Africa with kids holiday ideas and tips

posted 17th April 2019 by Danica Wilson in Travel advice

Looking for Africa holiday ideas and tips?

We love planning family safaris including our own so we wanted to share some Africa with kids holiday ideas. Africa is impactful for children as a holiday destination, we know first hand. Children who engage with the wildlife, immerse themselves in a wilderness and experience new and dynamic cultures first hand undoubtedly grow and learn in a way that’s impossible through iPads and iPhones, books and movies.

There is something for families with children of all ages in Africa, from babies to pubescent teens and adults!  Regardless of age, experiencing your very first game drive whilst on safari in Africa is truly magical. One never forgets the beauty of the light, the wildlife sounds that buzz all around, the smell of the earth and bush and getting close to some of the world’s most stunning creatures.

So we share some more of our favourite family safari properties with you here that are in Southern Africa.

Babies and toddlers on safari

If you have a baby or toddler in the family don’t worry, you can still go on safari.

Madikwe Safari Lodge, Madikwe (Malaria free) South Africa

This is one of our favourites for families with babies and toddlers in particular. Reason being is the property is set in a malaria free region of South Africa, easy to get to by light aircraft (scheduled flights or private charter) or road transfer (keep in mind it’s a decent 4 – 6 hours depending which side of the reserve you’re staying)

Madikwe has an entire lodge called Lelapa that is dedicated to families and the suites are massive with space for a cot or single bed. Parents can enjoy game drives whilst qualified and lovely babysitters (camp staff who have children themselves) look after your little ones. Whilst they sleep, the babies are in your room and when awake, the staff often walk up to the main area with them to play and crawl around if they are on the move already.

Staff are brilliant in preparing what you need when it comes to milk or baby food, so we just give them a heads up in advance that you are travelling with little ones. Meals can be served in your room if you want a night in rather than dining up at the main area. Lunches too are great in your room if you want time with baby.

There is ample space with a sitting area indoors, a plunge pool with outdoor furniture, outdoor shower and massive glass panels with views of the bush from the bedroom and bathroom to marvel at. The main lodge embraces children and babies, so don’t feel you can’t mingle with other guests and have your little ones with you. Tears and tantrums are human nature and here, it is never an issue because the lodge is designed for families.

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If you have a few children with you who are slightly older, there is the fantastic children’s educational centre where activities abound with colouring in, beanbags, movies on animals, skulls and bones and all sorts.

Guides are trained to work with children and they head out on ‘bumbles’ through the bush for mini safari experiences – shorter than what adults experience just due to attention spans.

You can always book a private guide and vehicle so little ones go too! We did and were rewarded for it.

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Danica at Madikwe Safari Lodge with baby Aidan

Babies and toddlers in large families

Travelling with toddlers is commonplace in Africa because options are endless! Equally, we have more and more multi-generational families wanting the holiday of a lifetime. We have just the thing if your youngest is still a toddler…

Kwandwe Melton Manor, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Located in South Africa’s Eastern Cape, this sensational property has a number of accommodation options to choose from depending on your preference – from exclusive use to a family friendly lodge. Easy to get to (fly into Port Elizabeth and road transfer up or light aircraft transfer) and malaria free, your experience is totally effortless other than keeping kids entertained whilst transiting. Once at Kwandwe, all of your worries are washed away as you receive a warm welcome smile, cool drink and cloth to freshen up. Sign in, and then you’re off game driving to camp.

 

Melton Manor is the exclusive use property that we adore because it’s just like being at home. There are four ensuite bedrooms designed around a central courtyard and lovely pool – note it’s not fenced so you cannot take your eyes off the kids.

Stay here and you get a private safari vehicle, guide and tracker so the safari times are not dictated by others… it suits you and the family. You also get your own chef to prepare your meals and a butler to service your needs. Babysitter can be provided with advance notice. This is the ultimate family safari in a frontier farmhouse style property that oozes charm, warmth and character.

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The in-betweens

[5 – 12]

This is the most popular age for going on safari if you’re after those big rewards like life changing experiences and life time memories.

Flatdogs ‘Jackalberry Treehouse’, South Luangwa Zambia

One of our all time favourite family experiences, this property is for those with children old enough to be brave and sleep in a platform up in the trees and sit still long enough for a few hours of game driving.  Owner run, the service is personal and friendly, guides are brilliant with kids and accommodation is in chalet style rooms, tented camps or the Jackalberry Treehouse, our all time favourite. It has two bedrooms either side of a main lodge area and dining table where your family are served private meals! The tree you are in is food for elephants so you get wildlife wandering right by and eating from ‘your tree’. We recommend from 8+ if it’s your only child or 5 + if you’ve got two kids.

Royal Chundu

Zambia’s first Relais & Chateaux property, Royal Chundu on the Zambezi River boasts two lodges, River Lodge and Island Lodge. Both are child friendly, we prefer River Lodge and its Children’s Club because it offers things like treasure hunts, frogging safari, butterfly and insect capture and release, fishing tag and release, cosmic safari, birding, cooking lessons and more!

There are child minders onsite if your kids are tired or under the age of 2.

 

Teens who like to trek and ride

If your teenagers love to trek, walk, camel or horseride, Africa is ideal. Horseriding for teenagers of all riding abilities abound in South Africa, Botswana and up in the Masai Mara to name three of many!

Kenya family safari at Sabuk

For trekkers, why not climb Mount Meru together if Kilimanjaro is too much? Or trek to see gorillas or chimpanzees? And there are great walking safaris and mobile camping safaris where you get private guides, great tents, home cooked meals on open fires and nights out under the stars.

Grestoke Mahale, Tanzania, Primate Safari

This is a stunning luxury lodge on the edge of Lake Tanganyika and behind it is the rainforest and mountains where chimpanzees reside. Arrive by boat, enjoy fully inclusive stay and great activities like boating, fishing plus the highlight, chimpanzee trekking.

Young Explorers Footsteps, Okavango Delta & Linyanti, Botswana Safari

This fantastic package is designed to offer families the chance to discover the wonders of Botswana’s true wilderness and wildlife. There are two different camp locations, the Okavango Delta and Linyanti.  Both are offered as exclusive use with just six guests in three specifically designed twin bedded tents complete with sewn in floors and ensuite bathrooms.  One tent can sleep three if you need a younger one with you. Activities are planned with the entire family in mind. Parents enjoy peace and quiet whilst the guides entertain kids with a myriad of activities to suit all ages like hunting, tracking, dung throwing and more! (yes dung throwing is always a hit). We recommend 8+

For riders, there are loads to choose from.

Desert Homestead Outpost, Sossusvlei Namibia Safari

Namibia’s highlight is surely its massive desert! So why not stay at this place and we will get you the family apartment. It sleeps 4 with bedrooms, bathroom, shaded sun deck boasting excellent panoramic views of endless grasslands and the distant mountains. Desert adventures abound with walking, game drives and of course horse riding.


Ants Nest, Waterberg, South Africa

Welcome to Ant’s family home that is now a stunning safari property. It has been in the family since the 1800’s and the landscape is truly spectacular. Ant has established two safari lodges called Ants Nest and Ants Hill in the malaria free Waterberg region of South Africa’s Limpopo (kids love saying Limpopo).

Here, families are hugely rewarded for their stay because it’s like being at a relative’s house and all the facilities are exceptional – pools, games areas, wonderful rooms made of stone and thatch and views to admire from every angle. Activities are equally rewarding with horse riding, walking, game drives and a very special rhino conservation interaction.  The reseve does not have the dangerous predators like lion and there are no elephant here for safety reasons.  They do have giraffe, rhino, buffalo, zebra and many more to keep the family engaged.  Guides are awesome with kids and make it a truly memorable experience.

Africa with kids holiday ideas and tips

Travelling with children in Africa is a rewarding holiday that’s for sure and there are some tips to get you thinking more.

 

Watson Childer, Big 5 Safari Southern Africa

1. Not every country has a great range of family friendly properties for all ages of children. It is important to know this up front because it may influence your decision on where to go

2. Some parts of Southern Africa and East Africa are prone to tropical diseases and is malarial (not all). This means children may need to take malaria tablets and potentially get vaccinations before departure

3. Some properties don’t take children under 12

4. Some properties don’t allow children on game drives unless they are 5+ or you hire a private guide and vehicle at an additional fee

5. Some safari activities are not suitable for younger children. For instance, gorilla and chimpanzee trekking (16+), walking and canoeing (varies per property, usually 15 or 16 +)

6. Babysitting and nanny services are often available. Some safari properties have play areas, kids clubs, junior ranger programs and kids menus

7. Room allocation is important. In safari camps, children are not able to sleep in a room on their own due to safety. So that often means parents have to take a few children each if a family room / unit is not available

Ready to start planning your African safari with kids?

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