Safari in Africa with kids - How it can be done?
Safari in Africa is a great opportunity to see the animals in their natural habitat: running in the savannahs, gathering around natural water source and ext. So what we need to do in order to plan this kind of trip with our kids?
Firstly, let’s ask the question what are the children’s appropriate ages for such a trip?
Well, although there is no age restriction, the recommendation is to take children which are older than 7 years because most kids at this age should be able to sit still in a car for a day.
Is it safe traveling to Africa?
In today world, we can never be too careful, especially with our kids – So, please, before planning any vacation, make sure to check with your country ministry of foreign affairs regarding any recommendation or alert for your planned destination. Also checking the news can assist in estimating the risk level.
Decide when to travel?
It is recommended to take a safari trip to Africa during the dry season, otherwise you will find it difficult to watch the animals because they escape the rain and roads might be flooded.
When is the dry season in Africa?
|country||Dry season months which are recommended for the trip|
|Kenya||between December and March and July to October
ü Parts of the Great Migration arrive in Kenya
|Tanzania||December to February and June to October|
|Uganda||between December and March|
|South Africa||between May and October (specially May and June)|
|Zimbabwe||between May and October (specially May and June)|
|Namibia||between May and October (specially May and June)|
|Zambia||between May and October (specially May and June)|
In April, it is not recommended to go to a safari in Africa, as this is the beginning of the wet season. If you still want to travel on this month, it is best to go to South Africa, Botswana or Namibia.
July to September are the most popular months for safari trips in all of Africa, as these months offer the best conditions for watching animals.
Decide what do you want to see in the trip?
Kenya and Tanzania are considered classic destinations for safari trips. This destination includes the large reserves, “Masai Mara” in Kenya and “Serengeti” in Tanzania, and many other reserves. Most of the trips to these countries are safari trips that focus mainly on nature reserves and animals. Other safari destinations are South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. In these destinations the safari trip is not usually the sole purpose of the trip, and also includes visits to different cities, parks and areas of interest.
So, if you want a pure safari take a trip to Kenya or a trip to Tanzania, but if you are interested in incorporating a safari experience in other experiences, it is better to travel to one of the destinations in southern Africa.
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Independent trip VS. Organized trip?
If you’ll choose to organize the trip to the safari to Africa by yourself, you will have to deal with all the planning and all the logistical involved in a trip to an African country, which includes finding accommodation, organizing a shuttle, getting into parks, finding a local guide and ext. although you’ll have more freedom while traveling, however the logistic part can be quite a Headache. It’s important to remember that in order to make the most of a safari trip, it is best to use a guide that has experience in locating the animals in space, who know the behavior patterns of the animals and can explain to you what you see. Without guidance you may miss a lot. In many nature reserves in Africa you cannot travel without a local guide, so if you decide to travel independently, take into consideration that you will need to hire a local guide to the destination you are traveling.
If you choose to fly on an organized safari tour in Africa, you will spare yourself all the planning and the preliminary preparations and you can simply get to the airport in peace and enjoy the thought that someone else did all the work for you. The disadvantage of this method, of course, is that you will be subject to a strict schedule, skipping from place to place, regardless of your specific desires.
There is also a third option, where you can enjoy the benefits of the previous two options, without suffering the disadvantages: a private safari trip. In this way, you can consult with a travel company that will tailor a special trip for you. In this way, you can decide on the times according to your personal taste and also go to a safari trip in Africa knowing that all the trip details have been arranged in advance. This is a much more expensive option than any of the previous options, so it is less common among travelers.
What is the duration of this kind of trip?
The duration of the trip may affect the destination of the vacation. Most trips to Kenya or Tanzania are between 9 and 12 days. Trips to destinations in South Africa are usually longer - from two weeks to a month. Therefore, if you are limited in time, the dilemma is easier. Anyone who is not limited in time will have to consider his decision with additional data.
Where to stay while traveling?
There are two main accommodation options for this kind of trip:
Lodges in nature reserves- The lodges are special, pampering and often located in spectacular scenic spots that add to the experience. Most of the lodges are located in the center on the wildlife so you need in take in consideration that there won't be cellular or internet in those areas.
Camping: if you’ll chose this option you’ll need to give up the comfort of a soft bed, and sometimes an orderly shower, but they are located closer to natural habitat of the animals.
How to prepare to do this kind of trip?
Vaccinations and medical preparation:
Before going to this kind of trip it’s highly recommended to visit the Travelers clinic no later than 2 weeks before the trip and to consult a doctor about any vaccine required for traveling in the destination, and get medical recommendation when traveling to the specific selected destination.
In most African countries you may need to get vaccines, both for kids and for adults. So it’s important to check medical information for the country you are visiting before the trip. With kids, it’s recommended to visit the malaria-free areas in order to avoid taking anti malaria pills.
What to take to this kind of trip with children?
- Elastic suitcases. Don’t take hard-shell suitcases to Africa, they are not allowed if you need to take a small plane or a group tour.
- Camera: You will want to document all the unusual animals you will encounter during your trip, as well as all the beautiful and unique places you will get to. So it is very important not to forget additional batteries, an alternative memory card and all other accompanying equipment.
- Mosquito repellent: There are many mosquitoes in the African continent that carry with them the Malaria disease. Therefore, it is important to take with you everywhere a mosquito repellent whether it comes in the form of Bracelet with mosquito repellent material or liquid for applying on the body.
- Clothes: It will probably be going to be very hot during the day, and may be cool at night. So it is recommended to bring light clothes for the day time and warmer clothed for the night time. In addition, you should take closed comfortable walking shoes - for the many trips you will make during the safari in Africa, but you should also bring slippers or sandals, for the evening, so that you will be more comfortable and your feet will be able to air. Don’t forget to bring along swimming suites as well.
- Medications: It’s recommended to prepare first aid kit that contains: Painkillers, Antihistamines, and Fever treatment medications, sunscreen lotion, Anti-bites cream and all the medical pills that every member of the family takes.
- Money: Each country in Africa has it’s on coin, it’s recommended not to change a lot of money in to local currency since it’s hard to change it back. You can also use dollars and known credit cards.
- Hats, sun glasses
- Drinking water & snacks: In case the children will be hungry while driving
- Backpack: for the road trips
- Electrical adapters: for all the electrical equipment
- Entertainment for the children:
- Binoculars for each child: This will keeps them interested and engaged during the journey
- Tablets with games
- Car games
Safety while traveling:
it’s important to follow the guide instructions, keep the hands and camera inside the car and get of the car only where it’s allowed, don’t approach the animals and make loud noises.
Have great trip!