Doing An African Safari with Kids.
Updated: Jan 7
The African safari is an experience that your child won’t appreciate until they are older but because there have been cases of children being eaten by hungry wildlife, is this an irresponsible and pointless decision to take a family to a safari? Surely first you would need to find a bargain first.
You may have heard that taking your children on an African safari is not a good idea. However, I would beg to differ.
If you're looking to take your kids on an African Safari, read this article. In it, we debunk all the myths and share the truth about doing so.
You Cant Take Kids on an African Safari:
Is it possible to do an African Safari with kids? Yes, but you will want to be aware of the age restrictions. Most organized game drives have a minimum age of 6, and the National Parks in Africa may also have an age restriction for entry.
If you want kids to see the wildlife in Africa, self-driving is the best option. When they need a wee, you can drive to designated rest areas or get creative with travel potties or bottles in your vehicle. Even though there’s no guide during the journey, we found out that we did just fine on our own when looking for wildlife.
Check out our tips for doing a safari with kids:
For those who are looking for a more African adventure, you can pay to do a private game drive at National Parks. If you do find an African Safari adventure with kids, the experience will be amazing.
Doing an African safari as a family is expensive:
You can visit the Serengeti with kids, but at a cost. East African parks have an
extortionate fee and it's not worth to add them if you already have trip from another
country. Markets in Namibia and South Africa are better for families with children,
because of the lower prices, Namibia, is good because day entry for foreign adults is
only N$80 (£4.50), then N$10 per standard vehicle (£0.56) and children under 16 are
FREE! Kruger in South Africa is also inexpensive, with day entry for foreigners around
R440.00 or R220.00 - yeah, an American or British family could probably afford that
Expenses for travel, visas, and vaccinations can add up for an African safari. You may
also want to explore other aspects of a country when visiting Africa with family.
can visit the Serengeti with kids, but at a cost.
It’s Too dangerous doing a Safari with Kids:
There have been many tragic events in African safari parks when it comes to children. An article from the Telegraph states when a leopard snatched and ate a toddler in Uganda, followed by an incident where a gorilla snatched and dragged off a young boy after his mother left him alone for no more than one minute at The Kingdom’s Nyonyi Kingdom. Millions of people visit Africa every year in a safe and problem freeway. Where there have been incidents, it is usually because the animal feels threatened. Respect the space of wildlife and keep your distance. Give mothers and babies the space they need and try to avoid any predators like lions and leopards. Keep windows shut for safaris near wild life. When you see a wild animal stay in your car until you go to a specific spot assigned to look at them, or if it is a zoo.
Common sense is key when doing an African safari with your kids. Although most national parks in Africa are safe to stay at, use your judgement. If the park looks unsafe, leave. And although this isn’t always easy when on vacation with young children, it is worth it for their safety. Planning your African Safari with your kids? Follow these tips. Ensure you have enough water and food, take a satellite phone with you, and always keep track of children in the tall grass.
You have to drive a 4×4 on dirt tracks
If you are planning on doing an African safari with kids, there are some destinations that offer tarred or paved roads. Kruger National Park or Addo National Park in South Africa, Etosha National Park in Namibia, and Ruaha National Park in Tanzania all feature paved roads.
It’s not fair taking kids into a malaria zone:
Children aren’t at risk of yellow fever, malaria, or other diseases linked to these areas on safari. On the contrary, the conditions in Africa were perfect for new memories. For a stress free African Safari experience in the park, opt for Etosha National Park. However, in the dry season mosquitoes cannot breed and antimalarials aren’t required. Do not go into a malaria zone without antimalaria tablets. Adequate dress and sleeping accommodations also decrease any risks that jeopardize your safari. Malaria is still a very real possibility. To prevent malaria, even in an area designated as high-risk, we took antimalarials and realized we had to crush the tablets with a spoonful of Nutella and serve on a biscuit. A travel clinic will help with up to date advice on malaria and the vaccinations that are required.
My kids will get bored:
Wildlife is sparse during African safaris with kids, but it's still possible to see something. Planning for an African Safari? Point out the detail in everything, look for poo (to see what animals have eaten) and avoid game drives more than three hours at a time to allow your kids to explore. When going on an African Safari, it's better to limit your stay. You'll want a max of two days at a national park per week end. Generally a a stop of three days is recommended with kids as constantly staying in one location can pull from their excitement. We discovered that our boys loved their African safaris and have a strong affinity to the land and wildlife of Eastern Africa because of these experiences.
We all need to dress in khaki:
Khaki is the signature colour of African Safari. However, it is not really necessary to dress the whole family in matching khaki, especially if you are self-driving and inside a vehicle. One should never wear blue or black to avoid aggravating the tsetse flies. Although in southern Africa, such flies are not much of an issue. It is possible to go on a safari with kids if you avoid clothing that makes you stick out and if you're cautious about what kind of activities you participate in.