Insider tips: How to enjoy an African safari with kids
I love nothing more than taking my children on safari. To me, going on safari and seeing my children in awe of the natural world is a magical experience. The time I spend with my loved ones in the bush is where we have the most fun and the best bonding experiences.
I’ve taken my children to our national parks and on safari since they were little. When they were toddlers it was more difficult for them to spend hours in the car without a break. Now they’re now five and eight years old, and much more able to sit patiently while also enjoying the challenge of spotting animals and learning about them.
While I frequently take my children to our national parks on a self drive safari, I don’t recommend this for first time visitors. You will gain much more from the experience if you go with a qualified guide.
Here are my top tips for planning a safari adventure with very young children:
- Choose a family-friendly lodge. Look for a lodge with a kid’s club or swimming pool, a junior ranger programme, a child-friendly menu, and the availability of family suites or tents.
- Check whether malaria is present in the area you will visit. If it is, take the appropriate precautions.
- Find out if the lodge is fenced. If it’s unfenced your children won’t be able to walk around the lodge or between tents unaccompanied by an adult.
- Understand the room size and layout, and whether you can all stay together in one room. If your family can’t be accommodated in one room or cottage, and has to be split over two rooms, some lodges may require one adult to sleep in each room with the children for their own safety.
- Check if there are any age restrictions for game drives at the lodge. Even if there are no age restrictions, assess whether your young children are able to sit calmly in a car for three to four hours at a time.
- Consider the safety of your children at Big Five sightings. They should be able to sit very still and quietly in the presence of animals such as lion and leopard.
- If budget allows, consider hiring a private vehicle. This will give you complete flexibility to adjust the start time and duration of your drives, and the number of stops you make along the way.
- Capture memories. Encourage your children to document their experiences through drawing, journaling, or taking photographs.
- Embrace the magic of nature. Safaris are not only about spotting animals but also about appreciating the beauty of nature. Encourage your children to observe and marvel at the landscapes, unique plants, and other aspects of the environment. Teach them about the importance of conservation and the need to protect these natural habitats.
Daphnée (who liaises with our French clientele) and I love planning exceptional family holidays for our clients using our extensive local expertise as well as our experience as parents. Please get in touch if you, or someone you know, would like to experience an African safari holiday.
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