Africa safaris are the things of bucket-list dreams and are beautiful experiences to share with your children. Our extremely diverse continent and its landscape is an enormous outdoor classroom that provides opportunities for unique developmental, cultural and educational benefits as well as the opportunity to gain a true appreciation for the value of wildlife and the environment up close that you and your children will savour for a lifetime.
An incredible, fun-filled & never-to-be-forgotten experience awaits you and your children in Africa and we have the expert knowledge and understanding to ensure that you and your children’s expectations of Africa are met and exceeded. The experience and safari will vary by destination, the activities you want to pursue, as well as the nature and desires of every family member but there are a few general recommendations we can make for an unforgettable family-friendly safari.
First off, it is important to know that most lodges have a minimum age requirement and this may influence your plans – this is typically between 8 and 12 and even in some cases 16. Most of the lodges that do allow children younger than this won’t allow them on game drives, both for safety and disruption reasons, unless you book a private game vehicle. And we don’t want the little ones to be left out, so it’s important to know which lodges cater specifically for your children’s ages.
From Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge in the enchanting Sabi Sands Game Reserve in South Africa to Sanctuary Chief’s Camp in the labyrinth that is the Okavango Delta in Botswana, we know who would love to have you and your kids stay with them.
Tuningi Safari Lodge in the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve has its very own kids’ programme that will keep the kids entertained and engaged throughout your trip. From bumble drives to the reserves wateringholes to treasure hunts, Tuningi Safari Lodge tailors games and activities to suit you and your Cubs.
If the Okavango Delta is on your bucket list and your children are aged 6 and above, Sanctuary Chief’s Camp would love to have your little ones visit their children’s retreat which includes a PlayStation, fancy dress, foosball table and the chance to interact with real plant and insect specimens.
Further up north in Tanzania, &Beyond’s unrivalled Ngorongoro Crater Lodge can’t wait to have your kids visit this phenomenal wildlife destination. &Beyond’s WILDchild programme is designed especially for your children, making use of fun-filled, interactive activities that offer opportunities to learn and discover new experiences and cultures. Your tiny tots (under 3) will receive an African-themed soft toy – no detail is left untouched here.
It’s essential to be able to mix up activities and keep the kids guessing, we know that kids and patience don’t necessarily go hand in hand, as game drives can become tedious for them. So, it’s important to know where shorter, kid-centric game drives take place, where they can partake in archery, craft-making and hiking or where they can learn animal tracking techniques among many others; whilst you attend game drives or bring your inner child out and join your young ones.
The fear of contracting malaria on safari should definitely not stop you and from visiting our beautiful continent, however, if you would like to avoid the risk entirely there are excellent malaria-free game reserves in South Africa. Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, located just 3 hours from Cape Town, with its strong focus on conservation is one of our favorites. The Gondwana Family Lodge, resembling a typical thatched Karoo homestead, is absolutely perfect for your family. Their ‘kids on safari’ program includes exciting activities, interactive welcome packs and childminding services on request. The most enticing thing is that they are extremely flexible and will go out of their way to make sure you and your family are happy and well looked after.
Recall the last outing you had with your kids? You probably took everything you may have needed and even more of what you didn’t. You don’t want to be lugging around a lot of extra weight on a family safari so a little planning can go a long way. Furthermore, if we’ll be booking your chartered flights between destinations, there are luggage restrictions. Generally, this is a 20kg weight limit per person in a soft bag.
The reality of a safari is that you may spend time waiting, with little activity, to spot animals. Whilst many of us could stare over the savannahs, oceans, deserts, plains, lakes or forests into the distance pondering the meaning of life for hours, children may not be quite as interested. The first thing to do is to try to manage their expectations and, after this fails, bring out the colouring books, animal checklists, animal and bird books or even an iPod. This should keep them absorbed whilst you keep your eyes on a watering-hole or the treetops for an elusive leopard.
Get in touch with our expert consultants to discuss African family travel.