How to choose your family safari

Here at Scott Dunn we send families of all ages to Africa – the thrill of seeing animals in the wild is every child’s dream! But where and what to choose for the different age groups can be confusing, so we hope to give you some help and guidance below.

Best for children 0 to 5 years

Many families choose a malaria-free area likes South Africa to avoid the need to give little ones malarial medication. The other joy of South Africa is that it offers very little time difference and overnight flights to get you to and from Johannesburg or Cape Town – a perfect choice for younger children. Family friendly lodges offer shorter game drives and interactive experiences to really enthuse and inspire the younger guests! Safari in South Africa works brilliantly in combination with Cape Town.

Kwandwe Ecca Lodge - Eastern Cape, South Africa

Kwandwe Ecca is set within the malaria free Kwandwe Private Reserve in the Eastern Cape and is perfect for a first family safari. The lodge has been designed with families in mind and there is a playroom to keep the kids entertained in between game drives. They can also help the chef out in the kitchen baking pizzas or treats for afternoon tea. The guiding here is fantastic and the guides will be sure to make each and every game drive exciting, fun and educational.

Marataba - Madikwe, South Africa

Just a three hour drive from Johannesburg Airport Marataba is situated within its own private reserve in the Waterberg region of South Africa. It always combines well with Mauritius as you can avoid overnighting in Johannesburg and drive back from the lodge in time for your flight. The guides here are absolutely brilliant and will create a fun and educational experience guiding children through the wonders of the African bush and ending each evening with stories and star gazing around the camp fire topped off with hot chocolate and marshmallows!

Molori Safari Lodge - Madikwe, South Africa

One of the most luxurious lodges in Southern Africa, Molori is the perfect safari experience for children and parents alike. For families with younger children, take a private game vehicle for your stay so each game drive can be tailored to your children and you can decide how long each game drive is and be paired with a wonderful guide who can answer the endless questions from curious kids fascinated by the wildlife. The family suite here is absolutely perfect and with your own private butler you will want for nothing during your stay.

River Bend Lodge - Eastern Cape, South Africa

Also situated in the Eastern Cape, Riverbend Lodge is a perfect start or end to a trip along the Garden Route. With a complimentary babysitting service, parents can head out on longer game drives knowing that their children are in safe hands and having a wonderful time. On arrival children will be given a personalised welcome packs with fun activities for them to complete during their stay.

Best with children 5 to 10 years

With children a little bit older, options can definitely open up and East Africa becomes a very popular choice for this age bracket. Head to the Maasai Mara and the whole family will be completely overwhelmed by the number of animals over the vast plains. Alternatively head to Northern Kenya and walk with camels, sleep under the stars, visit local villages and schools or hand feed a baby rhino. Being guided and hosted by Maasai or Samburu men in traditional dress is an exciting experience for both children and adults!

Lewa - Laikipia, Kenya

Lewa is a 45,000 acre conservancy in Kenya’s beautiful Laikipia in northern Kenya. With three different accommodation options it is fantastic for families of all ages. What makes it so fantastic for younger children is the huge array of activities on offer from a flight over the conservancy in the yellow bi-plane to horse riding and camel riding to picnics and swimming in the Ngare Ndare Forest. Of course, there is also phenomenal game viewing and Lewa is famous for its black and white rhino population.

Tswalu - Kalahari, South Africa

Tsawlu offers a safari experience like none other in Africa. In the heart of the Kalahari, the largest private game reserve in South Africa, it's an incredible location for a first family safari. The two luxurious lodges offer the perfect setting for families and small groups of all ages to enjoy a wildlife rich safari, with a wide range of activities in the spellbinding landscapes. Children will wonder at the majesty of black-maned Kalahari lions and you will have to drag them away from the mischievous meerkats. Children will leave as qualified Tswalu Junior Rangers!

Mara House - Maasai Mara, Kenya

For families wanting to witness the Great Migration in the Maasai Mara, Nomadic Encounters Mara House is perfect. It is a three bedroom private house in the Mara North Conservancy and a wonderful option for families of all ages. The house comes with a butler, chef, guide and private game vehicle so and each and every day is completely tailor made around you and you can choose to do as much or as little as you wish from visits to the local Maasai Village to daily game drives to walks with the Maasai Warriors, Mara House is tailored around giving families an unforgettable safari experience.

Madikwe Safari Lodge - Madikwe Reserve, South Africa

Situated in the malaria free Madikwe Reserve, Madikwe Safari Lodge is the perfect lodge for any child fascinated with nature and wildlife. The lodge has been designed with families in mind and everything from the rooms to the menu have been created to give families the perfect safari. The lodge also has its own Eco House Kids Club where the guides and field rangers will carry on the learning experience from each game drive in the Eco House with fun activities such as making plaster of paris moulds of animal tracks and making collages with interesting things collected from outdoors.

Best with children 10 to 15 years

In this age bracket you can travel a little further with the children. One of our favourite places is Zambia, where the guides will sit and tell stories around the camp fire with the children in the evenings. Combine your Zambian safari with some time at the majestic Victoria Falls and the children will love all the activities on offer. Botswana also opens up with incredibly exciting and novel experiences on offer – let meerkats crawl on the children’s heads to look for their prey or quad bike through the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans.

Azura Selous - Selous, Tanzania

By the Ruaha River in Tanzania’s vast Selous Game Reserve, Azura Selous offers a safari experience rich in game and diverse in activities. Head out on foot to track wildlife walking along the river bank, stop for a spot of fishing and a picnic, if the water levels are high you can head out on the river. This is a remote corner of a wild reserve, you will feel you have it all to yourself. The beautiful suites have plenty of room for extra beds and the large infinity pool is perfect for cooling off in the heat of the day. Easy linking flights to Zanzibar make combining safari with the beach a breeze – it’s the perfect family holiday.

Kasaka River Lodge - Lower Zambezi, Zambia

Hippo Pod Family Lodge at Kasaka River Lodge is ideal for families wanting an exclusive and private safari experience. Sleeping up to six guests it is ideal for larger families. What makes Hippo Pod so great for slightly older children is the amount of exciting activities on offer all focused around the plentiful wildlife in the area. These include canoeing safaris, boat safaris, fishing trips and daily game drives. There is also a swimming pool at the main lodge for teenagers to make the most of between activities.

San Camp - Makgadikgadi, Botswana

For families who've been on safari before and are in search of a totally unique experience they need look no further than San Camp. The camp is on the edge of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, the remnant of an extinct super lake that once covered the majority of Botswana. As you look out to the horizon over the lake you can see the curvature of the earth. Along with daily game drives to search for rarer species such as the brown hyena, you can also head out onto the pans on quad bikes or perhaps visit to the semi-habituated meerkats which will often use your head as a vantage point as they look out over the pan!

Somalisa Camp - Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

Somalisa Camp in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park will blow your mind. A beautiful drive from Victoria Falls, Hwange is amazing during the dry season coinciding with school summer holidays. It's an authentic bush camp with great guides and staff, but wait until you see the swimming pool! Hwange is famous for vast elephant herds and during the dry season nothing tastes sweeter to a thirsty elephant than the freshly pumped spring water in Somalisa’s pool. If you're quiet you can slip into the shallow end and go eye to eye with the largest land mammal on the planet. For any age it's magical, but for kids: just WOW!

Best with children over 16 years

For families with older children you can really head off the beaten track and experience some of Africa’s wildest and remote corners! Experience walking safaris in Zambia led by some of Africa’s top guides, go on a canoe trail in the Linyanti and get very close to animals, or even trek for Gorillas in Rwanda.

Luwi Bush Camp - South Luangwa, Zambia

Set deep in the heart of the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia this is Norman Carr’s most rustic and authentic camp. Due to its remote location, the game in this area is diverse and plentiful and there are very few roads meaning walking safaris are the main activity. Children from as young as twelve can go out on walking safaris if accompanied by a parent but we recommend Luwi Bush Camp for sixteen years plus.

Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge - Virungas, Rwanda

Tracking wild mountain gorillas is something that appears on most people's bucket list. It's an incredible once-in-a-lifetime trip and an exciting adventure to undertake as a family. In Rwanda, children over the age of 15 can trek the mountain gorillas so it's perfect for families with older children. Sabyinyo, right on the edge of the Volcanoes National Park, is the perfect base from which to trek gorillas. After a couple of nights here, finish off with a night in Kigali to pay a visit to the Genocide Memorial Museum – a haunting but stark journey through the 1994 genocide.

Selinda Canoe Trail - Linyanti, Botswana

Selinda Canoe Trail is a four night adventure along the famous Selinda Spillway combining canoeing and walking safaris in one of the most picturesque areas of Botswana. This is the ultimate adventure and perfect for families in search of something totally different from the usual safari experience. The accommodation is basic but comfortable in dome tents which are set up each night. This trip gives you the chance to take advantage of the spectacular scenery and wildlife in an exciting and unobtrusive way and with some of the best guiding in Africa.

First time safaris

A safari in Africa is something many of us dream of experiencing at least once in our lifetime. For many, watching Out of Africa conjures up images of beautiful vistas dotted with acacia trees. Not all safari destinations offer these wide open plains, but we have selected some of our favourite itineraries that work fantastically well for people on safari for the first time. With great game viewing and a phenomenal guide to bring the experience to life. Whether you are a family or couple going on honeymoon, we have handpicked safari lodges and camps to make it an African adventure that you'll never forget - you'll want to return to this fascinating continent again and again.

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How to Pick Your Safari Destination

There are many things to consider when planning a safari. Whether this is your first time, or you've been several times before, the choice of destinations, styles of safari and accommodations can seem mind-boggling. But there are plenty of ways to help narrow down the choices and find a safari that's perfect for you.

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Malaria-free safaris

From the Eastern Cape reserves in South Africa to beautiful Etosha National Park in Namibia, you have plenty of choices for a wildlife-packed malaria-free safari with plenty of activities for all ages.

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Call us on 65 3165 4050 to start planning your family safari