Written by Gareth Hardres-Williams, 17th January 2018
Thinking of a safari with a young family? Provided you take a number of matters into consideration, a safari with young children is very much an option and a fabulous journey of discovery for all involved. Whilst a safari fundamentally offers a superb experience of fun and adventure – there is equally no better classroom than the African bush.
Pick the right area and all the wonders of the African bush are open to the family. Here the youngsters can be seen enjoying the absolute thrill of a bush walk – educational, informative, thrilling and so so much fun!
Image credit: Wetu Travel Technology courtesy of Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
Plenty of choice – we will help you decide…
There are a number of things that one needs to think about before embarking on your family safari – from the prevalence of malaria to game drive suitability. Also consider the availability of options to keep the little ones happy, entertained and safe whilst you enjoy a cocktail by the pool.
We are thrilled to see more and more lodges finding creative ways to make family safaris a real and enticing option for a holiday. Everything from play centres for little ones, to dedicated kids programmes and in-house child-minders. Many lodges also offer innovative family room options and fun activities just for the little adventurers.
The safari lodges are becoming increasingly innovative as regards how they manage the time spent by children in these places. Entertainment for the little ones is prioritised – even working on their cooking skills in the process…
Image credit: Wetu Travel Technology courtesy of Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
How young is too young..?
First and absolute foremost, the safety of your young family is paramount when considering any safari. As a general rule, even the most adaptive and accepting of safari lodges will invariably shy away from encouraging children on safari who are younger than 2 years old. It is, however, presumptive of us to assume that we can prescribe at what age a child should first safari as people have very different ideas as to how much a child will enjoy and appreciate a safari. Of course, so much of this will depend on the individual child and parenting style. That said, younger than 2 seems to offer undue risk that we would, as parents to young children ourselves, suggest against taking. It goes without saying too that we will only suggest lodges where every effort is made to ensure that you and your children are kept safe at all times.
A young Vervet Monkey looks on from a perch – these are some of the wonderfully engaging animals that can keep your little ones entertained for hours and hours.
Image credit: Alastair Kilpin
There are some lodges such as the spectacular andBeyond Vamizi Island in the Quirimbas Archipelago off the coast of Northern Mozambique that have creatively addressed the idea of children’s accommodation – creating a super “home away from home” feel.
Image credit: Wetu Travel Technology courtesy of andBeyond Vamizi Island
Many of the destinations can include a more typical family destination option such a good day out at the beach. This image shows what can be twinned with a trip to the fabulous Phinda Private Game Reserve – an outing to the Northern KwaZulu Natal beaches, with the welcoming warm waters of the Indian Ocean.
Mammoth Safaris will be sure to arrange the safari to ensure that your cubs are very well taken care of and that they have a wonderful time together as a family. These two little leopard cubs pictured in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve at Londolozi are but some of the fabulous sights to be enjoyed as a family.
Image credit: Gavin Lautenbach
Safaris are very versatile holidays and we will help you select the right destinations that will offer the right blend of African wildlife action together with more conventional animal encounters.
Image credit: Wetu Travel Technology courtesy of andBeyond Phinda
What can you do to keep your child safe on safari..?
The first and most important place to start with regards safety in the African bush is a very real understanding of where you are. You will be in real wilderness, with a wide variety of animals and adventures on offer around most corners. The common sense that applies to adult behaviour in this kind of environment must be amplified when children are involved. This doesn’t require any paranoia , but rather common sense and care. Children can have so much fun in the wilderness of Africa whilst also learning a great deal and this is not to be forgotten, but parental responsibility should be on high alert whilst in the bush. Lodges who welcome children are intimately aware of their responsibility, but it is always worth reminding them of their duty of care, and remembering that the ultimate responsibility rests with the parent.
Be clear about your expectations and ask all those questions, no matter how “stupid” they might seem…
To be very clear, when it comes to thinking about the safety and well-being of your kids, as parents ourselves we understand that there are absolutely no silly questions and we will happily field any and all queries you might have. Here are a few regulars and the associated answers…
Does my child need to take a prophylactic medicine for malaria even if there is no malaria in the area?
If you are in a “malaria-free” safari area (something we highly recommend for safaris with young children), there is absolutely no reason to protect oneself and the kids against malaria. This is in and of itself another very good reason to seek out malaria-free destinations, as the medication can be quite disruptive to a small body and not overly pleasant.
Can my children go on all the game drives?
This is a difficult question to answer with a blanket “yes” or a blanket “no”, as lodges tend to deal with a lot of these situations on a “case-by-case” basis if you will. If you find yourself sharing a vehicle with folks only too happy to play peek-a-boo with your little ones and limit their sightings to accommodate your kids, then you might not need to have a private vehicle. As a general rule though, when young kids are involved, a private game drive vehicle is a strong recommendation. This will give you all the flexibility you need and the option to tailor the drive according to the needs of the family. Private vehicles come at a premium, but the outlay is well well worth it.
There are a number of island options that can be included in the typical safari itinerary that offer superb water-based activities suited for young and old. Diving on Africa’s east coast is fantastic – one such wonderful option is the diving at the andBeyond Mnemba island. Expert diving aside, the waters here are safe and fun for little ones to splash about in. It is worth baring in mind that some island destinations will have age limits if only to maintain a “honeymoon” focussed exclusivity – but have no fear, we will get you to the right island for your family.
Image credit: Wetu Travel Technology courtesy of andBeyond Mnemba Island
Safari and travel with the kids…
Here are some of our favourite family-focussed destinations…
Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve in South Africa
Victoria Falls Hotel in Zimbabwe is a great base from where to view the falls with the family
Angama Mara overlooking Kenya’s Maasai Mara
Londolozi Private Game Reserve takes superb care of little ones (this is in a malaria area)
Vumbura Plains in the Okavango Delta
From small charter flights to large international transfers, we will make sure that you and your little crew are very well taken care of.
Image credit: Wetu Travel Technology courtesy of Angama Mara
How to make a family safari of a lifetime a reality…
For more information on how to book your Mammoth Safari to search for wilderness, adventure in the wilderness of Africa, please contact a member of our sales team by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also visit www.mammothsafaris.com for more destinations and journeys. Your family will be very grateful if you do that now…