An African family safari and beach holiday might be one of the most rewarding you ever spend together. Watching the Africa day as it unfolds in front of you and through the eyes of your children can be simply magical and an experience you’ll remember forever. Choosing a safari often comes down to what is the most suitable for your family, and one of the biggest factors in this is how old your children are. Families are welcome at many lodges but there is often a limit to the age group. Safaris in Africa are not ideal for babies/small children, and we recommend a minimum age of around 7 to 8. This age is when children not only start to get the most out of the experience, they’re also more likely to remember it than younger children are. For the investment you’re putting in, it is worth waiting until everyone can truly appreciate the experience.
Choosing the right location depends on a few factors, including age and budget, as well as what interests each of you. We can help you find the right African safari for your family, or you can take a look at our example itineraries and descriptions of different countries, below. Bear in mind that if you have school-age children, you’ll be planning a safari for the school holidays, which can increase cost. Half-term safaris are a good option if you want to avoid the premium prices that flights and lodges can attract during the summer break. Depending on which time of year you choose, some destinations will be better than others. If you’re concerned about flight times, East Africa is the closer option – but South Africa has the same timezone, so although the flight is longer, you won’t have any jet lag or changes to your bedtime routines to worry about.
Tanzania safari holidays are the perfect example of an African safari – combining Big 5 game viewing with epic landscapes, including the Serengeti and Mount Kilimanjaro, the largest free-standing mountain in the world.
You can choose betw...
Classic Kenya Safari and Beach holidays: Masai Mara with Kenya Coast or Zanzibar. Excellent travel infrastructure – all price categories – ideal for families and honeymooners
Kenya: the home of the original safari. With its famo...
One stop shop for safari, beach, adventure or cosmopolitan fix. Fly or self drive options – excellent value – ideal for families.
Very simply, South Africa has it all. From long weekend breaks in stunning Cape Town to longer tai...
Many parents have concerns about safety of their children. Is it safe? Yes. Camps are set up to ensure all guests are safe and some have specially appointed staff to keep an eye on your children. Follow the guidelines that your camp staff give you, and you won’t have anything to worry about. Some camps also have guides that are specifically chosen for their ability to engage children and get them really excited about the safari experience.
Kenya offers some fabulous options for a family safari experience – with a gentle introduction around Nairobi and then a full variety of options as you head out to the parks – depending on how deep (or how wild) you wish your family safari experience to be. There are some great family-friendly lodges in the Mara plus some more lifestyle lodges in the northern parks including Lewa and Meru. With easy access to the beach, this makes Kenya an idea destination for a family safari and beach holiday.
A Tanzania safari is often perfectly set up for family groups, particularly in the north (Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire). Here, by having your own vehicle with driver, you are already self contained and able to move from camp to camp. Although this is probably better for those families with slightly older children (12+) who will enjoy the variety of game longer excursions can bring. An alternative option is to chose a more lodge based safari where you can create more of your own agenda and timetable. Here it could be better to head to the Selous. Tanzania family safaris combine well with a beach holiday in Zanzibar. Throughout Zanzibar there are numerous family friendly beach options from resort type hotels to cheaper guesthouses, all offering varying degrees of watersport activities.
For families with younger children, South Africa is often an easier option – malaria free and very child friendly. A family safari in South Africa can combine well with a trip to the cape for some beach fun. Kruger National Park has some great private concessions or cheaper government owned options both of which will give you an exciting family safari.
Zambia is home of the safari house where families all sleep under the comfort of one roof. Ideal for 2 or 3 families travelling together. Many owner-run smaller camps who either have their own or had children at the camp are remarkably child friendly. Having the camp to yourselves allows you to develop an agenda suited to your own preferences. A Zambia safari can combine with some extreme sports your older children (or you) may enjoy – whether it be bungee-jumping over the Victoria Falls or white-water rafting down the Zambezi rapids- these are amongst the best of the best.
A decade ago, Botswana wouldn’t have been a top choice for a safari with children. However, the right camp can make this a truly transformational experience for your family. Botswana’s often expensive, since families are required to take-over entire camps with high entry costs. But, if you can afford it, Botswana can quickly and without too much strain, make animal story books, films and zoos all come to life. We would recommend heading to the Okavango Delta and trying Chitabe or Seba camps.
Namibia’s surreal landscape offers fun and adventure. Just like the hybrid animals that have evolved within it, so have some of the sports: like sand-boarding, dune buggying, desert ballooning, kayaking and cycle safaris (all probably suited to slightly older families). Younger families may prefer a self-drive safari although it does mean some hefty mileage. But Central Highlands, Etosha National Park and Twyfelfontein regions are all possible.
There are a few factors you need to consider when it comes to the right anti-malarial medication for you and your family. We recommend speaking to a medical professional for advice, as different medication is suitable for different ages. If you’d rather avoid taking anti-malarials, choosing a safari in South Africa might be a better option. Make sure you take plenty of insect repellent – even when you’re taking the relevant medication, prevention is always beneficial (no one wants itchy bites, after all). In addition, you should make sure all of your routine vaccinations are up to date. There are specific vaccinations that are recommended for travel to Africa, and you should discuss these with your GP at least 6 weeks prior to travel.
Safaris can sometimes be a little more tiring than you might expect. Although you’re sitting down in a vehicle all day, it’s still quite an intense experience. It is totally worth it, but if you’re travelling as a family, adding a relaxing beach break to the end will give you all time to relax and recharge – as well as remember and discuss the amazing sights you enjoyed. Whether you want sandcastles or watersports, there’s the perfect beach break for your family, and most hotels are family-friendly and ready to welcome you.
Many people stay a couple of nights at a camp before moving on to the next one, giving themselves the opportunity to see as much as possible. When you’re travelling with children, we recommend staying a little longer in each place and slowing the pace slightly to give yourselves time to really enjoy your location. There’s also less re-packing, you get to know the guides and staff a little better, and you’ll find you have a little more flexibility built into your schedule.
Consider booking private drives – you’ll have the jeep to yourself, so no waiting for anyone else. And, if you need to, you can cut short a drive without worrying about disrupting someone else’s trip Take binoculars – it can be frustrating for children if they can only see a tuft of hair or a shape in the shadows. A decent (but not too expensive) pair of binoculars will let them see and experience far more. Bring a wildlife guide or checklist – have fun checking off everything you see, it can be easy to forget some of the smaller critters after you’ve seen the big cats, so keep your list handy.
The cost of a family safari and beach holiday will vary depending on the duration of your trip, your time of travel, the activities you have planned and the budget you have set aside. Roughly, you should be planning on a minimum of £10,000 for a family of four. Combining a safari adventure with a beach holiday will naturally increase the total cost, but let us assure you that this experience of a lifetime is worth every penny. As each holiday is unique, we recommend talking to a member of our team to discuss what makes your perfect safari and beach holiday and how much you are prepared to spend.
We'd recomend visiting South Africa during the months in green.
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