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Family & Kids Safari Holidays in Africa
- Family Safari
- Young Children
- Older Children & Teenagers
- Other Considerations
- Family Safari Destinations
Travelling and a holiday as a family, with children on safari in Africa, does have it's unique challenges, that does not however mean that you should not go on safari just because you have kids, far from it, I think the educational benefits of going on safari for a child make family safaris well worth the extra effort that you have to put in for them. As you will see, there are plenty of family friendly safari holiday destinations out there, you just need to look a little harder. Another option is to go on a safari holiday that is specifically designed for children and families. There even fully inclusive safari holidays that are specifically for families > More information on these holidays.
If you have very young children, say under four years old, it is not advisable to take them on a safari game drive and in fact many safari lodges will not allow it. This is because there will be times when it is necessary to be quiet and you know better than me how hard that can be with a young child. This does not mean that you can not go on your safari holiday, there are safari lodges that offer child minding services, allowing you to go on game drive whilst your child enjoys some supervised activities back at the lodge.
Shamwari Game Reserve in South Africa is an excellent example of this, they actively encourage families to visit their lodges on the reserve and offer (at an additional cost) child minding services.
When you first arrive at Shamwari, the children’s co-ordinator goes over the safari options with you, taking into account, your family size and the ages of your children. Each child also receives a gift pack which includes a cuddly toy, activity workbook and other surprises.
Older children and teenagers will be allowed to go on game drives, just check with your lodge first before being disappointed on arrival.
I have taken many children out on safari and for the most part, it has been an excellent experience, but it will depend on the child. Some game drives can be long, often lasting over 3 hours and whilst for most people that time will just fly by, for some children this can be a little long.
If you are worried about this or anything else, don't be afraid to speak to the lodge. I know on the lodgews where I have worked, we have usually tried our best to accommodate families buy going on a shorter drive. After all, the children are the future of nature conservation and hopefully a enjoyable experience in the bush will inspire them into enjoying nature for the rest of their lives.
There are some lodges that go one step further and offer children's safaris, for kids only! These tend to focus on the smaller less dangerous animals out there and aim to give the children a fun educational experience. After the safari children's safaris will return back to the lodge for the "Kids Club" where they go over the animals, birds and plants that they may have seen out in the bush. During all this time, you will be out on the regular safari game drive.
Again I will use Shamwari Game reserve as an example, they take children to visit the Shamwari Wildlife Hospital to see animals that are being cared for at the time, with the aim of being released back into the wild, which alows them to get right up close to many of the animals.
A general day at a safari lodge goes a little like this: You will probably wake up just before dawn to go out on the early morning game drive, returning for breakfast. After breakfast you return to your lodge clean up and to spend the morning relaxing, until lunch time. After lunch the time is again often spent relaxing, until the afternoon game drive, which usually lasts until just after sunset, where you return to your lodge and get ready for dinner. So as you can see there is plenty of relaxing and eating! The children that I know find it difficult to relax, even for 5 minutes, so it is important to make sure that there is plenty for your child to do at the lodge you are visiting.
Swimming pool at the lodge?
It will not be safe, especially lodges in the Big 5 Safari areas, for you or your children to just go walking around. But what many, if not most lodges have is a swimming pool, kids love swimming pools and it has been my experience that this keeps most of them entertained for most of the day.
Television at the lodge?
Now I almost shudder when I hear that a safari lodge has a television, but where kids are involved, it can be a source of entertainment, especially in the evenings when you may want to enjoy a drink or two after dinner.
What about Malaria?
With today's modern anti-malarial tablets, as long as you take them, you don't really need to worry about malaria. But if it is your preference to go to a malaria free area, then places like the Shamwari Game Reserve and Madikwe Game reserve in South Africa perfect. Not only are they in Malaria free areas, but have many options for a family safari.
Other than that check with your lodge what kinds of facilities that they have for children to keep them entertained.
South Africa is probably the easiest and most simple place to find family specific safaris in Africa, with many holiday specifically designed to meet the needs of both you and your kids.
I have listed a couple of my favourites below:
This three day family Safari in a Malaria Free BIG 5 reserve makes the ideal excursion as part of your longer stay in South Africa.
This safari takes place in Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa's North West Province, it is one of the largest national parks in the country and is located right next to the world famous Sun City.
Ideal for families as you are actively encouraged to bring your children to enjoy this affordable Big 5 Safari. Included is a spacious vehicle and chalets, safe environment with swimming pool, mini golf and kiddies playground.
Pilanesberg NP is a Big 5 reserve that supports healthy populations of Lion, Leopard, Black and White Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo and a wide variety of rare and common species like the nocturnal Brown Hyena, the fleet-footed Cheetah, the majestic Sable, Giraffe, Zebra, Hippo and Crocodile and other animals. Over 300 bird species have been recorded.
Approx. Cost at time of writing: £475 (USD $736)
Click Here for more details on this safari, to read the reviews and to book
View all available Family Safari Holidays in South Africa.
This South African safari is ideal for those families looking to get away from it all, have a once in a lifetime experience, but without having to share!
Located at Kruger National Park where the operator provides private family safari itineraries with no more than 8 people sharing on a full service basis.
Your guide, Neil is accompanied on safari by his hospitality chef, who takes care of the meals – from great cooked breakfasts, light lunches and fantastic dinners – all their cuisine is traditional South African and all this in an incredible outdoor setting.
The Safari includes private road transfer from Johannesburg Airport to Kruger and return.
All accommodation, conservation and entrance fees.
All private guiding and game drives in their private open-sided game viewing vehicle.
All meals and refreshments courtesy of your own private hospitality chef. Refreshments include: South African wine, beer, bottled water and fresh juice.
All safari activities as per itinerary (including two game drives a day and a night drive/bush braai activity).
Approx Cost at time of writing: £1094 (USD $1692)
Click Here for more details on this safari, to read all the reviews and to book
View all available Family Safari Holidays in South Africa.
Family Safaris in Kenya
There are a number of operators in Kenya that offer safaris specifically designed to meet the needs of families travelling together. even so before booking it is important that you let the safari operator know about your specific requirements and they are usually more than happy to work with you to esure that you get the most memorable family safari. Important information to provide should include number of children and their ages.
One of my favourite family safaris in Kenya is below:
Enjoy 10 fantastic Days with your family safari visiting the most popular wildlife reserves in Kenya.
The safari departs from Nairobi and takes you to Amboseli National Park, located about 250 km South of Nairobi and lying at the base of the incredible Mt. Kilimanjaro. Amboseli is famous for its big game as well as amazing scenic beauty as the entire landscape is dominated by Mt Kilimanjaro.
After Amboseli there is a day/night break in Nairobi so as to cut short the driving distances, before proceeding to Sweetwaters Game Reserve. While in Nairobi, you can enjoy "The Nairobi Safari Walk", which is quite an adventurous experience, as well as visit the Giraffe Centre, with a chance to feed these most graceful animals.
Sweetwaters Game Reserve is a private sanctuary near the foot of Mt. Kenya and contains a wide variety of wildlife. Among the highlights at the reserve include a visit to the Chimpanzee Sanctuary located within the reserve, which is the only one of its kind in Kenya, a visit to Morani the tame rhino, the Visitors Information Centre and the optional night game drive.
This Kenya safari then proceeds to the floor of the Rift Valley, to Lake Nakuru National Park, world famous for flamingos that carpet the lake. The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including the endangered black rhino.
Lake Naivasha is the next stop on this adventure, where the family will enjoy a boat ride on the lake and a guided walking safari at Crescent Island, one of the few places in the world where one can walk freely amidst wild animals as there are no predators.
Last but definitely not least is the visit to Maasai Mara, arguably Kenya's most popular game reserve. Here you will have the best opportunity of spotting the Big Five (lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino and elephant) as well as many other species.
Cost (at time of writing): £1925 (USD $2980)
Click Here for more details on this safari, to read all the reviews and to book.
View all available Family Safari Holidays in Kenya.
More Child Friendly Safaris
The Africa Guide offers a large amount of infant, teenage and family safaris:
Example Family Holidays from the Adventure Company:
Rift Valley Adventure Family Holiday in Tanzania
This Safari Holiday in Tanzania is specifically designed for the whole family, where you will get to explore the Great Rift Valley, the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater there is also an option to extend the holiday to Zanzibar where you can enjoy some of the best beaches in the world. The tour lasts for 10 days and costs from £1300 per adult and £1000 per child and is fully inclusive of all flights, transfers and accommodation)
Ngorongoro Crater is a place like no other for wildlife watching. If you are lucky, you can spot one of the rhinos resident in the park, or catch a glimpse of the elusive leopard.
Spending a full day traversing the grasslands of the Serengeti, you can see an amazing number of animals, including lions, elephants, buffalos, giraffes and cheetahs.
The turquoise waters of Lake Natron are home to huge numbers of flamingos, creating a spectacular sight. An optional scenic hike takes you up to a waterfall that you can swim under.
The lush greenery surrounding Lake Manyara makes for a very different wildlife experience. You might feel you have stepped into the Jungle Book as you watch monkeys play in trees and elephants make their way through the bushes.
For more information, current prices and to check what family adventures they currently have on offer, click on the banner below>>
For more ideas on family friendly safaris take a look at:
Take a look at the selection of safaris for families from all over Africa on our Safari Holiday Travel Center: click here
Below are also a few safari destinations that I have found that cater for children and that may help you in your search:
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The Safari Guide Travel Centre
Take a look and book some of the best Safaris for families from our Safari Holiday Travel Center: click here
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After your camera, a good pair of binoculars is crucial in getting the most out of your Safari Holiday. So what is a good pair of binoculars? Here is my binocular guide and recommendations >> Binocular Reviews
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