What could be more exciting than seeing your kids encounter animals in the wild and not in a zoo? Family safaris in Africa SHOULD be a trip of a lifetime – one that each of you can remember and share stories forever. However, before being able to tick off this item on your bucket list, you need to know certain things like when are where to go, where to stay, what’s best for the kids, etc. This guide will tell you all about how to plan a safari trip for your family.
Before anything else, you need to take into account the following things in order for you to create the best safari for the entire bunch:
For Family, we will focus on the top 3 safari destinations in Africa: South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya. If you want a more authentic African experience, Tanzania and Kenya are the best places to go. These countries are poorer when it comes to infrastructure and its parks remain “wild” despite the tourism surge each year. Between the two, Kenya’s major international airport (Jomo Kenyatta, NBO) caters more international flights from across the globe compared to Tanzania which is relatively more difficult and expensive to go to. However, even though Tanzania is generally more expensive, the country is endowed with more super activities for the entire family — even with kids in tow.
Most families, especially those with younger kids, opt to travel to South Africa. Thanks to its multitude of things to do and places to see which can be enjoyed before and/or after a wildlife safari, it is often the first choice for family safaris. Aside from a more modern/advanced infrastructure and an endless variety of activities including a visit to waterparks, swimming with the whales and dolphins and several city as well as coastal tours, South Africais also very accessible from other parts of the world – UK and Europe, America, Middle East, Asia and even Oceania. Plus, South Africa is also home to many malaria-free parks as well as a lot of excellent hospitals and healthcare professionals. The downside here, though, is because the country’s infrastructure is more advanced, the “real Africa” feels is toned down. So if you’re after the authentic African experience with your brood, Tanzania is best, followed by Kenya. If you’re looking into doing other activities like visiting vineyards, seeing penguins and whales, and you don’t mind losing the touch of “real Africa”, South Africa is your best choice.
Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa are all year-round destinations but the best time to visit these countries for game viewing is during a dry season. In Kenya and Tanzania, it’s best to visit between June and October and for South Africa is between July and November. December to February is also an excellent time to visit these countries. In Tanzania for the action-packed calving season during the iconic Great Wildebeest Migration, in South Africa for its dry, summer months in the Cape, and in Kenya for the migratory birds, newborn animals and lush scenery.
There are a lot of places to visit in each country. Here are the top 10 attractions that are recommended for families:
There are lots of activities that you can enjoy as a family or each of you can enjoy yourselves. Depending on your interests, travel style, budget and country to visit, these are the activities we recommend:
|Hot air balloon ride|
|Open air cinema|
|Indoor trampoline park|
|Painting a Masai masterpiece|
|Dolphin watching or swimming|
There are plenty of flights from all over the world to South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania but among the three, Tanzania is the most expensive to fly to and flights, although plenty, isn’t as much available compared to the other two countries. What other people do to visit this ultimate safari paradise is they book a flight via Nairobi or Johannesburg and then take a connecting flight to Tanzania, which is usually cheaper than a direct flight. Kenya and South Africa are the biggest hubs in the continent as both international airports are linked to the rest of the world by a plethora of major airlines like KLM, Delta, Emirates and Turkish Airlines. Due to competition, airfares to either Kenya or South Africa are relatively cheaper.
When it comes to flight duration, travel to East Africa (Tanzania and Kenya) is shorter., which takes about 8 hours from Europe. Traveling to South Africa, on the other hand, is roughly 11 to 12 hours on average. Most families take an overnight flight or make a short stopover to acclimate to the time difference and avoid any jet lags.
Self-driving is the most ideal way to go on a family safari because of the freedom when it comes to the needs of each family member. However, this option is not available nor advisable in East Africa including Tanzania and Kenya. If you want to self-drive, South Africa is the place to go. It has excellent roads with good signs or posts for directions and there are many vehicles you can rent.
There really is nothing special to pack for the kids unless they have special needs or restrictions or personal preferences. These are the usual stuff for any kid on a safari: