A family safari holiday is an expensive once-in-a-lifetime experience. For that reason, planning is essential to make sure you have the best possible experience.
Here are 8 things you should consider before booking.
1. Families are often tied to travel in school holidays when peak season prices can apply. This is expensive. If you can, travel to a destination in the shoulder season in order to avoid these peak season prices. Often these times are better anyway with fewer people around. For example, February half term is quiet in Kenya, but the game spotting is excellent.
2. With younger children, consider which destinations minimise risk to exposure of malaria. South Africa has some beautiful malaria free reserves such as Madikwe Game Reserve. This will make the trip a lot less stressful for parents.
3. Do not take on too much. A safari of four to seven days should be plenty for most children. You could squeeze a safari holiday into a week’s half term break, or if you wish to travel for longer then break up your safari with some beach time. In South Africa you can combine it with Cape Town, which has some great family activities to enjoy.
4. A full day on safari can be a lot for children. Make sure you select your properties wisely so that the kids can have some down time if necessary. Larger properties may work better, or safari lodge with a pool. This will also give parents time to cool off.
5. Private family safari houses are a great value option for families. With your own private 4×4 safari vehicle, plus a driver/guide, chef and staff to look after you, this can be surprisingly affordable. Great private family safari houses include Acacia House, Mara House and Topi House in Kenya, Robin’s House and Luangwa Safari House in Zambia and Ndoma Point House in Malawi (which combines well with Zambia).
6. Budgeting is essential. Look at destinations that offer better value for money such as Madagascar, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Costa Rica.
7. A lot of parents complain of “Same stress, Different place”. Plan your holiday to ensure that you as parents also get some down time. This means considering properties that offer babysitting facilities.
8. Always carry an iPad. It’s a world of entertainment at your fingertips.