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Safari around Christmas time with kids

(16 Posts)
mrs2cats Fri 04-Jan-13 10:30:30

Around next Christmas I'll be celebrating my 50th birthday and, as a celebration, we're toying with the idea of going on a safari.

Does anyone know if that time of year is good for a safari trip? Where would be the best place? Our children will be 13 and 10, is there anything we should take into consideration with regards to them?

DH works for an airline so there's the possibility of flying out to Johannesburg or Nairobi using concessions. This worries me a little 'cos it means planning the rest of the trip. Has anyone done a freelance safari with kids?

Sorry for all the questions.

DrSeuss Fri 04-Jan-13 14:51:15

Namibia is great and non malarial which is a consideration. However, most importantly,mwhat are your kids like? On safari, you need to be in the vehicle by 6 am. Camps and lodges don't have much on in the evenings. Do they get excited about animals, the whole point of the trip? Are they going to be ok with a six hour outing with maybe a five minute bit of action every hour or so? If they like typical holiday Resort stuff, if they aren't fascinated by animals, if they have limited attention spans then you will be in a jeep in the middle of nowhere with them!
If you think they can do it

Fluffy1234 Fri 04-Jan-13 15:21:36

I haven't been on a safari but have taken my similar aged children to Cape Town and it was my best holiday ever. So much to do and the weather would be beautiful at Christmas time. Perhaps you could plan a twin centre holiday.

DrSeuss Fri 04-Jan-13 15:57:35

Cape Town, especially Boulders Beach and the penguins is great!

BlameItOnTheBogey Fri 04-Jan-13 16:06:31

I live in Kenya and Christmas is a grew time to come here. It's just coming into our summer and dry period which is perfect (it doesn't get too hot here although the sun can be fierce). We often organize our own safaris here and it's really easy. Many, many places are geared up for children. As a starting point look at Mara Intrepids or Samburu intrepids as possible places. Depending on your budget, I recommend a week of safari and then a week on the coast in self catering. YOu can fly between them all (in little planes) and it would be the holiday of a lifetime.

BlameItOnTheBogey Fri 04-Jan-13 16:08:17

And ps if you would rather, there are LOADS of companies here who would organize the whole thing for you. It's cheaper to do it yourself but not masses cheaper and it would certainly make your life easier to have someone else do it for you. I can recommend some companies if you like.

InExitCelsisDeo Fri 04-Jan-13 16:13:46

I am a great fan of the Kruger Park. 4 hours drive from Joburg - hire a combi and pile all your stuff in, and drive up from the south to the north of the park staying in the various rest camps along the way. See a great diversity of landscapes and all the animals you could possibly want, and the birds, oh the birds.

My DD has been three times so far, aged 5, 9 and 12.

Don't get sucked into the early morning game drives - good for a different perspective of stuff but not essential, you see just as much at other times of the day.

pm me if you want more details.

Steth Fri 04-Jan-13 16:14:36

I wouldn't go to Namibia if this is your first safari trip and you are intending on seeing the "big 5" Namibia is beautiful and has good wildlife but not great. You'd have to go to the national parks and stay 'on road' safari through the park, unless you book with a Co. called Wilderness Safaris who are great but very pricey. They do fly-in safaris throughout Namibia.

I would say if money is no object then do Botswana followed by a few days in Cape Town or fly up to Zambia to see Victoria Falls and maybe a bunjeee jump. Botswana will allow you to do a water and land combination safari which would be amazing for your family. Most of the camps are top notch, great wildlife and the food is amazing.

If you are traveling standby with your DH's airline you might struggle to get space at any camp at such short notice. But equally if you book the camps in advance you might lose out on a night if you can't get on a flight. Can you get confirmed seats at discounted rate?

MooseBeTimeForCoffee Fri 04-Jan-13 16:50:27

I know a camp in the Kruger where you can sleep out in a tent or even on a platform in a tree and go on walking safaris to hunt for lions.

Cape Town is indeed awesome. Go see the penguins, have a picnic at Camps Bay. Sit on the Waterfront with a platter of the biggest prawns you'll ever see and a bottle of white wine smile

mrs2cats Fri 04-Jan-13 17:44:16

Wow, so much information and advice! Thanks very much.

I'll have to discuss with DH and have a good think. Yes, Steth, standby and camp availability concerns me a little too, thanks for highlighting it. Thanks to everyone for links and offers of further details - I may be contacting people soon.

InExitCelsisDeo Fri 04-Jan-13 23:26:36

And all the main camps in the Kruger now have a swimming pool, which is a great way of cooling off after a hot gamedrive.

MooseBeTimeForCoffee Fri 04-Jan-13 23:47:29

Yeah, the lodge we were at had to put an electric fence round the pool area to stop the elephants coming in and drinking it!

InExitCelsisDeo Fri 04-Jan-13 23:49:28

I want to be in the Kruger. Now.

I have the Sanparks webcams open all the time on my laptop so I can do a bit of idle game spotting during the day.

Salbertina Sat 05-Jan-13 13:03:51


Book Kruger camps NOW or u wont get any xmas hols family accom!!

Flight to jo'burg, hire car from airport and self drive - allow about 5 hours nonstop to southern camps

They don't all have pools and vary alot but website good w lots of info

Set up mainly for self-catering - many camps have restaurants but dire (think 80s school meals...) and overpriced. Onsite shops will sell all the food u need

This will work out MUCH cheaper than package

GlobeDU Wed 09-Jan-13 07:56:48

Christmas time is a lovely time to go on Safari in South Africa although you do need to book well in advance as this is a very, very popular season.

Things to take into consideration are:
- Christmas time is rainy season in the northern part of South Africa, but not in the southen part.
- Kruger National Park is a malaria-risk area
- Do you want to only stay in one Safari area or are you wanting to combine your trip (i.e. Safari, history, culture & fun)?

Feel free to check out some of the attractions I have available on as well as on as you will then be able to get a good idea of what all is available.

If this is the first time you are going on Safari with your children I would strongly recommend that you look for something that has a mix of beach & wildlife for your holiday. Ideally, have the city-beach portion happen after the safari so as to have something "fun" for the children to look forward to should they not be happy with the safari experience. Also, looking for different animal encounter experiences often makes the whole safari outing quite fun for the kids (i.e. Elephant back safari, cat walk, etc)

Feel free to contact me should you want any more information or assistance.

GlobeDU Wed 09-Jan-13 07:58:32

If you choose to go to Cape Town and surrounds for your holiday and want to try out wine tasting too, make sure you choose a tour that has fun things for your children to (i.e. chocolate tasting, cheese tasting, berry picking, etc)

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