Family Safari Tours
A family safari is an adventure in learning like no other! Whether you are 7 or 97 you can enjoy the wonders of the African bush. This is a journey that helps nurture children of all ages, and gives them a deep love and appreciation of nature. Imagine hand feeding a giraffe, riding on or walking with African elephants, or making beaded jewelry in a village with the proud and majestic Masai tribe. Enjoy what will be one of your most memorable holiday ventures.
Junction Africa has had the privilege of designing many safaris for all types of families over the years from small families that include just mom & dad with a couple of children to large multigenerational safaris that included grandparents, parents and children. We begin the planning of every trip with questions about the children’s ages, travel experiences, dynamics within the family, hobbies and budget to begin the process of coming up with the itinerary that best suits each families particular needs. The more we can learn about the family, the easier it is for us to create a very memorable trip.
As we plan a family safari, we will suggest lodges and camps in Africa that don’t just “accept” children, but welcome them with open arms. Many of the safari lodges we suggest have family guides that specialize in providing children’s activities such as bush treasure hunts, bead and nature crafts, special children’s cooking projects and story time around the campfire. We are often asked how old a child should be in order to enjoy a safari. Each child is different and it is ultimately up to the parent to decide if their child is ready for this type of adventure, but generally we do not advise that you take infants and young toddlers as their attention span is just not conducive to a safari.
Southern Africa – South Africa is perhaps one of the best destinations to visit as a family for many reasons. It is a diverse country where families can enjoy the many activities in Cape Town including a visit to see the South Africa penguin colony, beautiful beaches and an excellent variety of game parks including many which are malaria-free. However, there are areas within South Africa for example where it is very feasible for families with young children to enjoy a variety of other attractions. Namibia offers families a chance to explore some of the largest sand dunes on earth along with a fantastic coast line and game viewing opportunities in the Etosha National Park. For families with older children, a trip to Botswana or Zambia are rewarding destinations as well.
Type of accommodations offered in the bush: Lodges, permanent tented camps, mobile camps and safari houses.
East Africa – Kenya & Tanzania are wonderful family destinations and offers the most “traditional safari experience”. Their infrastructure is well established and many of the lodges and camps offer family style accommodations and discounted pricing for children 12 and under. A chance to visit traditional Masai villages, schools and orphanages that provide a cultural interaction that is hard to match in Southern Africa.
Type of accommodations offered in the bush: Lodges, permanent tented camps, mobile camps and safari houses.
Islands of the Indian Ocean – The Seychelles and the island of Mauritius are two of the most popular family vacation destinations in the Indian Ocean. Both are very family friendly and offer fantastic white sand beaches and watersports galore. Mauritius has a variety of other tourist-type venues including dolphin encounters, nature parks and aquariums whereas the Seychelles give visitors a feel of a more remote holiday.
Accommodations vary from guest houses to all inclusive luxury resorts.
Below is just a small sampling of some of Africa’s Family Vacation Retreats!
TUNINGI SAFARI LODGE
Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa
The Tuningi Safari Lodge is situated in the world renowned 165,000 acre malaria-free, Big 5 Madikwe Game Reserve. Tuningi is one of the very few 5-star lodges in South Africa that welcomes children and in by doing so, avails them of the wonders of nature, wildlife and our delicate eco-system. Tuningi offers families a wonderful children’s program which tailors activities to the age and personality of each child. Children over the age of 5 are given the chance to participate in game drives as well as enjoy other activities such treasure hunts, drawing, clay modeling and swimming. Nannies are available to parents with younger children not participating in game activities. The main lodge at Tuningi can accommodate 16 (sixteen) guests in exclusive villas. Little Tuningi accommodates a maximum of 6 guests and is perfect for families. Guests are accommodated in unsurpassed luxury with a designer kitchen, boma area, dining room, lounge, wrap around wooden deck and private pool. Purposely designed, ‘Little Tuningi’, is completely self-contained for those guests that are in search of ultimate privacy. Guests do of course have access to the Main Lodge area and its facilities. All rooms at Tuningi and Little Tuningi have air conditioning, ceiling fans, gas fireplaces, en-suite bathrooms, beautifully appointed baths, outdoor rock showers and private wrap around wooden decks. The design brief was to create space by blending interiors with the bush through utilizing retractable doors and windows wherever possible.
Masai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya
Sanctuary Olonana is an award-winning tented safari camp on a private stretch of the Mara River in the heart of Kenya’s most famous game reserve, the Masai Mara. This small and exclusive camp, the first of Sanctuary’s luxury safari properties, was built along sustainable lines which, along with our innovative wetlands and tree-planting projects, have earned Sanctuary Olonana a gold award from Ecotourism Kenya. Game drives, cultural visits, bush dinners, sundowners, scenic flights and balloon rides, Olonana makes for a wonderful African safari. Built on the banks of the Mara River, the fourteen canvas tents at Sanctuary Olonana are extremely comfortable and spacious. The en suite tents all have parquet floors, four-poster beds with floor to ceiling mosquito netting. Each of the private verandas overlook the river and offer the perfect spot where guests can relax and watch the resident hippos wallow in the water. Olonana prides itself on being family friendly. Their expert guides will take children out on special game drives and accompany them to the nearby Masai village where they will learn how to make and shoot a traditional bow and arrow, make a fire, build a hut, herd cattle to name a few. Children will also be able to interact with the local kids while playing football together and learning maasai songs and traditional dances. Other activities include going out on a nature trail where they will learn about animal footprint identification or enjoy our bush treasure hunt followed by planting their own tree, making their own pizza is always fun and we have a selection of board game available for the entire family to enjoy.
CHECHELE PRESIDENTIAL LODGE
South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Located on a magnificent hilltop location in the South Luangwa National Park, Sanctuary Chichele Presidential Lodge was once the personal retreat of Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda. The magnificent historic game lodge set in amongst lush primeval forest provides panoramic views across the game-rich valleys of South Luangwa National Park. This historic property was recently carefully restored to maintain the original colonial style. A majestic arched entrance leads you into a huge colonial-style lounge and outside the grand dining room, a long veranda stretches with views down the valley to the Luangwa River. The main area features a comfortable lounge, intimate fireplace and bar area. In keeping with the grand colonial style of the lodge, the suites are decorated in the same understated elegance of years gone by. In the ten Victorian-style rooms, the large french windows offer a light, airy feel to the suites and open onto private terraces overlooking the valley – the ideal vantage point to relax and enjoy the wildlife. Air-conditioning, plush furnishings, a four-poster bed, and a luxurious bathroom can make you forget you’re in the bush. The lodge also features an interconnecting room – perfect for families. Chichele Presidential Lodge welcomes families with children of all ages. The lodge is the ideal choice for a family safari with a fence surrounding the lodge’s perimeter and a whole host of children’s programs and activities. Kids just love our special and educational activities designed to educate them about the bush and keep them busy while mom and dad enjoy a game drive or venture out on a walking safari. Our friendly expert guides will accompany children as they learn about animal tracking around the grounds of the lodge. Other activities include making plaster of paris molds of their favorite animal, making elephant dung paper and paper maché African masks. Making camp fires and toasting marshmallows, star gazing with hot chocolate and visiting our interactive room with skulls and snake skins.
LAMAI SERENGETI CAMP
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Lamai Serengeti Camp sits tucked amongst the rocks of Kogakuria Kopje with panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. The camp is close to the main wildebeest crossing points on the Mara River which generally takes place between late July and October. Located in the Lamai Wedge an area of land between the Mara River and the Kenya Border – which includes the picturesque Wogakuria Kopjie, and a beautiful series of game-rich valleys and plains this area is far from the main tourist routes and has only recently been opened up for tourism. As a result you can expect a genuine unspoiled safari experience reminiscent of the Masai Mara of forty years ago. At Lamai Serengeti there are just 12 rooms in all. These are split between two entirely separate lodges, the Main Lodge of 8 rooms and our smaller Private Lodge of 4 rooms. Each of the rooms has its own private veranda and has been designed to fit into the contours of the kopje and to make the most of superb views. Main Camp features 8 open-fronted rooms with en-suite bathrooms and hot and cold running water, flush toilets, mosquito nets around the beds. 2 family rooms with children’s annex, bathroom shared with parents. Private Camp has 4 open-fronted rooms with en-suite bathrooms and hot and cold running water, flush toilets, mosquito nets around the beds. 1 family room with children’s annex, bathroom shared with parents. Each lodge has its own private bar and dining area, with adjoining library and map room and each has its own natural rock swimming pool. All rooms have 24-hour power and en-suite bathrooms with hot and cold running water, flush toilets and powerful showers. Game drives in open 4×4 s enable you to explore both south of the Mara River and (river state permitting) to the north, this is the only area in the Serengeti where you are permitted to drive off road. You can also enjoy a walking safari from the camp. The topography lends itself well to being on your feet; small valleys, rivers and rocky kopjes make for frequent changes of scenery…and great cover for approaching wild animals unseen.
KWARA CAMP AND LITTLE KWARA CAMP
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Kwara Camp and Little Kwara are located in the 175,000-hectare private Kwara Concession in the remote northern part of the Okavango Delta. Kwara shares a common boundary on the northern edge of the Moremi Game Reserve. Kwara Main Camp is situated on a forested island, overlooking a lagoon in the open flood plains of the Okavango Delta. Little Kwara is situated on another small island nearby. Kwara Main Camp is comprised of 8 twin-bedded luxury safari style tents, housing a maximum of 16 guests. The tents are built on raised teak decks each with en-suite facilities. The intimate dining and lounge area is under thatch, built around a large shade tree overlooking the lagoon. Little Kwara is an intimate camp with only 5 tents which accommodate a maximum of 10 guests. While the camp shares a name with its sister camp, Little Kwara Camp is a completely separate camp from Kwara. The tents are spacious, and are elevated into the tree canopy on wooden decks, each with its own private veranda. Each tent has its own en-suite bathroom with bath and an inside/outside shower. This is an ideal camp for exclusive use by small groups and families. Due to the specific location of the camp, both Kwara camps are able to offer game viewing by power boat, mokoro (canoe), on foot and by open safari vehicles all year round. The ability to operate off road and at night is critical in order to see the up to 30% of interesting mammal species that are mainly active at night. These include leopard, lion, wild dog, hyena and smaller predators. The presence of permanent water at Little Kwara ensures excellent year-round game viewing. The permanent water also ensures that mokoro trips (dugout canoes) can take place in shallow water throughout the year. Little Kwara is one of a handful of camps able to make this claim of being a wet and dry camp all year around. The Kwara area is home to an astounding array of animal and bird life, including Lion, Hyena, Leopard, Cheetah and Wild Dog. There are good populations of Elephant, Buffalo and Zebra and over 300 species of birds. Antelope species are prolific with good populations of the rare sable antelope. Those clients traveling with children will love the expertise guidance and tailored activities each family enjoys during a stay at Kwara. Families will enjoy their own private vehicle with their own guide and tracker who will look after them both on game drives and in camp.. Caring for the children is a full time job and continues beyond the game drive and in camp, thereby allowing the parents some well-earned rest! Activities are based on a child’s age and interests. Our guides’ aim is to not only keep them entertained but ensure that they learn a great deal under their expert guidance. Generally, activities include spoor castings, using spotlights, fishing, mammal, bird and plant identification, identifying night sounds and making greeting cards out of natural materials. The staff will also involve the children in camp duties and they are often found preparing snacks for their game drives with the chefs! In essence, the children are either busy or asleep and always happy – busy children ultimately mean a relaxing holiday for their parents!
INDIGO BAY ISLAND RESORT
Indigo Bay offers a wealth of activities for families to indulge in. From water-skiing and knee-boarding to Hobiecat sailing or sand-boarding down massive dunes, you will be spoilt for choice from morning to evening. Older children can try their hand at diving or fishing, while young ones can enjoy the many fun activities planned by our dedicated Children’s Program. Banana boats, offered at Indigo Bay, provide younger children with loads of fun as do beach games, dune boarding and volleyball. Our experienced staff ensures that young ones are cared for with special meals and activities. Indigo Bay Island Resort and Spa offers world-class luxury and facilities, its elegant yet natural design perfectly complimenting the beauty of its tropical location overlooking Indigo Bay on Bazaruto Island. The guest areas, as well as the luxury Beach Chalets and Bay View Villas, have been constructed of natural materials like reed, soft-fringed thatch and wood in order to blend harmoniously with the natural surroundings. Each chalet and villa offers complete luxury, with air-conditioning, mosquito screens, sumptuous en-suite bathrooms, mini-bars, 24-hour power, satellite TV and telephone access. A choice of separate, inter-leading and shared veranda chalets and villas are available. Spectacular restaurants specializing in seafood, and characterful bars with original walls dating back to the early Portuguese traders, provide the focus of Indigo Bay’s living areas. Nearby, the activity center is the base for a host of Mozambique island-based activities, such as diving, fishing, snorkeling and water-skiing. A dive-training pool is available for guests wanting to hone their diving skills or take up one of several dive courses on offer. Those simply wanting to relax can laze around the beautiful swimming pools, drink cocktails at the wet bar, or while away time at the beach snack bar. And for ultimate hedonism, the ultra-luxurious Sanctuary Spa offers a range of pampering treatments to revitalize the weariest of souls.
LION SANDS 1933 LODGE
Sabi Sands Game Reserve, South Africa
You have to know your roots in order to find your wings!” This is exactly how Guy Aubrey Chalkley felt when he first discovered the raw beauty and ancient spirit of the Kingstown Game Reserve, near the Kruger National Park, back in 1933. As a tribute to their predecessor’s pioneering spirit, Nicholas and Robert More, the great grandsons of Guy Chalkley and present-day owners of Lion Sands Private Game Reserve, have undertaken to build their own private camp. Opened in October 2007 and aptly named 1933, this lodge will welcome local guests, families and friends the world over. Since 1933 has been designed by the family and for the More family, it encapsulates both the warm, personal ambience associated with a family owned lodge and a world class luxury safari experience. The lodge’s large windows, sliding doors and muted colors mirror the surrounding landscape and create a seamless, indoor-outdoor flow. Timber, thatch and screed flooring add earthy charm to the interior, where the decor is classic-contemporary. Take the lounge, for instance, with its natural fibers, oversized chairs and open fireplace that together create a haven for relaxation. The kitchen is ideal as it opens onto a dining area that’s equally suited to informal family meals or a banquet affair. All of these public areas open onto a large, wraparound wooden deck and 13.5m (15 yard) lap-size swimming pool.
Nestling on the banks of the Sabie River, 1933 represents a secluded environment where comfort and relaxation are the order of the day. There are four spacious suites, each with their own private view of the Sabie River. The bathrooms are just as inviting, courtesy of their double vanity units, elegant bath and outdoor showers. There is also a children’s dormitory, able to sleep up to 8 children, with his and hers bathroom and an inter-leading bedroom for an au-pair.
If this sounds like your dream home, that’s exactly what 1933 at Lion Sands strives to be: a gracious home away from home – with a few added luxuries, including your own private chef and ranger, with the exclusive use of a 4×4 landrover for safari game drives.