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HomeTravel news and articles9 tips for a successful safari with children

9 tips for a successful safari with children

22 January, 2018
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Boys by waterhole in Namibia

Imagine how your child will react to the sight of the animals of the savannah.

With an open-mounted gaze or enthusiasm?

We all want to create unforgettable experiences to share with our children. And there’s nothing quite as amazing as a safari in Africa.

But without proper preparation, holidays with children can become something to be endured.

Below, we give you 9 tips on how to enjoy the best safari with your children – before, during and after the trip.

3 tips before the tour

Safari car among zebras

A lot of thought and consideration tends to go into your choice of holiday. Especially when travelling with children.

Are you travelling with young children or older children?

What kind of family holiday do you normally go on?

And once you have purchased your holiday, how should you prepare for the trip?

1) Select the holiday according to the age of the children

Most of our destinations are doable with children.

On the whole, the older the children are, the more they’ll appreciate the experiences that adults appreciate.

But when travelling with younger children, it’s a good idea to give a little extra thought to the holiday you choose.

Think about the following:

  • Be aware of how far you have to travel in the car between the sights.
    You might like to consider a family safari or a fly-in safari, where you fly to the national parks. Or you can go the other way and choose a self-drive tour, which allows you to set the pace, e.g. on the Garden Route in South Africa.
  • Choose a tour with a half-day safari – a game drive – if you know that your children are not good at spending the whole day in a car. The younger your children, the shorter the safari should be.
  • Find out if it’s possible to have a private safari car
    Depending on the destination, this can be a more expensive solution, but it makes for a more flexible trip and gives you the option to call it a day early if necessary.
  • If you are travelling with very young children or you are pregnant, it might be a good idea to choose a malaria-free destination, such as Kariega Game Reserve in South Africa, where we also have a family safari, designed especially for those travelling with children.
  • Please note that there may be age restrictions on selected activities and at certain lodges. Please contact our travel consultants for help.

2) Choose a tour to suit your family

Families are different.

And we holiday in different ways.

When choosing a tour for your family, make sure there’s something for everyone – and avoid trying to pack in more than your children can manage.

If your children are not interested in animals, a 100% safari holiday might not be the best trip for them.

There are many options to combine a safari with other experiences, such as a beach holiday, a city break or other nature experiences such as the Victoria Falls.

Combining a safari with a beach holiday is perfect for a lot of families as you have time to fully unwind and digest all that you have seen and done.

3) Prepare and anticipate

Before you leave, it’s a good idea to prepare yourself for what you’re about to experience.

You need to pack, you’re going to fly, and you can prepare for the activities that await you in Africa.

In fact, it’s a good idea to talk about what happens on the actual safari.

  • Prepare your children for the fact that you have to be patient when you’re on safari. You might not always see the animals right away. But, rest assured, you will see animals – lots of animals. Tell them that looking for the animals is all part of the fun.
  • Tell them about nature, about mating and how the animals survive on the savannah.
    You may well see animals mating, animals hunting or predators eating another animal.
  • And it goes without saying that you should prepare as you would for any other trip travelling with children. You know your children best – and you know their limits. Also, take a look at our post on what to think about when planning a safari.

3 tips for when you’re there

Children on walking safari

1) Go to the toilet before the safari

It might seem like basic advice, but it’s important!

Remember to go to the toilet before going on the game drive.

Once you’re out on the savannah, there’s no way you can get out of the car to pee.

2) Let your children create their own memories

Involve your children by letting them create their own memories.

Bring books so that you can learn about the animals you see and make checklists so that you can tick off the animals as you spot them on the savannah. It’s a good way of keep the kids occupied.

You could also:

  • Encourage your children to ask if they have any questions. The guide is there for you and to ensure that you get the most out of your holiday.
  • Give your children a pair of binoculars each so they can see what’s happening in the distance, and a camera so they can take pictures of what they see themselves.
  • Let your children draw or write about their experiences.
    This not only gives them something to pass the time when there’s nothing to see, but also something to show other people when they get home.

3) Keep an eye out!

Our safari destinations are generally safe.

The child-friendly lodges are typically fenced, but if you stay at a regular lodge, this may not be the case. So, you should always keep an eye on where your children are.

3 tips for after the tour

Family on safari

A big part of travelling is also digesting all that you have seen and done on your return home.

Here are a few tips on how to make your holiday last a little longer.

1) Talk about the holiday together

You know what the holiday was like for you, but how was it for your children?

It’s interesting to hear about the holiday from your child’s point of view. The things that you think were the most amazing may not be the ones that blew your child away.

So let your child tell you and perhaps enrich you with thoughts on your shared experience that may not even have occurred to you.

2) Use your photos

Most people take a lot of pictures when they’re on holiday, and if you’ve let your child take some pictures, there are bound to be a lot of fun and unforgettable memories in them.

Use the photos; have them developed or put together a photo album together. That way, you can also remember your amazing travel experiences in pictures long after the holiday is over.

3) Tell others about your holiday

As mentioned above, your children experienced the holiday in their own way. Let them tell friends and family about it.

Talking about the holiday from their unique perspective, allows them to digest all that they saw and did, while developing as people.

Are you ready?

Lioness with cub

A safari really is something that will bring you closer as a family.

Spending several hours together in a safari car, where there is not necessarily something happening all the time, gives you time to talk to each other and really be together. It gives you a unique opportunity to find out what’s going on in your children’s and each other’s lives in a completely different way to at home and on other types of holidays.

Are you ready to go on safari with your children and enjoy the experience of a lifetime?

Childfriendly tours

We recommend that you contact our travel consultants to find the tour that best suits your family.

A holiday in Africa is generally an experience that only happens once or twice in a lifetime, so ENJOY IT!

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