Plan a safari for kids: Get more rewarding family holidays in South Africa

You might think that going on a safari is the perfect fit for a family holiday, and rightfully so. But some places do not allow children, as there are extra risks involved when kids are around. Finding the best formula can thus prove to be more difficult than you may expect!

Luckily, there are plenty of safari locations that do accept children, and we’re here to consider some of the options.

Tintswalo Lodges

Kruger National Park is well known for its diverse landscape and immense number of species. From the usual “big five” (lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino) to some of the more unique and fascinating species – like the hippo, hyena or wild dog – the preserve is a true paradise for nature lovers.

Tintswalo Lodges are explicitly child friendly making them a good choice for a family holiday. While the Safari Lodge generally has a minimum age requirement of 12 years, both the Tintswalo Manor House and the lodge’s Presidential Suite are open to all ages.

However, babies under the age of two – whilst welcome in the house itself – cannot go on game drives. They can, nevertheless, go on specially organised drives just with their family but these arrangements must be made in advance.

The Manor House has a special family section, which is fenced. So if you have younger children, they can play freely in a safe environment. Bush walks are restricted to over 16s unless they are on the Children’s Program, in which case they will be allowed on special walks suited to their needs.

Londolozi Varty Camp

The Londolozi Camps do have age restrictions, but the Varty Camp and the Founders Camp accept children aged 6 or above. With 14,000 hectares of land in the Sabi Sand private game reserve, there’s plenty of chance to see the big five. The camps themselves are based along the river, right in the heart of the reserve.

Londolozi has been around for over eighty years, and has a wonderful team of rangers, trackers and naturalists. This means they can conduct extensive and interesting game drives that are likely to cover whatever you’re interested in – whether that’s leopards, lions or even bird watching.

The Shamwari Game Reserve

The Shamwari Game Reserve, based in the Eastern Cape of South Africa is another explicitly child-friendly location. Notably, for those concerned about health, it’s malaria-free and is home to one of the largest private conservation initiatives in South Africa.

If you have younger children, this is the choice for you – there is a dedicated children’s coordinator who can help you plan out activity options. For instance, you can pay a visit to the Shamwari Animal Rehabilition Centre, where they can get a close encounter with some of the wild animals being cared for at the time.

There’s also a variety of non-animal based activities at the Riverdene Lodge – sports, arts, and so on.

Jaci’s Lodges – Madikwe Game Reserve

These lodges are family run, meaning they’re well experienced in the art of family holidays. Some of their safaris are targeted specifically at certain interests – for example, they have a child-focused photography safari for kids who want to have fun while learning basic photographic skills! NB: Please reserve your spot well in advance as space is limited and gets booked up very quickly!

In addition, all of their accommodation is suited for children – with the Nare and Safari Suites especially designed for families with children under 6 years, and Jaci’s Safari Lodge for children 6 years and above.

Jaci’s Lodges are great for feeling like you’re camping out in the wild, whilst still enjoying the comfort of underfloor heating and air-conditioning. They also provide family focused game drives – and have a short ‘jungle drive’ for the little ones under 5!

Set Up Base in Cape Town

If none of these on-site holidays seem like an option for you, it’s still possible to have a family safari holiday! Look into Cape Town holiday villa rentals: rather than spending the time in a game reserve, set up base in a city.

Cape Town is a great option – it’s busy, with a great combination of culture and exciting activities. You can easily book your trips lasting anything from a day to a week, and ensure you get the safari experience without having to lose the comforts of a more traditional style of holiday.

You can even take the opportunity to visit local sanctuaries – ensuring the children get a more close-up experience of the animals they’ve been hoping to see, something you simply can’t guarantee on a classical safari. Cape Town holiday villa rentals are a great alternative for those of you looking for a rewarding family holiday in South Africa.

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