How to plan a family-friendly safari in Africa
If your holidays and family gatherings are stressful and often disappointing, maybe it's time to try something new. Family holidays tend to bring up elements of stress or conflict and the planning of travel is physically and emotionally exhausting. Is there such a thing as a stress-free multi-generational holiday? Taking your family on a family-friendly safari in Africa is actually one of the easiest and least stressful vacations you can plan, if done correctly.
Can you take kids on safari?
The answer is yes, you can. A Safari can be an incredibly fun and never to be forgotten family vacation. Your children will never forget seeing wild animals close up in their natural habitat, learning about nature and being exposed to completely different cultures. One of the most rewarding aspects of taking kids on safari is how it stimulates the innate empathy towards wildlife. Many camps and lodges have special activities for kids and there is so much more to a family-friendly safari in Africa than just game drives.The lodges that we recommend at Safari.com offer an exciting range of activities that can include bug collecting, fishing, bark rubbing, baking, and cooking. Guided nature walks will provide them with an opportunity to learn about animal tracks, birdlife, the traditional uses of plants, all of which keep children entertained for hours. There really isn't a dull moment on safari.Going on safari with kids also exposes them to meeting and interacting with other cultures at the safari lodges. Kids have the opportunity to interact with the staff and guides who are known to treat children like royalty. These guides will also entertain your children by teaching them useful phrases in African languages.
Is it safe to travel as a family to Africa for Safari?
Yes! We covered this topic extensively in our blog post on African travel safety. Thousands of Safari goers travel safely to Southern and East Africa each year, and leave Africa with lasting memories of not only the Safari, but of the genuine warmth and hospitality of African people.
Malaria-free destinations & precautions
Of course, we need to speak about malaria and malaria-free destinations. Although the risk of malaria varies from season to season many of Africa's prime safari and beach destinations do hold the risk of malaria. We always ensure that we take this into account when carefully selecting safari destinations for our guests traveling with young children.We also recommend that the correct prophylactic precautions are taken and that your family medical practitioner is consulted for the exact precautions to take before travelling to Africa. If you're travelling with very young children the main priority is to travel to areas that have no malaria. South Africa is without a doubt one of the best destinations for family-friendly Safari with a number of malaria-free holiday reserves, which can easily be combined with Cape Town and the Garden Route, or even beach destinations like Mauritius, which is Africa's most family-friendly island.Malaria-free destinations also include the Seychelles and South Africa's ever popular Sun City and the Garden Route. Malaria free parks like the country's Eastern Cape reserves, Madikwe Private Game Reserve and Pilanesberg National Park offer excellent Big Five game viewing which means you are not jeopardising your Safari experience just because you're going to a non-malaria area.
Going on Safari with children, explained by age group
Some might be surprised to discover that you can go on safari with kids under 6. You don’t have to wait until they’re “old enough” for your children to experience the magic of Africa. While most safari lodges have various age restrictions, many lodges we recommend allow young kids on game drives and advise that they will not stop near the ‘cats’ (lions, leopards, cheetahs) with such young kids in an open vehicle. Some reserves are designed in such a way that cater to guests travelling with young children and wish to take them along on game drives. For example, the lions will be in a separate enclose where children of a certain age will not be allowed.
An inside tip for travelling on safari with very little ones is, wherever possible, consider opting for your own Safari vehicle. This means you can determine exactly how long you stay at each sighting, how long you're out in the bush for, and for the freedom of your family to get really into the game drive in a way that a shared vehicle may not allow.If you're travelling with children between 7 and 12 years old, Africa is a really exciting destination. Most kids will have already seen the Lion King in a movie theatre or a broadway production or perhaps even a trip to Disneyland. On Safari the wild of Africa come to life. This age group will love the excitement of nature walks, picnics in the bush and learning basic tracking skills. We would recommend a safari holiday to either South Africa or Kenya when travelling with kids of this age. Safari lodges in both non-malaria and malarial areas are well set up for children offering excellent children's programmes that occupy the middle of the day during game drives.On a typical safari, your game drives tend to be early in the morning and late in the afternoon, and the gap in between can be spent lounging together by the pool or making use of the exciting activities and excursions on offer. Kenya is considered as an extremely good destination for family Safari holidays.
When travelling with children between 13 and 20 years old, the whole of Africa opens up for families. One of our favourite destinations for families with older children is Tanzania, especially the north of the country with the Serengeti and the Ngorogoro region, here you will have a perfect balance of big game viewing, and great lodges as well as experiencing authentic Africa. Your trip to Tanzania can also include a cultural element, as the Masaai tribe lives throughout the region. The beaches of Zanzibar is also a superb place to finish your family vacation to Africa giving you the perfect Safari & Beach holiday experience. Zimbabwe and Botswana are two other great destinations that should be considered when travelling with older children.At Safari.com we understand the importance of creating an itinerary that suits the entire family. Whether you're travelling with teenagers or as part of a large multi-generational group with parents, grandparents and kids of all ages, we design tailor-made trips to suit your exact needs and budget. When booking with us the most challenging part of your trip will be choosing where to go. You will have one point of contact, an Africa Safari expert, who will take care of every single element of your booking and cater to your individual needs. Including dietary requirements for Aunt Beth's gluten intolerance or finding lodges that can accommodate Grandad in his wheelchair or offers walking safaris for your keen tweenager. We have seen it all and we take care of it all.