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Africa is full of once-in-a-lifetime wildlife experiences. An African Safari is an immersive journey that opens our senses and evokes something deep and permanent that changes our whole outlook to life. A family safari to Africa can be one of the most interesting, fun and educational journeys you ever take with your loved ones. While planning a safari, there are many factors, including certain restrictions, to take into account. Africa has great family-friendly camps and lodges, often providing specific family accommodation options as well. For families with little children, another great option is combining safari with a beach destination. Our top picks for an amazing family vacation are South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania and Kenya.
Are there any age restrictions?
Most camps/lodges and safari operator welcome children of (nearly) all ages, some have a minimum age restriction of anywhere between 4 and 12 years.
Some safari activities are not suitable for younger children, such as walking safaris, gorilla and chimp trekking, canoeing or mokoros, horse-riding – the age limits vary but can be as high as 15 years.
What is the ideal age to take kids for a safari to Africa?
It depends on the family involved and the destination chosen. Game-viewing is a patient exercise so the ability for kids to sit in a vehicle for 2-3 hours is a great benefit.
A safari in malaria-free Madikwe Reserve or Tswalu in South Africa is ideal for children of all ages. Gorilla trekking in Rwanda or Uganda is a great idea if you’re traveling with older teens, as the minimum age for participants is 15 years. For active teenagers who love adventure and epic road trips, Namibia offers thrilling activities with abundant wildlife and breathtaking landscape.
When children younger than six cannot participate in lodge activities, babysitters/nanny services can be arranged during activities at an additional cost at certain lodges and camps.
A safari camp or lodge that offers closed or private vehicles, a junior ranger program with professional guides who enjoy sharing the wilderness with youngsters is ideal for families with children.
What types of accommodations should we book?
Accommodation units at safari camps or lodges can be some distance apart. Are your kids old enough to sleep on their own? Many camps have large enough family units to be suitable for a family of three or four to share. Depending on the ages of your children, the camp/lodge may require one adult to sleep in the same room/tent with the under age child or children as a safety measure.
What about cultural interaction and learning for the kids?
Kenya and Tanzania are great destinations to expose kids to local cultures and traditions. Visiting authentic Masai villages and local schools are great to learn more about the daily life there. Visit the Kalahari in Botswana and learn about the ancient culture of The Bushmen who live in harmony with the natural environment in the Kalahari, a gentle introduction to their desert and Bushmen way of life.
Should we book a private safari?
A private safari is the best family safari. Your family’s whole itinerary is tailored around your tastes and preferences. You can explore this amazing destination with a professional guide in a private vehicle at your own pace, taking private transfers and customizing it on your family’s interests.
Should we advise safari camps or lodges regarding our family’s dietary requirements?
Prior to your arrival, the safari camps and lodges could be advised of your family’s dietary requirements. Suitable meal times that fit with your child’s and the camp’s or lodge’s routine could also be arranged.