Are you looking for the multi-generational trip of a lifetime? Look no further than the incredible kid-friendly safari destinations of Africa. There is nothing like jaw-dropping natural beauty to bring the whole family together. Whether you are talking about a traveler at age nine or 90, an African adventure is the stuff of dreams. A family safari is an event that no one will ever forget.
But it comes with so many questions! Are safaris safe for kids? Which African countries are best for children? Which are the best ages for a family trip to Africa? Every family has its unique concerns.
While it may seem like a massive undertaking to bring young children to the other side of the world to an unfamiliar and remote spot, it is very doable. Most importantly, it is SO worth it.
Ready for the greatest family vacation of all time? Here is what you need to know about planning a family safari.
Can Kids Goes on a Safari?
Let’s start with the fundamentals. Can you safely take kids on a safari? The truth is that it depends on quite a few factors. There is no one size fits all safari. Africa is a massive continent (in fact, did you know that Africa is three times the size of the United States?). Different countries have different options, and the rules vary depending on the particular park and the activities.
Safaris take serious planning for adults, and that is doubly so for kids. The best family safari option for your kids will depend on their ages. Start planning with an open mind to decide on the best option for everyone.
What’s the Best Age for a Family Safari?
Generally speaking, it is best to wait until your kids are at least eight years old. There are options for younger kids, but it’ll be the best experience for everyone when your children are a bit older. Toddlers and very young children will struggle with the long flight, and, ultimately, it is a lot to invest at an age before your kids are creating solid memories. Visiting a new continent and seeing a new world is such an eye-opening experience, it’s best to visit at an age when your kids can truly take it all in.
That said, young kids can go on a safari, and there are great African destinations for children. Kwandwe Ecca Lodge [See hotel deals in Grahamstown] on the Eastern Cape of South Africa caters to families with a range of experiences. On arrival, the little ones get a welcome pack with an animal checklist (with a junior option for kids under six) to help them interact with the environment. And that’s only the beginning! Kids can build kites, garden with the local community, work on arts and crafts, and so much more.
Tswalu [Check prices], a private game reserve in Northern Cape of South Africa, is another top pick for a family safari with very young kids. First of all, it is in a malaria-free area. This means there is no need for special meds before arrival (because what kid isn’t going to want to avoid going to the doctor before vacation?). The area is also sunny pretty much 365 days per year, so there is almost no risk of getting rained out. On top of that, the park offers a Junior Ranger program for all ages. AND as a bonus, it is near the epic Victoria Falls, which is incredible for all ages.
Do Kids Need Anti-Malaria Medication?
Anti-malaria is a huge issue. While mosquitos may just seem like a minor annoyance in many places in the world, it’s a different world in destinations with malaria outbreaks. Far more than an itchy bite, malaria can be deadly. Long sleeves and mosquito repellent just don’t cut it. One bite in the night can turn serious in a flash.
It is essential to plan a trip to the doctor six to eight weeks before your trip. There are malaria prevention medications for young kids but only for kids over the age of five. Children younger than five should avoid areas requiring malaria vaccinations.
Tswalu is malaria-free and one of the biggest private game reserves on the continent. Another top pick is the Madikwe Private Game Reserve [See hotel deals in Madikwe], which is located on South Africa and Botswana border. More than a safe spot, this is home to the big five (lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo).
Be sure to look at the malaria-free Waterberg Biosphere [See hotel deals] too! This UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is the top archaeological and palaeontological site in South Africa and amongst the most significant on the globe.
Where is the Best Place to Go on A Family Safari?
If you have older kids and are open to every option, there are many places of wonder. In Uganda, you can go on a gorilla treks, meet Pygmies, and go on horse-riding safaris.
For kids looking for a Lion King experience, you need to go to Singita Sabi Sand [See hotel deals in Sabi Sand]. Set up like a 1920s style explorers’ camp, the Sabora Tented Camp there is will make the whole family feel like they’ve stepped back in time.
The Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya [See hotel deals in Masai Mara] is another amazing place to see lions and experience one of the most culturally fascinating places in the world. Bring the kids to learn about life in the Masai villages, where your kids can chat with locals and visit schools.
Ready to start packing? You need our guide to kids fly free airlines!