Malaria is a disease caused by infection with Plasmodium parasites that are transmitted by mosquito bite. Five different species of Plasmodium infect humans with severe disease, but human malaria is primarily caused by Plasmodium falciparum. The burden of malaria on the developing world is enormous, and a fully protective vaccine is still elusive. One of the biggest challenges in the quest for the development of new antimalarial drugs and vaccines is the lack of accessible animal models to study P. falciparum infection because the parasite is restricted to the great apes and human hosts. Here, we review the current state of research in this field and provide an outlook of the development of humanized small animal models to study P. falciparum infection that will accelerate fundamental research into human parasite biology and could accelerate drug and vaccine design in the future.