What will the kids do on safari?
Will my kids be bored on safari?
Will we have to keep the children quiet on safari?
Let us fill you in: a safari can be one of the most active and fun holidays ever for your children – of all ages!
Have a look at our 1 minute video to see what your children might get up to on safari with Abambo:
What Will the Kids Do on Safari:
1. Awesome game-viewing
It won’t be boring, we promise. Yes, the younger the child, the shorter the game-drive; but armed with a camera or binoculars, most children get a huge kick out of spotting wildlife. Check out our tips below to make sure your children enjoy some great game-viewing.
Tips for great game-viewing for children
1. Keep it shortChildren vary in how much they get on with game-viewing, but keeping it short is generally key. We recommend something in the region of: half an hour for 5 and under, and add 15 minutes for every year of age.
This doesn’t mean you can’t all do a longer game drive; many children sleep due to the rocking of the vehicle, and indeed you can take along something else to interest them if they get restless.
2. Keep it variedYou don’t need to stick to game-viewing in a vehicle. Choose a camp with a variety of game-viewing options, such as a wildlife walk or game-viewing by boat or on horseback, for example.
Most safari itineraries will include a few different locations, so choose lodges which can offer a variety of interesting ways in which to get out into the wild and learn a thing or two.
3. Keep it thrilling!Great game-viewing is all about the guide, and this goes for game-viewing for children too. It is crucial you pick a lodge or camp with a great guide who can inspire your children. A great guide will find interesting things to show you, no matter what is going on in the bush. And there is so much out there that the kids will get a kick out of!
4. Keep it exclusiveThe ideal is to have your own game-drive vehicle, your own guide, and exclusive accommodation with staff who can help out if the children want to stay home when you head out on a drive. Lodges will always try and give you your own vehicle, but it’s not always guaranteed. We recommend paying a bit extra for your own vehicle if it’s possible, to give you the freedom to fit your activities around your children.
With all that glorious sunshine, it would be a crying shame not to swim. Many lodges have pools, and some even have swim-safe rivers or lakes.
Swimming pools are a pretty crucial part of a safari for children, to fill in the hours in the middle of the day when you’re relaxing back at camp. The rhythm of a safari can be quite tiring, with early starts, late-ish nights, and a lot of fresh air; lying by a pool whilst the children splash about is a lovely way to relax.
Although not all countries are suitable for keeping horses, you can find many safari operations offering riding, if you know where to look for them. Your family doesn’t have to be experienced in riding, and you don’t have to spend all day in the saddle.
An added benefit is that children will often waft to the stables where the activity is, to help out after the rides are over. There are often friendly staff, horses to brush, and usually a dog or two to play with.
Head to South Africa or Kenya for some great family horseback adventures, or Botswana if your family was born in the saddle. We love Lewa Wilderness in Kenya for getting the little ones out on a horse (and camel) and for lovely game-viewing rides for the grown-ups. Horizon in South Africa is the place for fun horseback adventures such as playing polocrosse or team horseback competitions (treasure hunts etc). Ant’s Nest in South Africa is fab for riding and has some semi-resident rhino which you are very likely to meet. And in Botswana, head out to Ride Botswana for the real deal: riding in the bush.
3. Safari Skills
There is so much to learn out in the bush, and some fantastic guides to teach you. Many lodges offer a bush skills mini course, teaching such things as how to light a fire with elephant dung, or make and shoot a bow and arrow; perhaps how to brush your teeth when you can’t buy a toothbrush and toothpaste.
Even without a specific kids’ program, guides will inspire children with survival knowledge such as how to read the bush for signs of danger; which trees are poisonous and which healing; what colour eyes to look out for in the dark; symbiotic relationships such as that of the baboon and antelope (baboons warn the antelope when there are predators about).
They may not be interested in the kitchen back home, but they’ll love getting involved whilst on safari. From outdoor pizza making to cake-mixing and local dish – sampling, there is always something going on with your resident chefs.
Just don’t forget to brush your teeth afterwards – the African bush-way!
5. Cultural Experiences
‘It’s extraordinarily hard to measure and quantify an idea like value in relation to culture.. You can’t tick a box marked profundity.’ says Alan Davey, Chief Exec of the Arts Council in the UK.
We know that cultural experiences are hugely important for everyone, and whilst on safari your children will be exposed to a wealth of new experiences and new cultures.
Most lodges employ locals who are only too willing to show you their ways of doing things; many lodges will form partnerships with local schools and villages, and you can visit or even take a tour.
Africa is comprised of over 3,000 tribes with their own ways of building homes, of celebrating, of cooking food, of washing, and even with their own languages. Although many are too fragile to visit as a tourist, there are many that will welcome you like old friends.
6. And the rest..
And if the above isn’t enough, here’s a list of other stuff we have done on our recent family safaris..