During the rainy months near the Kruger National Park (October - April) there is an increased risk of infection By the end of the rainy season (April), the risk of infection is very low! However, it is always recommended to take malaria prophylaxis when visiting the Kruger Park. During the day, there is no risk of being infected, the malaria mosquito is only active during the night in areas up to 600 meters above sea level.
Malaria is a tropical disease that is common in swampy areas in Africa. Responsible this tropical disease is the Anopheles mosquito.
The entire Kruger National Park is especially affected during the rainy season (summer in South Africa). It is projected that the malaria disease will spread further due to the impact of global warming. The World Health Organisation (WHO) indicates that about one million people are affecting by malaria. 90% of these are from Africa.
Types of the disease
There are several types of malaria. The most common including Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium malariae, Plasmodium ovale and Plasmodium falciparum.
Various mosquito species
There are many mosquito species in the Kruger Park. But not every mosquito contains the Plasmodium pathogen. Only the Anopheles mosquito is able to transmit the Plasmodium when a host is stung.
The probability of being stung by a Anopheles mosquitoes in the Kruger National Park is at 1 - 24,000. The risk is very low, but you should not play down the problem. 10% of all malaria cases are caused because tourists have not taken any precautionary measures!
Generally, you will notice that you are ill after 6 to 50 days of your infection. Similar to a severe flu, you develop a fever, sweating and feel very uncomfortable. If you visit a doctor in this phase of the disease, chances are good that you can handle the malaria infection well.
In April, when the rainy season ends, the malaria risk is particularly high. There are many waterholes and puddles on the roads. Here the mosquitoes lay their eggs and multiply exponentially.
The best protection
The Anopheles mosquito is active only during the night. Buy clothing that will hide your skin such as safari pants that can be closed around the ankle. Especially in the dark hours, you should wear socks, even if it is still warm. Also, wearing a hat in the evenings can help! Stay in confined spaces where there are usually many mosquito lamps as protection!
You should also check if you accommodation has an air coniditioning unit - The mosquitoes do not like cold. A mosquito net provide additional protection against the insects. You will also find shops in South Africa where you can buy insect repellent. These can be special bracelets, scented candles and so called "mosquito coils". Many camps are well equipped, but the electricity can be a problem. Depending on the type of accommodation, you will have no access to electricity and thus, not be able to use mosquito lamps or switch on the air conditioning.
Containment of malaria risk
Should you not be able to take medicine to prevent a malaria infection, then you will need to look for accommodation that is located 700 meters above sea level. The malaria mosquito is in the Kruger National Park only found at altitudes of up to 600 meters. For this purpose, a few villages offer accommodation where the malaria risk is non-existant. Disadvantage is that you will have of travel time 30 to 60 minutes to reach the Kruger Park!
Children under 5 years and pregnant women
There are two national parks in South Africa, where there is a large malaria risk: the Kruger National Park and Mapungubwe National Park. If you are travelling with small children, we advise that you visit game parks where there is no malaria risk. The Pilanesberg National Park in Johannesburg or the Addopark in Port Elizabeth on the Garden Route are located in a malaria-free areas. The same warning is directed at pregnant women!
Please seek advice from your doctor if you want to take a malaria prevention. Some medications must be taken 10 days before departure. Many drugs are not recommended for children of certain ages and not suitable for pregnant women! Throughout the years, the mosquitos have started to build up a resistence against the malaria medication. Thus, there is never a guarantee that you will not be infected.
The risk is very low when one deals with the issue in advance. By choosing the correct accommodation, you can minimize the chance of being infected as well.
If you would like more information, please contact us. We also provide accommodation in malaria-free areas.
We look forward to hearing from you,
Your Kruger Park Team
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