So you’re thinking about taking the kiddos on safari but you aren’t sure what to expect, how to plan, or even if it’s worth it to take them. But I assure you, it IS worth it, and with the right tips and direction from African safari experts, you’ll feel confident to take the kids on an unforgettable trip to Africa!
Below are some of the most important Dos and Don’ts for taking your kids on safari:
Do consider the age of your child. If he or she is younger than age 6, we encourage you to wait until the child is 6 years of age or above. Not only will he or she gain more from the experience, but your child will also most likely be able to follow direction and rules a bit better at this age! Because there are rules and regulations while on safari (such as don’t stand up in the vehicle, don’t touch wild animals, etc.), it’s important to ensure your child understands rules and can abide by them.
Do your research on vaccinations required for each destination in Africa. If you’re traveling with young children, you most likely don’t want to give them loads of vaccinations. We recommend South Africa for young families as there are several absolutely fantastic game reserves that are malaria free. Also, South Africa is not a yellow fever carrying country; therefore, a yellow fever vaccination is not required.
Do encourage the kids to write entries in a travel journal each day, describing what they saw and what they learned. This is a great way for them to revisit their memories and also to really think about the various cultures they’ve encountered, as well as the different eco-systems and wildlife that are found around the world. Many accommodations also support conservation efforts and having your child learn about what they can do to protect the environment and support the local people is something that can’t be taught in a classroom!
Do work with African safari specialists in planning your trip. They will be able to advise you on the best properties to visit as some accommodations do not accept children under a certain age—an Africa specialist will know which accommodations these are. A specialist will also be able to include kid-friendly activities into your itinerary and stay abreast on any travel updates (in regards to visa requirements, vaccinations, etc.). It can also be a bit scary to travel with your children to a destination that you know nothing about—especially Africa—one of the world’s last natural frontiers! So having an expert to plan your itinerary and ensure your safety at all times is essential and something you do not want to compromise on.
Here’s a photograph of my daughter, Abby, and me at Somalisa Camp, enjoying some residential elephant!
Now for the DON’TS . . .
Don’t keep putting your African family safari vacation off. Do you find yourself saying: “Oh, I’ll wait until things settle down a bit to start planning”? Or, “maybe next year will be better; that way the kids are in high school.” Etc. The timing will never be perfect and as the famous saying goes “there is no better time than the present.” This is so very true for travel.
Don’t try and plan it all on your own. Planning a trip to Africa isn’t as simple as booking a flight and picking a hotel. There are dozens upon dozens of areas to explore and LOADS of tiny details that, if overlooked, can add some serious stress to your vacation. And a vacation should NEVER be stressful. Have an African safari specialist help you with planning all of the little details. They also stay up to date on everything from the best and safest accommodations to travel regulations, and the best African family safari activities to general tips on what to pack, where to eat, and what activities your family would enjoy the most.
Don’t make assumptions. The news can portray some pretty frightening situations but it’s important for you to do your own research and speak with an expert if you have concerns. You’d be surprised how unbelievably HUGE Africa is. So if there is a situation going on in the middle east of Africa, there’s no need to worry about your trip to South Africa. Those areas can be as far apart as California is from New York.