10 Considerations for Families Going on Safari

Families Going on Safari – For families embarking on a safari adventure, cost stands as a significant challenge. However, several considerations should be kept in mind. Firstly, accommodations may have age restrictions or limited family-friendly options. Additionally, the logistics of travel, including long flights and potential health concerns, should be considered, especially for younger children. It’s crucial to choose safari destinations that cater to family needs, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all members. Finally, the unpredictability of wildlife sightings may require patience and flexibility. Despite the challenges, careful planning and selecting family-friendly options can enhance the overall safari experience.



1. Minimum Age Restrictions

Families planning a safari should note that while many camps and lodges accommodate children of varying ages, some impose minimum age restrictions, typically between 4 and 12 years old. When booking through an Africa Travel Specialist, accommodation selection will consider these factors. However, when booking directly, it’s essential to review the camp or lodge’s child policy to ensure compliance.


2. Discounts for Children

When it comes to pricing, the majority of safari camps and lodges categorize individuals aged 12 and above as adults. However, it’s important to note that this distinction doesn’t necessarily correlate with minimum age restrictions or specific activity requirements. Typically, children over 12 are charged at the adult rate, with limited discounts available at select establishments. Even for children under 12, discounted rates often apply only when sharing accommodation with an adult. While some camps and lodges may offer reduced fares for younger children, it’s essential to verify their policies to ensure accurate pricing and booking arrangements for your safari experience.


3. Age Restrictions on Activities

While safari activities offer incredible opportunities for adventure and exploration, it’s essential to be aware of age restrictions that may apply. Certain activities, such as gorilla trekking and white-water rafting, typically require participants to be at least 15 years old due to safety concerns and physical demands. Similarly, walking safaris may have age restrictions imposed by the camp or lodge, considering the presence of potentially dangerous game in the area.

As parents, it’s crucial to exercise discretion when deciding which activities are suitable for your children. Factors such as maturity level, physical capabilities, and individual preferences should all be taken into account. While some teenagers may thrive on adrenaline-pumping experiences like walking safaris or canoeing, others may prefer more relaxed options.

For families with teenagers, incorporating a mix of thrilling activities can add excitement and engagement to the safari experience. From guided bush walks to exhilarating canoe trips, these activities not only provide memorable moments but also foster a deeper connection with nature. Ultimately, tailoring the safari itinerary to suit the interests and comfort levels of each family member ensures a rewarding and enjoyable adventure for everyone.



4. Children’s Activity Programs

Many safari camps now offer comprehensive children’s activity programs and some provide dedicated guides for families. Designed for ages 4 to 8, these programs typically feature a guide who engages children with a variety of activities around the camp, including storytelling, painting animals, birdwatching, and bug collecting. The guide ensures the children’s safety while parents embark on game drives or other activities.

As children grow older (8 to 12 years), they can fully appreciate game drives and bush walks. Families may consider requesting a private vehicle to accommodate their needs without inconveniencing other guests. This allows for flexibility, ensuring families can return to camp when children are ready. Sharing wildlife experiences with children is a priority for many parents, and private vehicles can enhance the overall safari experience by providing a more personalized and enjoyable adventure for the whole family.


5. Private Vehicle

Families traveling on safari with younger children often need to book a private game drive vehicle and guide, which can increase the overall cost of the trip. It’s important to discuss this option with your Africa Travel Specialist to understand the implications and make appropriate arrangements. Private vehicles ensure flexibility and personalized experiences tailored to the family’s needs, allowing for a more enjoyable safari adventure with children. While it may involve additional expenses, the benefits of a private vehicle, such as avoiding disturbances to other guests and accommodating the pace and preferences of the family, often outweigh the costs for families seeking a memorable and comfortable safari experience.


6. Meals & Meal Times

For families embarking on safari with younger children, meals and meal times play a crucial role in ensuring a smooth and enjoyable experience. It’s essential to communicate your child’s dietary requirements to the camp manager and discuss suitable meal times that accommodate everyone’s needs. Some camps may be flexible in arranging earlier meal times, but this may also require a parent to accompany the children to bed for safety reasons. By coordinating with the camp staff and planning ahead, families can ensure that meals are tailored to their preferences and schedules, allowing for a more relaxed and comfortable dining experience during their safari adventure.


7. Sleeping Arrangements

Depending on the ages of your children, the camp or lodge may stipulate that one adult must sleep in the same room or tent as underage children as a safety precaution. This measure helps prevent situations where young children might wander out of their accommodation or react adversely to animal encounters. Babysitting services are often provided, allowing parents to enjoy an evening meal together without their children.

This arrangement offers parents the opportunity to relax and unwind while ensuring the safety and well-being of their children under the care of trained staff. By adhering to these guidelines and utilizing available services, families can enjoy a comfortable and worry-free safari experience while catering to the needs of both adults and children.


8. Safety

It’s crucial to prioritize safety in accordance with the guidelines set by the lodge or camp, particularly regarding walking or running within the premises. Ensure that your children understand and adhere to these restrictions, and monitor their movements closely. Many camps lack fences, requiring extra vigilance, especially with younger children. By staying aware of safety protocols and actively supervising your children, you can mitigate potential risks and ensure a secure environment for everyone during your safari stay.


9. General Precautions

Families embarking on safari should prioritize protection from the intense African sun by wearing hats and applying sunscreen during drives and walks. In malaria-prone areas, it’s essential to use mosquito repellent and cover exposed skin in the early evenings to prevent bites. Educating children about drinking only filtered or bottled water is crucial to safeguard their health.

While safari lodges and camps emphasize peace and reconnecting with nature, this may not align with children’s preferences. An “adults-only” safari may not be suitable for many young children, who can quickly become bored and restless. Parents should ensure that their children’s behavior does not disrupt the enjoyment of other guests. It’s important to consider the needs and interests of all family members when planning a safari experience, opting for accommodations and activities that cater to children’s engagement and enjoyment. By taking these precautions and considerations into account, families can create a memorable and harmonious safari adventure for everyone involved.


10. Swimming Pools

When staying at safari camps or lodges with swimming pools, it’s important to assess the safety measures in place, particularly if your child is not a strong swimmer. Verify the accessibility and security of the pool area, including the presence of pool fences, to prevent accidents. If your child wishes to swim, accompany them and ensure they understand that swimming is at their own risk. By staying vigilant and taking appropriate precautions, such as supervising children near water and adhering to safety guidelines, families can enjoy a relaxing and refreshing swim while minimizing potential risks during their safari stay.



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