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The Best Family Safari Destinations

On safari in South Africa.On safari in South Africa.South African Tourism UK

Forget the ropey safari parks of your childhood, where lions mated lazily and bored baboons gnawed at windscreen washers. There’s only one real way to see wildlife and bring The Jungle Book to life. 

Eight is a great age for kids to discover the joys of safari. Look for a lodge offering a variety of safari experiences, from walking, canoeing and boating to the more usual driving safaris, plus a childcare service if grown-ups want to game-spot alone. 

Using a good tour operator is the key to a successful family safari holiday. They’ll find you the right safari and tailor an itinerary to suit you and the needs of your family. We recommend staying somewhere with a pool so kids can cool off, choosing a family-friendly lodge that offers alternatives to game drives, and booking a two-centre holiday to combine a safari with a beach holiday. Our top tip for going on safari with kids is to supply them with their own camera and/or pair of binoculars.

"A short itinerary jam-packed with lively game-drives and bush walks is a great way for young families to
experience the best of Kenya and its wildlife."

South Africa: the place for a flexible (and usually malaria-free) experience, and hence great for safaris with young children. Many game reserves are close enough to ‘civilisation’ that you can go safari-lite and enjoy day expeditions too. Or you might, for instance, combine a trip to Madikwe, a malaria-free game reserve in the North West Province, with a week by the beach in Cape Town.  

Kenya: a great year-round destination, with temperatures hovering around the mid–high 20°Cs. August is generally more expensive as it coincides with the Great Migration. Try glorious Amboseli National Park, in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro, then Lake Naivasha and finally Masai Mara. A short itinerary jam-packed with lively game-drives and bush walks is a great way for young families to experience the best of Kenya and its wildlife.

Zambia: home to 19 game reserves, the Big Five (elephant, lion, leopard, rhino and buffalo) and the awesome Victoria Falls. For those who bungee, it’s also an adrenaline junkie’s heaven.

See also our feature on the best eco safari lodges and other environmentally places to stay in Africa.

 

By Tracey Davies

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