We currently operate in 13 countries across Africa. And while families should never think of children as a hindrance to booking a trip of a lifetime anywhere in the world, some destinations in Africa are certainly better suited to family travel.
This is one of our favorite destinations for families with young children thanks largely to the wide variety of activities available. Our preferred safari camps and lodges in South Africa all excel at bringing the magic of an African safari to life for children of all ages. Every minute is supervised by rangers and camp staff, who provide hours of amusement and invaluable information to the children in their care.
Most family safaris begin in Cape Town, a spectacular city with so many options for families. The nearby Garden Route has wonderful beaches within close proximity to many game parks in the Eastern Cape that are malaria-free. And finally, the world famous wine country isn’t just for adults! Some of our favorite family activities here include;
- Touch a wild cheetah in the Cape Winelands. Learn about these incredible cats from a distance or get up close and personal.
- Take a boat ride out to Seal Island and visit Boulders Beach to see the African Penguins.
- Visit the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town – named for the Indian and Atlantic oceans, which converge at the southern tip of Africa. The museum is noted for its up-close, touch-and-feel exhibits designed especially for children.
South Africa’s Eastern Cape is the ideal place to experience a malaria-free “Big 5” safari.
Finally, no safari in South Africa is complete without a visit to Kruger National Park. We love the private unfenced reserves that border the Kruger, such as the Sabi Sand. Here you get everything from classic bush camps with no electricity to very exclusive and luxurious lodges, including suites complete with private plunge pools. Our favorites for families are the private lodges, which come with your own butler, chef and safari guide and offer activities such as centers within the lodge environs that foster children’s awareness and appreciation of nature. Hands-on, interactive activities are designed for different age groups. The many fun-filled learning opportunities include creative bushveld games, bush walks, and talks and specially planned children’s game drives.
In Botswana, your family can experience the magic of the Okavango Delta, the large elephant populations in Chobe National Park and the striking desert landscape of the Kalahari. This very popular destination offers a variety of accommodation styles from ultra luxurious to more traditional-style tented accommodations, or, for the adventure seekers, sleeping under the stars in a dome tent. Whatever your style, you will find it in Botswana.
For young children, we recommend the wonderful Explorers Program, which is specially designed for families to discover the wilderness together. Each family has sole use of a private camp, allowing the schedule to be flexible and tailored around the ages and interests of the children. The specialist guides who run this program are highly experienced in working with children, which allows the parents to relax and enjoy the wilderness, participating at their leisure. This magnificent country is a true wilderness experience; you will, however, need a more flexible budget to spend some time here, as the camps are on the pricier side.
Kenya and Tanzania
The great plains of Kenya’s Masai Mara and Tanzania’s Serengeti continue to draw people from all over the world. It is something quite amazing to be among thousands of wildebeest and zebra and witness their crossing at the Mara River.
Kenya and Tanzania are easily combined for an epic family safari.
In Karatu, Tanzania near the Ngorongoro Crater we offer particularly special and unique opportunities for families. Here, we take you to an orphanage or children’s school.
Families appreciate Namibia’s malaria-free areas, the large coastline known as the Skeleton Coast, the glorious Sossusvlei sand dunes and relatively easy transport via a network of good roads.
Our favorite features in Namibia are the small bush planes that get you effortlessly from place to place, spending time quad biking in the Skeleton Coast, the cultural interactions with the Himba in the north and the private reserves in Etosha, where you get to go out on night drives to view the nocturnal wildlife. Another great place for kids is the cheetah research center for close interactions.
Zambia and Zimbabwe
Zambia and Zimbabwe are both gateways to one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World – the thundering Victoria Falls.
In addition to a visit to view the world’s greatest known curtain of falling water, the Victoria Falls/Livingstone area offers a myriad of adrenaline sports and activities for the thrill seekers in your family. Zambia is the land of the authentic walking safari, and the South Luangwa National Park is still a hidden gem. Camps in the Lower Zambezi are among our favorites in all of Africa, where you can paddle a canoe or trawl for tigerfish on the mighty Zambezi River. In Zimbabwe, Hwange National Park is one of Africa’s finest wildlife havens and home to some of Southern Africa’s last great elephant, buffalo and sable herds. The legendary Mana Pools is also one of our favorite areas and a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site.
Mozambique is one of Africa’s up-and-coming hot-spots and an excellent extension to wash away the dirt and dust after being in the bush on a Southern Africa safari. It is known for unspoiled white beaches, excellent scuba diving, and snorkeling and magical offshore islands.
Want more? Check out our favorite family safari accommodations here.