We report a case of tertian malaria in a 36-year-old Caucasian male complicated by spontaneous splenic rupture 2 months after returning from Kenya. The ruptured and enlarged spleen displaying multiple subcapsular hemorrhages was surgically resected. Histological examination revealed a marked enlargement of the red pulp and a reduced white pulp in addition to hyperemia of the spleen. Tertian malaria was diagnosed by peripheral blood smear and elevated antibody titer against Plasmodium vivax. The patient underwent antimalarial therapy with chloroquine and primaquine and the further course was uneventful. Etiopathology, differential diagnosis and therapy of this rare complication in malaria are discussed.