Traveling with kids: How to survive your safari?
I often get asked if it’s really a good choice traveling with kids to Africa. In my opinion it is. Africa is a fantastic destination – it is safe, adventurous and educational. It is not only an amazing experience for your kids. Traveling with kids also allows you to see the bush from a completely different perspective. It is not more challenging than any other family holiday, but there are a few things you should take into consideration…
Mix it up
Does your child like to sit still for hours on end? I don’t think so. Hence, variety is the key. Plan a colorful holiday program. Start writing down what you would like to experience as a family: do you prefer a bush and beach combo? Are you interested in meeting the colorful Masai? Do you mind covering long distances in a car? Would you prefer a fly-in safari? Are you all fond of walking? Write down the travel wishes of every family member to get the big picture – of course compromises have to be made. Africa is big and diverse – decide on some key criteria and an overall budget. This will make it easier to pin down your final safari destination. Although ‘standard’ group safaris might be cheaper, they could be boring for your kids. Especially when expected to sit still while there are so many exciting things to see.
Personal tip: Tailor a safari to your family.
Consider the age and level of maturity of your kids
Maybe it’s just me, but I do actually struggle to remember things I did when I was four years old. So perhaps wait a bit until your children will be at an age to fully appreciate this amazing experience called African Safari. It is important to know that there are age restrictions for some activities. This is to guarantee the safety of your kids but also being mindful of other guests. It is essential to double check age-restrictions for the activities you would like to experience to avoid later disappointment.
Choose family-friendly accommodation
There are many family-friendly safari lodges and camps in Africa that do encourage family travel. They usually allow children under the age of 12. Choose an accommodation that offers family tents or family rooms; this gives you some privacy but also instill a feeling of being close to each other. This is especially of benefit when hearing the unknown sounds of the African bush at night. Don’t forget to check if it comes with a pool and specific children programs and activities. Not only will it guarantee a fun time for your kids who will learn amazing new stuff about nature, it also gives you the opportunity to enjoy a quiet sundowner with your favorite drink in hand while your kids kept busy.
Personal tip: If you are able to afford it, book a private vehicle for game drives. You don’t have to worry about other guests when your kids go crazy about seeing the wild things…
It’s always a challenge to pack a suitcase; not just for families. My rule of thumb – pack everything you think you need while traveling, then half everything! And you most likely still end up with too much. If you go on a fly-in safari keep in mind that your luggage is restricted to soft bags only with a limit of 15kg per person. It sounds daunting, doesn’t it? But not to worry, laundry services are offered at the majority of camps and lodges. And isn’t it so much easier in general to not walk around like human packhorses?
Personal tip: Don’t pack your colorful favorites. On safari it is recommended to wear earthy colors such as brown or green. Also, focus on comfortable clothing made of linen or cotton.
Traveling with kids: To sum it up
Make your family safari a rewarding experience by considering the following points:
- Look at your interests as a family and your overall budget.
- Consider the age and individual maturity of your children – not all safaris are appropriate for children.
- Choose family-friendly accommodation with a pool and specific children activities.
- Travel lightly. Also read this blog post about 3 simple packing tips for your safari.