Have you ever been to Africa with your kids? You should, because it’s adventurous and kids love adventure. Beware though, of the ‘Africa bug’, an insatiable desire to keep returning. Your family will get a chance to explore aqua life and swim in crystal clear Indian Ocean waters. Watch the spectacular Victoria waterfalls on river Zambezi, the remarkable annual migration of wilder beasts in the Mara, Kenya, and the sprawling wildlife in South Africa, not to forget the gentle gorillas in Uganda. If you’re a first time tourist to Africa, you’ll be floored at the beauty of Fauna that exists in this continent.
We have come up with a list of six safe family-oriented destinations to go to with your young ones. The kind of lifetime adventures your kids will live to remember every time they think about Africa.
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Africa is classified according to political and social strengths. The three countries in East Africa have hundreds of places to visit with open boundaries for the locals and a Visa arrangement for tourists crossing the borders. It shouldn’t be a problem for you and your family. The best place to land from anywhere is Kenya; which is a stable country and offering direct flights from New York, London and Amsterdam.
Kenya makes a perfect vacation destination for families with an endless variety of places to visit and things to do. The best part about this country is the dedication to conservation efforts is its flexibility and range. Wild game conservancies and private camps and lodges operate under minimal guidelines and flexible itineraries.
Visit the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, an exclusive black rhino sanctuary among other endangered species. The Conservancy is a 360 km2 non-profit wildlife sanctuary in Laikipia County. The Ol Pejeta has great apes, friendly animals that love to socialize with kids and adults alike. Visitors are discouraged from feeding the animals for diet reasons and from preventing stomach upsets.
You also get a chance to mingle with chimpanzees at the Sweetwaters Sanctuary, a haven for orphaned and rescued chimpanzees. The Conservancy is host to a large selection of additional African animals, to crown your safari with nearly all the animals you’ve probably never seen in a zoo. Take a prearranged tour in a van and let your kids experience a firsthand contact with the famous animals.
The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy covers 62,000 acres of virgin lands and is home to endangered black rhinos among other wildlife such as the beautiful striped zebras, buffaloes, leopards and friendly elephants.
Check into the Giraffe Manor in Nairobi National Park and share breakfast with the cute, friendly – long-necked giraffes. Enjoy a beautiful sunrise, take a lazy morning walk around the Park, and then relax in the warm pools of water surrounding the property.
Crown you Kenyan tour with the Kenyan coast excursion and experience the time of your life at the serene beaches, let your kids build castles in the beach or watch colourful sea turtles on a motorboat ride deep into the Indian Ocean in Malindi. Enjoy your evenings watching the beautiful African sunset as you eat dinner on a family table overlooking the ocean.
Bwindi Forest is host to mountain gorillas and involves miles of trekking to reach gorilla hotspots. It is an exhilarating experience but one you probably don’t want to engage your young ones. You can, however, take your children to the gigantic Kibale National Park in Fort Portal; Western Uganda. The evergreen rain forest is 296 sq. Miles. It contains a diverse assortment of landscapes with both low-lying and mountain forests. Enjoy the view and interact with all kinds of monkeys, chimps and gorillas, among other game animals. You can take your family on long walks within the Park or hire a tour van for an exclusive tour of the Park as you take pictures and mingle with the friendly animals.
If you have older children aged 15 and above let them experience climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro – Africa’s tallest mountain, towering at 19,340 feet. This is the ultimate adventure for teenage families which requires detailed, warm-up and training orientation for the eight-day excursion. Let the little ones play about the at the Kilimanjaro National game park and enjoy the local ambience and meet the alluring Native Maasai people herding goats and cattle in adjacent villages. You can go ahead and request to take a pic with the Maasai warriors!
Family activities include bush picnics, horseback riding, driving safaris, visiting local communities, and scenic helicopter flights. On hot days laze around the beautiful camps in a strategically placed Gazebo and watch the horizon.
Entry into South Africa is easy with most direct flights from the US and Europe. You will have ample time to rest due to the long jetlagged flight and difference in atmosphere. It is relatively hot during the summer in South Africa so carry lots of sunscreen, shorts and boots for the Safari experience in the game parks.
1. South Africa
South Africa is a classic destination for first-time family holiday goers to Africa. You get to experience a mostly Dutch lifestyle with a hint of European flavor, mixed with Afrikaans lingo creating an exclusive blend of cultures.
Explore Sabi Sands, home to the largest concentration of leopards in the world. Take pictures and keep vigil of the young ones because just as kids are curious, leopards are cunningly quite interested, and bullish.
Experience the magical province – Kwa Zulu Natal that has a million places to visit and things to do –City activities like hiking, and sandboarding enjoy the Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park and the ‘Barrier of Spears’ mountains in UKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park. Observe the remarkable Sardine Run; interact with dolphins on the sunny golden beaches with hideaway coves. Indulge in arts, music, and sports festivals in Durban.
Visit the Southern Kalahari Desert; in the Eastern Cape’s topography and into the Waterberg Mountains—and beyond. Witness exotic wildlife, including the elegant Impalas, lazy heards of elephant, lions, wild hyenas and many more.
Families touring in safari vehicles get to watch a variety of animals in the marshy Okavango Delta. The program emphasizes on training kids how to track game both 4×4 safari vehicles and on foot and in. Children learn how to ignite a fire with sticks, make small animal traps, identify different animal hoof marks, isolate a variety of birds, etc.
Explore Somalisa Acacia with tailored Nature walks with the help of dedicated professional child guides.
You can also visit one of the five World Heritage sites;
Crown your Zimbabwe tour with a must-see of the five spectacularly stunning Victoria waterfalls, quite a remarkable sight! It’s like a paradise haven you don’t want ever to leave.
Let your kids have the time of their lives at the Elephant Express; a dual-engine single tram that passes through Hwange National Park – such a wild fun-filled delight to the typical game drive. The train allows free movement of kids within the tram, a welcome bonus for little feet that need to run and scream in excitement! Zimbabwe is the perfect place that concludes your African Safari. A spectacular, enjoyable adventure they will never forget in their lifetime.
Essential Tips for Trips to Africa with your Kids
- Go for Camps bordering two countries; it’s more about getting the right camp with child-friendly amenities soaking in Nature’s quiet atmosphere
- Swimming pools – Pick Camps with ample swimming pools for kids to burn off extra energy in the freshwater and to cool off through the mid-day heat.
- Go for camps with childcare, facilities including babysitting, and playrooms with game activities to occupy children between game park drives.
For Hotel stays, most of the National Parks have fantastic cottages, guest rooms and camps suited for family stays. You don’t need to sweat for that. The tour packages are also all-inclusive, so you only need to cater to flight arrangements in between the countries, pick a preferred tour guide and you’re good to go.