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Africa as a Family Destination

Updated: Mar 5

As we begin to serve more multi-generational families and younger families traveling together, we have begun to identify several exclusive use properties that can cater to children of all ages.  While the typical client going on safari has been adults, or families with teenagers and young adults, we are beginning to see a demand for these new types of guests.  While most safari operators do allow children as young as 6 in a safari vehicle, those must be private vehicles, not shared with other guests. Other lodges can accommodate children as young as 3 or 4 on safari in a private, shorter length safari in specially adapted vehicles

Families with smaller children have some unique needs-

  • The attention span during safari might be short, which is why shared vehicles could interrupt other guests’ experiences; a fussy or crying child may instill curiosity or even fear in wild animals and the guides must then quickly exit the viewing stop. 

  • Parents may wish to employ a nanny during many of their activities such as safari, bush walks or for their spa experiences, sundowners, and candlelight dinners.

  • Children will need other outlets to keep them entertained so guides and staff that are experienced with children are key to a successful vacation.  Some camps have special guide programs for young children where they can explore nature in a safe setting and at their own pace.

  • The room configurations of most safari type properties and hotels often do not support an interleading separate bedroom, close to the parents for younger children.  A bathtub is often an essential amenity.

  • A trip to Africa is expensive and the properties we represent are full board, including all meals and all beverages, including alcoholic beverages.  Camps and lodges need to be able to offer significantly discounted child rates or even complimentary rates for children under a certain age, as they will not be consuming meals and beverages as an adult would.  Further, their dietary requirements might be quite simple or in some cases, more complex.

  • Families might wish to have longer stays to avoid the moving and packing hassles with small children.  Many properties offer Stay 6, pay 5 type deals, so we strive to find those type of prices when we match you to the perfect stay that matches your budget.

Our research has provided us with a number of attractive options throughout safari Africa, but we are particularly focused in this blog on two great options in South Africa. 

One great option for a family safari is at Thornybush Nature Reserve just outside Kruger National Park.  An owner-run business

with warm and engaging staff, the Thornybush family is passionate about Africa and celebrating safari. The best option for a small multi gen family – 4-adults and 3-4 children would be the exclusive use Kamara House with 3 bedrooms or a three unit, 2-bedroom tented option at Little Saseka, where 2 adults and 2 children can be comfortable in a family tent with an option to add another family unit in one of the other 2 adjacent tents. Exclusive use enables the guests to have a private vehicle, private guide and tracker, private butler and housekeeper and private chef, as well as childminders available when needed.  Family suites are also priced by unit, effectively giving a significant discount for the children.

With a spacious outside deck for game viewing and a plunge pool, this luxury safari accommodation will give your family a truly unforgettable safari holiday in the Kruger Park.  The Thornybush team offers curated family activities to ensure everyone has a memorable stay.  These include guided bush walks for kids to look at insects and plants, baking activities, a Little Ranger in Training backpack with games and activities to keep them entertained.  If you’d like to capture the precious memories of your stay, they can arrange a private family photo shoot for you too.

Another option we really love for young families is Shamwari which owns 6 lodges in the Eastern Cape, a one-hour flight from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth and a 45-minute drive on paved roads to the Reserve. Some of the properties at Shamwari are specifically designed for families, with cottages that can accommodate families of up to 6 adults and 3 children in separate bedrooms.  Shamwari offers childminders, a kids’ Adventure Club complete with a zip line, climbing wall and playground, a “Kids on Safari” program dedicated to shorter safaris with a dedicated guide and tracker specializing in working with children, shallow kids' swimming pools, a waterhole which attracts wildlife that can be viewed from the room and common area decks, interleading rooms, air conditioning and even satellite TV.  A special attraction for children are visits to the Wildlife Rehab Center and Born Free Big Cat Rescue and Education Center on the property.  Shamwari offers pay-stay deals throughout the year and deep discounts in June and July when the weather in the Eastern Cape is a little cooler and could include some rain.

Shamwari as well as Thornybush do not lack wildlife on safari with both literally guaranteeing sightings of the big 5: Elephant, Hippo, Rhino, Lion and Leopard, as well as healthy cheetah populations.

The Safari stays can be combined with Cape Town. Just outside Cape Town are a few options for families to book a private house or 2–3-bedroom cottage on a working farm, with many activities for children including fishing, biking, hiking, Kids Clubs and play areas, horseback riding, and swimming.  Babysitters are also available when the adults wish to venture out for wine tastings at the farm, or in the surrounding neighborhoods.  Cape Town is a short 45-minute drive and a great place for families to explore the waterfront, the Ferris wheel, walk or bike along the promenade, visit the aquarium and take a cable car to the top of Table Mountain. 


If your family is interested in learning more about the exceptional experiences

Latitude Expeditions has to offer either for African safaris or other locations call

Linda at 760-550-1214.

@thornybushexperience @shamwarireserve

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