Safari Holidays with Children – Tips for Parents


In the spirit of inspirational travel, today’s guest post is about safari holidays with children. Thanks to RachelsRomeWritings for providing these great tips!


Safari holidays are a fantastic family holiday option, offering a stimulating mix of activities to capture children’s imagination and expand their horizons. With sand dunes and exciting wildlife galore, it’s a superb environment for them in many ways. Understandably, however, many parents have concerns about the suitability of a safari holiday for children – particularly small ones. Long journeys, dangerous animals, heat and the risk of malaria are among the most common concerns, and unusual foods add to the array of difficulties which have the potential to ruin the holiday. But if you’ve ruled out going on a safari holiday with children, think again – it is doable, if you’re sensible. Follow these tips and prepare for the family holiday of a lifetime!

Choose an overnight flight
Flying to Africa can take a while – between 8-11 hours – but if you travel overnight, the whole family will be able to sleep en route. The best thing is that the time difference is only a couple of hours, so no jet lag!

Say no to malaria
Malaria needn’t be a worry if you take the right medication. Anti-malaria drugs are available from your GP and some are suitable for children. There are also areas of Africa, such as the Eastern Cape, which are free from malaria, so if your children are under the age of five (an age when malaria is more difficult to treat), this would be a safer bet.

Don’t be put off by the thought of long game drives
A safari holiday usually entails long periods of time spent on bumpy roads tracking game. It’ll be fun at first, but the likelihood is that the novelty will wear off and you’ll have bored children on your hands. But taking toys and inventing fun games will help pass the time. For example, how about creating a checklist of different animals for them to spot, and offering a prize for whoever completes their list first?


It’s worth noting that many tour operators have age restrictions which rule out taking young children altogether, on the grounds of safety – the vehicles used to track game are generally open, leaving occupants vulnerable in the midst of large predators such as lions and cheetahs – and also out of consideration for others on the tour. However, an increasingly popular option is to rent a Landrover and drive yourself. It will be enclosed and therefore safe from animals, and provided you stick to the defined roads, you should have no issue with finding your way and seeing the wildlife for yourself. It’s also a more private option, allowing you to enjoy the African bush surrounded by your family and nobody else. Car seats can usually be hired for very small children.

We all know that children can be fussy eaters at the best of times, so if you’re worrying about whether or not your children will eat the food they’re offered on safari, it’s not surprising! But many lodges understand this and some even allow you to request certain foods in advance. Many also offer babysitting services, allowing you to enjoy a romantic meal once the kids have gone to bed.


Plan plenty of exciting activities
Keeping children occupied on safari should present few problems, if any. If you’re not sure where to begin with planning activities, check out this brilliant list from Audley Travel, helpfully broken down by country: Top 25 Family Safari Holiday Activities. You’ll be lucky to be able to pack all that in, but even doing a handful of them will leave you with some wonderful memories!

Hopefully this post will have gone some way towards allaying your fears and convincing you that this once-in-a-lifetime experience is one which you can share with the whole family. If you’ve ever been on safari with small children, please share your tips with other parents by leaving a comment below!

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Image credits: rofanator, arnolouise, martin_heigan


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This entry was posted in International Escapades and tagged , on by .

About wandermom

". . .life is short and the world is wide" - Simon Raven I'm not sure I've ever consciously planned a trip based on this sentiment, but it definitely influences my subconscious! I've been traveling as frequently and widely as possible since I finished school. And I love it. I love the research, the planning, the fervent packing and the curiosity of exploring somewhere I've never been before. My husband & I are both Irish - as in born-in-Ireland. But we live in Seattle. We have two boys: wild, boisterous, regular boys. So, since becoming a Mom, I've been a WanderMom. Given our slightly-unusual family situation, routine "visits-to-Grandma" are international trips requiring passports, 10hr-flights and (oh joy!) airport transfers. I have rants, raves and opinions about how, where & why to travel with kids (start them as young as you can, I say!). I hope to learn even more by researching topics which other wandermoms may be interested in reading about on this blog. Passports, pacifiers, diapers and gameboys at the ready - off we go! Contact Info: Email Michelle: michelle (at) murphnduff (dot) org

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