
Doxycycline: This is an antibiotic and for many people it provides a perfectly good alternative to taking the traditional anti malaria tablets. However, Doxycycline can make you particularly sensitive to sun, and the effects of antibiotics on contraception tablets are well documented. Be warned … travellers may return from their holiday with more than a sun tan!
Garlic, Vitamin B, Chilli: These are all old wives tails and should definitely not be used as prevention against malaria!
Rule 3: Look out for symptoms and complete your course of prophylactics
If on your return or during the remainder of your trip, you experience any flu like symptoms (nausea and vomiting, chills, fever, sweating, headache or muscle pain) you should have a malaria test just to be safe. Malaria responds well to early treatment. Remember to complete your prophylactic course — even after leaving a malaria area.