If you enjoy family travel, there’s one kind of vacation you simply must add to your bucket list, and that’s an African safari with kids. While it might not be your first thought for a vacation with kids or teenagers, we’re here to tell you that not only is it very possible, but a wildlife safari could just be the best vacation you ever take as a family.
Like all forms of travel, a safari has many benefits for children and adults. When your kids visit new places with you, they’ll learn a great deal about the world – often without realizing how educational the experience is. From learning phrases in a new language to trying different foods, travel broadens their minds.
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Why an African safari with kids is the perfect vacation
Safari trips can also help them to see that not everything on TV or online is necessarily completely true. By meeting people from different cultural backgrounds, they’ll understand that while societies may be very different, humans have much more in common with each other than it can appear from first impressions.
You already know why you want to travel as a family, so let’s look at what makes a safari such a good choice.
Family safari vacations can offer great value when you consider that young kids under a certain age can be accommodated in safari camps or lodges at discounted rates – or even at no cost at all. If you’re considering a trip, you’ll want to read our tips for planning a family safari, complete with a safari packing list and things you’ll need for this wildlife adventure.
2. Open-air classroom
Family-friendly safaris are an incredible learning experience for kids of all ages. We like to call it stealth learning. For kids who are interested in geography or biology, the African bush is an amazing open-air classroom.
If your kids enjoy wildlife documentaries, a safari holiday is like being in the middle of one of them. Skilled local guides can get your whole family close to amazing opportunities for wildlife viewing, including feeding, playing, swimming, and hunting.
Of course, if there are things you’d prefer for your young children not to see, you can discuss this with your guide – nature, after all, is not always easy to watch.
3. More than just game drives
There’s more to safari vacations than viewing animals (although that is awesome). Different types of safaris offer different experiences and opportunities to expand what your children know about the world.
Community visits are one of the best ways to learn about how other people live. Seeing a local village can be quite eye-opening as many traditional African societies are more closely attuned to their environment. As a result, they have fewer material goods than most kids are used to seeing.
4. Picking up new skills
When your kids are relaxed and outside of their normal school setting, they might gain new skills more easily. Many family-friendly lodges have programs specially designed for kids that can involve learning traditional local crafts or spending time in the kitchen with the chefs.
Perhaps the most immersive and enjoyable kids’ activity programs are the junior ranger clubs where they can learn bush skills like tracking wild animals and birds or identifying plants and herbs that have medicinal properties.
Other new skills could include traditional African games, basket weaving, fishing, making clay pots or making bread over a fire.
5. Balancing alone time
Of course, wonderful as it is to spend time with your entire family, there are always those moments when as parents you need to get away for a couple of hours so that you can reconnect as a couple.
That’s when babysitting services can come in handy while you enjoy a romantic dinner or sundowner for just the two of you. Young guests will appreciate a break from mom and dad too.
6. Private vehicles are the answer
The safari day can be a long one for younger children, and teenagers may not do so well with those early morning starts. The answer is a private guide and vehicle so that you can set the pace for the day.
A private safari vehicle will give you all the extra flexibility you need for daily game drives. The guides who are allocated to these are often the more experienced ones. They’re experts at “reading” a group and working out when younger family members may be getting tired. They know all the tricks in the book for mixing things up on safari drives.
7. Family-friend safari lodges
Family tents or suites are also a great option – or look at private villas (the perfect solution if you’re planning a multigenerational holiday). Having a bit of extra space can let your kids “run wild” without worrying about their safety or impacting other guests. Some lodges will even have a swimming pool and activities for children of all ages.
You can further tailor your family safari experience towards younger kids by requesting special meals (earlier than usual, smaller portions and with more kid-friendly ingredients). Lodges that are used to accommodating families will take such requests in stride.
They’re also likely to have board games, toys, and story books, as well as the option of movie nights (with popcorn of course). There’s nothing quite like watching “The Lion King” while you can hear real lions roaring in the distance.
8. Quality family time
Perhaps best of all, if you choose somewhere remote enough (another plus when it comes to African safari vacations) your kids might just find there’s no Wi-Fi signal. Once they get over the initial disappointment, they’ll discover that disconnecting is a great way to reconnect in much more meaningful ways.
An African safari vacation gives you the chance to spend some quality family time together, in a safe, relaxing environment that’s a world away from the usual stresses and pressures of everyday life.
We can guarantee that kids of all ages will return home having had their horizons expanded, and no doubt having learned loads of cool new facts and skills. It’s the kind of family adventure vacation that they’ll be talking about for months afterwards. This is the sort of life-changing experience that the best shared memories are made from.
9. One more reason to choose an African family safari
Kids Are A Trip has partnered with the safari experts at Alluring Africa. Using experienced tour operators is a good idea when planning a safari tour. For help with your family safari, click here and use my code KAAT to schedule a complimentary consultation and waive their $250 trip planning fee.