​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 Botswana & Namibia guide.

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

Anthony is the author of the Botswana & Namibia Lonely Planet guide.


In our opinion, Botswana is a very safe destination. So is Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, especially for people on an organized safari.

Botswana is a popular self-drive destination. Independent exploration of the park is only recommended for people with some 4x4 bush driving experience.

For up-to-date information about traveling in Makgadikgadi Pans and Botswana in general, please check the travel advisories (see the ‘Safety & Security – Botswana’ link below).

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 is worst in the rainy season.

Wildlife Viewing

Wildlife viewing is generally very safe. As long as you follow the park’s rules, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

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.

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