Everything you need to consider when taking the kids on safari.
Taking the kids on safari can be daunting for some parents, but it really doesn’t have to be! We’ve come up with a few pointers to keep in mind when travelling with kids of all ages, as we wouldn’t want you to travel all the way over only to feel unequipped and overwhelmed in the bush.
What to think about?
Travel time - Many will be traveling from across the world. We all know just how nightmare-ish it can be flying in a confined space with a screaming, uncomfortable little human with blocked ears (bless them). It can be tiring and frustrating. The long journeys don’t always stop there though. When touring around Africa, there might be times where you’ll either: 1) have to jump into another airplane, or 2) take a rather long car ride to your destination.
If you’re prepared to risk spending some days nursing the little lovelies, then by all means - come on over - it doesn’t bother us!
Malaria - a scary thought. It’s a serious catch 22. Anti-malaria pills are not advisable for people of any age, never mind kids below 6 years old! The side effects can be a little bit vicious, but then again, so can the illness itself. We’d say that looking at visiting Southern African countries that are less affected by malaria might put a parents mind at ease. A good idea might be to visit a Travel Clinic when doing research. Here you’ll be able to find out what vaccines are recommended, what areas are more likely to be a “malaria area" at the time due to rainfall and so on. According to the World Health Organisation, in 2017, Nigeria, Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of the Congo had the highest increase of reports in Africa. It’s never harmful to do your research, and ask questions to ensure you’re arriving on the continent fully aware of the areas to steer clear of if it’s a worry of yours.
Age restrictions - A little bit unfortunate that many camps and lodges within certain National Parks around Southern Africa have age restrictions. Usually this is around 7 years old. The reason for this is mostly safety and also respect for other clients who are with certain lodges to enjoy the full African experience without the risk of being disrupted by young children. The good news is - there are certainly many properties in Southern Africa that don’t have age restrictions - you’ll just have to ask us to recommend the best ones suited to you! Another positive, is that this could sway you into experiencing a more adventurous trip by including self drive and camping experiences. You’ll be able to take your kids of all ages around with you - and it’s a fantastic time for all.
Active - Adventure Safaris? - YES! We’d absolutely recommend tying in adventure travel with your family safari. Safaris are always a riveting time for those old enough to understand the magic of it, but the youngsters might like to do a bit of city slicking, beaching or hiking (understandably). Trekking with the gorillas in Uganda has an age limit of 15 years, but is so worth the visit and there’s no doubt that your teens will keep the memories close for a lifetime! Capetown for some amazing beaches and ocean activities as well as a bit of fun and quirky city life is the place to go. Roping in Mauritius for the younger kids is ideal as beaches and resorts are equipped especially for children. If a bit of real African culture is important to you- Kenya and Tanzania will not disappoint. You’ll come across the locals dressed beautifully in their shukas (robes). None of this is for show, but is simply their day to day dress code - and they LOVE hanging out with the youth.
There’s a lot to consider when travelling to Africa and taking the kids along on safari. In saying that - it is so possible to make the process a swift and easy one. If in doubt, get in touch with any local travel agencies on the ground who will be more than happy to plan your dream family holiday from beginning to end - what a breeze!