The top locations in Southern Africa to enjoy a safari in the company of your loved ones.
Families are spoilt for choice when choosing a safari area in South Africa. Those with older children might opt for the Kruger National Park or one of the private game reserves that form part of it. Families with young children can choose a malaria-free safari destination where the Big Five can be viewed.
The Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve is the ideal - if not perfect - destination for a luxury African safari vacation. Children and parents alike can enjoy prolific game viewing and experience and learn much about Africa and its wildlife through encounters and events set up by a host of lodges and facilitated by knowledgeable game rangers and spotters. All lodges here have either a pool or a spa where you can relax for the day and enjoy the serenity of the wilderness. Sabi Sand is, however, recommended for older children, as some lodges have a minimum age for guests to respect others on their respective getaways. Malaria is a risk here and precautions should be taken, but most rooms are equipped with mosquito nets over beds and complimentary repellent. A four- to five-day stay is recommended; enough time to enjoy and view as much as possible, from lion kills to great birds of prey and gentle giants.
The Kruger National Park is one of the largest national parks globally, and is very diverse when it comes to habitats and plant growth due to its longitudinal length. The park has a wealth of animals to encounter, and night drives add the excitement of viewing species that go largely unnoticed by day. There are many different camps and lodges to choose from, which means that the park can accommodate a wide variety of budgets and family configurations. Furthermore there are a host of activities offered in and around the Kruger National Park such as elephant back rides, viewing vulture restaurants or simple regenerating inside or alongside the pool or spa. Malaria is a risk here so it is recommended for children to be older than 6 years of age so that the necessary precautions to be taken.
Mozambique’s Bazaruto and Quirimbas archipelagos are home to pristine white beaches, untouched coral reefs and thriving marine ecosystems to view and enjoy. These archipelagos combine that hardy African safari vacation with its marine life, with the classic tropical island holiday full of activities like snorkeling, kayaking, swimming, diving and sailing. There will be plenty of time and tranquil locations to accommodate a relaxing afternoon in the sun, with a cocktail close by as you watch the kids enjoy the ocean, reefs and beaches. Whether your family is out for a relaxing, an educational or a memorable vacation experiencing what the natural world here has to offer, this might just be the family destination for you. Many of these islands are virtually malaria-free thanks to their distance from the mainland, but enquire about your specific destination of travel before your vacation.
The South African province of KwaZulu-Natal has so many sights and wonders for families to explore together. The iSimangaliso Wetland Park, which includes destinations like Sodwana Bay, creates the prospect of a seaside safari and the opportunity to explore the rich natural life of Southern Africa’s eastern coast. The ocean’s creatures can be experienced up close and personal, as some lodges offer diving activities for the whole family. Alternatively, the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve opens the door to a classical African safari, with the possibility of rare black rhino and leopard sightings. There are also a number of historic sights the family can visit together. In most of these areas malaria is not a problem, but the northern parts of Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve do come with an intermediate risk of malaria, so precautions when traveling to this particular part of the province is recommended.
Namibia’s Sossusvlei region is a desert paradise. This desert is amongst the oldest in the world, with canyons and dunes that have been around for millions of years. These same dunes and mountains are great fun when a quad bike enters the scenario, and even the most reserved family member turns into a bit of an adrenalin junkie. Some of the dunes here are so illustrious that they have been given names, including “Big Daddy” and “Dune 45”. Additionally, the quiet desert life brings about the most spectacular night skies, where the whole galaxy suddenly appears to be sitting on your doorstep, and the desert seems entirely lit though far away from the lights of cities. Hot air balloon rides are also included in the long list of activities the whole family can enjoy. All this, and there is no malaria risk whatsoever, making it even a fine family safari destination.
The combination of the Zambezi River and Victoria Falls makes for a great getaway. The diversity of different landscapes within the area creates a whole list of activities to enjoy, from zip-lining from one end of the canyon just south of the falls to another, to visiting the island a pebble’s throw from the falls’ drop and feeling the mist hit your face - all things the whole family can enjoy. A highlight is sure to be the sunset cruise on the Zambezi, savoring the stunning scenery. The area is a must visit for those who haven’t heard the ‘the smoke that thunders’, as the locals refer to the waterfall. The accommodation and lodges within the area are some of the best in continental Southern Africa, alongside those of the Sabi Sand, the Okavango Delta and other parts of Botswana. Keep in mind that malaria a risk factor, however.
The Okavango Delta enjoys one of the most beautiful and spectacular seasonal landscape changes in the world. For a small period every year, the surrounding rivers flood to transform the area into a lush marsh that attracts animals from all over Botswana, particularly herds in search of water after a hardy dry season. Boat rides, amazing game viewing experiences and the ever-present spectacle of the delta itself make a family safari here one that will never be forgotten. Animals of all kinds can be spotted crossing over the water mass in search of food, which make the game viewing opportunities especially plentiful. This sudden burst of life can be experienced from a number of topnotch lodges and camps in the area, giving you the added bonus of luxury. Malaria is unfortunately a real risk here and precautions are necessary, which is why older children are also recommended for this particular trip.