It is one thing to take your kids to the local zoo, it’s quite another to show them the real thing – wildlife, out in the wilds of Africa. A safari can seem like a dream family vacation, especially for anyone who has an animal loving child. Doing the research and choosing the right safari spot is vital though if you hope to have a good family trip. Africa is a vast continent and while it is filled with wildlife and great safari options, a few places stand out as particularly family-friendly.
As one of the top safari spots in Africa, Kenya is also a good option for families. The country has not only incredible national parks filled with lions, elephants, and zebras, but also a beautiful coastline where you can combine your safari with a few days of traditional beach vacation.
Tsavo National Park is the most easily accessible safari spot and is one of the world’s largest parks. The park is home to vast herds of elephants, buffalos, and zebras which are easy to spot. You also have a great chance of seeing lions, leopards, and rhinos.
Another highlight of a family safari in Kenya is the chance to experience a bit of traditional African culture by visiting with the local Maasai people. These semi-nomadic tribes are very welcoming and invite visitors to their villages where you and your children can learn about their unique customs and traditions.
In most of Africa, safaris consist of 4×4 jeeps and long dusty drives. In Zambia though, families can mix things up with wetland tours and canoe journeys where kids might spot crocodiles or even hippos. Combine this with a traditional jeep drive to see all of Africa’s famous wildlife.
Before leaving Zambia, no family safari vacation would be complete without a side trip to the famous Victoria Falls. Nearly twice the size of North America’s Niagara Falls, the Victoria Falls are known in the local language as Mosi-oa-Tunya or “The Smoke that Thunders.”
Very few safaris in Africa are appropriate for young children and in many cases, children under 12 are prohibited. Not only is this a safety issue, it is also about the attention spans and special circumstances that must be considered with small children. In South Africa, though, there are safari option for children of all ages. Rather than asking a young child to sit patiently and quietly for hours at a time on more traditional safaris, South Africa offers smaller wildlife parks where you can spot more animals in less time. These parks are also usually located closer to cities and towns, so if your little ones are worn out, you can easily head back to your hotel early.
important fact that makes South Africa a great family safari spot is that malaria risks here are much lower and there are many parks that are labeled as malaria-free. This means your kids won’t have to choke down pills and you wouldn’t have to worry about every little mosquito bite.