How young is too young for a safari?

posted 23rd April 2019 by Danica Wilson in Travel advice

Are you curious

about how old your kids need to be for the ultimate holiday to Africa?

Every family we work with has asked the question for good reason – we want our children safe and having fun.  The great news is there really is no limit.  Our own children, now aged six and three, have been holidaying in Africa their whole lives – after all, it’s been 10 years since we launched Encompass Africa and we’ve taken them once a year at a minimum since birth. 

There are things to keep in mind when considering a family holiday. Let’s investigate them here shall we?


Do you want your children to clearly ‘remember’ their African safari?

Psychologically speaking, according to research we have read over the years, memories of holidays are retained – on average – from the age of four. But knowing that some children can remember things from a much earlier age, we opted to take our children to Africa from day one (well, almost!). Kids that go to Africa at a very young age also tend to become more socially aware and empathetic to people who are less fortunate than they are. We have certainly seen this in our children.


Age limits apply in places where wildlife roam freely and activities involve getting up close to animals. 

There is no hard-and-fast rule though so we literally look at each property to find the best fit with your family. It’s important to understand that they implement age limitations based on their property set-up, staffing to guest ratio, safari activities, wilderness location and the resident wildlife. The top priority for every property is keeping you and the children safe whilst guaranteeing an extraordinary experience. 

Read the blog on our top family properties in Africa for 2019.


Kids are not always guaranteed the right to join you on activities. 

Some properties don’t allow children on the shared safari activities at all if they are really young because it is not fair on other guests. So you need to factor in the costs to hire a private vehicle and guide. We work through the myriad of options so it doesn’t get overwhelming.

If you want to gorilla trek, chimpanzee trek, go on a walking safari or mokoro (dugout canoe) the age restriction is generally 16 and over due to safety reasons.  Some walks are available in areas that aren’t home to large predators. Plus there’s a number of cultural walks children can do with local San people in Botswana, Himba in Namibia and Maasai in East Africa.  They’re fun, educational and interactive, encouraging children to enjoy their time in the bush and even letting them meet and play with little ones from the local village. So be sure to check with your specialist about any age restrictions relating to the activities you’re most looking forward to.  


We’re obviously biased, but in our humble opinion any list of the best international holiday destinations for kids should include Africa. And it shouldn’t just be on the list – thanks to the huge personal rewards and big life lessons it offers, Africa should be right at the top!

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