Safari - anyone been with children?(10 Posts)
Hi, am thinking of booking a safari for a once in a lifetime holiday. DS will be 8 at time of travel.
We want to go somewhere that is family friendly and with fantastic game reserves. I'm just not sure which destinations are best with children - although South Africa is largely malaria free, not sure if it is the best safari experience.
Any advice out there?
Only some safaris take children that young. Trailfinders would be good for advice. Shamwari in South Africa has a family lodge but we went before kids so didn't stay in that one. Make sure there are people to look after your child if they don't want to go on all the game drives so you don't miss out! There was an eleven year old staying at the lodge we were in and he lost interest fairly quickly and was a bit of a pain but the lodge wasn't set up at all for kids, definitely choose a family friendly lodge.
Yes, only selected safari locations will allow children under 12. Ours were 7 and 9 when we went here www.kariega.co.za/ and it was perfect. We were 2 or 3 nights which was really enough for the kids but it was part of a bigger South African adventure which was fantastic.
here are two great places to stay with kids;
My DD is half Kenyan, when we go to see her Dad we will normally go on safari, so she her first safari was at 3. We normally only go for a few days though. We have never had a problem with her being in any of the lodges, we stayed in Treetops, which won't allow children under 6, when she was 7 and that was fine. As far as i know only Treetops and the Ark in Kenya have restrictions. The plan for this year is a balloon safari in the Masai Mara.
I've not taken mine but my mum and dad took me and my sister when we were 7 and 5 and I have some fab memories of it.
Can second Zambia, we stayed at Robins House at Luanga River camp , we were there this time last year , it was fabulous, between us we had 2 teens , a 12 year old , 10 year old and 6 year old and they were great with all .The guides were amazing , very very knowledgeable and great at picking up on the different interest in the party , eg dh is into birds , one of my boys loved the Kudus and one was really into insects .
On family stayed in the house and the other in one of the family lodges and we all ate together at the house whilst watching our own pod of hippos , added bonus is that you can get into the park across the river by boat
We did 4 nights in Kenya with a 4 & 7 yr old. Two nights were in a camp called Maji Moto run by the local Masaii, with a walking safari (so lots of herbivores and insects), making fire from scratch, spear training etc. My 7 yr old son absolutely loved it and asks to go back at least monthly... The staff were amazing with the kids and it was a very special place. www.majimotocamp.com
We then did two days of a normal safari. We had our own driver so we could dictate the pace. I think we were really lucky as we saw the big 5 in one morning - we were there during the migration in July plus had a great guide. Two days of game drives were more than enough for the kids - we were v happy that we spent the budget on a shorter trip with one guide than have to worry about the kids fitting into other people's plans. I think you also need to keep an eye on the driving with small kids- we drove from Nairobi but flew back. We booked with a company called eyesonafrica - they were extremely helpful, very open on what kids are able for, and organizedskype calls to discuss itineries etc.
Have a think about what time of year you plan to travel and likely budget. Are there any particular animals you REALLY want to see. Firms like Expert Africa/Aardvark Safaris have plenty of suggestions about where and when to go on their websites.
Have a think about whether you want to do night safaris. Have a think about whether you want to met local indigenous people (perhaps bushmen or Masai)
Also, I have always been tempted by a safari run by the Real Adventure Company in association with Longleat:
Pre-kids, we've done plenty of safaris in Africa (Zambia/Malawi/Kenya/Namibia).
If we were travelling by ourselves (i.e. without other families) I think I would probably chose to go back to Namibia with DD (now 71/2) for a 1st time "try". It is a vast country with very few people and amazing landscapes. Very little is malarial. Self-Drive is so easy and the big national park (Etosha) is very affordable and drivable with government rest camps. They all have floodlit waterholes and lots of other travellers. (Private reserves/camps tend to have fewer kids.) I'd probably combine it with a couple of nights to somewhere like Okonjima and the coast (v cold water; go there to see the fur seals) and some farm stays.
Otherwise I would DEFINITELY choose a safari that has kids activities/dedicated rangers.
We went camping in Nambia last year and the experience was fantastic. HOWEVER, we stayed on a camp site which had a watering hole and it was amazing to see the rhinos come to socialise at night. There were a number of children staying there and they got bored very easily screaming and shouting and running all over the place. They were obviously bored and had no interest in wildlife. Having spent a lot of money to enjoy the experience it spoiled the experience for us.
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