Family Safaris – Factors to Consider
Introducing your children to the wonders of an African safari makes for a great family holiday. Children love learning about the natural cycles of the earth, the predator hierarchy and the fascinating ways animals adapt to their environment.
A a company, we recommend your children to be at least 10 years of age. By this age, children can engage with the guide or someone from a local village, and a holiday such as this can really have a lasting impression from these kinds of interactions.
However it’s important to consider what will be the best family safari experience for YOU.
• The age and attention span of your children
• Their ability to travel long distances happily (either by car or by air)
• Trade-off between seeing animals in an accessible region (minimising travelling time) versus seeing wildlife in a more remote, wilderness location?
• Your attitude towards malaria?
• What sort of trips does your family enjoy? Adventurous or laid back? Lots of activities or time alone in a pristine environment? Always together or some time apart?
• Whether you’d like a specialist family safari programme (available at selected lodges in South Africa, Botswana and Zambia) or have a more relaxed free-form family safari in Africa?
We have carefully chosen a selection of lodges in Southern and East Africa that specifically cater for families and children. These comfortable lodges welcome families with children and lay on special features, kid’s food and specialist guides specifically for your family safari. Some lodges offer children’s activities like bush treasure hunts, bead-making and bedtime-safaris from African storytellers. The experience is not only an adventure, but also a learning experience.
Guides are hand picked for all of these safaris. They are selected for their rich African personalities, love of children and ability to light the spark of imagination in little ones. The whole family will quickly feel it has adopted a new member. With years of folklore, storytelling, a solid knowledge of the bush, animals and tribes, guides offer a journey where parents can relax confident that the kids will have a great time. Exploring coffee farms, Masai villages, Ngorongoro Crater and camping in Africa’s greatest wilderness, the Serengeti, means no one goes home without a sense of adventure. Days are tailor-made from dawn to dusk to match children’s ages, interests and levels of adventure.
Is there an age restriction on African safaris?
There are few things that beat a family holiday, especially one to Southern and/or East Africa with spectacular scenery and abundant wildlife. Take the following into account before bringing the kids (especially small children) into the wild, though.
There are quite a number of game reserves that welcome children, and who offer exciting child-friendly activities. However, there are often rules regarding children. Some camps may not allow children under 12 years old.
Essentially, it’s to protect children from danger. Many camps are unfenced, meaning that animals, wild animals, roam freely through them. In most, safari guides walk you to and from your accommodation, but it’s just not safe for the youngest of the young.
Game drives are all about being in wild, open or dense spaces – here too, an age restriction applies. Patience and keeping quiet at the right time are required on those drives – it’s not fair to expect it from a 7-year old. Fortunately, there are many wonderful child-friendly camps with dedicated, closed game-viewing vehicles.
Not all safari activities are open to children of all ages. Gorilla trekking and white-water rafting, for example, have a minimum age of 15 years. Walking is another activity that can vary at the camp/lodge’s discretion and may relate to the prevalence of dangerous game. You may need to exercise your parental discretion when it comes to activities like walking, and canoeing or mokoros.