Are you thinking of going on safari with your family, but not sure what to expect? There is a common belief that a family African safari doesn’t go well together. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is just something so special about spending time in the wild; the awe of seeing wild animals so close, the beauty of the African savanna, and the warmth of the local tribes met along the way — to share that all with your family is a privilege. Here’s what you need to know to have an unforgettable family African safari experience:
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Before you call a tour operator, you need to take some considerations into account in order for you to create the best safari for the family. These include:
- The age of your children
- The activities you want to experience
- The animals you want to see
- If the tour operator caters to children
PLAN YOUR SAFARI TOGETHER
An African safari offers different things to different visitors so the best way to get started is to involve the entire family in planning the trip. Before you go, take some time to read about the country’s history, the parks and game reserves you plan to visit, and other things you all expect to see. You’ll notice how much more interesting it is while you’re there. During your travels, take lots of photos, keep a family journal, and collect scrapbook items so that you can all make an album together when you return home. This makes for a great way to keep family memories alive and create an heirloom at the same time.
CHOOSING WHERE TO GO: KENYA OR TANZANIA
If this is your first time traveling to Africa, you may want to go for the best-known game parks — Kenya’s Masai Mara Reserve or Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. These East African countries are neighbors so you can easily include both parks in your itinerary. If you’d rather stick to one country, then you can simply compare their best family-friendly destinations to make an informed choice.
In Kenya, you can start with a Maasai Mara safari where you and your family get to bask in a rambling open expanse of breathtaking landscapes and a good variety of animals. From there, head on to Amboseli National Park, one of the best places to spot large elephant herds, along with wonderful scenery, and views of the towering Mt. Kilimanjaro in the backdrop. Other great destinations include Lake Nakuru, Samburu National Reserve, and Tsavo National Park. After spending time in the bush, head on to Kenya’s magnificent coast for a family beach adventure
Tanzania, on the other hand, features the world-famous Serengeti National Park, a beautiful region of fertile plains teeming with various wildlife. The Ngorongoro Crater is another wildlife viewing area with its pleasantly cool atmosphere and more intimate appeal. Other family-friendly destinations in Tanzania include Lake Manyara National Park, Tarangire National Park, and Arusha National parks. If your children are already in their teens, you could consider climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for the ultimate outdoor adventure as a family. Finish off your adventures on the white sand beaches of Zanzibar.
WHEN TO VISIT
Kenya and Tanzania are year-round destinations but if you’re visiting mainly for game viewing, then the best time to visit these countries is during the dry season (June to October). December to February is also an excellent time to visit, especially in Tanzania where you can catch the action-packed calving season of the spectacular Great Wildebeest Migration. In Kenya, this period sees large flocks of migratory birds and lush scenery.
WHERE TO STAY
Decide on what kind of accommodation you would prefer as a family and make sure it allows children. When checking accommodation options, consider whether you want connecting rooms, a family suite or a private villa. Perhaps you want to try roughing it out in a budget camping tent for a couple of days in one location and upgrade at another. Your tour operator will have a list of options for you to choose from, so it’s really up to your preferences and budget.
HEALTH & SAFETY IN AFRICA
Every African country has its own inoculation demands and safety record, so make sure to follow the guidelines. If the embassy doesn’t provide this information, the tour operator you choose should do so, as well as inform you of what to expect and what precautions are recommended. As an extra precaution, consider notifying your physician and pediatrician about your itinerary at least six months prior to departure so that they can also discuss recommended vaccinations.
With everything sorted, the only thing left to do is go out there and explore the magic of Kenya and/or Tanzania as a family. It promises to be an experience of a lifetime and definitely a lovely bonding moment for all time. Get in touch with us today to get started.