The Best Family Safari Experiences 2017

Claire BirtwhistleLuxury Safari

After a tumultuous 2016, we all deserve a vacation. Time for a family safari in Africa!

If 2016 has taught us anything, it’s that things can change in a heartbeat; it’s important to make things happen when the opportunities arise.

Why do a family safari in 2017?

Africa is a magical place for families to learn, bond and create life-long memories together. With the wide-open spaces of the wild as their classroom, it’s impossible for children to be bored while on safari. While not all safari lodges allow children, many lodges are geared specifically towards family-friendly safaris and offer activities and facilities to make sure that kids are always entertained and stimulated, while mom and dad relax by the pool. Find our top 5 reasons to do a family safari here.

Where is the best place for a family safari in Africa?

There are many things to consider when planning on travelling to Africa with kids. What do I need to pack? Do we need vaccinations? And, arguably the most important aspect to consider; where should we go? With every lodge with a swimming pool advertising themselves ‘child-friendly’, it can be difficult to sift out the genuinely family orientated lodges. Luckily, you don’t have to. The Safari Awards has done it for us and just in time to start planning that 2017 family vacation.

Top 3 Best Family Safari Experiences 2017:

Winner – Leobo Observatory Bush Villa:

Private bush villas are becoming an increasingly popular option for family safaris and it’s not hard to understand why. A private villa maximizes space, privacy, time spent together, and also allows for a personalized safari experience.

Situated in the beautiful malaria-free Waterberg, South Africa, Leobo Private Reserve is a completely private 20,000 acre estate. Perched along the Waterberg mountains within the reserve, is the Leobo Observatory Bush Villa, an award winning, luxury safari house with sun-drenched views of the surrounding bushveld. The expansive house sleeps 6 adults and 4-5 children in a suspended triple bunk bed, making it the ideal playground for a family holiday. Dedicated, on-site staff at the villa include a butler, maid, and private chef.

Leobo Observatory Bush Villa Family Safari

While the surrounding scenery encourage rest and relaxation, the Observatory Bush Villa is well-equipped for exploration and exciting activities. Some of the highlights include guided game viewing via a choice of Land Cruiser, quad bikes, helicopter or horseback; as well as clay pigeon shooting, fly fishing, skydiving, educational walking safaris, rock climbing, fresh water swimming and of course, a research grade observatory from which the villa gets its name.

Family fun at Leobo Private Reserve

Runner Up – Kwandwe Ecca Lodge

Set in the malaria-free Kwandwe Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape, Kwandwe Ecca Lodge is a stylish and intimate safari lodge boasting spectacular views over an acacia, aloe and spekboom-studded valley. Featuring a kids’ play centre and spacious family rooms, Kwandwe Ecca Lodge is the perfect destination for a family friendly safari getaway.

Kwandwe Ecca Lodge Family Safari

Found on a gently sloping, densely vegetated hillside, the lodge is airy and open and offers spectacular game viewing opportunities. Through the Blue Crane Conservation Club, the Reserve teaches young guests about green living in a fun and interactive way, and encourages them to start their own initiatives once back home. Experienced childminders are also available by prior arrangement at no additional cost. This fun and intimate lodge is ideal for families looking for an authentic safari experience.

Children at Kwandwe Ecca Lodge

Third Place – Kaya Mawa

Often a finalist in the Safari Awards ‘Best Beach Safari Property’ and nominated for ‘Best Safari Cuisine’, Kaya Mawa is a five-star resort set on Likoma Island within the crystal clear waters of Lake Malawi.

The lodge’s 11 rooms, including 3 family houses and a villa, all offer huge views of the lake, en-suite bathroom facilities, four-poster beds, showers, and sunken stone bathtubs. For families in search of some one-on-one bonding time, Ndomo House is the way to go. Separated from the rest of the resort, the house has four en suite bedrooms, a sitting room, family kitchen, pool, courtyard, five terraces, and decks with superb views of Lake Malawi.

Ndomo House © David Rogers

Due to its fantastic location, Kaya Mawa offers a variety of activities on the lake, including fresh-water including snorkelling, scuba diving, kayaking, SUP boarding, kite surfing and sailing at the full water sports centre. Alternatively, guests can head out on a mountain bike on one of the local trails or explore the area on quad bike. Visits to local communities can also be arranged, giving guests the opportunity to experience African culture and see the various community projects that Kaya Mawa supports.

Family vacation at Kaya Mawa

Talk about upping the ante on traditional safaris! A stay at any of these three lodges is guaranteed to provide best family safari experiences and an excellent base for a vacation. Get in touch with us to start planning your perfect family safari.

About the Author
Avatar for Claire Birtwhistle

Claire Birtwhistle

Born and raised in the bush in South Africa, Claire has grown up with a deep love for wildlife and enjoys nothing more than immersing herself in nature. When she's not barefoot outside, she can be found at her computer blogging about adventures and editing her photographs.