Multi-generational travel has increased over the years and continue to grow. What better way for children to really experience spending time in the wild with their family?
We hope you have had a beautiful summer and are getting ready to pack your bags and have an extended summer in the southern and eastern hemisphere as Safari season is in full bloom – or at the very least have plans to go in 2020 and experience these glorious and magnificent sites and attractions. Often our happiest moments are spent with our family, and there is probably no better place to create memories than on safari with our nearest and dearest. Owing to the nature of being in the complete wilderness – away from the hubbub of modern life and distractions – time seemingly slows down and connections with nature, our loved ones and ourselves are reignited. Across all of our regions, our Safaris partners have a wide selection of camps that offer exceptional family experiences, whether on holiday with children, or traveling as a multi-generational group.
We invite you to start planning and explore some of these camps that are family-friendly and all about children. Parents often wonder when may be the ideal age to take kids on a Safari and if in fact Africa and an African Safari are ideal for kids? Kids in most cases know what they want and will often go for it. It’s important to note that, there are multiple factors to discuss as a family before embarking on multi-generation trips to Africa. Few of which we will touch on. Nevertheless, an African sojourn is usually by far one of the best trips a family can take and expose kids to other cultures and other parts of the world is usually one of the highlights of their memories as they grow up. The experience can also, bring multiple benefits as kids grow and form their own perception of the world, as opposed to what others may influence them.
Here are a few things to consider when planning on taking your kids on an African Safari:
1. Age of Kids: It’s important to consider the age of your kids before embarking on an Africa Safari. The age that most parents feel comfortable with is between age seven, eight or nine. But of course, as a parent, you know your kids well so you have the last say. Also, according to a Condé Nast article, kids eight and older tend to behave better out on game drives for example and at the lodge.
2. Long Flights: Obviously, flying to Africa is not a short flight. Kids need to know how long the flight will be. Which is why planning and booking your flight 6 months or more ahead of time is imperative. Taking into consideration how they will adjust to long international flights, the time difference, and early morning wake-up times is imperative.
3. Weather Difference: Depending on the health of the kids and their tolerance to the various climates or seasons, this should also be taken into consideration. In that case, choosing a country and camp that’s most ideal.
4. Immunization, Vaccination, Anti-Malaria Pills, etc: This decision is between parents and their doctors to decide and if in fact, the kids can go. And of course, there are Safari camps that are malaria-free and have resources for low-risk exposure to the malaria disease. There are a few game reserves in South Africa that are perfectly suited. Some of our Safari partners for example who are among the largest private game reserves in Africa—are malaria-free and has fantastic activities for children, including Southern Skies stargazing and daytime meerkat tracking, etc.
5. A Little Education on Local Culture: Africa is vast and diverse and so is its varied cultures even within each individual country. If kids would like to be exposed to local cultures and traditions, then it’s also important to familiarize them ahead of time — depending on the country they are visiting and the region. Read our post on "Top 15 Books to Read Before your Next Trip to Africa." In Kenya and Tanzania for example, the Masai are known to dress in their traditional attire and a visit to a Masai village is great cultural exposure and getting to talk to them makes it a great learning experience. Also, school visits are a great activity for kids to learn and meet other kids.
6. The Activities Kids can Participate in: Most camps that are family-friendly and encourage multi-generational trips allow kids ages six to 12 to attend game drives at the lodge manager’s discretion. Other activities such as nature walks and canoeing activities are limited to those over the age of 16. While children younger than six cannot participate in lodge activities, child-minders (aka babysitters) can be arranged during activities and at meal times at an additional cost.
7. Meals Preference and Food to Avoid: It’s important to include kids meal preference in your discussions when planning both for flight and the camp. Here, preparation is key. Parents should pack their kids' favorite snacks to avoid being tempted by unhealthy options along the way. Packing snacks such as almonds, dry vegetables, and fruit -- citrus fruits travel well. Visit TSA approve snacks to know what you can buy on the go -- and what you can carry on the plane with you.
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