Botswana for Families
In recent years, Botswana has become a magical and memorable safari destination for the entire family. Even 10 years ago, children under the age of twelve were largely unwelcome on safari, but that is the case no longer. Many lodges have imaginative and immersive specialised family programs, offering a range of family friendly activities like fishing, animal tracking, and cooking classes.
There are more lodges than ever available with family suites and private villas in the best game viewing areas. Many of these houses come with their own expert guides and private vehicles, which is important in making sure that the entire family has the flexibility that it needs.
Botswana makes for an excellent destination for families with its abundance of family friendly camps that offer safari programs for children. Paired with political stability, highly trained guides and a varied ecosystem that ensures there are activities to entertain all members of the family, Botswana should be high on your list for a seriously special family getaway.
The lush Okavango Delta is the largest inland delta in the world, and supports a huge diversity of game. The river splays out into snaking waterways and floodplains, creating a fertile habitat for the diversity of wildlife that lives there. Placed next to the Okavango is the Moremi Game Reserve, which is thought by many to offer the best game viewing in Africa. When finished with activities in the lily covered, wide-open plains and forests of the Okavango and Moremi, venture to game rich Linyanti Reserve.
If you’re looking to avoid National Parks whilst still benefiting from incredible wildlife sightings take your family to the Linyanti Reserve, an enormous private tract of bush known for its large elephant population and exciting routine sightings of lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog hyena and antelope.
Round out your family holiday in Botswana with a trip to The Kalahari Desert and Makgadikgadi provide an excellent contrast to the other regions of Botswana. Vast and silent, the spectacular skies in this area spread as far as the eye can see. The Kalahari Desert spans 7 countries and is one of Africa’s most prominent geographical features. It’s also home to a massive amount of species diversity, from bull elephants to adorable, playful meerkats and the impressive, black-maned Kalahari lion. You won’t want to leave this off of your family’s safari bucket list. While here, you can also dive into culture, meeting Africa’s original inhabitants, the San people. Your family can learn about their traditional hunter-gather lifestyle, a truly eye-opening and unforgettable experience.
Botswana is an ideal safari destination for families, you’ll feel like you are living in "The Lion King". If you and your loved ones are looking for a classic safari experience, complete with khaki clad guides, wide-open bush plains, exceptional views of game animals and complete luxury look no further. Botswana is waiting…
- Chobe National Park is home to the world's largest concentration of African elephants
- About 30% of the country's surface is dedicated to protected wildlife areas such as private reserves and national parks that support and protect animals.
The Okavango Delta is the largest inland delta in the world
- Botswana became independent in 1966, and is the oldest democratic state in Africa
Times are changing for younger children on safari in Botswana. Once taboo, now, children under 12 are welcomed with open arms. Many lodges offer great options for accommodating the entire family, featuring family suites, flexible, private game drives, and dietary specific menus. Some lodges even have explorers clubs, providing a unique, exciting activities for younger kids. They can learn animal tracking, fire building and how to make bows and arrows. These lodges ensure that every member of the family will be thoroughly entertained at all times.
Located on the edge of a gorgeous lagoon, and shaded by ebony and mangosteen trees, Footsteps offers a traditional and adventurous safari experience. Family friendly safaris are the specialty at Footsteps. Many of the activities here are low-impact and centred around walking, so all ages and abilities can participate. This lodge also has a Young Explorers Program, you can rest easy knowing that your children will be well-cared for through an interactive and educational safari. They can identify paw prints, learn how to cook over an open fire or go on expertly led guided family-centric safaris. This will also allow for you to have some lovely peace and quiet time while your children are being entertained.
Set in a wild and beautiful location, Motswiri is a small tented camp with just six classic Meru tents, two of which are family units. Riding safaris are a real highlight at this camp, gallop alongside fascinating wildlife like zebra, antelope and elephant. For the younger members of the family, who may be less experienced riders, Motswiri offers walking safaris, boat and canoe safaris, game drives and a swimming pool to cool off in during the midday heat.
Small, simple and rustic, Camp Kalahari has 10 well-spaced en-suite meru tents. This camp also offers the benefit of a family tent which has interconnecting rooms, sleeping up to 5. And for children under 12, a rollaway bed can be put in the parent’s bedroom, so you can easily keep an eye on them at all hours. The camp offers an excellent range of activities for all ages, during any season. Camp Kalahari has day and night drives, 4X4 safaris displaying South Africa’s largest migration of wildebeest and zebra, and a family of habituated meerkats that reside near the camp. A sure highlight for everyone.
Africa gets even more exciting for older kids. Over the age of 12, more activities and a greater freedom in game drives become available. Children of this age aren’t required to stay in their parent’s tents creating a private, yet fun vacation for everyone. From elephants to lions and meerkats, Botswana is an excellent choice for family safaris.
Selinda Explorers Camp takes mobile safari to a whole new level. Private, luxurious and exclusive, this camp is perfect for families looking for a spellbinding experience in Botswana. All of the four tents have a feel of authenticity and a bohemian flair, creating an idyllic setting, perfect for falling asleep to the sounds of nature that surround you. The main focus of Selinda is traditional walking and canoe safaris, with expert guides, but there are other great activities for the entire family here, including fishing, dining brunch prepared by campfire and swimming in the refreshing waters of the Spillway.
At Gomoti Plains, your family will experience wild and pristine game viewing all from a cool sheltered spot beneath a canopy of mature acacia trees. You’ll will be treated to game drives with sightings of cheetah, lion, wild dog, elephant, giraffe and the elusive leopard. Children of all ages are welcome here, and the camp features two family units comprised of two spacious bedrooms with an adjoining living room, and an indoor/outdoor shower with hot and cold running water.
Reachable only by boat during the high water season, this intimate camp offers an exclusive experience set in an extraordinary ecosystem. This camp is especially accommodating to older children. Game drives, walks, bird watching and mokoro activities can be arranged. And for younger children, the camp offers babysitting and will set up an extra bed in their parent’s suite. A can’t miss activity is a boat trip on the waterways. The boat drifts up to game so quietly that you’ll have some unbelievable photographic opportunities.
A multi-generational safari in Botswana is a wonderful option. Every member of the family can have the opportunity to experience a classic safari or choose to spend calm days gliding down the Delta in a mokoro (dugout canoe). It’s this flexibility that makes Botswana perfect for any age, interest, or activity level. Many lodges offer properties that have family suites or can be rented out exclusively, so everyone can be located in the same area.
Shinde is a beautiful and elegant camp, providing the ideal spot for water and land based safari activities. Every member of the family will be entertained here, there are motorboat and mokoro trips, game drives, fly fishing and the clear waterways and palm-fringed islands provide excellent opportunities for photographers. For multi-generational families, we recommend the Shinde Enclave, an exclusive use camp, offering an intimate and personalised experience. Your family will have the services of a private chef, waiter, housekeeper, professional guide, and game drive vehicle.
If you want a relaxing, luxurious experience look no further, the Zarafa Dhow Suites is an ultra-swanky, private camp with just two bedrooms, and is fully staffed, including a private safari guide and vehicle, offering families a flexible and exclusive safari experience. The suites are built on an enormous wooden deck and decorated with bespoke furniture, unique pieces of African art, a copper bathtub and a fireplace. To the front of the suites is a large deck with a swimming pool, fire pit and a Swarovski telescope for out-of-this-world stargazing. Since the entire safari is private, your family is able to enjoy complete flexibility. You can go on an early morning game drive, or members of your family can decided to sleep in and have a late brunch. Staying here is the most relaxing experience in all of Botswana.
Little Vumbura Camp is an intimate escape hidden on a picturesque island surrounded by the floodplains and deep, clear channels of the Okavango Delta. This camp is ideal for family vacations due to the camp’s endless activities on offer. Your family can enjoy game drives, nature walks, mokoro and motorboat rides. Or members of the family may choose to spend their time lounging near the plunge pool or viewing constellations on the star deck. The most special treat at Little Vumbura is the hot air balloon safari. This is a unique was to discover the game-rich and diverse ecosystem of the Okavango, sure to be a memorable experience for every member of the family.
Botswana is a paradise for wildlife, nature and adventure loving families. No member of the family will get bored on a Botswana safari, there’s canoeing, walking, driving and horseback safaris, quad biking and fishing. The possibilities are endless and the guides at these lodges know the best spots to get you right in the action. Just remember to pay attention to the age restrictions on activities at the camps, so the entire fun-loving family doesn’t have to miss out on any action-packed moment.
Letaka is ideal for families that want the full immersive safari experience. This exciting mobile camping safari moves locations every three days, depending on interest and best game viewing opportunities. Safaris here are completely tailored to your family, and you’ll never have more than seven people on game drives, ensuring that every seat is a window seat. This fully-serviced camp is one of the most authentic experiences your family can have in Botswana.
Harkening back to the romance of safari expeditions of the 1920s, Duba offers a luxurious and adventurous safari experience. The camp was designed by National Geographic explorers-in-residence Dereck and Beverley Joubert, so you know that your active family is in good hands. The 6 intimate tents are spacious and stylish, with a mix of modern luxuries and colonial antiques. The highlight of Duba is the guiding, it’s incredible here. Since this camp is located in a wildlife-rich region, you’ll be treated to sightings of buffalo, lion and leopard.
One of only two permanent camps in the Makgadigadi, Jack’s Camp is furnished in the traditional East African 1940s style. The 10 intimate tents are positioned for privacy, yet located close together, which makes them ideal for families. This is one of the most original and exciting camps in all of Africa, and the activities for families here are endless, but there is a heavy emphasis on game walks and drives. Children of all ages are welcome at Jack’s, but those under 12 need to share a tent with their parents.
Time To unwind
Though Botswana is an action filled, excellent safari destination, it can also be a great location for relaxing on the bush and enjoying spectacular views. Many lodges offer amazing flexibility, so if you’d prefer a more leisurely holiday, it’s a possibility. Be prepared to settle back into a bubble bath with a good book or have a romantic, candlelit dinner at the river’s edge, because Botswana knows relaxation.
This camp truly is a sanctuary, with a spacious main lodge and ten luxurious pavilions, this is the ultimate family getaway for relaxation. We highly recommend the Geoffrey Kent Suite, a spacious residence sleeping up to six guests. This suite offers ultimate flexibility and comfort, it comes with a personal chef, waiter, housekeeper, personal guide, private vehicle, and plunge pool. You can also rest and rejuvenate in the spa, which offers a range of treatments from facials to hot-stone massages and ‘Africanology’ body therapies. But if some members of your family want something a little more action-packed, this camp has that too. One of the largest islands in the Okavango Delta, Chief’s Island is home to a large concentration and variety of wildlife. Don’t be surprised if you spot all of the ‘Big Five’. Every member of the family will be attended to here, the children’s retreat is a dedicated area to entertain the camp’s youngest guests. Your kids can learn about the nature around them, play dress-up, video games, or foosball.
Recently remodeled, Sandibe is now one of the most contemporary and original lodges in Botswana, and the perfect spot for your family to unwind. The unique, curving chalets have bi-fold glass doors that open onto a stunning deck with a plunge pool and exceptional views of the Okavango Delta wetlands. In addition to walking safaris and game dives, your family can get a whole new perspective on the delta with a helicopter ride. A can’t miss here is the food, Pan-African dinners are prepared and served either around the crackling fire or under the glimmering stars.
Mombo is the Africa only seen in documentaries: from elephants and buffalo, to large predators on the hunt, animal excitement abounds and surrounds. This camp is one of the most luxurious in Botswana. The nine beautifully outfitted tents are raised high off the ground and adjoined by walkways, which allows for game to safely wander freely through the camp. You can take refuge from the afternoon heat in the plunge pool, dine under the stars, or pamper yourself with a massage. At Mombo, the possibilities for relaxation are endless.
Our Guide to Botswana
What to pack on safari
A Family Adventure in Africa