Malaria Risk in South Africa

In search of a country boasting spectacular natural beauty and breath-taking wildlife? Then South Africa is calling your name. South Africa needs to be experienced first-hand to be believed with its miles of stunning beaches, long, luscious vineyards and game reserves home to majestic lions, elephants and rhinos.

The South African climate is a temperate one which varies throughout the year, ranging from a typical Mediterranean weather in some areas, to dry, desert weather in others.

It’s important to be aware of the malaria risk in any country you’re travelling to, including South Africa, so the following information will give guidance on how to help protect against malaria.

The ABCD Approach

The prevention of malaria involves 4 key steps termed ABCD which need to be considered before travelling to any country where malaria could be present.

ABCD stands for:

Awareness – awareness of whether you’re at risk of getting malaria

Bite prevention – this involves following the advice listed below to avoid mosquito bites

Chemoprophylaxis – in some area, travellers are advised to take anti-malaria tablets to help prevent contracting malaria

Diagnosis –seek medical attention immediately if you have any concerns about potential symptoms, including up to a year after returning from travelling

Awareness of the Malaria risk in South Africa

It’s important to be aware of the risk of malaria in South Africa before travelling there which can vary dependent on whereabouts in South Africa you’re travelling to and the time of year. Make sure to check the Fit for Travel website here for the most up to date information on the malaria risk in South Africa before you travel.

Bite Prevention Advice

To help protect against mosquito bites in any country, including South Africa, you should:

  • Wear clothing that is long and loose to cover your arms and legs to prevent them from being accessible to mosquitoes
  • Hang mosquito nets around your bed and the door to your accommodation
  • Use an insect repellent of at least 20% DEET based concentration and reapply as often as recommended (if you’re looking for a DEET-free product, a bottle of Malaway insect repellent is currently free with any purchase of Maloff Protect, while stocks last)
  • Switch on air conditioning and fans, and use screens to keep your room cool which is less attractive to mosquitoes

Preventing Malaria with Chemoprophylaxis

Anti-malarial tablets can also help to provide extra protection against malaria, but they are not suitable for everyone. Find out if they are required ahead of a trip to South Africa by undergoing a full travel health consultation or speaking to your local pharmacist.

Symptoms of Malaria and Diagnosis

You will need to know what symptoms to look out for so you can access advice and treatment as quickly as possible if you are concerned you may have malaria.

As per the NHS website, symptoms of malaria include:

  • A high temperature of 38°C or above
  • Feeling hot and shivery
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle pains
  • Diarrhoea
  • Generally feeling unwell

You should seek medical advice immediately if you develop malaria symptoms. These can occur during or up to 12 months after visiting a country which has malaria.

If your GP or pharmacist has recommended anti-malarial tablets to protect you against malaria during a trip to South Africa, find out if an over the counter solution such as Maloff Protect (atovaquone and proguanil) is the right option for you here.