"Heritage Africa is … at the epicenter of [tourism] to South Africa."
Los Angeles Times
September 10, 2002
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The Best African Family Safaris For You
Most vacations revolve around what you see and do. The best African family safaris concerns what you feel.
Surreal wilderness becomes your adventure playground, creating space and privacy to be together as a family. Senses are continually enlivened, helping you escape from everyday pressures and challenges. Majestic animals become your neighbors and there is always another angle for experiencing them. Safari creates the vacation of a lifetime, an experience completely different from every other vacation your family can take: this article helps you understand how and why.
You can’t change family. Yours is different, just like every other mammal. It expands and evolves, like the wildebeest of the Serengeti or lions in the Greater Kruger. Every mammal family is unique. Which is why the best African family safaris are also unique. This article also explains how to plan a safari for your family, including costs, when to go, where to go, the best multi generational family safari vacations, safaris with kids and safaris with adult children.
The Best Luxury Family Safaris – For the Vacation of a Lifetime
Wild animals thrive in wildernesses that are uninhibited by human involvement. When the wildlife is truly free there’s an authenticity to every moment of the experience. You are merely a visitor in their realm; expert guides navigate the evocative lands, getting you unobtrusively up close with the wildlife, and unlocking the secrets to their survival.
Luxury is a pleasure obtained only rarely. There may be opulent hotel rooms all over the world; how many have forest showers looking out onto zebra and antelope herds. We believe that family safari luxury is this unique wildlife experience, an intimate and inspiring immersion in the animals’ realm. It’s raw and unscripted, eye to eye with the greatest animals to walk our planet.
The Best Safari is an Unscripted Experience
Destinations have scales of authenticity; unfenced private concessions and restricted areas of large national parks are top of the list. Flexible safari programs generate more personal wildlife encounters. Group tours, however small the group, can’t generate the intimacy of private programs. Our ultimate recommendation is to choose the best safari your budget can allow. Whatever your budget there’s opportunity to see Africa’s famous animals. Luxury is the wildlife experience; the higher your budget the rarer the experience with Africa’s wildest wildlife.
9 REASONS AN AFRICAN SAFARI IS DIFFERENT TO EVERY OTHER VACATION
Safari is a Celebration
Millennials like to say that travel is about the journey, not the destination; just try telling that to Grandma after a long-haul flight. We prefer to think that travel is a celebration. And that the safari journey is not just a celebration of Africa’s wildlife, but a celebration of family as well. Nature’s theater isn’t a crowded museum the kids have no interest in visiting. It’s raw and it’s wild and you never wait for the curtain to open. Elephants greet you at breakfast, monkeys swing past the balcony, giraffe are silhouetted against the horizon at sunset.
The best African family safari isn’t a trip to the shopping mall. A Tanzanian family safari isn’t pressurized by Western stresses. Wild Africa creates a theater that dazzles in every direction, imbued with details that everyone sees differently. You’re watching a loved-up zebra couple as your cousin or uncle admires the elephants. Old eyes spot a leopard hiding in an acacia tree before young eyes point to a lion far away on the savannah. Even from the same safari vehicle, everyone gets to experience Africa in their own way. And isn’t that what celebrations are about? Everyone enjoying themselves in their own way, while being part of something bigger.
Intimacy and Authenticity
Africa is beyond the stereotypes and preconceptions. You won’t be confronted by scenes from a Live Aid appeal, although you should note that wildlife can occupy the airport runway on far-flung savannah. This is a developing continent with a travel industry that has traditionally focused on the high-end market. It’s not cheap to visit Africa and live out scenes from the wildlife documentaries; but we believe the best African family safaris with kids are always worth what you pay.
Luxury is part of our standard package. And by luxury we mean an intimate and authentic experience with Africa’s wildlife. Where else in the world do hyenas provide an alarm call? Or hippos silhouette the horizon while you’re dining beneath the stars. Yes, you can have opulence, but we find that the ultimate luxury comes from the wildlife experience. There’s nowhere else you can come eye to eye with the greatest animals to walk our planet. And it is the encounters with wildlife that create the best luxury family safaris.
Africa is waiting – come! You’ll always hunger for the bush; for the lion’s rasping roar, to camp at last beneath the stars and to be at peace once more.
Poem, author unknown
Understanding Africa’s Scale
A safari can’t be compared to a zoo. Other than the presence of exotic animals, nothing is similar. As the Lion King and Madagascar may have shown your children or grandchildren (okay, we also confess to the odd Disney craving as well), Africa is the true home of these animals. A cage has space for one. An unbroken and unfenced wilderness has space for nature to thrive. 1.5 million wildebeest and zebra on the Serengeti grasslands are just one highlight from the best African family safari in Tanzania. 100,000 elephants in Botswana’s Chobe are an unmissable part of the best family safari in Botswana. Just try and picture ten elephants. 100,000? It’s unfathomable, even after you’ve been there countless times.
Animals are everywhere and the scale is legendary. Africa has national parks larger than many European countries and US states. And there’s very little other than the free-roaming wildlife and a handful of visitors. Such a landscape is quick to humble as it transports you into a new realm. With expert guides and personalized programs it can feel like wild Africa is an adventure playground for your family to explore.
Space to Come Together as a Family
Animals need space. That is how a species thrives. People also need space and that’s what the best African family safaris are all about. By removing the inhibitions of home the landscape creates a new space for family. It extends boundaries and can open out comfort zones. Africa is proudly home to the world’s great animal strongholds. These wild spaces offer something very new and different for families; in 25 years of tailoring safaris, we’ve seen these landscapes create togetherness through experience.
And don’t forget that by taking a safari you’re helping preserve these magical landscapes for future generations. Every safari is an affirmative vote for conservation and a huge chunk of the money you spend facilitates the preservation of wildlife and wilderness. As you extend your boundaries, you help rare animals maintain theirs.
In the Heart of Nature’s Theater
Hippos wading and yawning as you tuck into a picnic. The trumpeted call of young elephants chasing a warthog. Lions and buffalo facing off. Wildebeest and leopards, and eagles soaring overhead. Your family becomes fully immersed in an untamed animal world. There are few fences or boundaries here, just an open canvas where interaction can thrive.
You don’t experience a snapshot or a photograph. You’re in the heart of it all, such as the best Kenya family safaris that give you a prime spot for watching wildebeest cross the Mara River. Such a unique space creates new interaction within your own family. Through a deep wildlife immersion you’ll find that your family isn’t that much different from all the other mammals around; there are ups and downs, disagreements and celebrations. But the elephants and zebra wouldn’t change family for the world; and neither would you.
Every Family Safari can be Different
Every mammal family is different. There are families within families; bachelor groups cast out from the rest; matriarchs proudly leading; male bulls chasing younger females. There is togetherness and separation and it’s the dynamics of mammal life, nowhere better illustrated than Africa’s wildlife theater.
Just like buffalo herds and lion prides, your family also has its own dynamics. So your family should take its own path in Africa. That’s what the best African family safaris are all about. And we’re here to help you with that. We can work around all your needs, from accommodating a family member with disabilities to following a generations-old passion for hippos. We can tailor the best African family safaris with adult children, or craft the ultimate multigenerational family safari vacation. The window to African travel isn’t closed to anyone and we can find a way to ensure your whole family can share in the adventure.
Every family is different so we believe every safari should be different too. Talk to us about your needs and inspirations and we’ll advise you on what’s possible.
Best African Safaris for Families | Tailor-Made Trips From $7000pp
Think of Safari as a Journey
Safari is a Swahili word meaning “journey.” There’s no better way we could describe the experience. Over the last 25 years we’ve found there’s a journey in Africa for everyone, including those wanting to hang around the pool all day.
Experiences bring people together. For some families there’s nothing like rustic camping to unite the estranged. For others it’s a plunge pool visited by elephants. There’s chance for classic luxury, and chance to connect with disappearing, indigenous cultures. As the safari extends for more than a week all family members can experience their kind of destination. That’s why the best African family safaris with kids are completely different to safaris with adult children.
This idea of journey is an essential starting point. With most other vacations you follow the same itinerary as any other family; the same accommodation, transfers, activities and experiences. But the best luxury family safaris are all about taking your own path. Such enormous wildernesses means there is always somewhere to suit you. So think first of journey, rather than immediately narrowing the options by thinking of where to go.
5 ESSENTIAL CONSIDERATIONS WHEN PLANNING THE BEST AFRICAN FAMILY SAFARI FOR YOU
The Different Styles and Costs of a Safari
Thousands of visitors watch a handful of animals at a zoo. On the best safaris, a handful of visitors are surrounded by many thousands of animals. Safari is exclusive. Even a very famous African park like the Serengeti receives less than 5% of the visitors to Paris’s Louvre; and lions chomping into a zebra carcass usually excite children more than any da Vinci painting.
However, not all safari destinations are the same. You are paying for the wildlife experience. The better that wildlife experience the more the safari will cost. Small private game reserves provide an introductory experience for a budget price. National parks offer group tours at a mid-level price range, along with some more private high-end safari experience.
We firmly believe that the best African family safaris include the best private concessions and the best of the continent’s national parks. It’s here that you find an experience that’s completely exclusive to your family: the sights, the sounds, the smells, and the feeling that’s created when you’re together on such a vast, exotic landscape.
Think private-use camps at the home to tens of thousands of animals; distinctive adventures on foot and water that take you closer; micro flights between destinations and horse riding across private lands. You could watch the big five from a private mobile camp that’s perfect for two adults with kids. You can also watch the big five interact in a private concession that exclusive to your extended family of 20.
Choosing between small fenced private reserves, national parks and private concessions is the starting point in deciding where to go. This article provides an in-depth comparison of different safari destinations and where to go.
Multi-day safari vacations based in private concessions start at around $7000pp. Everything is tailored to your family and the experience becomes your own journey.
We appreciate that this price is not within the budget of all families. This article has more detailed information on the costs of an African safari, along with budget and mid-range safari experiences.
7 REASONS WHY SOME SAFARIS COST MORE THAN OTHERS
When to Go on Safari
When should you go on safari? Now! There’s no good or bad month. It’s just different during the green and the dry season – this article explores the best time to go on an African family safari.
Remember that you’re exploring a vanishing wildlife world and it may not be long before safari isn’t an option at all. So now really is the time to go. If you’re on a budget group tour then we’d recommend going out of season, when you can avoid the crowds. Private concessions restrict the number of visitors at any one time, so whatever the month it won’t be crowded.
Africa is where I feel more like myself than anywhere in the world. I first came in 1997, straight after my mum died. My dad told me to pack – we were going to Africa to get away from it all.
The Best Multigenerational Family Safari Vacations
There is African safari. And then there is best African family safari, where everyone can create their own experience on a shared vacation. The African safari experience is too broad for a standard program. And a two-week vacation is too long for a family to be together 24-7, so we customize every element of the trip to individual needs. With a private family safari everything is possible and everyone is invited, including those who may not have thought it possible to travel in Africa.
While there are destinations for every family set up, we’ve seen most joy in destinations that excite different mindsets. Some arrive in Africa singing Hakuna Matata wanting to find lions on pride rock. Others want to lounge in a private plunge pool, watching hippos in the river below. There are the adventurists among us, who want a vacation to be an expedition. And there are those who want to snooze beneath the sun, escaping the world as elepehants drink by the pool on the best African family safaris.
Family African Safari Vacation Packages
Everyone is different. As we get older, some of us become more set in our ways and more restricted with what we can do. If a multigenerational family safari vacation can satisfy grandparents and grandchildren, then everyone else will be happy. Customized programs allow everyone to have their own space to play, their choice over what to do and what they want to experience. For Grandma that might be finding a comfortable spot overlooking animals at a waterhole. But it could also be searching for an incredibly rare sight or living out a longstanding dream.
The best multigenerational safari vacations are able to mix these personal experiences with shared family experiences. This caters for differing tastes and energy levels. There is chance to spend time with those you don’t often spend time with; perhaps also change from routine and space away from those you spend too much time with. At the end of each day you reconvene around the campfire, elated and animated, eager to start conversation and share stories.
This article gives you an idea of all the different activities you can include on the best multigenerational family safari vacations.
Your responsibility for planning and making sure that our 20 family members’ needs were met far surpassed our highest hopes and expectations! Every request we made, every promise you made was fulilled, and every detail was covered. In addition, the incredible surprises you arranged were so special
-Marlene and Bob Josefsberg,
Coral Gables, Florida and Beaver Creek, Colorado
The Best African Family Safaris With Kids and Teens – Child-Friendly Holidays
The vacations you most remember are usually those where children are able to fully share in the experience. Grandpa may have the patience to spend ten hours a day bumping around in a Landcruiser, searching for a rare eagle owl. But children need more regular stimuli. Coming face to face with majestic giants will keep them occupied on the first days and at the first destination. New activities and landscapes help keep them entertained and excited.
Teenagers learning bush skills with warrior guides; champagne picnics besides a hippo-filled lake; camping on the plains then opulent resorts visited by dozens of baboons. Certain camps run special programs for children and teenagers, giving you space to stop and relax, before a shared family activity later in the day. Other camps are ideal for large families doing everything together. Having so many options gives every family journey an ideal point to start the discovery. Read more about choosing accommodation for a family safari.
Unfortunately not everything is possible when you’re traveling with children. Many activities have strict age limits, such as 15 for gorilla trekking and usually 12 for walking safaris.
The Best African Family Safaris With Adult Children
Africa is rarely something you take from the guidebook. The world’s lesser-understood and lesser-visited continent comes alive through its secrets and nuance. Yet many first-time safari programs for families read the same, based upon a few destinations and experiences. We think every safari should be designed as if it was for a return visitor. We want every safari experience to be tailored as if it was for a specialist, even if they have never set foot in Africa before.
The drumbeat of galloping herds, bashful black rhinos returning your gaze, opening the curtains to wallowing hippos. Intimate and authentic, an African safari brings you thousands of impressions and interactions every single day. It’s a diverse and encompassing experience that should be different for every family. So why not get everyone in your family to consider where to go and what to do. We can tailor an itinerary that works for all interests and ideas.
Best African Family Safaris For Single Parents with Kids / Teens
Stand in the wilderness and take a breath. Inhale the clean air. Look out towards herds of antelope and zebra. Listen to the distant sound of an elephant’s trumpet. This is an alien place, far removed from the stresses and pressures of home. You feel grounded and connected, surrounded by the humbling beauty of nature. And when this happens it’s easy to forget about everything else, everything that exists beyond the animal-filled savannah.
African safari creates a blank canvas that allows interaction to thrive. Being surrounded by those on four legs is a great way to come together with loved ones on two legs. There’s space and freedom to be as a family. And as the wildlife of Africa testifies, every mammal family is different.
A Tailored Family Vacation
The best African family safaris for single parents with kids are those that are flexible to your wishes and interests. There’s so much choice over where you go and what you do, making this a vacation when everyone involved can have their say. A sunrise game drive searching for prowling lions; an adventurous walk with bushmen; a camp that offers educational parent and child activities, such as learning to track spoor. You’re able to tailor a vacation that marries your children’s interests with the opportunity to spend uninterrupted time together.
Go to a beach on vacation and usually there’s not enough to do; the children can get bored as it seems they are spending too much time with their parents. There’s so much going on in a city that you rarely have chance for genuine conversation. A safari finds a balance that may seem paradoxical. Everything is always changing, different wildlife and wild scenes meaning no two moments are the same. So it’s hard to get bored here. At the same time there’s a consistency you’re looking for: uninterrupted time with your kids.
I fall asleep each night reflecting about what I had the opportunity to experience from sunrise to late eve every day on that continent, and I feel deep happiness and peace. That I did this with two of my daughters, parents, and extended family is something I will forever cherish.
August 20, 2016
Choosing Your African Safari Destination
Africa is a continent not a country, despite how it is often perceived. There are 54 different countries and over 1000 tribes to be found across this vast and magical land. Many of these countries are home to Africa’s endemic wildlife and over a dozen offer raw safari experiences. However, the best African safaris family safaris can be found in four countries: South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania and Kenya.
When planning your safari remember that the continent is huge. For most families we would recommend focusing on one region to explore in depth, either East Africa (Tanzania and / or Kenya) or Southern Africa (South Africa and / or Botswana). You can combine both regions for a best of Africa tour. When doing this you lose two days on laborious commercial flights, so we would charter a private plane, the best way for your family to maximize your time when connecting East and Southern Africa.
Best Family Safari South Africa – Private Tailor-Made Journeys
5 REASONS TO CHOOSE SOUTH AFRICA FOR A FAMILY SAFARI
South Africa is the number one choice if you’re looking for the best African family safaris with kids. It’s not just how close you get to the wildlife, nor the abundance of rare and magnificent animals. South Africa is ideal because it’s so easy for families to travel here. The malaria risk is nominal, the transport and tourist infrastructure is highly developed, and there’s a great range of family-friendly safari lodges.
The best family safaris in Kruger National Park are just one part of a potential itinerary. There’s a lot more here, like beaches, vineyards and beautiful Cape Town. Explore Mandela’s and Ghandi’s legacies, discover rich Jewish heritage, connect with a country of 11 official languages, and immerse yourself in the Rainbow Nation. All this creates a diversity that is ideal for multigenerational family safari vacations. Some people say that South Africa isn’t real Africa. They usually mean that South Africa is more developed than the rest of the continent. This is something that appeals to families traveling with children.
Best Family Safari in Botswana – Customized Private Journeys
Botswana is pure wilderness. It’s a country that baffles the imagination. 100,000 elephants around Chobe, the world’s greatest inland oasis – the Okavango Delta – riding a quad bike across the world’s largest salt pans. The best family safari in Botswana is an adventure. It’s a journey through epic landscapes and unscripted animal worlds. The adventure will appeal to all those of teenage years and upwards, although it’s not out of the question to bring much younger children as well.
One destination stands out. The best African family safaris in the Okavango Delta are distinct from any other African experience. Across the country you’ll find adventurous children’s clubs, teaching everything from bush survival to tracking wild animals; the best family friendly safari lodges in Botswana should excite the adventurer in everyone.
7 REASONS WHY BOTSWANA CAN BE THE BEST AFRICAN SAFARI FOR YOUR FAMILY
Best Tanzania Family Safari – For the Vacation of a Lifetime
Tanzania is a famous safari destination. Wildebeest and zebra in the Serengeti, charm and surprise in Ngorongoro Crater, elephants in Tarangire plus tree-climbing lions in Lake Manyara. These four destinations share borders, so the experiences come thick and fast on the best Tanzania family safaris. Travel to the south of the country and the wilderness is even larger, making it a premier choice for a return visit to Africa.
You’ll need malarial medication when traveling to East Africa and this can be very off-putting if you have younger children. We wouldn’t recommend traveling with young children – try the best African family safaris in South Africa instead. However, no other country has as much wildlife. You don’t count the lions you’ve seen; instead, you lose track of the number of prides you’ve encountered.
7 REASONS TO PICK TANZANIA FOR THE BEST FAMILY SAFARI
Best Kenya Family Safari – Expertly Crafted Options
Kenya is the destination from the safari postcards. Rumbling wildebeest, roaring lions, nomadic elephants and grasslands that extend for eternity. While the country has fallen in popularity, it still creates a profoundly intimate wildlife experience. From a private conservancy on the Laikipea Plateau to watching wildebeest cross the Mara River, the best Kenya family safari is packed with the unique and extravagant.
Like Tanzania and most of East Africa the risk of malaria means Kenya is usually avoided by families with young kids. For travel to Kenya you will However, teenagers will love the best family friendly lodges in Kenya while diverse safari programs can entertain multiple generations at the same destination. We think they can make the best African family safaris with adult children. Just bring a sense of adventure and be ready to explore
7 REASONS KENYA OFFERS A SUPERB FAMILY SAFARI EXPERIENCE
Other Countries for the Best African Family Safari
You are not restricted to four countries. However, it’s these four countries that can take your family on a journey through multiple safari destinations. Elsewhere in Africa you can explore standout safari destinations, rather than standout safari countries.
Best African Family Safaris in Namibia
Namibia is developing as a safari destination and may soon challenge its neighbors. Etosha creates a really wild safari experience. One of the private concessions can be booked out exclusively for your family; just think, an entire concession and its animals all to yourself. Distances are large here so the typical itinerary is to fly into Etosha as part of a longer Southern Africa family safari. But if you’re looking for an adventure family vacation consider an aerial safari around Namibia, combining safari destinations and wild landscapes.
Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park and Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest are the only two places in the world to go gorilla trekking. Both countries also offer superb chimpanzee trekking. However, the minimum age for these activities is 15 and you must be fit enough to walk for over an hour through thick, tangled forests. We regularly include these destinations on family safaris with adult children, combining a gorilla and chimpanzee trek with a savannah-based safari in Tanzania or Kenya. We prefer Rwanda as the transport connections are easier and save you time versus gorilla or chimpanzee trekking in Uganda.
Best African Family Safaris in Zimbia and Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe and Zambia are other countries to be considered. Victoria Falls stands on the divide between these nations and is a great place to finish one of the best African family safaris. Just hop over the border from Botswana after visiting Chobe and it’s only an hour to a relaxed lodge on the banks of the Zambezi, where you are close enough to hear the rumble of Victoria Falls – or Mosi au Tunya (the smoke that thunders) as the locals call it. Safari destinations within these countries are best suited to niche safari interests; for example, multi-day walking safari in Zambia’s North Luangwa or an adventurous water and land safari in Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools.
Do we know how much you spoiled us! Our cloud nine heavenly trip to Africa! Did this glorious trip really all happen?
Luci Baines Johnson, daughter of the 36th US president.
July 7, 2017
The Connoisseur Safari Experience You Deserve
After 25 years customizing safaris we are still exploring. We are still learning and discovering; new activities and camps, changing landscapes and habitats, extra special scenes for families. We want every visitor to go beyond the typically first-time-in-Africa experience. We want everyone to experience safari as connoisseurs would.
We’re a proudly owner-operated South African – American safari company specializing in the best African family safaris for all generations. We individualize every safari so every family can enjoy their own definition of journey.
Ask us the hard questions and we’ll help refine your safari through 25 years of experience. Trips are custom-designed for any age so you can discover Africa together on a family safari.