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 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.
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
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.
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!
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
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 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
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.