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We answer the top questions around travelling to Africa for a safari holiday with young kids.

Taking Your Kids on an Unforgettable Safari Adventure in Africa

For parents who have never travelled to Africa, the idea of taking young kids on safari may seem like a complicated prospect. But there are many misconceptions about travelling to this magnificent continent with your family.

Children love animals, whether animated on screen or creatures they see in books or in nature documentaries. Imagine their awe when they see them in real life in their natural habitats.

Safety, comfort and amazing family bonding experiences are key aspects of any African family holiday. With that in mind, we’re here to bust some myths and give you great reasons why a trip of a lifetime awaits you when you take your children on a safari in Africa.

By taking our expert advice and consultation into consideration, families can ensure an enjoyable safari experience, full of learning opportunities and good old fun. With the right mindset and preparation, your kids will be sure to have an unforgettable time.

tuningi safari lodge kids

Image Credit: Tuningi Safari Lodge

QUESTION 1: Is Africa safe for families travelling with younger kids?

Africa is a vast, diverse continent that has something for everyone. While there are some countries where – travellers should exercise caution, many areas in Africa are safe for families with children. With assistance from our well-travelled and well-informed Travel Managers, you will be guided to places to visit that are family-friendly and safe.

With the right advice and support measures in place, travelling to Africa with kids – should be a very safe and memorable experience – for all the right reasons

QUESTION 2: Is it safe for kids to be on a safari vehicle near wild animals?

This is a common concern about taking kids on safari, but the reality is that a safari holiday can be just as safe as many other holiday destinations. There are a variety of safety measures in place to protect your little ones, from careful selection of lodges – with family-friendly amenities and accommodations, to guides who have plenty of experience leading safaris with child guests.

Some parents may be concerned about their children’s safety from wild animals during game drives, but strict vehicle protocols help ensure the safety of everyone onboard the safari vehicle. Some lodges have age restrictions on safari drives, while other lodges offer private safari vehicles that allow whole families, including young children, on board. Rangers and guides are also able to customize each game drive experience, depending on who is on board. Game drives called Bumble Drives cater especially for very young children and these are also much shorter than the normal game drive length of three hours.

With these precautionary steps taken into consideration, it’s easy to see why a safari holiday can be a great choice for families with kids.

Children-close-encounters-with-elephants at Somalisa Acacia Camp

QUESTION 3: Is Malaria something to worry about?

Malaria is a common concern for travellers heading to Africa, especially when travelling with kids. However, there are wonderful safari opportunities in malaria-free zones, freeing you from the decision around taking medication.

In low-risk malaria areas, wearing long-sleeved clothing and using insect repellent can help protect against mosquito bites, sleeping in air-conditioned rooms or using window screens/nets where provided are other methods your family can use to reduce getting visits from nature’s most annoying insects.


QUESTION 4: Will my kids manage on the long-haul flight?

With today’s technology and transport links, it’s now easier than ever for families to get to Africa. Depending on your location, there are various flights available that offer direct routes or one-stop journeys, so planning your trip can be straightforward.

Many airlines have family-friendly policies such as priority boarding, entertainment options during the flight and kid-friendly meals. Making use of easily available travel accessories and pre-loading your kids’ favourite entertainment on personal devices, are also great ideas when planning long haul flights. With these measures in place, travelling with kids to Africa can be a comfortable experience that keeps them entertained throughout the journey.

Some camps are only accessible via light aircraft, especially in Kenya and Tanzania. These are unpressurised and have limited space, which can be uncomfortable for small children. There are ways to either avoid or manage this and our expert travel managers will happily share their advice.

You can also always add in a fun stop over to shorten the flight.


QUESTION 5: Is there childcare available?

When travelling to Africa with kids, it can be reassuring to know that most safari lodges offer child-friendly services. These may include dedicated play areas and activities tailored for younger visitors, plus experienced guides, rangers and other staff who are trained to help keep your children safe and entertained and ensure that parents get some free time.


Junior Ranger Activities at Gondwana

Activities with children at Angama Mara

Additionally, some lodges have trained nannies and childcare specialists who can provide peace of mind while you explore the surrounding area. With all these measures in place, kids can enjoy a safe and comfortable experience while learning more about Africa’s unique wildlife, while the adults enjoy a bit of freedom to take in the exceptional vistas and beautiful accommodations.

QUESTION 6: What happens if we need a hospital?

Several safari-friendly African countries have well-equipped, world-class hospitals capable of handling medical emergencies. While it’s always advisable to procure comprehensive travel insurance for your family prior to travelling to cover any medical expenses you may incur during your trip, if medical emergencies are a particular concern for your family our travel managers will advise you on safari circuits that have helicopter access to the nearest reputable hospital.


QUESTION 7: Will my children get bored on a safari holiday?

When travelling with young children, it’s important to find activities that will keep them engaged throughout their stay.

There is so much to captivate children of all ages on an African safari and so much to do and learn. Surrounded by nature, immersed in new sensations and new people to learn from, it is the perfect opportunity for everyone to get off their screens, into the world and connect with one another. Watching your children experience the secrets of the African bush is such a treat. Our young guests always love learning about the ‘toothbrush’ tree, the ‘toilet paper’ tree. From learning to identify birds, to naming all the new animals and fun groupings like The Ugly Five and even watching them drift off into a safari drive nap, experiencing a safari with them will be an absolute delight for the adults too.



Lemala kids club activity with child minder

Additionally, many lodges offer a range of organised activities for kids that can help children to experience Africa in a unique way. Some activities will have an age restriction, such as walks in the bush with your ranger and gorilla trekking.

Kids Safari Clubs are an excellent feature at some lodges, where activities include nature rambles around the lodge, nature-themed arts and crafts, games and even baking, all with age-appropriate interaction and professional childminders. For very small children, childminders can ensure they are fed, cleaned and have their naps while you are out on a game drive, tracking that elusive leopard.


QUESTION 8: Is a bush holiday comfortable enough for my family?

While some travelling families desire a safari vacation that is as close to nature as possible (think bucket showers and food cooked on open fires), there are wonderful safari experiences that are extremely luxurious. Many safari lodges provide luxurious accommodation which offers all the comforts of home while being surrounded by Africa’s rugged landscapes. These luxury lodges often feature comfortable, air-conditioned rooms, gourmet restaurants, private swimming pools and a range of activities such as game drives, guided walks and cultural tours.

The ideal option is to book a villa for private and exclusive use (ideas here »). These come with your own private chef and ranger, so you can dictate your schedule, dining and going on safari drives as and when you wish. Be sure to book as early as possible to ensure you can select the best option for you.

Africa’s safari destinations are easy to combine with popular beach destinations. How does a few days in Mauritius, Zanzibar, Seychelles or Mozambique sound? After the early mornings and late nights of safari living, a few days in a tropical paradise are pure bliss for the whole family.




QUESTION 9: Are game drives too long for kids?

A game drive cannot be compared with a normal three-hour journey in a car. The fresh air, the magical surroundings, the knowledge of the game rangers and the wildlife spotting keep children completely engaged. All the same, we recommend considering how well your child can sit still and how well they listen to instructions to be quiet or be still. Another reality to bear in mind is that safari drives can be hot, bumpy and sometimes dusty. And remember, bathroom stops during a game drive means stopping and finding the nearest big bush…

The usual age at which children can begin to fully appreciate a game drive is from 6 years old, when curiosity is at its peak and kids can take it all in and appreciate the wonder of Africa’s magnificent wildlife. That said, we have sent many much younger children who go out on the safari vehicles and have an exceptional experience.

While many lodges and camps require that families with young children book private game-drive vehicles, the great thing about this is that you can return to camp whenever the children have had enough – without disturbing other guests.



Family safari at Jabulani Safari

Game drive activity for children

So, don’t let these misconceptions stop you from creating lasting memories on safari that you’ll cherish for years to come. With the proper preparation, research and safety measures in place, and our expert travel managers to advise and support you every step of the way, it’s easy to make sure your family have a safe and enjoyable experience when travelling to Africa. And you will return home with some incredible stories to tell!

In this article
  • Overview
  • 1. Is Africa safe for young kids?
  • 2. Is it safe for kids to be near wild animals?
  • 3. What about Malaria?
  • 4. Will my kids manage the long flight?
  • 5. Is there childcare available?
  • 6. What happens if we need a hospital?
  • 7. Will my children get bored?
  • 8. Is a bush holiday comfortable?
  • 9. Are game drives too long for kids?

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