Bringing your children to Africa is truly a magical experience, guaranteed to capture their imagination and maybe spur a lifelong interest in nature conservation.
On a recent safari at a family-friendly game reserve in KwaZulu Natal, it was a joy to see how excited the children were to tick off as many animals and birds as possible in their books. Many kids asked if they could sit in the front seat next to the guide so that they could ask him questions about the animals.
Africa offers something different and something new. Apart from the obvious draw of seeing wild animals, there is also the kilometres and kilometres of wide open spaces, the different people to interact with, culture, languages, and rich histories. Many parents use an African holiday as an opportunity to educate their children about different cultures and upbringings.
Now, bringing your offspring on safari requires a bit of research. Not all safari lodges are child-friendly. Some have minimum age limits, particularly the unfenced camps. They also have differing maximum age limits for child rates. For example, some lodges offer 50% off to children under 12, others offer 50% off to children under 16. You also have to think about what type of room configuration you want. Do you want to share a room with your children, or would you prefer for them to have their own room? Maybe you are even planning to make this a multi generation family adventure and need to find the best set up for grandparents, parents and children. Many lodges require children under 12 to share a room with an adult, but teenagers are often allowed to have their own rooms.
We have put together a family-friendly safari specials page, where we have highlighted the best family-friendly safari lodges in southern and eastern Africa in order to make your life as easy as possible when starting to plan your safari adventure, by showing you what the minimum and maximum age limits are for children, as well how much of children’s discount is potentially on offer.
When planning a family safari, the best way is to contact us to tell us about the size of your family, the ages of your children and what room configuration you are looking for. All of this will affect the price and we can use our expertise to find the best special and the best fit. There are a few lodges which offer children’s programmes as well, where children will be looked after by child-minders and have the chance to learn some new bush tricks and skills and become junior rangers. If you want to find out more about those then have a look at the examples of Young Explorer’s Camp in the Okavango Delta, as well as Kambaku Safari Lodge in the Greater Kruger Park.
The typical safari activities however are not the only activities available in Africa to enchant your children. They can also see the penguins in Cape Town, go quad biking in the Makgadikgadi Pans in Botswana, interact with meerkats on the Garden Route and go ziplining in Victoria Falls. All children love the beach and Africa has some beautiful warm beach destinations, for an add on stay, such as Zanzibar, Seychelles and Mauritius, where children can go snorkeling and kayaking, as well as sailing on a traditional Dhow. A few nights on safari combined with a few nights on a tropical island promises to be a memorable family holiday.
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Photographer, conservationist, dive and field guide, teller of bad jokes.