Family Safaris in Africa
Are you thinking of going on an African safari holiday with your kids, but you’re not sure what to expect? While a safari trip to Africa might not be the first thing that comes to mind when planning a family getaway, we’re here to tell you that not only will it be a trip of a lifetime but leave your kids with memories and experiences that they’ll absolutely NEVER forget! Plus, you’ll have the added bonus of seeing your little one’s eyes light up when they see the cast of The Lion King in real life. That alone is reason enough to pack your bags and book your unforgettable family safari holiday to Africa right away!
Family Safaris in South Africa
While Africa offers several pristine safari experiences in various countries, South Africa is undoubtedly the top destination for a safari with children. Not only is it home to an exceptional range of national parks, conservation areas, and premium safari lodges, but it is also easily accessible and boasts several malaria-free reserves. As many children aren’t able to take malaria prophylactics (especially when they are very young), it is crucial to avoid high malaria zones. South Africa is almost entirely malaria-free, with the renowned Madikwe Safari Lodge and Private Game Reserve, bordering Botswana and at the tip of the Kalahari Desert, being one of the country’s top malaria-free reserves. This makes it an excellent option for families travelling with kids.
In addition to Madikwe Private Game Reserve, South Africa’s famous and highly sought-after Kruger National Park, also known as the ultimate Big5 safari mecca, is one of the top destinations for a family safari holiday. Here you’ll also find several luxury private game reserves and safari lodges like Londolozi Private Game Reserve, offering a more exclusive experience for your family.
Although this Big5 safari mecca is a fan favourite amongst locals and tourists alike, there are plenty of other game reserves, parks, and lodges in South Africa for an enjoyable, exciting, and unforgettable family safari holiday. One of which is the stunning Garden Route which is known to be one of the best road trips. As you travel along this scenic coast, you’ll find many malaria-free reserves like Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, making travelling with kids a breeze. The landscapes and surroundings also vary depending on where you go, with some game reserves even located close to the coast, offering the perfect bush and beach holiday – what more could you possibly ask for?
To top it off, South Africa has the best infrastructure, with a wide variety of safari accommodation options and family-friendly lodges. Most of these lodges have dedicated kids’ clubs, children play areas and exciting safari programmes. These safari programmes include a variety of adventures and “mini-safaris,” introducing kids to the bush in a safe and regulated way. Top family-friendly lodges and camps across South Africa are recognising the importance of having dedicated safaris for kids and are even offering specialist junior ranger programmes. These programmes give children the opportunity to learn more about Africa’s wildlife and biodiversity through guided, safe, and age-appropriate activities.
Family-friendly Safari Lodges in Africa
While there are numerous family-friendly safari lodges and camps in Africa, here are a few more top and highly regarded options that provide exceptional experiences for families and visitors of all ages and should undoubtedly be on your African safari bucket-list:
- Singita Sasakwa Lodge (Tanzania)
- Mombo Camp (Botswana)
- Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge (South Africa): ): Located in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge provides luxurious accommodations and exciting wildlife encounters. They have a dedicated EleFun Centre for kids, offering supervised activities focused on nature education and conservation.
- Madikwe Safari Lodge, Madikwe Game Reserve (South Africa): Madikwe Safari Lodge offers family suites and a Kids’ Club with supervised activities. They have a Junior Ranger Program that allows children to learn about wildlife conservation while engaging in fun activities.
- Thornybush Game Lodge, Kruger National Park (South Africa)
- Angama Mara (Kenya)
- Chief’s Camp (Botswana)
- Londolozi Founders Camp (South Africa)
- Royal Malewane (South Africa)
- Ol Donyo Lodge (Kenya)
- Kwandwe Ecca Lodge (South Africa)
- Mara Plains Camp (Kenya)
- &Beyond Sandibe Okavango Safari Lodge (Botswana)
- Ulusaba Private Game Reserve (South Africa)
- Singita Lebombo Lodge (South Africa)
- Little Chem Chem (Tanzania)
- Chitabe Camp (Botswana)
- andBeyond Ngala Safari Lodge (South Africa): Situated in the Timbavati Game Reserve, Ngala Safari Lodge offers a range of family-friendly activities such as game drives, bush walks, and stargazing. They have dedicated guides who cater to the needs and interests of children, making it a great choice for families.
- Serian the Original (Kenya)
- Makanyi Private Game Lodge (South Africa)
- Ngorongoro Crater Lodge (Tanzania)
- Serra Cafema Camp (Namibia)
- Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp
- Jacks Safari Lodge
- Ngala Safari Lodge
- Kwandwe Ecca Lodge, Kwandwe Private Game Reserve (South Africa)
- The Motse at Tswalu, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve (South Africa)
- Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp (Kenya): Situated in the Masai Mara National Reserve, Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp offers spacious family tents and activities that allow children to learn about the local wildlife and culture. They have a dedicated program called the Adventurers’ Club, which organizes guided bush walks and educational activities for kids.
- Sarova Mara Game Camp (Kenya): Sarova Mara Game Camp is located in the Masai Mara Game Reserve and offers family tents and interconnecting rooms. They have a Maasai cultural village nearby where children can learn about local traditions. Game drives and balloon safaris are also available.
- Jaci’s Lodges (South Africa): Jaci’s Lodges in Madikwe Game Reserve offer a range of family-friendly accommodations, including private safari villas with swimming pools. They provide child-minding services and organize activities like guided walks, bug CSI, and stargazing.
- Lewa Wilderness (Kenya): Situated in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Lewa Wilderness provides family cottages and a variety of activities suitable for all ages. They offer horseback riding, game drives, bush walks, and visits to the local Maasai community.
- Linyanti Ebony Camp (Botswana): Located in the private Linyanti Concession, Linyanti Ebony Camp offers family-friendly accommodations and activities such as game drives, boat safaris, and fishing. They have knowledgeable guides who cater to the interests of children.
- Marataba Safari Lodge
- Kambaku Safari Lodge
- Nottens Safari Lodge
- Rockfig Timbavati
- Black Rhino Safari Lodge.
These lodges and camps offer a range of family-friendly amenities such as spacious accommodations, dedicated children’s programs, child-minding services, and tailored safari activities suitable for guests of all ages. However, it’s always a good idea to check with each property directly to ensure they meet your specific needs and preferences before making a booking.
Other great family safari destinations in Africa include:
Why choose a safari in Africa for your family holiday
While the reasons to go on a family safari holiday in Africa are truly endless, here are some of the top reasons why you should choose a safari in Africa for your next family holiday or getaway.
- Family safaris in Africa offer specially designed kids safari programmes to keep little ones entertained and learning along the way.
- Many kids’ safari programmes are split into different age groups so that even your pre-teen can have some fun and meet some new friends.
- Some safari lodges also offer shorter game drives so that you can share the experience with the kids without them getting restless.
- Many family-friendly safari lodges have excellent amenities for kids such as playrooms, swimming pools, and more so that they never get bored, giving you the opportunity to sit back, relax, and soak up the glorious African sunshine and stunning wilderness surroundings.
- South Africa has plenty of malaria-free safari destinations to make travelling with kids safer and easier.
- Many of the lodges have childminders who can keep an eye on the kids while you and your significant other enjoy a date night.
- You can hire out exclusive-use safari villas or lodges with your own private butler, chef, game vehicle, and more to ensure everyone in the family gets a break from chores and have a home in the bush.
What can kids do on family safari holidays
Many luxury safari lodges in Africa offer kid clubs to make them feel right at home and like true VIPs. From welcome packs, kid-approved menus, fun and exciting activities and adventures, and even African bedtime stories, they will truly be spoiled for choice. Several African safari lodges also teach them about the wilderness and its wonderful wildlife. This helps foster a love and respect for nature as well as a desire to protect our environment from a young age.
Everything you need to know about family safaris in Africa
Are kids allowed to go on open-vehicle safaris & game drives?
One of the most frequently asked questions is whether you can take kids on a safari or game drive. The short answer is yes, definitely! However, there are a few factors and restrictions that may apply.
Unfortunately not all safari activities are open to children of all ages. Most lodges and safari camps have age restrictions when it comes to their safari experiences and game drives. The majority of game lodges do not allow children under the age of 5 on game vehicles. Some lodges extend their age restriction to 6 – 8 years old. This is dependent on the specific game lodge and their set of safety regulations and guidelines.
If you are travelling with young children (under the permitted age for a safari or game drive) and would like to go on a safari, you may be able to book a private safari vehicle for you and your family. Provided that the lodge you are staying at offers this service.
Alternatively, almost all of South Africa’s family-friendly lodges offer excellent babysitting services while you go on safari. Many safari camps and lodges have also developed tailored children’s activity programmes and some even have a dedicated guide specially allocated to families with young children. For kids aged between 4 and 8, these programmes consist of a guide who keeps the children entertained.
Walking safaris and guided bush walks are other activities where the age restriction can vary and is often dependant on the prevalence of dangerous game in the area/reserve. The general age restriction for walking safaris is 16 years old.
**Tip: While the general age restriction pertaining to kids taking part in safari experiences applies to most game lodges, it can still vary from one lodge to the next. It is recommended that you do your research for full clarification regarding their specific age restrictions and guidelines.
HOWEVER, NOT ALL HOPE IS LOST! Many lodges ask that families with young children book private game-drive vehicles which enables you to enjoy a tailor-made safari. An extra bonus is that it gives the whole family the opportunity to enjoy a bucket-list worthy African safari experience. Now that’s what we call a win-win!
When is the best time to go on a family safari?
The answer is quite simple – WHENEVER YOU WANT! The beauty of Africa and its multiple safari destinations, National Parks, game reserves, conservancies, and private wildlife parks is that there is never a bad time to go on a magnificent, magical, and memorable family safari holiday.
As every African country and safari destination has something unique and exciting to offer, the only factors to take into consideration when planning your family safari holiday is your schedule, preferences, and what you would like to see, explore, and experience as it pertains to wildlife sightings and spectacles, climate, and safari adventures and activities. We therefore recommend that you do your research to ensure that your bucket-list family African safari holiday is everything you dream of and more!
Are safaris kid-friendly?
Absolutely, family-friendly safari lodges pride themselves on going the extra mile to ensure the lodge and surrounding area is fenced and secure to keep out any predators or big game. As an extra safety measure, families can also book accommodation such as exclusive-use family villas or interleading rooms to ensure everyone is staying close together.
How much does a family safari in Africa cost?
The cost of a family safari in Africa depends on various factors, including but not limited to when you are travelling / the time of year you plan to go on your family safari holiday, the African country and safari destination / destinations you choose to visit, the safari lodge you will be staying at, as well as any inclusions and safari experiences, adventures, and activities you plan to tick off your African safari bucket-list.
**Extra Note: With regards to pricing and cost, most game lodges and safari camps consider anyone over the age of 12 to be an adult. This is not to be confused with the minimum age restrictions pertaining to game drives and safari experiences. There are very few game lodges and safari camps that offer discounts to children over the age of 12, and even children under the age of 12 need to be sharing with an adult to receive a discounted rate.
It’s important to note that availability and amenities may vary, so it’s recommended to check with each lodge directly for the most up-to-date information and to ensure they meet your specific needs as a family.