South African Safari ....Oh No, I've upset my hubby. HELP !!!!!

(64 Posts)
Tillyboo Fri 23-Nov-12 20:49:45

My dh really wants us to go on a 9 day trip to Safari with out 9yo dd to South Africa. He knows I don't want to do this but is convinced I'd love it. I don't want to go. He's got a luxury co. to prepare an itinerary staying in two luxury lodge resorts to tempt me BUT I really, really don't want to go. It's a lovely thought &

I'm lucky enough to have the opportunity and I feel guilty now but I am firm on the fact. I also wondering if it's a suitable holiday for a 9yo girl who won't have any peers around her to keep her company or play with ...

I'd really appreciate some thoughts or experiences on this. Am I being unreasonable ? I wouldn't push my hubby into doing something if I knew he didn't want to/ have an interest in, just because I did.
Should I feel guilty ?
Am I denying my dh & dd.
Agh ! I was expecting this to come up sooner or later ...

expatinscotland Fri 23-Nov-12 20:51:13

YANBU! You're not denying him a thing. He can go on his own.

WTF? You wouldn't push him into doing something he didn't want to do or had an interest in, so why it is acceptable for him to do that to you?

with our dd or without our dd??

itsatiggerday Fri 23-Nov-12 20:52:34

Why don't you want to? Does your daughter like animals? Is she interested in conservation and ecological complexity?

I'm thoroughly biased as would be there like a shot if anyone offered me the chance. It can be quite a lot of sitting in land rovers and keeping quiet / still so I wouldn't recommend for young children but would have thought 9 is plenty old enough. If there's some underlying reason why you both think lions and giraffes are boring or couldn't care less which insects feed off which faeces and how they build their homes then there might be something more to think about...

tribpot Fri 23-Nov-12 20:57:37

It's a long (and expensive) time if it turns out not to be something you and your dd enjoy. Could you do something a bit closer to home first, to get the flavour of it?

To be honest, I wouldn't take a child to South Africa, although I know plenty of people do (and obviously there are many children living in South Africa!). I was mugged at knifepoint in broad daylight in Jo'burg (many years ago).

expatinscotland Fri 23-Nov-12 21:01:55

Who cares why she doesn't want to go? She doesn't want to. And she wouldn't push her spouse into going on a holiday he didn't want to go on.

Gigondas Fri 23-Nov-12 21:04:18

Has your dh checked dd can do safari activities? I seem to think they wouldn't take kids younger than 12 on the outings in jeeps.

And yanbu- it doesn't matter why but if you really don't want to go then its a bit much. But if you are going luxury you can sometimes do hotel type things whilst dh does safari things (I stayed in , played with dd etc).

strumpetpumpkin Fri 23-Nov-12 21:05:59

YABU yes youre denying your dh and child an amazing opportunity.

What exactly is it you think will be awful about it? Can you not try and get into it?

I can understand not thinking its your ideal holiday, but can you suggest another holiday for next year thats more your thing and go along with this years holiday with a smile ? Or have you already thought of something else?

NorthernNumpty Fri 23-Nov-12 21:08:57

I have been on safari to SA several times and love it so maybe I am biased. Your DH should not force you into doing something you don't want but I think it is relevant what your reasons are as they may be able to be overcome. 9 is about the minimum age for safari and some lodges don't take till 12. It will be an amazing experience for her but you do need to think about time of year etc and whether it is rainy season etc so eg lots of insects. Do you think your DD. would benefit from it?

EverybodysSnowyEyed Fri 23-Nov-12 21:15:50

DH and I are counting down the days until our youngest child is old enough to go on safari!

And does your dd really need other kids around for 9 days? This falls into the 'holiday of a lifetime' category

I would go for it but if you aren't sure then why not defer for a year.

joanofarchitrave Fri 23-Nov-12 21:20:23

My immediate reaction is sympathy as I would hate the idea, but I do feel for your dh a bit too.

What is it he really wants to do? Go to SA? Go on safari? And what is it you dislike? Is there a compromise? Would you consider (for example) Botswana instead, a less luxury safari and taking a friend or cousin for your dd? Would he wait a couple of years - I do think 9 is quite young?

Tillyboo Fri 23-Nov-12 21:53:56

My dh tried to persuade me last Christmas with a provisional itinerary so I am cross he's persisting as he is quite clear on my feelings. Yes, he could go on his own or with a mate, I wouldn't deny him at all. He's lucky enough to have a 'boy's' skiing week every year, numerous cycling breaks abroad and lots of time away from the family working ... I don't give him any grief and am happy for him to pursue his hobbies.

We have a weekly family skiing trip every year but I don't ski (health reasons) so I hang about all day waiting for him & dd to come back to the apartment or meet them for lunch etc. It gets very boring by day 4 but I'm happy to support dh & dd as they both love skiing.

I am not averse to another type of holiday, I don't want to go to SA & I don't want to sit in a jeep waiting for a Giraffe to appear.

So, having thought about it, NO I don't think I am denying my dh at all and have decided that I AM MOST DEFINITELY NOT BEING UNREASONABLE.

expatinscotland Fri 23-Nov-12 21:56:00

If you're fine with his going on his own, then I'd have no problems with telling him 'NO'. And I wouldn't be happy with my 9-year-old going. Teenager, perhaps, but not a 9-year-old on that type of trip.

tribpot Fri 23-Nov-12 22:00:03

Do you ever get to choose the holiday, Tillyboo? The ski-ing thing sounds grim but tolerable in that I guess you can take books/catch up on some TV or visit nearby towns perhaps? But is this safari thing more an example of the kind of family holiday he wants to have regardless of what you want? (Am tempted to follow his lead and take DH and ds on a knitting holiday! Not!)

Hmm. I have to say my best holiday ever was Zimbabwe before Mugabe lost the plot completely. It was AMAZING! Lots of animals. So cool.

However - if its not you, its not you.

But your dh can take your DD on her own. They can have a great Dad/DD experience. If she wants to go.

But i have to say I would wait. Our DS is 11 and although we really want to take him we will wait till he is old enough to really appreciate it and remember it so probably 12 minimum. And lots of safari companies will only take children from age 12 so 9 may well be too young.

Tillyboo Fri 23-Nov-12 22:49:41

I agree expat ! My dh went as an older teenager & he said snakes and & all sorts got into his room !!!!!
Is there a risk of Malaria & are medication/ vaccinations necessary (Cape Town/ Port Elizabeth)

ZZZenAgain Fri 23-Nov-12 22:59:29

If it holds no interest for you, it really does not seem worthwhile. I was not the least bit interested in going to Dubai on holiday, so Dh went there alone which we were both ok with.

saffronwblue Fri 23-Nov-12 23:03:23

Safari trips can be long days. Early starts, lots of sitting in a jeep and lots of waiting around with no guarantee of animal sightings. If your DD is patient and keen on animals and understands the bigger picture that they are wild animals and will not apear on cue, then she (and even you) are in for a magical time.

expatinscotland Fri 23-Nov-12 23:07:52

I had to go with my family to places that required a lot of jabs at that age, for my father's work. Believe me, I was not happy about it. Even now, I despise hot climates full of insects and creepie crawlies that get into even 5-star hotels.

No way I'd send my 9-year-old DD. A teen, if she were really keen, sure, but not at that age, no matter how much they wanted to go.

SA is not going anywhere. It can wait.

spamm Fri 23-Nov-12 23:24:09

I am not clear on why you do not want to go, and that is of course your privilege.

But I would jump at the chance. DH and I went round Botswana for 2 weeks 7 years ago, and it was our best ever holiday. We were planning to go back the folllowing year, but i got pregnant with ds.

I have done several safari holidays in my life, since I was a child, and my only comment would be to not take kids under 6/7, as they have to be able to be quiet when looking at wildlife. But I would not hesitate to take ds now, at 7/ 8, and we are already discussing when to go and whether to go to Malawi or Botswana

Longdistance Fri 23-Nov-12 23:36:00

Well it sounds like your dh plans all the holidays, and you have no choice.

Has he ever asked what YOU want to do? Where do YOU want to go on holiday?

Seems like your left with the crumbs sad

Longdistance Fri 23-Nov-12 23:37:22

You're blush

mummymeister Sat 24-Nov-12 13:28:08

Can you not plan a holiday for the family yourself? Something that you want to do and means that you are involved rather than not. he sounds a bit selfish to me. surely he has cottoned on to the fact that watching someone else ski all day is a bit like watching paint dry only not with the comforts of home and more expensive? stop the rot now or he will plan the next holiday and it will be something else you cant join in with. do you get a girls weekend away or is it all about him.

Tillyboo Sat 24-Nov-12 17:48:15

Just to clarify, my dh isn't a particularly selfish man (even though it might sound like it about this issue sad). A safari is his dream holiday but it's something I absolutely do not want to do. He'd be quite happy for me to have girly weekends or breaks, in fact I'm going to plan a riding break next year with my friends.

I am just cross he's still hankering about a bloody safari as it makes for bad feeling. We are very easy going, hardly ever argue & agree on 99% of things so it's hit me quite hard that we've 'had words' about this, unnecessarily in my opinion.
I'm standing my ground though ... when I get put in a corner or pressurised I grow ruddy great heels !!!!!

tribpot Sat 24-Nov-12 17:52:55

Why is it imperative you all go? I can imagine it being a major adventure for your DD but as has been noted, she's on the young side. I think he needs to wait for a few years and go just the two of them, or go with mates.

nailak Sat 24-Nov-12 17:57:20

my dd went on safari when she was 2, she is 5 still remembers it,

how can 9 be too young? hmm

Tilly - no malaria rsik or jabs needed for Cape Town/Port Elizabeth. Lots of these places put on special family game drives, game drives are twice a day morning and evening in the middle there is swimming/beaches/shopping/other things you can do. We take our 2 girls every year and have done since they were tiny.

helpyourself Sat 24-Nov-12 18:13:11

Meh. It's only 9 days. After literally 20 years of yearning to go to a particular county that I really didn't want to visit we all went 3 years ago. DH, usually a 'wing it' holidaymaker planned everything scrupulously, knowing I couldn't handle anything going wrong. We had a fantastic time and have been back since.
Let him organise it, knowing you have reservations. Step back and enjoy the ride!

tribpot Sat 24-Nov-12 18:34:37

how can 9 be too young?

nailak it is mentioned in the thread above that some lodges don't take children under 12, and that in any case the safari may involve quite a lot of hurry-up-and-wait, which might get tiresome for a 9 year old unless she is fascinated by animals.

PrincessSymbian Sat 24-Nov-12 18:46:57

I went on safari at the age of six (back in the eighties before health and safety kicked in).
I still remember watching lions eat a zebra, real wild lions that live in the wild eating a zebra that they had caught! And giraffes and elephants. Lizards in the hotel. Real live baboon bottoms!
I would leap at the opportunity to go again.

In August we took all 4 kids around Namibia and South Africa for 3 weeks. They were aged 4-10. It was fine. We saw lots and lots of wildlife and our kids, who are not at all well behaved, were mainly quiet when they needed to be.
Everyone had a good time and I'm sure you and your DD would too.
But if you really don't want to go, then don't.

nailak Sat 24-Nov-12 19:35:48

the op said he got a luxury company to prepare an itinerary, so i am sure they made sure of age limits and stuff,

I have been to South Africa about ten times, about to go again next week, 9 is definitely not too young, and even if you are not in to animals, being there is totally different experience.

OP this is your husbands dream, would it really hurt to let him have it? obviously his dream includes you and dd!

difficultpickle Sat 24-Nov-12 19:43:31

I agree with others. Get your dh to take your dd without you. They'll have an amazing time and better than you going too and being do reluctant. I took ds when he was 5. We went to a coupe if different places including Addo (which I assume is your dh plan too as you mentioned PE). Ds loved it. We stayed in traditional mud circular huts with roll top baths. Hot chocolate after evening safaris. Sumptuous breakfasts following before dawn starts. Just brilliant experiences that will stay with him forever.

C0smos Sat 24-Nov-12 19:45:46

I live in SA, if you're going on safari in Cape Town / PE then thus will probably be to one of the posh private reserves, which are much smaller and stocked up with animals to see, not like the Zkruger Zpark which is bigger than Wales and you can drive all day and see nowt.

Can't you compromise Cape Town is a fantastic place to holiday, beach, table mountain, Robben island, beautiful drives up Chapmans Peak, penguins at Simons Town then you can drive along the Garden Route to PE, Hermanus to see whales, Knysna is a great laid back resort etched etc

difficultpickle Sat 24-Nov-12 19:50:50

Cosmos that's the trip I did with ds. CT to PE via the inland route and back along the Garden Route. Really fab holiday.

CaipirinhasAllRound Sun 25-Nov-12 08:04:12

I went to Cape Town and drove as far as Port Elizabeth and Addo Elephant Park last year and it was the best 2 week holiday

I'm not sure if safety is a concern but if so, despite having been to SA, Bolivia, Brazil and a ton of other places, the only place I've ever had my purse stolen is London. My parents travel loads - including SA and Zimbabwe a few times (pre Mugabe) - and the only time they've had anything stolen was in Barcelona.

If I wanted to go and DH didn't I was do my damndest to try and convince him to go. I can't imagine doing a holiday like that without your OH to share it with, it's not like going to Tenerife for a week to sit by the pool, it's an amazing experience which is made all the more special by sharing it

CleansLate Sun 25-Nov-12 08:09:32

Only if you're sharing it with someone who wants to be there, Caipirinhas

Someone I know went on her trip of a lifetime with her reluctant DH. He was so awful during it that it was a major factor in them splitting up! He went out of his way to spoil it for her. NOT saying the OP would do that, but it's just silly to spend thousands on a trip like that for the enjoyment of one person.

I'd tell him to go with a friend or, better still, wait a few years and take DD. I took my DS on holiday just the two of us (nothing as amazing as a safari though!), and it was fabulous, a really special time together. I can imagine it'd be lovely for a dad and his teenage DD too.

Onlyaphase Sun 25-Nov-12 08:11:46

We took DD (then aged 5) on various safari trips when staying in Durban this year. A lot of the reserves are stocked and allow you to drive your own vehicle, so a bored child will have lots to see, and won't annoy others as you could be on your own and control the itinerary too.

Safety seemed fine to us, better than a few years ago.

MrsMushroom Sun 25-Nov-12 08:11:51

OP I totally understand you. I would HATE to go on safari. It just does not appeal. As you say "Sitting in a jeep waiting for a giraffe to appear" I can't see the attraction!

theoriginalandbestrookie Sun 25-Nov-12 08:17:24

Where would you like to go Tillyboo ? You don't want to go on safari and you don't like skiing - what would be your idea of a dream holiday?

I get what you are saying but I can't see why you are so grumpy about it.

It seems that your family is lucky enough to be able to afford luxury holidays and it is a special ambition of your DH's to go on safari. I think it would be a brilliant holiday for a 9 yr old to go on and whilst you are a bit meh about it maybe it would change once you saw the animals up close. It would be a bit of a shame if DD was to miss out on the opportunity to go on safari.

Perhaps your DH could compromise by giving up the ski trip this year or doing it on his own as a lads trip, or you could say what you really wanted to do and the family could do that as the next holiday.

LittleBearPad Sun 25-Nov-12 19:48:16

What is it about safari's that you don't like? Can't you go this time and pick the next holiday.

Tillyboo Sun 25-Nov-12 23:03:09

I'm not a party pooper or adverse to another type of holiday, I just don't want to go on safari !
For example, The Northern Lights/ Lapland at Christmas. Myself & my dd absolutely love Christmas & I think it'd be magical for her ....twinkly lights everywhere, log cabins with an open fire, snow, husky rides (we all love dogs), reindeer/ horse sleigh rides (myself & dd love horses & reindeers), DH loves the snowy environments & activities, so I'm thinking this would be very memorable.
We're currently in the most active period as the the lights apparantly run in cycles every 11 years for 3 yrs. So, up until Dec 2013, it's likely we'll get the best show.

I remember seeing Joanna Lumley lying in the snow looking up at the night sky flickering with the most gorgeous colours & that's stayed with me ever since smile

ThatVikRinA22 Sun 25-Nov-12 23:09:37

what a terrible terrible dilemma...

MrsMushroom Mon 26-Nov-12 00:04:58

I hate the heat...hate dust...hate being in "rough terrain" generally. Maybe the OP is like me? I also have minimal interest in wild animals.

HollaAtMeBaby Mon 26-Nov-12 00:15:20

OMG this is such a first world problem! You sound unbelievably spoilt. It's one holiday of what sounds like a lifetime of luxury trips (skiing, Lapland at Christmas, riding holidays). It is your DH's dream and it will be wonderful for your DD. Have a few days in Cape Town too if that'll make this hideous trauma more bearable for you, lots of lovely spas, beaches and shops etc for you there hmm

theoriginalandbestrookie Mon 26-Nov-12 10:08:49

Ok so OP you have outlined your dream holiday and it sounds like you want your DH and DD to be there with you.

Can you do both - northern lights next year to get the best of them, then safari the next ?

I know you aren't keen to do the safari, but its your DH's dream and it just seems a bit well churlish to try to replace it with your dream when presumably you can afford to do both.

If you are fed up with holidays you don't enjoy then skip the ski holiday - your DD should be old enough to be fairly self sufficient in ski school during the day but it sounds like your DH wants you to be there with him on safari and surely it can't be that much of a torture for you !

dinkystinky Mon 26-Nov-12 10:12:45

Why doesnt your DH go on holiday with your DD then, and do the safari, and you go on a riding holiday with your friends elsewhere at the same time? Or is it the fact that you all have to go together?

I went to South Africa with DH when pregnant with DS1 - we did 4 days safari (chose which drives we wanted to go on, chilled at luxury lodge the rest of the time), 4 days whale watching and capetown then the garden route (DH enjoyed making the most of the vineyards with a built in designated driver on holiday) and it was wonderful - but I wanted to do each part of that holiday.

ZZZenAgain Mon 26-Nov-12 11:08:13

As a child, I did a great deal of this kind of thing, though less organised and it was perfectly normal for us so we did not question it; and to this day, I remember a great deal of what we saw and experienced, so I think your dd would enjoy it.

Your husband has looked into a luxury safari you said, so I think even if you are not particularly keen on driving about and looking at the wildlife , perhaps you would still really enjoy the socialising, the meals, the perhaps quite unusual places you will stay in. If you have not been to Africa before, the sunrise is quite spectacular and I think you could really enjoy the main part of your trip, even if the actual days spent watching wildlife don't interest you much.

If you enjoy riding holidays, I wonder if you could combine the two, spend some time after the safari staying in a nice place with good trails?

ZZZenAgain Mon 26-Nov-12 11:12:48

There were however 3 of us dc in the family. If you are worried about your dd feeling isolated, I am not sure what you can do other than travelling with another family or taking a friend along with you. Could you check whether there are other families with dc booked already?

Backinthebox Mon 26-Nov-12 11:27:37

I have your holiday problems solved for you!

1. Your husband wants to go on safari, you want to go riding. Why not go here? There is nothing like waiting for a giraffe to appear while you are on a horse - terrifying and fabulous all at the same time.

2. Your husband likes skiing, you want to see the Northern Lights. You can ski (a bit) here. A good skier will make the most of the waist deep champagne powder beside the pistes in the trees or hone their tricks on the kilometre-long natural half-pipe. But the atmosphere is amazing and there are lots of other snowy things to do. I've seen the Northern Lights here too, and they are jaw-dropping.

If I were you, I would be agreeing to compromise on both things. Agree to an African adventure if you can go off riding when you get there, but he has to give up the pure skiing holiday for this in order that you can see the Northern Lights.

I'll just add that I resisted going to see a family member in a very difficult to get to place for years as I didn't want to go. Its a place that is not considered very child-friendly. I've just got back from a few days there with 5yo DD, and wondered why we didn't go sooner! I had my mind changed about the place and can't wait to go back with 2yo DS next time! It's sometimes worth stepping outside of your comfort zone.

MorrisZapp Mon 26-Nov-12 11:31:39

How rude are you, Holla?

Personally I wouldn't go on a safari even if it was free. I would hate it. Holidays are meant to be fun.

GlobeDU Mon 26-Nov-12 12:16:08

Hi Tillyboo,

As a tour operator based in South Africa I thought I would give you some assistance with some constructive information regarding travelling in South Africa.

A Safari doesnt have to be a bad/boring experience. There are many kinds of safari's available in South Africa and a number of these are tailored for families with children. My advise if you are worried about having to wait to see animals or malaria is to rather choose a safari destination that is
a- not in a malaria area of South Africa
b- a reserve that is not too far away from other attractions that all members of the family will enjoy
c- take into consideration the weather during the time you are wanting to visit South Africa (remember that the rainy season is different from the Western Cape vs the rest of the country)

A good way of experiencing a safari but at the same time enjoying the shops/beaches/sight-seeing and more is to choose a destination like Cape Town/Stellenbosch OR Port Elizabeth OR outskirts of Durban OR outskirts of Pretoria/Johannesburg.

Personally I would suggest Cape Town/Stellenbosch due to the wide range of things to do for both adults and children and then have a day or weekend trip to a nearby Game Reserve. This way, you are also able to let your dh & dd go for the safari adventure whilst you go for the pamper-treatment, but at the same time being able to enjoy a family holiday together with the rest of the activities/attractions.

Feel free to contact me if you would like suggestions or help with this.
You are also welcome to visit for ideas of what all you can do/see when in Cape Town/Stellenbosch if you choose this option :-)

Just remember that a family vacation needs to be tailored in a way that each family member gets a chance to do what they like most but at the same time include things that the family as a whole can enjoy together too.


This thread is making me nostalgic.

I love the Kruger.

I have the SANParks webcams as a favourite on my laptop and spend many happy hours watching the wildlife.

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 26-Nov-12 12:46:04


this thread is making me feel skint.

we didnt have any holiday this year. It must be nice to have this type of dilemma while holiday planning - i am hoping that we will get a week as a family next year but i will be in devon, but i would just appreciate some time away with the family to enjoy each others company.

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 26-Nov-12 12:46:36


Congratulations on enjoying family holidays.

We always argue. Mainly about the dog.

ThatVikRinA22 Mon 26-Nov-12 12:52:58

ours comes with us. smile

So does ours - which is why we argue.,

Not to SA of course. That would be silly. DH stays at home with him.


legalalien Mon 26-Nov-12 13:23:56

We went to the western cape for a week with ds aged 7, it was great ( whales and sharks not big 5). I have bookmarked this place as being child friendly if I ever get a chance to do the safari thing

From what I can gather the big issue with taking children, apart from malaria drugs etc, is that the game drives take place early morning and evening and there's a fair bit of down time in between. This place is malaria free and promises to occupy kids during the day.

Dustylaw Wed 28-Nov-12 23:28:45

Please look up Ant's Nest and Horizon (both v close to each other in the Waterberg region of South Africa) and call either In the Saddle or Aardvark. You can have safety, luxury, fun, safari, horse riding and a great family holiday.

givemeaclue Fri 30-Nov-12 12:27:34

What did the op decide in the end?

Tillyboo Thu 20-Dec-12 00:45:26

Holla .. I am NOT spoilt ! Do not judge. You do not know the facts surrounding this opportunity. I could share the reasons but will choose to stay dignified and keep my silence.

The subject of the holiday has not been broached since & that's the way I'd like to keep it.

Question for you, would you do something you were really against doing ?

Tillyboo Thu 20-Dec-12 00:47:37

I'd just like to say thank you to those who offered constructive replies whether they agreed with me or not, especially GlobeDU for your very concise advice.

LittleBairn Fri 21-Dec-12 11:22:55

Tilly I totally get the issue.
My DH LOVES cruises, went on many before we met. He constantly tries to put presure on me to 'just try one' but if I know I will hate it then why should I?

One of my reasons is the whole noro virus issue everytime I weaken a little it pops back up on the news about a ship in lockdown.

I for one would absoulutely love a Northen Lights sort of holiday (I too remember the Joannna Lumly program!) but DH refuses to consider it, if its cold when your on Holiday then its not a holiday in his mind.

Marriage is about compromise by choosing to bind your life to someone else's there will be compromise therefore we might not get our 'dream' holiday.

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