When Should You Take Kids on an African Safari? I've been planning some family African Safari trips for TravelSort Clients, and one of the first questions raised is usually how old the kids are, and whether they're a good age to go on safari. Naturally every family and kid is different, so there's no one size fits all answer. Here are some of the questions to consider:
- How well do your kids do with long international flights?
- How interested are they in seeing animals in the wild?
- How well behaved are they?
Kids Ages 2-5
For kids this young, I'd recommend the Four Seasons Serengeti in Tanzania, which has its own Kids for All Seasons Kids' Club. Kids as young as 2-4 can visit, accompanied by an adult (either a parent or caregiver), and kids age 5 and up can visit on their own, between the hours of 10am-6pm. Complimentary activities include:
- Setting up remote camera traps around the Lodge
- Nature walks along the Four Seasons Serengeti walkways
- Learning about Maasai culture and tradition
- African storytelling
- Arts and crafts, including Maasai beading workshops
- Swahili language lessons
- Playing video and board games
- Movie nights
- Cooking classes (cookie decorating and make-your-own pizza)
- Scavenger hunts
- Tree planting
There's also the Discovery Center, open 1pm-10pm daily, where you can see an interactive map of the Serengeti that shows the movements of the Great Migration; listen to presentations by the Lodge naturalist or photographer in residence; or help with wildlife research projects such as Cheetah monitoring and the Serengeti Lion Project.
Kids Ages 6-9
Kids ages 6-9 are more likely to have the interest and patience for a game drive (although they may just be up for one game drive per day, rather than the two that are normally included at luxury lodges such as Singita). And for parents who want their kids to remember a trip as incredible (and expensive) as a luxury safari, this is far more likely when kids are this age, compared to 5 and under.
I'd recommend not making the safari part of the trip longer than 4 nights with kids this age, and adding a beach destination at the end, for example the Seychelles (where I recommend Fregate Island, with Virtuoso benefits), Mauritus (I recommend the Oberoi Mauritius with Virtuoso benefits; or if with an extended family, the newly refurbished 5BR Residence Villas at the Four Seasons Mauritius at Anahita), or Zanzibar (Park Hyatt Zanzibar, with Hyatt Prive benefits).
Kids Ages 10-14
While certainly younger kids can and do enjoy African safaris, there are more choices among the luxury safari camps if you wait until your child is 10 or 11. For example, children 10 and older can be accommodated in any of the regular suites at Singita Lebombo in Kruger National Park, kids 10 and older can stay at the Sabora Tented Camp in the Grumeti Reserve in Tanzania, and are welcome at Singita Boulders Lodge in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, in South Africa.
Another benefit is that small families, with just two parents and one child, or one parent and a child, will not have to book and pay for a private safari vehicle, at least at the Singita Grumeti lodges in Tanzania.
Kids in this age group also tend to have more self-control and patience while on the game drives, when there can be long stretches of searching for animals, and observing them quietly.
Kids Ages 15 and Older
For kids 15 and older, it's possible (and I recommend) including gorilla trekking in Rwanda, because participants must be at least 15. Note that the cost of the permit is $1500 per person. Singita Kwitonda Lodge is opening August 2019, and is likely to be the best option for luxury travelers.
A nice itinerary could be a couple nights at Singita Sabora Tented Camp, three nights at Singita Sasakwa Lodge, a couple nights gorilla trekking in Rwanda, and then either a beach stay in the Seychelles, Mauritius or Zanzibar or time in Cape Town, including time in wine country.
If you've taken your kids on a luxury safari in Africa, how old were they and what was your experience?
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