Animals captivate children. The opportunity to see wildlife up close on safari is not only an extremely rewarding experience but also an educational one. Global travel and viewing animals in the wild is an interdisciplinary learning experience; children learn about biology, conservation, morality, geography, cultural diversity, and develop important life skills like patience and cultural acceptance. A family safari is also an incredible opportunity for families to bond and reconnect away from computer screens and the hubbub of everyday life.
Despite these benefits, taking children on a long trip across the world may seem like a daunting prospect. But if you pick an appropriate destination and consider children’s needs and pace, a family safari can be a stress-free magical experience that creates lifelong memories.
Although safaris can be great for all ages, we recommend that they are most appropriate for children age six and older as it meets some lodge’s minimum age criteria and this is an age where kids will get the most out of the experience. With two safari-loving children of his own, Beat About the Bush founder and guide Trevor Carnaby, knows exactly how to engage with children on safari. We recommend hiring a private vehicle so your family can decide exactly how long you want to stay at each sighting, how long you are out in the bush for, and to get a more personalised experience.
Planning is the key to success. Not all safari destinations cater for children, making it difficult to figure out where to start. The Beat About the Bush staff have the knowledge and experience to tailor a trip that will fit your family’s needs. We can advise you on everything from health considerations to fun activities for kids in Cape Town. While we take care of the planning, all you need to do is watch the Lion King one more time and pack your bags.
Here are some of our favourite family friendly safari destinations in South Africa:
The Kruger National Park in northeastern South Africa is arguably the best-known of Africa’s great wildlife sanctuaries. A unique feature of the park is the inclusion (no physical barrier) along the western border of private conservation land into a mega-park called ‘Greater Kruger’.
Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
Kwandwe Reserve is situated in the malaria free wilderness to the northeast of Port Elizabeth in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province and is arguably the region’s finest big game viewing area. Families can take part in a range of Eco-nect activities which are aimed at involving both parents and children with nature. Families are even given the opportunity to plant Spekboom, a type of native vegetation, which makes a positive environmental impact on the area.
Madikwe Game Reserve
The malaria free 150 000 acre Madikwe Game Reserve is situated in the North West Province of South Africa. Madikwe offers the Big Five and is considered one of the best places on the continent to see African wild dog – the second most endangered carnivore in Africa.
Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
This is South Africa’s largest private game reserve, covering an area of over 220 000 acres and home to a plethora of rare species and stunning landscapes. Children visiting Tswalu can take part in the Tswalu Junior Ranger programme which is carefully designed to meet the enthusiasm of a broad age range. Activities are varied but include archery (beginning with making your own bow and arrows), spoor identification and casting, as well as tracking on foot.
Please feel free to get in touch if you have any queries about taking children on safari or if you would like to chat about planning your family’s safari adventure.