Taking your children on an African safari to introduce them to the magic of the African bush and the wonder of the wildlife they’ve seen on TV is an amazing gift. A family African safari can be a lot of fun, but it does require a bit of research and planning. Here are our tips for taking kids on an African safari.
Know before you go
Many game parks in Africa contain malaria, and you can’t give anti-malarial medication to small children, so do your research on the malaria risks of areas you want to visit before you plan your trip, as there are lots of options of malaria-free parks you could visit, such as Addo Elephant National Park, Kwandwe Game Reserve, Madikwe Game Reserve, Pilanesberg Game Reseve and Marakele National Park in South Africa.
Another tip for going on an African safari with kids is that most lodges only allow children from age six and up, and there are some safari activities, such as walking safaris and gorilla tracking, which have age limits. Make sure you know the age restrictions before you plan your itinerary. If you have children under the age of six, consider doing a self-drive safari, where you explore a game park in your own car and either stay in a self-catering bungalow or a campsite.
Mix it up
Children can get bored on long game drives day after day, so why not plan a trip where you mix up the activities? You could stay at a lodge that offers nature walks, where a guide will teach you about the small things you miss on game drives, safaris by boat or mokoro, as well as other outdoors activities such as mountain biking, hiking or canoeing. You could also do a trip that combines game viewing with other fun things to do in the country, such as sand boarding down the desert dunes in Namibia, or horse riding in Botswana.
Keep them occupied on game drives
To keep young kids interested in the bush on long game drives, pack a few things in the truck to keep them entertained. Bring along a simple point and shoot camera so they can shoot their own wildlife photos, and maybe a book of animals and birds so they can check off what they’ve seen, and perhaps an animal colouring in book to keep them absorbed when you’re stopped off at a waterhole for awhile.
What about taking children on one of our African overlanding safaris?
Our African overlanding safaris have have some Family Departures tours for children aged between 10 and 17. You can also organise a private charter overlanding safari where you would be able to bring your kids along, depending on the route you choose.