African safaris with kids are perfect for busy families – you can reconnect without modern distractions, and the kids will have a ball (and learn loads) with the many activities. Enjoy watching young jaws drop as they see their first elephant or lion, and share the wonder of wildest Africa together.
Planning family safari holidays
The best family safari holidays are those that have been tailor-made, as – like yours – every family has their own particular safari dream. To inspire you and show you what’s possible, we’ve curated family safari images, family safari lodges and family safari itinerary ideas below, but to design a family safari especially for you, we’ll take the time to understand your family and your safari dream. To this end, we’ll ask you:
- Is there anything in particular that you and your family would like to see, such as a place or an animal? And are there any specific experiences you’d like to enjoy, like hot-air ballooning or quad biking? If you’re not sure, don’t worry, we’ll suggest what we think will suit you best based on your travel plans.
- When are you planning on travelling? Different parts of Africa are better (or better value) at different times of the year.
- What is the composition of your family, and how old are your children? This will allow us to suggest accommodation that best suits your family makeup as well as offer age-appropriate safari advice.
- Lastly, what are you comfortable spending in total? Kids under certain ages, and in certain circumstances, are often discounted, and we find that a ‘per family’ budget is often most effective.
What to consider when planning family safari holidays
African safaris with kids are filled with magic, joy and excitement. There are some things to consider to get the best out of family safari holidays though, including staying in private safari houses and villas (as opposed to luxury suites designed for couples), booking private vehicles (instead of sharing with other guests), how children’s ages affect a safari and what activities are available to them. We break it down for you below.
What can kids do on safari?
Nothing much … except have the time of their lives, enjoy mind-blowing new experiences and see wild animals in their natural habitat!
As well as the safaris, many lodges have put a lot of thought into devising supervised, age-appropriate activity programmes to introduce kids to the wonders of Africa and the rich cultural heritage of its people. Youngsters can become warriors for a week, or get kitted out as bush buddies and learn to track, make traditional jewellery or to cook pizza in a termite mound. And what self-respecting kid could resist a ‘poo safari’?
How old should kids be to go on safari?
You’re never too young for your first safari, but with kids under six we recommend you visit one of our excellent malaria-free safari destinations. And while we advise that all families make use of private safari houses and villas and private safari vehicles, this is especially valid where under-sixes are concerned; age restrictions usually inhibit littlies from going out on game drives with other guests, as even the best behaved child can get rowdy when on a thrilling safari.
You can, of course, take advantage of babysitting services and fun kids’ activities while you go out without them, but I’m sure you’d enjoy it more if they were with you.
Between six and 12, kids are usually good to go out with other guests, provided they don’t negatively impact them, while teenagers are only bound by the standard minimum age for walking safaris (16). In some cases a height restriction can apply for hot-air ballooning.
Why book private safari houses and villas and exclusive vehicles?
While you can have a perfectly good family safari holiday without booking private accommodation or vehicles, for the best experience we suggest you do.
Staying in private safari houses and villas, or family suites, means you effectively have your own private luxury lodge, with flexible meal times and space to relax as a family. Including a private safari vehicle gives you complete freedom over your daily schedule, so you can tailor activities to meet your needs and not stress about bothering other guests with the inevitable kiddie excitement.
The combination of private accommodation and an exclusive vehicle means it’s entirely your safari, on your terms and in your own time. However, even if you choose a luxury safari lodge’s standard accommodation – the ‘standard’ of course being dreamy safari tents or plush suites – we’d still recommend a private safari vehicle, as age restrictions for shared vehicles often apply.
The good news is that for larger families, of five or more, it can often actually be more cost effective to book a private house. Or even if you don’t, almost all luxury lodges will automatically assign you a private vehicle .