African safari holidays are one of the most exciting, life changing experiences and to share that with your family is something very special. A trip to one of our top safari destinations such as Botswana, Malawi and Namibia can be both experiential and educational, and will give you and your kids a true sense of exploration when you’re out there. From the stirring scenes of hippos bathing in the Okavango Delta wetlands and mind-blowing Massif mountain views at the Zomba Plateau to the golden sandy beaches at vast Lake Malawi, there are so many different ways that you and your family could make an African safari your own; and yours to remember forever. If you have the time to spare, the money to do it, and all the right gear to keep the whole family safe from the elements, there really is nothing we would recommend more than a safari trip to one of our beautiful African destinations.
Here at Signature Safaris, we like to think of our bespoke travel packages as life encounters, not just vacations. So if you’re in the midst of planning a family adventure, make sure you read our epic guide to family safari holidays…
The safari holiday has changed dramatically in recent decades; what was once only open to serious explorers and seasoned safari experts has now become a much more accessible possibility for just about anyone who has an adventurous bone in their body. With so much accessibility and so many resources to help you plan and get around safely, safari trips are now becoming an extremely popular choice for a family getaway. But not all destinations are created equal; here’s a breakdown of some fantastic safari destinations which could be suitable for your family and our recommended camps / lodges.
Historically, Botswana hasn’t been a first choice for family safaris; game risks and unpredictable terrain makes this country a more obvious choice for experienced safari goers. But today, there are a number of smaller sized camps that can help to create more of a tailored experienced for those travelling with children.
The Okavango Delta is not to be missed and home to a plethora of wildlife, sightings of most mammals are guaranteed. Expect to see the ‘Big Five’ (lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards and rhinos) as well as giraffes, impalas, bushbucks and even crocodiles.
The Banoka Bush Camp features a couple of family sized tents which can accommodate 2 adults + 2 children in each; the camp comes with a dining area, bar/lounge, viewing deck and plunge pool and regular sightings of lions, wild dogs and hyenas can be seen. You can also stay at Kalahari Plains which boasts some of the best summer game viewing in Africa as well as temperature controlled accommodation to keep your whole family comfortable.
We think that Malawi is highly recommended for families travelling with children; the country’s game parks and reserves also serve as a great entry level safari experience for first-timers. And because the country of Malawi has been named “The Warm Heart of Africa” due to the people being so friendly and welcoming, it’s a fantastic place to take the whole family. The country is also free from traffic jams and considered to be one of the safest places in Africa to travel to. With the rehabilitation and repopulation programmes run by the government and non-profit organisations in recent years, parks such as the Majete Wildlife Reserve can now rival that of neighbouring countries. It’s also home to the stunning Lake Malawi, with plenty of beaches to keep your family entertained.
Lake Malawi is a must and there are so many family friendly activities such as boat hire, kayaking, swimming, snorkelling, fishing and various watersports. Parks to visit include Majete Wildlife Reserve, Liwonde National Park and Nyika National Park.
Mvuu Lodge located at Liwonde is definitely a favourite for families; the lodge offers twin tented family accommodation, complete with en suite bathroom. As well as a dining / bar area, you will also find a large wildlife library and a hide which overlooks the river.
Namibia is a great place for game drives because the country boasts good roads, well-managed parks and pretty impressive facilities. For this reason, we think it makes a very good family safari destination. Home to two great deserts and with as much game spotting as there is birdwatching, Namibia makes a fantastic all-rounder.
Visit The Namib Desert and the Kalahari Desert to experience the alien-like landscapes and the amazing sight of the sand dunes. Visit Etosha National Park which is home to the ‘Big Five’ (lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards and rhinos) and make time to explore Fish River Canyon.
A stay at Andersson’s Camp in Namibia will give you everything you need for a comfortable and convenient family holiday. This family camp set on the edge of Etosha National Park gives you and your kids an excellent viewing opportunity – you can even spot the Black Rhino and White Rhino at the camp’s waterhole.
If you’re looking for a family beach holiday, Seychelles can make a wonderful destination. Being free of malaria and the risk of large predators on game safaris, a family holiday to the tropical Seychelles islands is a very safe option – especially if you’re travelling with very young children. Although popular as a honeymoon destination, many resorts are family friendly.
The Aldabra Atoll is home to 150,000 giant tortoises, which is the world’s largest population of tortoises in one habitat. Bird Island is also a great place for birdwatching and Curieuse Marine National Park is a fantastic place to spot marine life. Other activities include swimming, snorkelling, fishing or scuba diving.
Constance LeMuria and North Island are both fantastic resorts if you’re travelling with the family. They both offer top of the range hotel facilities such as gym and fitness centres, spa centres, swimming pools, restaurants and bars, and large family sized suites or villas.
(This list of destinations above is by no means exhaustive; for more information about family travel to other destinations in Africa, feel free to contact our team for advice.)
Packing for the whole family isn’t easy at the best of times. For a family safari in Africa, it can be a total mind boggle, especially when you have limited luggage space. Here’s a list of some must-pack items; it’s always better to be safe than sorry so preparation is everything.
Warm and Cool Clothing
Safari travel won’t always be hot. If you’re unsure, contact our team for weather/climate advice but many of our destinations will be much warmer in the day and then cooler at night. And with some game safaris happening very early on or very late, you need to be sure you have the appropriate clothing for all extremes.
UV Clothing / Breathable Clothing
Not everyone likes to get high-tech with their holiday gear but it’s highly recommended for safaris. Breathable footwear will keep feet cool, moisture wicking clothing will help to prevent stickiness and UV protective t-shirts will protect your little ones from harmful UV rays.
Mosquitos are very common when the weather is hot and humid. This means rainy summer seasons are the easiest times to get bitten. When packing repellent, make sure you choose a multi-insect repellent to protect against all bugs. If you’re prone to getting bitten, it could be an idea to pack various protective measures such as repellent spray, creams, wipes, arm bands and repellent clothing.
Sun Cream / Aftersun
We recommend bringing the highest factor possible; spending all day out in the sun on a safari adventure can leave you and your kids with very bad sunburn if you’re not careful. Bring plenty and don’t buy low factor creams.
Having the right sunglasses will make all the difference on safari. Not only will they protect your family’s eyes from harmful UV rays but they can help to create better clarity and deflect glare. Brands such as Oakley, Carrera, Ray Ban, Bolle and Serengeti are high performance brands and many of them feature kids’ collections too.
You can never be too careful, especially when you’re travelling to a new place with children. We would always suggest packing the following; antihistamines (including antihistamine cream for bites), anti-malaria pills (if required), nausea medication / stomach settlers and anti-diarrhoea tablets.
Booking a family safari holiday is easier than ever and here at Signature Safaris, we will do whatever we can to make your holiday planning a doddle. The family friendly camps and lodges featured on our website are hand curated by our expert safari team and have been chosen for their excellent hospitality and top facilities. If you have any doubts, questions, thoughts or reservations, please don’t hesitate to contact our team and we’d be more than happy to advise you. Otherwise, read on for some top tips on how to make your family safari trip run as smoothly as possible.
Always Start Small
Not only can the pace of safari holidays be overwhelming but the amount of animals to see, witness and learn about can be a lot to take in all in one go; start small at the viewing spots at your camp and try visiting smaller parks before you head to the big ones. You can also prep young kids with some wildlife books so they know what to expect when they arrive; after all, big predators may appear scary to very small people! Educating your kids about wild animals will also keep them safe so always be prepared.
Take a Large Backpack
It’s important to make sure you have access to everything when you take kids out on a game safari. You could be out there for hours and you never know when your little ones might need extra sun cream, insect repellent, hand sanitizer, baby wipes, medication or an extra layer to keep them warm when the sun goes down.
Let Your Kids Make their Own Experiences
Children may struggle with the early mornings, long days and late nights so it’s important to book in some ‘wind down’ time, even if it’s just chilling and relaxing at the camp. We also think it’s important to let your kids make their own experiences and memories from their safari trip; give them a kid-safe camera or video recording device and let them devise their own projects. They’ll love the responsibility and they’ll feel like they are making a big contribution to the holiday.
Being safe on safari is paramount so it’s important to do your research before you travel anywhere. We recommend using the Gov.uk travel resource to check the latest updates on safety / health / terrorism / natural disasters and be sure to brush up on your desired destination by using our Planning & Resources section; we have ultimate guides which all feature health and safety tips and general information about what you’ll see on safari, which parks to visit and where to stay.
In addition to conducting all the necessary research, reading travel blogs and turning to trusted internet sites for reviews, we would definitely suggest the following tips:
▪ Don’t risk your life for a photo – there will be many, many photo opps during your time on safari so never put yourself or your family at danger just to get that perfect photo. It’s dangerous and isn’t worth the risk.
▪ Trust your instincts – the guides on safari are experienced and will always have the safety of their visitors in mind. However, you should always trust your own instincts. Small children can look like prey to big predators so if you don’t deem a situation safe, don’t be afraid to speak up.
▪ Don’t corner wild animals – it can be easy for kids to become over familiar with animals, especially if they are abundant at your camp where you are staying. But never corner them for a photo as animals can react unpredictably if they feel threatened or scared.
▪ Listen to your guide – your guides are experienced with stepping out into the wild and crossing the paths of wild animals. Listen to their rules and advice. If they set ground rules on a safari trip, it’s in your own interest (and the interest of your family and others) to obey them.
If you have any questions about the destinations mentioned above or any of our other destinations – including Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique or Republic of the Congo – get in touch with our team today. We would be happy to help assist in creating your next family adventure. Call 01342 811787 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.