Taking children on Safari? Brilliant idea. You will be making some great memories together
on your Family Safari.
We have been lucky to introduce Tanzania and Kenya to many children over the years. The ideal children age to go on a Safari of course depends on the maturity of your child but generally we say 8 – 9 years old is a good age to head out. That is also a minimum age at some of the lodges.
Together when planning the Safari with the parents and grandparents, our Safaris with children have included more cultural stops. School visits are arranged, spending time with Maasai or Hadzabe tribe, village stops, and shopping in the local food markets. An eye-opening experience for your children and adults alike.
Kyle H, 16 year old young traveler stands out.
Her parents had already booked their Safari and Kilimanjaro climb and warned me she was not interested in ‘Africa’. Her friends were going to Europe. Well, after conquering Kilimanjaro, she called to say she was so glad she went on her Safari. She made great friends on Kilimanjaro, learned Swahili words, and berry picked with Hadza girls. My day was made.
Four tips when planning your Family Safari.
1. Slow down.
We would definitely recommend spending at least two nights in each lodge. This way the children get a sense of ‘home’. Find lodges that welcome children and have activities to keep them entertained. We have a list of lodges and tented camps that do just that.
You have places like Rhotia Valley Tented Lodge in Ngorongoro Area where your children will be playing soccer with the kids in the field or chatting about future aspirations and dreams. Life long friendship may develop from these evening chats.
Lodges like Mkombe House Lamai let's you have some 'down time'. The guide will engage the children on a walking Safari [over 12 years old]. They discuss wildlife, plants, discuss local customs, learn conservation - your children will come back with memorable experiences.
2. Short hours.
Parents traveling with children realize that spending long hours enjoying wildlife may not be ideal. Take breaks. Get out and stretch for a longer time like we did at Tarangire Picnic spot. The children got to run around, enjoy elephants coming for a drink in Tarangire River and see monkeys groom each other on the fence.
In Stone Town, I had plans to walk the alleyways in the afternoon and do some antique shopping. Well, diving into the Indian Ocean happened. Our children were happy to sit and watch the Zanzibari children jump the wall into the Indian Ocean for hours. Stop. I had to let shopping go and instead I captured their happiness with the beautiful sunset. And we enjoyed some delicious food at Forodhani Gardens.
Our families on Safari do the same. We chose lodges with amazing views so they can stop. One family spent the day at their Luxury Lodge enjoying wildlife while lounging at the pool and their tent. The father told me he managed to read a book, a luxury for most parents while still enjoying elephants, birds, wildebeests and zebra strolling in the distance. A good stop for everyone.
4. Savor the moments.
Traveling with your children is all about memory making as a family. Taking them on a Safari will inspire them to be future conservation leaders, wildlife researchers, and maybe even assist Tanzania + Kenya in other areas like education and technology.
“To travel is to take a journey into yourself” – Danny Kaye.
Our young Safari traveler turned 17 years old in Serengeti. The staff at the Permanent Tented Lodge they were overnighting baked him a birthday day and sang happy birthday. We hope that memory is special to him and his family forever.
On our July 2014 Safari, my then 5-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter are huge Wild Kratt fan, a PBS show. It was great to hear my son asking our guide Elisa all these questions about the animals. Why is the giraffe tongue dark? Have you seen a caracal? What makes flamingos pink? You could see him testing Elisa with what he had heard from Chris and Martin Kratt.
When I asked him to record his sightings, he would somehow tie in the animals with his love for Star Wars. Death Star and the warthog. The journal with his observations is a keeper. My 3-year-old daughter, she wants to be Aviva and save the animals.
Take your children on Safari. It is definitely worth it!
Write your own Family Safari Story! We can help you get there.