In the chaos of today’s frantic, fast-moving world the simple things like spending time with family are often forgotten. I can promise you that at the end of your life you will never look back and wish that you had worked harder, spent more time on your cellphone or made more money… you are going to wish that you had made more time for and gone on more adventures with those nearest and dearest to you. So why not take things down a notch, go back to simpler times and disconnect from the world. Travel to Africa, succumb to its beauty, be in awe of its people and let its magic engulf your whole family.
To be able to do this kind of travel, to let go of the world and have new experiences with the whole family is a wonderful gift to give your children. But to take them on an African safari is the greatest gift of all. Many luxury African safari destinations are specially equipped and staffed to delight the modern family with adventure and fun in complete safety and extravagance.
Nothing could ever be more special than going on an out-of-Africa safari adventure with the entire family. Sharing and making unforgettable memories with children is what parents dream of and taking them on safari is one sure way of doing this. There really is nothing better than seeing your child’s face light up at the sight of their first elephant, or watching the wind in their hair as the game vehicle races through the bushveld in pursuit of a pack of wild dogs. Africa has so much to offer for all souls – young and old.
Here are our favourite family-friendly safari destinations that we highly recommend:
Lelapa, meaning family in the local language of Setswana, is another of the pioneering More family’s sublime properties. Situated in the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve and with a more extensive children’s safari than any other luxury camp, Lelapa is the ideal destination for a family safari. While parents are catching forty winks or luxuriating in a spa treatment, children are entertained in the Eco House or nature beyond. The idea is for parents to be absolutely pampered while kids are kept completely entertained by the specialised rangers and facilities. Lelapa Lodge even has a special bush orientation programme for kids. Meals are kept decadent for parents and simple for children. Kids can even help the chefs make pizzas for lunch and cookies for tea! It’s an absolutely spell-binding experience for children. The Lelapa suites are indulgent havens that blend beautifully into the vastness of the surrounding woodland. The enormous lounge, bedroom and bathroom areas are all glass-fronted and allow unimpeded views of the African wilds beyond where you may see herds of elephant picking at the leaves as they amble slowly by. The suites can accommodate up to two children on a double sleeper couch. The secluded deck with private plunge pool is an excellent place for you and your family to cool off in the heat. On colder nights, you might like to sit by the fire in the sumptuous lounge and enjoy dinner in your suite, the full moon lighting the plains in gentle blue, a lion calling in the distance.
Londolozi Pioneer Camp nurtures the essence of generations of pioneering family spirit and offers the ultimate luxury Relais and Chateaux safari experience. Set on the wildlife-rich banks of the Sand River, the camp has access to over 16 000 hectares of pristine wilderness within The Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve neighbouring South Africa’s world-renowned Kruger National Park.
Pioneer camp is designed as an exclusive safari homestead which makes it ideal for families and small groups. Pioneer Camp is the most secluded of Londolozi’s five camps; its expansive deck is shaded by wise old Jackalberry Pioneers, an interactive open-plan kitchen, and enclosed lavish lounge gives guests the freedom to savour their private safari experience. Should you seek company or the like then a serene stroll by footpath leads the way to the Londolozi yoga deck, fitness centre, Londolozi Living gift shop and Londolozi Life massage haven.
For years Pioneer Camp has been the holiday of choice for Terri Abadi (founder of Iconic Africa) and her family. Terri has travelled Africa extensively and yet year-on-year she is adamant Pioneer Camp is the place she wants to return to over and over again. Each trip is unique, each trip delivers, each trip a lifetime of memories for her and her family.
Singita Castleton Camp holds a place most dear to Iconic Africa. If you scroll through the tattered original “visitors” book kept at Castleton Camp back in 1986 you will find my then 7-year-old sisters entry which reads “Thanks very much, this is definitely a 5-star experience!” followed by my entry reading “Thanks very much. I liked the chocolate.” Perhaps we at Iconic Africa are slightly biased BUT what could be more perfect than spending a week with 11 of your closest family and friends in your own exclusive-use luxury villa, in the heart of the world-renowned Sabi Sands Private Game reserve. Castleton Camp allows you this rare treasure: to spend uninterrupted time in the lap of luxury with those dearest to you, away from the distractions of “life”.
Steeped in history, Castleton Camp is the original family home of Singita’s founder Luke Bailes’ grandfather built in the mid-1900s. The newly refurbished family residence has since been converted into a stonewalled homestead characterised by its spacious patio and graceful lounge. This central homestead is adjoined by six sumptuous luxury cottages which allow you the option to retreat to the privacy of your luxury cottage or stay in the company of your friends and family.
The One & Only is an energetic, friendly and contemporary hotel in the perfect Cape Town location. The suites all have sweeping views out over Table Mountain or of the picturesque working harbour fringed by the world-class V and A waterfront and world-renowned Two Oceans Aquarium. The rooms and suites are tributes to contemporary chic lines and fresh art with deference to Africa through the dark wood finishes. Every possible modern convenience including full internet facilities and a personal Nespresso machine complete the opulence of the space. The commodious bathrooms boast huge baths and showers with separate lavatories. Cape Town is packed full of fun for the whole family. Trips up Table Mountain in the cable car or on foot for the fitter families will leave you breathless with wonder. The gleaming white beaches, especially with a gourmet picnic lunch, offer magnificent days out in Hout Bay, Llandudno, Clifton and Camp’s Bay while the quirky town of Fishhoek and Boulder’s Beach offers warmer waters for the kids. Although the produce of the spectacular Winelands is best enjoyed by parents, there is beauty and activity in abundance for young travellers.
Tongabezi is situated about 30kms upstream from the magnificent Victoria Falls. It is the perfect place for families with children – with two delightful two-bedroom houses with private lounges, play areas and plunge pools. The Garden House has a fully walled garden which is ideal for younger children while its funky African fusion design gives it an informal and fun atmosphere. The Dog House’s bedrooms and communal areas are safely linked by raised walkways and the infinity pool hangs out over the Zambezi River. This beautiful suite comes with a private vehicle, guide and valet. The expansive and luxuriant gardens are blended into the banks of the Zambezi. They are dotted with private decks and terraces where families can relax in privacy. The magnificent Lookout – a multi-level wooden platform, sumptuously furnished with soft sofas and chairs can be booked for exclusive use and is a wonderful way for families to dine together and watch the river. Large families can book Tangala House – the pinnacle of luxurious family living. This magnificent home has three ensuite bedrooms, a huge private pool set in lavish gardens. For fun, there is a trampoline, garden games and a TV nook. Tangala comes with a private valet, chef, guide, boat and vehicle for exploration. There are endless activities – fishing, drumming, helicopters flips and much more for parents and children alike and in the evening, smiling kids and contented parents will revel in the joy of a sunset cruise on the languid waters of the Zambezi around Tongabezi.
Tswalu is southern Africa’s biggest private game reserve and is perfect for anyone wanting to experience true Kalahari wilderness. The views from the lodge are utterly magical and ensure awesome game-viewing opportunities. Tswalu has three luxurious bungalows that have been specifically designed to cater to families, and the warm staff know just how to make your enchanting family escape one to remember. From de-stressing massage treatments to exciting morning game drives, this is a place where memories are made. Treat yourselves to a once-in-a-lifetime horse safari or relax on the private sundeck while taking in the awe-inspiring views of the waterhole.
For more information on other family-friendly destinations on our beautiful African continent please click here.