Are Malaria Tablets Needed for Kruger National Park?


16 Dec 2023

Kruger National Park is a breathtaking destination – filled with wildlife and natural wonders. 

However, the question of whether you need malaria tablets is vital for a safe and enjoyable trip.

Do Doctors Recommend Malaria Tablets for Kruger National Park?

Yes – a prescription is typically recommended for travel in this area. 

You can get an online prescription for malaria tablets here if you want them shipped to your door, before you depart (typically a more affordable choice than primary care & travel clinics).

What is the Malaria Risk in this area?

Kruger National Park, located in a malaria-prone region, poses a moderate-to-high risk of contracting malaria (according to the official Kruger Park website).

Mosquitoes in these areas often carry the malaria parasite, and travelers should take necessary precautions.

What About a Vaccine?

Unlike many other travel related ailments, there is no malaria vaccine available for USA residents traveling to Africa. 

Medical experts recommend preventive antimalarial tablets as the primary defense against malaria in such regions.

Choosing the Right Malaria Tablets

When it comes to malaria tablets, doctors put strong emphasis on efficacy and side effects. Here’s a closer look at some popular options:

1) Malarone (Atovaquone/Proguanil)

Malarone is often considered the #1 preferred option for travelers – due to its proven effectiveness and relatively low side effects. 

  • The generic version, Atovaquone/Proguanil, mirrors Malarone’s efficacy but at a more affordable cost.
  • However, prices for Malarone can unpredictably surge when obtained through standard travel clinics or primary care. 
  • Fortunately, telehealth services now offer reduced prices, making it a popular choice among travelers.

Consulting with a licensed physician is crucial for determining the most suitable malaria tablets for your travel requirements. 

While Malarone is often preferred, your healthcare provider will tailor their recommendation based on factors like your destination, travel plans, and health history.

Cost for Malarone

2) Doxycycline

Doxycycline is another viable option for malaria prevention, but it comes with some considerations. 

  • Potential side effects include sun sensitivity, disorientation, and nausea. 
  • Travelers using Doxycycline may need to continue treatment for 30 days after returning home, unlike Malarone which is only 7 days.
  • Due to these drawbacks, many doctors are cautious about prescribing Doxycycline, especially for travelers. 

There are some cases where Doxycycline is recommended, but many doctors prefer Malarone. Ultimately, a doctor will help prescribe you during a consultation.

3) Lariam (Mefloquine)

Lariam, with a less frequent dosing schedule, provides an alternative when other options aren’t available. 

However, like Doxycycline, potential side effects should be carefully considered. Lariam may also be less effective in geographical areas with Mefloquine-resistant strains of malaria.

How to Get an Antimalarial Prescription for Kruger National Park

The traditional way involves using primary care or a travel clinic.

However, a few issues:

  1. Appointment delays are 24 days on average
  2. Total costs can exceed $200 for Malarone
  3. It requires multiple in-person trips
  4. Pharmacy stockouts may occur, resulting in a last-minute scramble 

Instead, many travelers prefer online consultations + prescription delivery to their doorstep.

Telehealth services like Runway Health provide fast & easy online consultations, and deliver prescriptions to your home within 3-5 days. It’s a quick and straightforward way to get a prescription – without needing in-person care or a regular pharmacy.

  • Affordable Pricing: The cost is well below $200 – helping travelers budget and save for their trip.
  • Easy Consultations: Submitting an online questionnaire makes the process easier, focusing on convenience and being budget-friendly.
  • Cost Transparency: Unlike many healthcare providers, knowing the price upfront helps you avoid unexpected costs after a long consultation.
  • Prescription Delivery: Prescriptions come straight to your door, so you don’t have to rely on a local pharmacy that might run out of stock.

Start Consultation with Runway

More Tips to Avoid Malaria in Kruger National Park

Beyond antimalarial tablets, you should always:

1)  Cover Up – Wear long sleeves, pants, and closed shoes to minimize exposed skin, reducing the risk of mosquito bites. Opt for light and breathable fabrics to stay comfortable in the African heat.

2)  Repel with Care – The CDC recommends insect repellent on exposed skin to ward off mosquitoes. Choose a product with at least 20% DEET for optimal protection, especially during dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

3)  Stay in Air-Conditioned Rooms – When selecting lodging, prioritize establishments with air-conditioned rooms. Mosquitoes are less likely to enter air-conditioned spaces, providing a secure haven for a peaceful night’s sleep.

Final Thoughts

Considering the effectiveness and relatively lower side effects, Malarone often emerges as the preferred choice for travelers to Kruger National Park. 

While the cost may be a concern, exploring more affordable options through online telehealth providers can mitigate this issue.

When planning a visit to Kruger National Park, the use of preventive malaria tablets, particularly Malarone, is highly recommended to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

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