AFRICA FOR FAMILIES
Safaris for the whole gang
Family-friendly safaris in Africa
A family holiday is always special, but a family safari holiday in the African bush takes things to a whole new level.
There is nothing that can compare to the joy of Introducing your kids to the natural wonders of this incredible continent, or the thrill of seeing their faces when they spot their favourite wild animal for the first time. It’s a magical experience you’ll never forget.
Whether you’re travelling with little ones, teenagers, or as part of a large multi-generational family group, you can expect epic wildlife viewing, safe and educational adventures, and unique experiences every step of the way. After all, where else on the planet can you listen to a pride of lions roaring at night, ride a canoe past a hippo or smile at baby warthogs? An African safari truly is the ultimate family holiday if you’re seeking action-packed adventures and amazing memories.
Want to go on a safari holiday in Africa with very young children?
Travelling with tots always requires special considerations, but in Africa the main one is that you go to a malaria-free destination. Until your kids are old enough to take malaria medication (generally around the age of five), this means going to South Africa, where a number of fantastic malaria-free holiday reserves offer Big Five safaris for the whole family, including Madikwe Game Reserve in the North West Province, the Kalahari and an array of reserves in the Eastern Cape. A family safari with young children will include special game drives tailored especially to them – because most children know about Africa thanks to movies like The Lion King and Madagascar, you can expect lots of references to Pumbaa, Timon and King Julien the lemur!
But there will also be loads of fun non-safari activities to keep them entertained – things like tracking, storytelling sessions around the campfire and arts and crafts sessions. There will also be lots of people offering professional supervision, so grownups can head off on their own game drives to spot the Big Five, enjoy a couples’ massage… or maybe just have a nap! Best of all, holidays to these reserves don’t require any medication – before, during or after your stay – and you can combine a safari holiday with a trip to stunning Cape Town and the scenic Garden Route, or perhaps a beach destination such as Zanzibar, Mozambique or even Mauritius.
Want some fantastic bonding experiences with your teen(s) while you’re on holiday?
The first bit of good news is this: When you’re on a game drive in Africa, they won’t get phone service(!). The second bit of good news is that Africa is packed with opportunities for once-in-a-lifetime experiences that teenagers will love.
They will be in seventh heaven if you take them on safari to see the Big Five or the Great Wildebeest Migration; on a canoe safari down the Zambezi River; or a walking safari in Zambia. Or maybe quad biking or hot-air ballooning in Namibia (or sand boarding down its massive dunes); or trekking in the pristine rainforests of Uganda, Rwanda or the DRC to see the endangered mountain gorillas.
There’s also boating, fly camping, horse-back safaris, camel trekking and, of course, visiting Africa’s answer to Queenstown: Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, where white-water rafting, bridge swings and bungee jumping will really get their (and yours!) adrenalin pumping.
If you’re looking for a holiday that will inspire and delight your teenage kids, one that combines big game with big adventures and epic activities will definitely put you in the good books.
And when you realise this might be one of the last opportunities you have to go on a holiday as a family, Africa seems like the perfect choice for a trip that will bring you together, reinforce your family ties and let you share incredible, exciting experiences together.
The whole of the continent opens up for families travelling with children in this age group. This is a golden age – kids who are not tots but not yet teens, generally between the ages of about five and 12. They have a real appetite for learning and the incredible guides they’ll encounter on safari will truly engage them and stoke their inquisitive minds.
Trust us: they will be captivated. You never know: learning about Africa’s wildlife and the vital importance of conservation might set them on a lifelong path. Some of our favourite destinations for families with children in this age bracket include South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania, which offer the perfect balance of big game and great lodges. In South Africa the world-famous Kruger National Park awaits, while in Kenya there’s amazing big-game viewing in the Maasai Mara. Tanzania, meanwhile, boasts incredible big game in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro region.
In all of these places your children will also be able to interact with local cultures. Visiting several camps on your holiday is a great idea, to give them a taste of different camps, lodges and activities. There will be plenty of things at the camp or lodge to keep them entertained with non-safari activities while you explore the bushveld, as well as special game drives tailored just for them. Plus, of course, there will be plenty of activities that you can all enjoy as a family, from swimming in the pool at your camp as elephants wander by in the distance, to enjoying a braai (barbecue) and listening to age-old folk tales from the African culture around the campfire. With every moment you’ll be creating special memories that your entire family will treasure for a lifetime.
Taking your family – whatever their ages – on a safari holiday in Africa is, for most people, a dearly held dream. It’s a chance to share with them the wonders of the natural world, and share unique adventures that you’ll treasure always. But let’s be honest: if you can schedule in some time without the little ones on your once-in-a-lifetime getaway, you’re going to!
The family holiday destinations we recommend in Africa let you do exactly this. By organising things just for the grownups – and providing professional, friendly and fun supervision for your kids while you’re sharing private moments – these properties will let you enjoy some well-deserved “time out”.
Whether it’s leaving the kids at camp as you take off on a game drive; sharing a glass of wine or private meal, just the two of you; or indulging in a couples’ massage, there will be just as much for you to do as the kids – and the time to do it. After all, it’s your holiday too!