Taking Children on a Safari Holiday – What you need to know

Children on a Safari Holiday - PeanutGallery247

Want to ensure your next family holiday is memorable for all the right reasons? Going on Safari is an unforgettable experience for travellers of any age, making it an ideal choice. Taking children on a safari holiday for the first time can be stressful.

Naturally, having children and wild animals in close proximity raises concerns, but prepare properly and there’s no reason why your trip can’t run as smoothly as possible.

To help you on your way, here’s some answers on frequently asked questions of things you need to know when you take your children on a safari holiday.

Are kids welcome on every safari?

No. Find out which safaris are family-friendly first, then start planning your trip.

You don’t need to look for fancy babysitting services — instead, check if you have the option to travel in a private vehicle on game drives, and then check to see if the guides have experience in interacting with children.Children on a Safari Holiday - Hanglip -PeanutGallery247We spotted this beauty at Hanglip Mountain Lodge

What’s the best age to take children on a safari holiday?

All children are different, however most safari holiday providers agree that eight years and up is a good guideline.

Older children are more likely to engage with everything you encounter along the way and will be more able to cope with longer flights, early-morning starts and the disruption in routine.

Regardless of age, children who have a good attention span, can be quiet and patient, and have an interest in animals will get the most out of a safari trip.

What will children learn?

They’ll find out more about different types of animals and conservation, as well as how to show respect for the environment.

It’s worth telling your guide that you’re interested in seeing smaller safari animals as well as the bigger, more famous ones. Not only does this give you all a chance of spotting creatures you never knew existed, but it breaks up the waiting time and means kids are less likely to get bored.

Children on a Safari Holiday - Hanglip -PeanutGallery247
This little one was also spotted during our visit at Hanglip Mountain Lodge

How do I keep the kids quiet and occupied?

Before the trip:

  • Manage their expectations. Explain where you’re going, what you might see, and how they need to behave
  • If you have more than one child, buy them a pair of binoculars each so they’re not fighting over them while you’re out on a game drive. Check out this guide if you’re not sure what to look for when shopping for binoculars

During the trip:

  • Make sure everyone has been to the toilet before a long game drive begins
  • Bring quiet games, activities, and guidebooks or colouring books with you in case there’s a period where no wildlife appears
  • Don’t spend too long on a game drive — the average length of four hours is a long time no matter how old you are!
  • Include other activities to break up the safari, such as walks, horse-riding and learning about the culture of the area you’re visiting. Kids will need to let off steam after being inside a car for hours

What accommodation should we book?

Personal preference will determine whether you go for a lodge or a tent, although it’s worth remembering buildings are normally more family-friendly (plus it never hurts to have more than one bathroom).  Choose the type of accommodation that suits your family, without anyone feeling awkward at any point during the stay.

Safety tips

  • Remind your kids not to wander off, so keep them close and within your sight at all times. Small children can look and sound like vulnerable prey to some animals, especially if they’re distressed
  • Don’t wake them up if they fall asleep when you’re on a game drive. The resulting noise could be enough to scare away or anger the animals you’re trying to see
  • Keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times
  • For peace of mind, travel to areas which are malaria-free and if not, ensure you have the necessary/required medication prior

More photos from some of our Safari Trips…

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Have you been on a safari holiday/game drive with children? Feel free to share your tips in the comments below…

Nicola Signature - PeanutGallery247Disclaimer: This is a contributed post, as always, my views and opinions are my own.

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12 thoughts on “Taking Children on a Safari Holiday – What you need to know

  1. Really interesting and for people who have not went on a safari trip this is really an absolutely amazing article for them. And for new moms out there, this will surely prepare them for a safari. Really looking foward to many more articles from you.

    1. Glad you found it helpful and thanks for be feedback, so visit again – I love and appreciate feedback 😊

  2. I think that this is an amazing article, especially since we get so many international tourists that come to South Africa specifically for the wildlife. Many of them have no idea what to expect. Very insightful article. Also love the pictures.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and the feedback. Pictures are courtesy of my hubby….I love them too 😊

  3. Hi there. I have taken my kids on safari. But i advise parents with toddlers to avoid it. Sometimes you have to sit for a while n be silent waiting for an animal to make a move. And little ones are not necessarily quiet. If you go on a private safari with just your family then thats ok but if with other people it could become a bit uncomfortable.

    1. That’s my biggest fear Pam…I imagine not being able to keep Kayden quiet should we be faced with such a situation. Thanks for the affirmation 🤗

  4. Well done . I live in the eastern woodlands of North America and our 2 largest animals are the black bear and the whitetail deer. Everyone knows not to mess with the bears but they never consider how dangerous a panicking deer might be . Long story short , a deer is all muscles and if it doesn’t have anywhere to run it can kill. With that said, stay in the car.

    1. I know exactly what you mean. In recent weeks in the news here in South Africa, someone (a movie director) was killed by a giraffe. One doesn’t usually think a giraffe is capable of such…yes, staying in the car is safest indeed.

      1. My hunting partner and I was out once and of course we were armed with big game rifles as well as side arms. ( common in Appalachian hunting season). We had been out all day and were not having any luck. We sat down to discuss the situation and as he lit a cigarette the whole heard burst out from bush and nearly trampled us. Fortunately the outcome was more comical than anything else but I gained a new respect for the subtle power in all those hoves.

        1. Gosh…that’s sounds scary! At least it was comical and not tragic. We were once on a game drive and the elephants became very moody…the biggest of them was literally an arms length away and I had to stop “clicking” the camera cos that’s how close they were and could hear it…fortunately for us all, the game driver tapped the bonnet with his stick and all the elephants went in the opposite direction. I get goose bumps typing this just thinking of what could have happened! I don’t feel I will be comfortable taking my toddler in an open game drive vehicle…even if closed an angry elephant could turn it over! Ok…that’s me being paranoid lol

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