Our guide to Zambia for families
Zambia is quintessentially Africa, it’s raw, vast and unspoilt. The varied ecosystems of meandering rivers, dusty valleys and the mighty Victoria Falls make for some of Africa’s best and most diverse wildlife viewing. With so many land and water-based activities, Zambia is perfect for an unforgettable family holiday.
Whether you’re a family of thrill seekers, nature lovers, or are looking for a relaxing and scenic getaway, Zambia has something to suit every family.
From the Lower Zambezi and the Luangwa River, to Victoria Falls, Zambia has an immense range of diverse regions, activities and wildlife for your family to enjoy. Many areas have a policy of low environmental impact and non-intrusiveness, which has maintained the natural, rugged beauty of this country. While exploring some of the best game reserves in the world, your family will have the opportunity to view animals like elephant, lion, giraffe, hippo and leopard, as well as over 450 species of bird. And no trip to Zambia is complete without a jaunt to the gorgeous and imposing Victoria Falls, one of the natural wonders of the world.
Zambia is perfect for the adventurous family, it’s a wild and exciting country, sure to provide an unforgettable trip. Zambia has recently emerged as the go-to place for an off-the-beaten-track safari, offering a less commercial and more organic experience than other African countries, which are more publicised. But that doesn’t mean that Zambia lacks modern luxury and comfort, many lodges can be booked exclusively, are spacious and elegant, and provide every service imaginable, from private butlers and chefs, to expert guides and hosts.
One of the reasons why Zambia is such an excellent safari destination is the variety of activities on offer. This combined with some of the best guiding in Africa guarantees that your family will have an unbelievable vacation. In addition to standard night and day game drives, Zambia has some of the best walking, canoeing, and boating safaris in Africa, as well as fishing, microlighting and white-water rafting. Zambia also offers one of the most special and family-friendly experiences in all of Africa, a night spent under the stars on a bush sleep-out.
A trip to Zambia is sure to have a lasting impact on your family. Your children will never forget the wildlife, the views, or the time spent bonding around the campfire. Zambia is an electrifying destination, perfect for any family looking for a holiday that’s a little out of the ordinary.
- Zambia has two seasons, the wet "emerald season" and the dry season. The best time for family holidays in Zambia is during the cooler months (June-August).
- When travelling with little ones, it's best to hire specialist private guides that can arrange activities and safaris tailored to your child's interests and age.
- There's a minimum age of 12 for walking safaris in Zambia's national parks.
Zambia might not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking of travel destinations for young children, but there are many amazing options for little ones here. There are a number of lodges that accommodate families through private drivers, kid friendly menus and meal times, babysitting services, and activities geared toward younger children, like educational nature walks, fishing and cooking lessons. These lodges and camps provide the excitement and flexibility important for keeping kids (even ones with the shortest attention spans) entertained.
Exuding a raw beauty, Potato Bush Camp is an exclusive and luxurious tented camp. What makes this camp so perfect for families is that they have family specific tents and a guaranteed private vehicle. Potato Bush is also one of the few camps privileged enough to be based inside the Lower Zambezi National Park, which lends itself to a host of excellent activities for your family. There are day and night drives, scenic sunset boat cruises, canoeing, fishing, walking safaris, and constellation viewing under the vast, clear night sky. There is also a dedicated children's programme to entertain even the youngest members of the family (but there is a minimum age requirement of 4 at Potato Bush).
Robin’s House is the perfect choice for young families, and can be taken on an exclusive basis. Staying here is luxurious and leisurely. The house comes with a private guide, chef and host, allowing you to spend your days as you please. It’s this flexibility that makes Robin’s House so special, all activities are tailored to your children’s specific ages and interests. They can bake biscuits with the chef, learn to paint, go on a child specific family safari, or explore the local Twaza village and meet some local Zambian children. Don’t feel guilty about asking your hosts to help with babysitting, they’re always on hand to allow parents to participate in exciting early morning game drives, while your little ones are being thoroughly entertained.
The River club is perfect for families with children over the age of 6. Set on 50 acres of sprawling gardens on a secure property, the lodge provides the ideal setting for young ones to explore. The light and airy Princess Mary Suite is our pick for families. With 2 bedrooms and its own private plunge pool, the suite is set at the highest point of the river with the best views of the property. You may even get to see elephant and hippo on the riverbank from your room. Children at River Club will be thoroughly entertained. Young guests receive a “Kids @ the Club” adventure bag on arrival, which aims to get children outdoors and to appreciate the nature around them. Fun and educational activities include a sunset cruise with fishing tag-and-release from the deck of the boat, cooking/baking classes, birding and insect safaris, building a raft with a kit that includes eco-materials such as driftwood, rope and fabric for the sail, yoga classes, or visits to the local village and school.
Zambia gets even more exciting for older children. The options for lodges and activities open up greatly. Places like Victoria Falls offer thrilling experiences such as river boarding and white-water rafting on the Zambezi. At this age, kids are also more welcomed on safari, and many owner-run camps have expert guides that will tailor safari to your teens. Zambia has game drives, canoe safaris, bush sleep-outs, walking safaris, and fishing. But if your teen is the less adventurous type, many lodges offer large, refreshing pools, libraries, and lounge areas to relax in, as well as a multitude of laid-back cultural excursions.
Mfuwe is an imposing and luxurious lodge encircled by a permanent lagoon, and guarantees excellent game viewing. The wildlife is a highlight of Mfuwe Lodge and the surrounding area. Though children of all ages are welcome to stay at Mfuwe, only children over 12 are allowed to participate in walking safaris. The most exciting time to visit Mfuwe is in November, when a family of elephants led by the matriarch, affectionately called Wonky Tusk, walk straight through the reception, climbing the steps and walking through the lodge to feast on the fruits of the ground’s mango trees. A truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Set in a towering grove of ebony trees, overlooking a vast stretch of the Luangwa River, this camp has just 5 tented and thatched rooms. All the tents are brand new and set far apart for privacy. The camp is able to link two of the tents together to create a two bedroom family room, creating a comfortable, luxurious space for all. There are lots of exciting options for the families at Mchenja, the game viewing here is especially superb, with high populations of lion and leopard. We recommend going on walking safaris in the mornings (when the temps are lower and the animals are more active), and game drives in the afternoons so you can extend through to a night drive and find nocturnal animals. This camp is also an excellent base from which to do the Return to the Wild Sleep-out, which is unique and fantastic option for older kids.
The concept of Old Mondoro is simple, to provide your family with an authentic, intimate safari that concentrates on the wildlife and bush experience whilst not forgoing any creature comforts or service. Intimate and rustic, the camp has just 4 cleverly designed chalets overlooking the lovely Zambezi River. During the summer months the camp becomes a mecca for large groups of elephant bulls who come to feed. There’s also excellent viewing of lion, leopard, herds of buffalo, kudu, honey badger, mongoose and hyena. The main tented area is the perfect place for your family to meet up after an exciting day packed with activities. Here, your family can dine under the stars, or chat around the fire pit that sits at the edge of the river.
Since Zambia offers a wide range of activities, every member of the family will be thoroughly entertained. Your family can partake in exciting game drives, or visit local villages and schools, while other members relax poolside with a good book and a cocktail, taking in the spectacular scenery. These camps include their own staff with chefs, butlers, housekeepers, guides and drivers, making sure that everyone in your family is catered to. While in Zambia everything is tailored to your family’s specific needs and interests, ensuring a great time for all.
Amanzi is the perfect choice for those looking for a relaxed safari experience in rustic luxury surroundings. This camp is taken exclusively, providing the ideal private family getaway. Amanzi has just 4 spacious tents situated on elevated teak decks. This is a great option for families travelling with young children, because two of the tents are interconnecting. There is a diverse menu of safari activities on offer with canoe safaris, walking safaris, boat cruises, fishing and game drives. Every member of the family will find something to occupy their time. While some family members go on thrilling walking safaris, others may choose to sip a cocktail by the pool or while away their afternoon in their tent’s hammock, watching the hippos wallowing in the Zambezi.
If your family is looking for a unique and private experience, Tangala House is ideal. This house is taken exclusively and has 4 spacious bedrooms and a large swimming pool overlooking the Zambezi River. Your family's every need will be attended to by a private guide, host, chef, waiters and housekeepers. Freeing up time for your family to enjoy fishing trips, white-water rafting, bungee jumping, helicopter flights over Victoria Falls and trips to the Livingstone museum. While your family is enjoying a range of fantastic experiences, the younger members will be well cared for by the trusted staff. The house features a wonderful playroom, offers babysitting, and all the food and activities can be tailored to your children. Every member of the family is sure to have a thrilling stay at Tangala House.
Luangwa is a stunning private house built on the edge of a seasonal lagoon. Children over 7 are welcome at Luangwa and the whole family can participate in a range of activities like game drives, birding, and playing beach cricket, or your family may want to split off and enjoy separate activities. Luangwa allows this type of wonderful flexibility. One of the biggest perks of Luangwa is that your private chef and house manager will discuss daily menus and activities with your family to make sure everyone is happy with their stay. While you and your family are comfortably dining al fresco on the deck, if you’re especially quiet, you may see families of elephants coming to bathe.
For active families, Zambia is one of the best places in the world. The possibilities for adventure are endless. The variety of landscapes provides excellent wildlife viewing and exciting activities. Your family can go on day and night drives, walking, boat and canoe safaris, there’s bungee jumping, jet-boating, helicopter flights, white-water rafting, tiger fishing and swimming in a rock pool on the edge of Victoria Falls. There’s a reason why Zambia is known as the “adventure capital” of Africa. This will surely be an adrenaline filled way for your entire family to bond.
Sitting on the banks of the magical Chongwe River, where many animals come to drink, game viewing at Chongwe can be as good as on safari. The low environmental impact of the house has preserved this area and its wildlife. The house itself seamlessly blends into its surrounds with quirky curving walls, an organic color palette and the use of natural wood. Since Chongwe is private, your family’s every need will be cared for by private guides, chefs, and house managers, as well as game vehicles and canoes, so your family can take advantage of all of the exciting opportunities in the area on your own schedule.
Islands of Siankaba has 7 luxurious tented rooms set along the riverbank, raised up on stilts to enjoy views over the water. There’s plenty here to keep your family busy. Your family can tailor all activities to your own requirements. There are guided bird and tree walks, fishing trips, sunset river cruises, dugout canoe trips, massages, microlight flights, bungee jumping, white-water rafting, and cultural village walks. There is a real emphasis on supporting and working with the local community here – the lodge supports two local schools as well as eco-initiatives and many staff come from close by. So not only is your family able to have an unforgettable time staying at Islands of Siankaba, but you’re also able to give back to the local community.
Set on a sweeping bend of the Luangwa River, Tafika is one of South Luangwa’s top camps. At Tafika you’ll feel like you’re a member of owners John and Carol Coppinger’s personal family. The camp is run in a relaxed style, where you’ll feel as comfortable as if you were in your own home. It also offers a multitude of activities. You can choose from day and night game drives, or head out on the bush by foot, John also has a great selection of mountain bikes to ride, and we highly recommend trying out a biking safari. One of the most exciting features of Tafika is the exceptional guiding, many of the guides have been with the camp since its inception, and are keen photographers, so you can bet that your family will be introduced to some amazing photographic opportunities.
Time To unwind
Though Zambia is a thrilling utopia for adventure lovers, there are also many luxurious camps where the entire family can take much needed respite. Refreshing pools, spacious decks and fully staffed houses make for ultimate relaxation.
Kaya Mawa is a small lodge is built on and around a rocky outcrop jutting into the lake with two beaches and stunning views over the expanse of crystal clear fresh water. Each of the cottages has its own individual style, and many of these unique rooms have part of the surrounding rocks and trees organically built into the architecture. Five of the rooms have 2 bedrooms making them wonderful for families. Another great option is Ndomo House, which is set on a private beach and is a 4 bedroom private house that comes with its own chef, butler, nanny, speed boat and private pool. This is the perfect setup for family looking for total privacy and plenty of space to relax. In addition to great facilities for children, here, food and meal times can be adjusted to suit the younger guests and babysitting can be arranged. This lodge is very welcoming of children and is an ideal destination for all ages.
Named after the local tribe, Toka Leya has 12 lovely, spacious safari tents, three of which are specifically for families. The air conditioned tents are decorated in calming, muted tones, have cool wooden floors, and heavenly four poster beds draped in mosquito nets. This is the perfect camp to unwind. It’s located a bit away from the hustle and bustle of Livingstone, yet close enough to easily visit the town centre. Aside from the lounge and the infinity pool, the spa at the Toka Leya is the place for ultimate relaxation. Indulge in a massage, manicure or pedicure in a secluded setting with spectacular views of the river.
Newly renovated, Lion Camp has 9 chalets set in a remote area of the South Luangwa. The luxurious chalets have a private deck that overlooks the plains, a perfect spot to spend a leisurely afternoon watching passing game. The wildlife viewing here is always impressive, with regular sightings of elephant, lion and leopard. After an exciting morning game drive, escape the afternoon heat with a dip in the refreshing infinity pool.
What to pack on safari
A Family Adventure in Africa