A safari vacation in Southern Africa is one of the most exciting trips you can plan, and one that the whole family can look forward to.
Not only is a family safari an incredible bonding experience, but it is also one that will teach children about Africa’s nature and wildlife, the importance of conservation, and the role that humankind plays in maintaining this delicate ecosystem. A safari holiday will provide once-in-a-lifetime moments for the entire family, and proves to be an incredible experience to share with young and enquiring minds.
Those planning a family safari may wonder what kind of children’s facilities are on offer at the various safari lodges. To assist with this, we’ve put together a list of the best safari lodges in Africa that cater for kids safaris and offer activities for children.
From playrooms and guided activities to babysitting services and more, the following lodges offer children-oriented services that allow the adults to enjoy a bit of quiet time such as a romantic dinner under the African stars while their children are entertained, engaged and kept safe.
The Best Lodges for Kids’ Safaris in Africa
Most safari lodges generally allow children from the age of 12 or 13 years old and upwards, but some cater to children of all ages. This means that families with younger children can also enjoy everything that a holiday in the African bush has to offer.
Here’s a breakdown of which lodges in Southern Africa are child-friendly and the kinds of activities and adventures your children can look forward to on your safari vacation.
Kids Safaris in the Kruger National Park
The following lodges in the Kruger National Park are child-friendly:
- Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve
- Londolozi Private Game Reserve
- Ulusaba Game Reserve
- Royal Malewane
- Bateleur Safari Camp
In the iconic Kruger National Park in South Africa, Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve’s Little Bush Lodge, Selati Camp and Earth Lodge accept children 13 years of age and older, while the Bush Lodge accepts all ages. Located at Bush Lodge, Sabi Sabi’s Elefun Centre offers constant supervision and plenty of stimulating activities to keep the young ones entertained. Game drives at all lodges are restricted to children 6 years of age and older unless privately organised, while walking safaris are available to children 13 years and older. The lodges all offer babysitting services at R190 per hour, allowing guests to relax and unwind by the pool for the day, enjoy a thrilling game drive, or soak up a romantic candlelit dinner under the African stars
Singita Game Reserve’s Ebony Lodge, Sweni Lodge accommodate children of all ages, perfect for parents travelling with small children, toddlers or babies, while Lebombo Lodge and Boulders Lodge take children from the age of 10. Guides generally use their discretion when allowing children along on the game drives at these lodges but children 6 years of age and older are mostly allowed without any issues. Walking safaris at Ebony, Boulder, Lebombo and Sweni Lodge are restricted to children 16 years and older, and babysitting services are available for the little ones. Children’s activities at Singita’s lodges range from drawing and colouring books to stargazing, sand art and pizza decoration.
Londolozi Private Game Reserve accommodates children from 6 years old and up, and provides a range of activities such as archery, tree climbing, painting, sand art, story time and movie nights, to name a few. Their comprehensive Cubs Den will ensure your children are captivated and enthralled by the African bush and learn about the importance of conservation while they play.
Sir Richard Branson’s exclusive Ulusaba Game Reserve’s Rock Lodge, Safari Lodge and Cliff Lodge, are child-friendly. Although Ulusaba doesn’t allow children to join on walking safaris, they’ll be in good hands at the Cub’s Club, which will provide them with a range of safari-themed activities and games to enjoy while the adults get on with the important business of game viewing and maximising on some much-needed downtime.
Finally, Royal Malewane in Thornybush is child-friendly welcoming children above the age of 10. Babysitting services are available should the parents require. Also, Bateleur Safari Camp in the Timbavati welcomes children above the age of six. Children are allowed on game drives, but must be above the age of 12 to participate in walking safaris.
Kids Safaris in Botswana
The following lodges in Botswana are child-friendly:
Most of Botswana’s private lodges are child-friendly, accommodating children from around 6 and 8 years old and up.
At the iconic and exclusive Mombo and Little Mombo, only children from 13 years old are accommodated, while Savute Safari Lodge and Camp Xakanaxa are welcome children from six years and up. Neither of these lodges provide any babysitting or activities for children so be sure to pack some entertaining toys and games to keep the little ones occupied.
Zarafa Camp provides the Young Explorers Club where kids can learn Bayei survival skills including animal tracking and even how to make traditional bangles and rings from grass, craft a traditional bow and arrow, make jewellery from local beads, and even enjoy adventure-filled night walks with a flashlight to see what creepy crawlies come out at night.
Finally, the luxury Belmond Eagle Island Lodge welcomes children from the age of 6 and up. Here, children participation during mokoro rides and walking safaris
Kids Safaris in Namibia
The following lodges in Namibia are child-friendly:
In Namibia, Little Ongava Lodge, Serra Cafema Camp and Little Kulala Lodge are all child-friendly, each welcoming children of six years and up, while Okonjima Plains Camp accommodates children from 3 years of age onwards.
Most of the Namibia lodges don’t provide any activities or childcare services, meaning parents will need to ensure they plan ahead when travelling with the kids, and pack any necessary entertainment and games to keep the kids out of trouble.
Kids Safaris in Zimbabwe
The following lodges in Zimbabwe are child-friendly:
In Zimbabwe, Linkwasha Camp, Ruckomechi Camp and Singita Pamushana are child-friendly.
Linkwasha Camp and Ruckomechi Camp allow children from 6 years old and up, while Singita Pamushana Lodge allows children of all ages and provides babysitting services to boot. Further, at Singita Pamushana Lodge, children 16 years and older can enjoy bush walks, while children of all ages can play on a trampoline, marvel at the stars, get involved in educational bush activities and enjoy activities such as swimming, fishing and table tennis.
Kids Safaris in Zambia
The following lodges in Zambia are child-friendly:
Zambia’s Sausage Tree Camp and Chiawa Camp accommodate children from 8 years old and up, while Old Mondoro only allows children from 12 years of age and older. Only Sausage Tree Camp offers babysitting services so bear this in mind when planning your trip.
When planning a safari vacation with your family, it’s important to consider which lodges are child-friendly and provide activities and entertainment for your children. An opportunity for the kids to learn about the culture, people and wildlife while they play and engage with the African bush in a supervised and age-appropriate way could just be the experience of a lifetime for them.
If you’re ready to visit Africa for a family safari and are seeking some planning advice and assistance, contact African Travel Canvas and we’ll plan a fabulous itinerary for you and your family’s trip to Africa!