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Africa Family-friendly Safari Holidays

We know Africa like the back of our hands with many of our travel specialists emanating from Africa which means we know all the very best places for a family safari! Most of us have taken our own children there over time! We return every year to keep abreast of any changes and to ensure we only send our guests to the very best places that are suitable for their families.

Tell us what each member of your family is interested in together with their hobbies and interests and we will perfectly match you with your ideal experience! The joy is that Africa offers a truly fun, adventurous (but safe), immersive, educational holiday which is jam packed with activities. But of course, mum and dad can opt for as much down time too!

What activities are available for family safaris?

For active families, we have some fabulous options of cycling – from a few hours, to a day or several days, staying at characterful lodges en route or perhaps going on a game cycle instead of a game drive! Or hiking, taking a canopy walk, zip lining, fishing, horse riding, quad biking, and sailing – the list is endless!

Getting to understand the local culture and people is an important element and we encourage our families to visit schools and perhaps villages whilst embarking on a hiking trail accompanied by mules or camels. You camp out at night and then chat to the various tribes – Masai, Samburu, Venda, Xhosa, San, finding out about their way of life in the 21st century and how they adapt to westernisation. It’s all relevant and fascinating!

Perhaps go out with scientific researchers during the day, learning more about giraffe, zebra, lion and get behind the scenes access. Perhaps be part of a giraffe or lion or elephant collaring or a rhino notching where they implant a chip into their horn to deter poachers. Learn behind the scenes how we protect our wildlife and how we work with communities. Have fun with the anti-poaching dogs. Learn how to make fires with no matches, how to make a bow and arrow and shoot with them, learn how to read the night sky in the southern hemisphere. Learn how to identify animal tracks in the sand and which trees and plants they use for food or medicine. Nature is extraordinary and we can learn so much from it!

And even the accommodation can be fun – from treehouses, to sleeping beneath the stars on a bedroll and a mosquito net, to being in a tent where you can listen to all the night sounds of a lion calling, a hyaena whooping or a zebra braying or even at a luxury lodge or private luxury villa.

Which countries in Africa offer amazing family safaris?

South Africa is a particularly good choice and very family friendly – Much of this varied country is non-malarial and there are many types of family safari and beach holidays which are a great choice if you have members of the family wishing to take part in different activities. Africa and the Indian Ocean offers the best family holiday one could ever imagine! Wildlife, culture, fun, and ocean – it’s all there!

For families of four and over, a private villa or lodge is an excellent option, this way you have private staff, private guides and space to spread out, chill out, and max out your energy and enjoy a fantastic luxury family safari. All of the villas and lodges are flexible, so if all members of the family want to do a different activity at the same time, they can arrange it.

For many people Kenya embodies the spirit of sub-Saharan Africa and a classic Kenya family safari is the ultimate wildlife experience for the children. This is where ‘Out of Africa’ and the latest Lion King was filmed, a place of seemingly endless plains dotted with herds of elephant and it’s also the setting for the greatest migration on earth, when millions of wildebeest stampede across the plains in search of fresh grasses.

Kenya is a spectacularly beautiful country with many contrasting landscapes. The harsh beauty of the parched semi-desert in the north is offset by the snow-capped splendour of Mount Kenya. There is thick equatorial jungle that cloaks part of the west and the legendary rolling plains of the Masai Mara in the southwest is one of Africa’s most iconic settings. Not to forget the idyllic golden beaches that line the coast, a definite child-pleaser!

Botswana is another fabulous country which offers wonderful family safaris. From learning how to live in the bush and track wildlife, to sleeping out beneath the stars in the Kalahari desert, learning about the local San or bushmen people. Go quad biking across the salt pans, or horse riding across the desert or the Okavango Delta.

Namibia is something very different and offers fabulous culture with the most authentic interaction with the last bastion of the gentle San or Bushmen people. It is home to the oldest desert, the Namib, and the highest sand dunes. It is also home to great scientific research and time can be spent going out looking for lion with the researchers and learning about their fabulous work in the desert, or perhaps being part of a fascinating giraffe collaring exercise. Track black rhino on foot. This country is so culturally rich, but there are so many incredible experiences too which make it unlike any other country on the African continent. It also combines very well with Botswana.

Malawi and Zambia both offer tremendous opportunities for family safaris. Again, both are culturally and wildlife rich – offering the best of both worlds. For older children, there is wonderful canoeing along the Zambezi River and Lake Malawi has the most perfect place to stay ( a villa as well as beautiful cottages overlooking the lake) which is close to a fabulous village. Zambia is home to the walking safari. For younger children, there are some villas one can take over and the wildlife is stupendous. Visit a school, take part in a football match, and visit a village. There is also Victoria Falls which offers the perfect end to a safari with so many activities on offer.

In Mozambique, we have both villas, lovely lodges and the ultimate adventure – a dhow safari! Here one has a private dhow with a crew of four and one camps out on a different island every night. Visit the local villages, go swimming amongst dolphins, fish during the day, snorkel, scuba dive and swim. If camping is not for you, then you can stay on board and perhaps be dropped off at one of the luxury lodges instead. But here is an Africa that few people see…..

Why take the children?

Children adore the excitement and thrill of a family safari. They’ll love searching the horizon to be first to spot a cheetah family or a pride of lion.

Within minutes of starting your first game drive you will find they become avid ‘species collectors’, scouring the landscape to ensure that they tick off the ‘big-five’ (lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo, elephant).

This is a land that they will have seen a hundred times in films and they will be delighted to actually be in the heart of it, watching the animals as they hunt, nurture and play.

The children will love the experience of sleeping in a tented camp in the heart of a game reserve. They’ll enjoy telling their friends at school that they heard the roar of a lion in the night or went on a walking safari to see animals up close.

Why should you choose a Kenya family safari?

• Superb game viewing with the chance to spot the big-five
• Making a bow and arrow with a Maasai tribesman
• Opportunities for camel-trekking, walking and horse-riding
• Being in the company of the very best guides and learning to track various animals across the plains
• Wide sweeping golden sand beaches and exciting water-sports
• A wonderful selection of accommodation on safari
• Beautiful boutique beach lodges many of which have lush gardens and gorgeous pools

Will your children enjoy a family safari in Africa?

It is important to give careful consideration as to whether your children are old enough to enjoy a safari. This is an expensive holiday and there would be nothing more soul destroying than taking your children on an incredible safari only to find that they are bored and keep asking 'are we there yet?'!

Remember that the key will always be to tailor your itinerary to the ages of your children and to ensure that there are plenty of non-vehicle based activities. Keep the experiences fresh and new and diverse and you will have the most successful family holiday ever!

Are family safaris in Africa safe for children?

Seeing lion, buffalo and hippo up close sounds wonderfully exciting, but in the back of most parent’s minds is the tentative question as to whether it is really safe to be quite so close to wild animals.

Fortunately, it is. All camps and lodges in national parks and game reserved have strict safety controls with regular patrols by trained safari staff. There are also strict safety guidelines, which apply in many camps. Safety is of utmost importance and good practice will be explained to you all on arrival.

When out and about in a vehicle, it hopefully goes without saying that you must ensure that the children remain in the vehicle at all times unless your private guide confirms it is safe to do so. If a toilet stop becomes necessary your guide will find a safe place to pull over. Generally this will be somewhere that is quite open, so not as great for privacy but perfect for safety!

There truly is something for all ages in Africa and the Indian Ocean and we tailor make everything we do, so please simply contact us and talk through the options with us.