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South Africa Family Safaris

As family holidays go, a South Africa safari is hard to beat. Take your kids and they’ll love you for it. There is no better way to bring a family together than spending time in nature. The country’s healthy wildlife populations and varied landscapes make it perfect for first-time visitors. And why not end the holiday with some time on one of South Africa’s beautiful beaches, or in action-packed Cape Town and the attractive Garden Route. Not only is South Africa a very child-friendly destination, safaris here are generally well priced too. There are, however, a few things to consider when planning your trip. Below some often-asked questions are answered.

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1-20 of 249 family safaris to South Africa

5 Questions About South Africa Family Safaris

 
 

5 Questions About South Africa Family Safaris

Answered by Ariadne van Zandbergen

Is a South Africa family safari recommended?

“Children benefit hugely from a safari, which exposes them to the bush with all its creatures, big and small. By taking your children on safari, you’ll give them an unforgettable experience. When planned carefully, you’ll find that taking your kids on safari is endlessly rewarding for both them and you, especially as it is more and more difficult to spend time in nature in this fast-paced world. The experience is inspiring and educational at the same time. South Africa, with its big domestic market for family holidays, is the perfect country in which to take kids on their first safari. There are lots of child-friendly accommodation options, and camping is a big winner too. You could consider a self-drive safari, but there are lots of family-friendly guided tours to choose from as well. There is so much to see and do in this varied country, even little ones with short attention spans won’t ever get bored.”

1

Where should I go in South Africa with kids?

“There are countless options for a South Africa family safari. Kruger National Park is on many people’s bucket list. The wildlife viewing is superb and the variety of animals is especially appealing to children. You have a good chance of seeing the Big Five here and much more. KwaZulu-Natal, with its collection of coastal reserves, is another great wildlife destination for the family. This tropical region is particularly rewarding in the South African winter when other areas can be a bit chilly. The community-owned lodge in Tembe Elephant Park is a lovely set-up for children. This remote park is known for its elephants with huge tusks, but you can see all of the Big Five here, as well as Zululand specials, such as nyala and red duiker. Cape Town and the Garden Route is worth exploring with kids as well. The beautiful beaches, hiking and mountain-biking trails, and numerous lakes and lagoons make this area a favorite with families enjoying an active holiday. While the Cape is often considered less ‘African’ than the rest of the country, there are several Big Five reserves here. Take your kids to Addo Elephant National Park for exciting close-ups with very relaxed elephants, or spend a couple of days in the luxury of Shamwari Game Reserve where the whole family gets pampered.”

2

Is it safe to go to South Africa with children?

“In our opinion a family safari in South Africa is very safe. If you book with a reputable company, there is little to worry about. Some activities, such as walking safaris, are not allowed for children under a certain age. These restrictions are put in place to keep your children safe. Your guide will help you to stay safe. However, you will also need to monitor your children to keep them secure while on safari. Some lodges might have stilted decks or might be on a river bank. Small children should be supervised at all times. Choosing your accommodation carefully is the best way to reduce any safety risks. As anywhere in the world, there is crime in big cities, and Johannesburg, in particular, has a bad reputation. Walking around the city unguided is not recommended. However, an overnight stay and a guided city tour should be fine. See also Safety & Security – South Africa.”

More about South Africa Safety & Security 3

What is the minimum age for children to go on a South Africa holiday?

“Compared to some other safari destinations, there are not many limitations on traveling with children in South Africa. Some lodges and hotels have age restrictions and there might be age limits on tours. Always check with your operator before booking. All packages on SafariBookings indicate applicable age limits. Group tours usually have a minimum age, but when booking a private tour, your operator can make adjustments to suit your family. These limitations aside, you should also consider whether your children are ready for a safari. There is no point paying a lot of money for a holiday that your children are too young to appreciate. Luckily, South Africa is a varied country with a lot to offer aside from safaris. Depending on the age of your children you can make the safari components bigger or smaller and mix a few days in the bush with time on the beach, Cape Town or the countryside. Children with a strong interest in nature are more likely to benefit from a safari at an early age. As a rule, children that have been exposed to and enjoy bush camping and other such outdoor activities will be ready for a South African safari at a younger age than children without any such experience or interest. Most children older than about eight years old will gain a lot from a safari if planned carefully.”

4

Are there special activities for children on a South Africa family safari?

“A game drive is the ultimate activity on any safari in South Africa with kids. While you’ll get around the country in a closed vehicle, it is very rewarding for kids to do game drives in an open safari vehicle. Giving kids a pair of binoculars or a little camera to use all helps to engage them. While game drives are most productive for seeing lots of wildlife, it can get a bit monotonous for children after a while. Ideally, you should break up your time with some other activities. A nature walk is ideal for stretching the legs and focusing on small things easily overlooked on drives, such as animal tracks and insects. Your guide might point out some birds as well. Some private reserves have special programs for kids, which give the parents some down time while the children go exploring with their child-friendly ranger. Other reserves offer a visit to nearby or affiliated wildlife sanctuaries. These tend to be very educational and your little ones will be thrilled to get really close to semi-habituated animals. South Africa’s national parks are not all stocked with big safari animals. Many don’t have dangerous animals roaming around, which makes them ideal for hiking and general sightseeing. Especially fun for kids is taking the cableway to the top of Table Mountain where you can walk around and enjoy the fabulous views over Cape Town. A visit to Boulder’s Beach and its penguin colony is also highly recommended.”

5

South Africa Safari Reviews

4.6/5 716 Reviews
Expert
Anthony Ham  –  
Australia AU

Anthony is a photographer and writer for travel magazines and Lonely Planet, including the guides to Kenya and Botswana & Namibia.

South Africa: World-class Safaris
5/5

South Africa is one of my favourite places to go on safari, with all the necessary ingredients for a wildlife experience that will begin your enduring love affair with the continent. Primary among these ingredients is the wildlife....

Full Review

Expert
Lucy Corne  –  
United Kingdom UK

Lucy is travel writer for a range of publications, including Lonely Planet's guides to Africa, Southern Africa and South Africa.

An array of animals
5/5

Of all the African countries people visit on safari trips, South Africa is probably the easiest to travel around. Infrastructure is excellent, accommodation for every budget is abundant and wildlife-watching opportunities stretch far beyond...

Full Review

Natulia  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Sep 11, 2021
Tourico Vacations "Loves South Africa"
5/5

Planning a South African vacation is a great idea not only for you, but your entire family. The country has so many things to offer everyone. You can plan a romantic holiday with your partner in the beautiful Cape Town or Johannesburg, or...

Full Review

Alan  –  
South Africa ZA
Reviewed: Jul 14, 2021
5/5

South African parks are affordable compared to Botswana and Zimbabwe. The big five look the same any where in Southern Africa so decide why added expense and four extra days of travel with petrol costs make it worth while. If you are in...

Full Review

Candee  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Apr 24, 2020
Miraculous!
5/5

Our trip to South Africa and Jamila Lodge in the Welgovenden Game Park was a trip of a life time! Sandra Nicol at Traipsing Through Africa made it all happen with the upmost care, excitement and precision. Sandra contacted me and...

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D. K.  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Apr 24, 2020
Absolutely fabulous!
5/5

Our safari to Madikwe Game Reserve was spectacular. We saw more wildlife than we could have hoped for; the accommodations and food were outstanding. Our guide went out of his way to show us all that he could. I hope to come back and spend...

Full Review