Malaria & Safety – Makgadikgadi Pans NP

Anthony Ham
By Anthony Ham

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guide to Botswana.

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of the Lonely Planet guide to Botswana.

Anthony is the author of the Lonely Planet guide to Botswana.


In our opinion, Makgadikgadi Pans and Botswana are very safe destinations. There are very few issues of serious crime, and even less that could affect tourists, especially those on an organized safari.

The safest way of getting around is flying around from lodge to lodge. Keep your valuables locked away as you would on vacation anywhere, but there’s no need for extra precautions.

Botswana is a popular self-drive destination. Makgadikgadi Pans NP is, however, very remote and exploration of the park is only recommended for people with a lot of 4x4 bush driving experience. Venturing outside the park is extremely risky and should only be done as part of a serious expedition with several vehicles. There are several campsites without facilities, so you need to be fully equipped.

Malaria & Vaccinations

Be sure that you receive the appropriate vaccinations before visiting Botswana. Though there are no major health concerns, Makgadikgadi Pans does lie in a high-risk malaria zone. It is advisable to take antimalarial medication. Safety measures to reduce the risk include using insect repellent (containing a minimum 30% DEET) and covering up in the evening. Malaria risk in the rainy season is particularly bad.

Wildlife Viewing

Visitors should always be extremely cautious around wild animals as they are unpredictable.

When on an organized safari, you should always listen to the instructions of your guide. When on a self-drive safari, it is essential to remain in your car, aside from designated areas where it’s safe to get out of the vehicle.

For more information, please read the 'wildlife viewing safety precautions' below.

Further advice on limiting dangers and annoyances when traveling:

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