Family Safari Holidays
The ultimate family adventure!
Being such a large and diverse continent makes Africa a fantastic destination for family safari holidays. Whether it’s the open savannahs of the Serengeti, the diverse activities in the Laikipia Plateau or the white beaches of Zanzibar, a family safari holiday is a real adventure. For children, safaris may be one of the most exciting things they have ever done, and many of the camps provide activities that are suited for children and family specifically.
These include Maasai warrior camp activities, walking safaris for children, cultural visits to local schools or villages, babysitting in the evening any many more. We have put together a guide for family safaris, with things like age, accommodation types and special family rates to consider.
Children age 0-7 years old on safari
It is often debated as to what age it is possible to introduce children to the world of safari and we tend to find that, with most of Africa being in a malarial zone, anything up to 7 years old tends to be a little too early for them to appreciate the activities. That said, there are safari destinations in South Africa which are anti-malarial and offer good family accommodation so if you are keen to bring your young children on safari, this would be the best option. It is also recommended (and in some camps, compulsory) that you have your own private vehicle if you have small children. It is definitely possible to bring young children to beach destinations such as the East African coast or the island of Zanzibar, and there are plenty of hotels or villas that offer family discounts and babysitting options for parents who would like to go out for dinner.
Children age 7+ old on safari
From children approximately 7 years onwards (some camps have specific restrictions, others are more flexible), it is certainly possible to have a varied and interesting safari in all of the various safari parks in Africa. East African safaris, such as in the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and the Masai Mara in Kenya, are very easy for children age 7 on onwards to enjoy. This is because these safaris are mostly done on a driving itinerary, with your own private vehicle and driver/guide, which gives families the flexibility to stop for breaks and do the safari at a pace that suits all. Zambia is a very family-friendly safari destination and is easily combined with Victoria Falls which offers a variety of activities for kids and teenagers.
More specialist safaris
For families looking for more specialist safaris, such as walking safaris or gorilla treks, it is important to note that there are age restrictions and strict rules. Walking safaris, particularly in Zambia, have a minimum age of 12 and for some longer and more strenuous walking safaris, a minimum age of 16 is applied. For gorilla treks, there is a strict age restriction of 15 years and you must be relatively fit (depending on which family you are trekking to see). For parks that have a variety of activities, such as the Lower Zambezi National Park in Zambia, there are some restrictions such as 7 or 8 for fishing, and 12 years old for canoe trips. If you are looking at a specific activity or camp for your safari, the best thing to do would be to let us know the ages of your children and we can find out specific details for you.
A safari can be an expensive trip, especially if you take a whole family. With every camp offering different child discounts, it can also be a confusing matter. For example, the Nomad portfolio (who own camps in Tanzania such as Lamai and Serengeit Safari Camp in the Serengeti, Entamanu in the Ngorongoro, Sand Rivers in the Selous, Kigelia in Ruaha, Chada Camp in Katavi and Greystokes in Mahale), class anybody under the age of 21 as a child! If you are booking an individual tent, most of the properties will request that children under 18 must share with an adult in either a double or triple room. That said, some of the camps and properties have fantastic family discounts and offers that make a family safari affordable.
One of the most cost-effective family safaris is to book a private safari house, which is charged at an overall ‘house’ cost. For example, Mkombe’s House in the northern part of the Serengeti can comfortably fit two families in there and offers a private chef, butler, housekeeper and guide for the whole duration. Other private safari houses include Robin’s House in Zambia, Elsa’s Private House in Kenya, Kiba Point in Tanzania, Chongwe River House in Zambia, Jabali House in Tanzania and many more!
Unique family safari experiences
Arguably, taking your family on safari will be a very special and for some, once-in-a-lifetime experience… but for those looking for something completely unique, there are a couple of ‘wow-factor’ camps and experiences you can do. Loisaba Star Beds in Kenya’s Laikipia Plateau offers accommodation under the stars… literally. You get into your bed which is on wheels and the n when you are all tucked in and ready to sleep, the Masai warriors come and wheel your bed out to sleep under Afria’s crystal clear night sky! Another option is to do activities other than the typical game drive. The Laikipia Plateau in Kenya offers such a diversity of activities for families, including tubing, horse riding, camel riding, mountain biking and quad biking.
For more inspiration, please have a look at the individual family holiday pages for each country and the links to our where to go and what to do sections. If you’re thinking about visiting more than one country on your trip, it might be worth taking a look at our country combinations page for some ideas on how you can combine different areas in one itinerary…