Family Safari in Africa
Family Safaris in Africa- On Safari With Children
Destinations and Things to Do
An African safari is an ultimate holiday for families. Apart from being an extraordinary wildlife destination with various incredible wilderness regions.Lately, most parents have started seeing the importance and value of quality time with their families away from today’s technology-filled lives. A family-friendly oriented safari to Africa offers families a platform to bond with each other, also sharing these “once in a lifetime” experiences. And with these experiences, the memories children get will keep in their minds and will be their talk for a very long time.
A number of African countries offer family holiday packages with accommodation types that vary from basic camping to 6-star luxury lodges. Africa is not rich in neon-lit malls but rich in authentic culture, cuisine, wildlife, scenery and safe adventurous spots. Africa is surely to visit with a family, because unlike playing computer games and alike a safari game drive will fascinate granddad just as it does to a 12 year old!
There is nothing captivating as watching proud loins hunt down their prey… or watching baby elephants at a waterhole splashing water at each other. How about tracking a cheetah or riding on an ostrich an unforgettable experience… or go for gorilla trekking through the jungle. With this you also can ride on a horse along with a herd of giraffes and later sample various African cuisines and later spend your evening around the camp fire!
There are different destinations that suit your family’s interests, happiness, traveling style and age range.
You may start your family safari from Cape Town, this is one of South Africa’s spectacular cities with various options for families. In close proximity with Cape Town is the Garden Route which is covered with wonderful beaches, not far from a number of malaria-free game parks found in the Eastern Cape. The Eastern Cape is an ideal place a “Big5 safari”.
You can enjoy activities like; visiting the Boulders Beach where you can watch African Penguins, you can also take a boat ride to the Seal Island. Visit the Cape Wine lands where you will learn about and get up close with a wild cheetah. You can also pay a visit to the Two Oceans Aquarium found in Cape Town (named for the Atlantic and Indian Oceans).
A safari in South Africa cannot be counted complete if visitors have not visited Kruger National Park. The accommodation is favorable for families since it ranges from Bush camps to luxurious lodges. The family private lodges are exclusive as they come with a safari guide, chef, butler and various activities that even bring awareness of nature to children. There are other fun-filled opportunities for learning such as bush walks, game drives (planned for children to), and bushveld games.
Over the years families have appreciated the malaria-free areas in Namibia; the glorious Sossusvlei sand dunes and the Skeleton Coast (it’s a large coastline). Also the transport is also easy since most roads are good.
Activities that will leave your family fascinated are quad biking along the Skeleton coast, visit to private reserves in Etosha where you can enjoy night game drives to look out for nocturnal wildlife species, also cultural interactions such as one with the Himba people found in the North. Also children can have a great time in the Cheetah Research Center where they can have close interactions with cheetahs.
Kenya and Tanzania
These two destinations can be easily combined for an epic family safari. Areas like the Great Plains of the Maasai Mara in Kenya and the Serengeti in Tanzania have increasingly and continually drawn visitors from all parts of the world. There is nothing as amazing as watching thousands of wildebeests and zebras crossing the Mara River together with your family.
Just near the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania is an area called Karatu which families can visit; there is a children’s school and an orphanage where your children can meet new people and interact.
While families are on a visit to Botswana, they can experience the magical Okavango Delta, the remarkable Kalahari Desert landscape and the big numbers of elephants found in Chobe National Park.This destination has the best accommodation from the basic tented/traditionally made to luxurious and exclusive accommodations.
Zimbabwe and Zambia
These two destinations are gateways for the world’s most thunderous Victoria Falls, the falls rank among the World’s seven Natural Wonders. Still near this area n Livingstone, here are various sport activities for your interested family members.
Your family can also enjoy walking safaris in Zambia’s hidden gem;South Luangwa National Park.A canoe ride along the Zambezi River in Lower Zambezi National Park will do you go, since together with your family you can enjoy catching tiger fish.
In Zimbabwe, as a family you can encounter lots of wildlife species including Southern Africa’s last great elephants in Hwange National Park. Also the mythical Mana Pools National Park is one of the best places for family safaris with big populations of hippos, Nile crocodiles and elephants.
Uganda and Rwanda
Most commonly known to be homes of the remaining species of endangered Mountain Gorillas, Uganda and Rwanda are usually visited by various people, and specifically for an unforgettable experience with the gentle giants, children of the age of 15 and above are the ones allowed to trek gorillas. Therefore as a family you good choose a combined gorilla trekking safari between Uganda and Rwanda. The best park for family safaris in Uganda is Murchison Falls National Park.
The parks where Gorillas are trekked include; Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (Uganda), Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (Uganda) and Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda). Other National Parks also have camps that favour family holidays.
Being one of Africa’s upcoming great spots for washing away the dust and dirt after being in the bushes on a safari in Southern Africa. Mozambique is greatly known for its magical offshore islands, amazing snorkeling and scuba diving and also fascinating unspoiled white beaches.
12 Useful tips for an African family Safari
- Take it easy
Flights connecting to the African continent normally take several hours and at times may take as long as 10 to 18 hours with several en-route stopovers. Please don’t rush the trip but instead enjoy the stopovers to give each of the family member enough time to acclimatize to the time difference.
- Always pack lightly
you are a highly advised only to pack things that are essential keeping in mind that majority of the internal light flights that connect between the Safari destinations and national park offering limited luggage space. So to avoid any disappointments only take what is essential. Your travel agent can help you draft a list of essential items to pack for your Safari.
- What to wear
Any person going on Safari is advised to wear neutral colored clothing and also bring along a number of layer cottons especially for the cold nights and early morning game drives. Do not forget items like insect repellents to protect you from insect bites; a hat and sunglasses to protect you from the African sun as well as strong hiking boots especially if you are going to engage in hiking adventures.
- Take as many photographs as possible
An African safari is all about making memories; so ensure that on your safari you bring with you enough storage cards, extra battery and even camera chargers to last you through your family Safari holiday. Young children specifically enjoy photograph moments while on Safari
- Consult with your doctor prior to traveling
Please endeavor to talk to your doctor about your travel plans so that you can get all the necessary immunizations / vaccines such as the yellow fever shot where need be, or the tetanus shot, or even the anti malaria prophylaxis. Don’t forget to bring with you a small first aid kit box that includes items like sunscreen, bandages and pain killers.
- Be adventurous
Ensure that in your Safari itinerary you mix various adventurous activities such as game drives, cultural tours, nature walks or even horse riding tours to make it enjoyable for everyone.
- if possible have a private Safari vehicle
If your budget allows it is highly recommended that you get a private Safari vehicle as a family to avoid instances such as sharing a car with a person who is a photographer extremist that will insist on making longs stopovers at the same spot – a thing that may not favor the children’s patience but rather tire theme.
- include a beach holiday in your itinerary
Depending on which country you will be visiting, it is highly advisable to include a day or two at the beach with your family. This will surely relax the children and even offer a perfect change of ambience from the wilderness where they would have been during the game drives.
- look out for the pricing policies at your accommodation
A number of safari camps give a 20% to 30% discount of the adult rate for all children below 12. infact depending on the time of visit some even offer a bigger discount so always Ensure that you pay close attention to such discounts as it will help you save on the overall accommodation price.
- Get a good family guide
Ensure that you get a good guide, do not spare any money when it comes to getting the best guide for a family Safari as it will make no sense if your Safari guide rather than attending to you as a family is spending most of his time on the VHF contacting other guides on the whereabouts of the animals. In fact those who have been on such Africa family Safaris admit that you would rather book cheaper accommodation but pay for the best Safari guide who will make your adventure very memorable
- Include free time in your itinerary
Your safari itinerary should includes ample time are the kids to run around by themselves or even rest. In fact since most of the game viewing is done early morning, you can include short nap time for the kids after lunch.
- Choose your travel agent wisely
Before choosing a travel agent always request for their safari quotes and references from former clients especially those that were traveling with children to give you a clearer picture of what to expect
Health and safety guidelines to follow on an Africa family Safari
I should mention that different countries on the African continent have their own specific health guidelines so by contacting your tour operator they will be able to inform you on what to expect and do in terms of health and safety. as you organize for your Safari before traveling you are also advised to browse through the travel advisories on the different countries you hope to visit so as to get the most updated information regarding the health, political, crime, safety and weather conditions in that country. There are several vaccines / immunizations also highly advised so visit your physician as well as the kids’ pediatrician and in detail discuss with them about your travel plans so that they can give you all the necessary medical assistant to ensure that you are fit for your travels.
Went to take on an African family Safari
Many travel agents recommend smaller tented Safari camps as they offer a more private and luxurious safari experience. The larger traditional Safari lodges normally have bigger crowds of guests which may not offer adequate intimacy for you as a family. Remember families normally look back on the following as the most memorable parts of their Safari: their experiences with the guides, with the staff back at the lodge or camp, their experience with other guests and the meals throughout their Safari. So a smaller tented Safari Camp will surely be the best option for you as a family irrespective of which country you will be visiting
When to go for an African Family Safari
When we talk about ‘safari’ in Africa what comes to everyone’s mind is seeing the different wild animals. So the best time to visit is during the dry warm season when there is scarce water in the park (causing many animals to gather around the water holes), and when also the vegetation is thin, short and dry offering good visibility. For most of Africa, visiting between late December and March as well as July to mid-October will be a favorable time. However you are advised to visit the state travel advisories of the different countries to get the most updated to visit each country, or even contact your travel agent as per this regard.