Africa with Friends
Several years before having kids, I started traveling to Africa with friends. It was amazing! In South Africa we saw the Cape of Good Hope and climbed Cape Town’s Table Mountain. In Zimbabwe we spent several days at Victoria Falls before getting into a local bus, traveling towards Hwange National Park, spontaneously getting off near the village of Dete, and sleeping in tree houses at a closed resort. We boated through Botswana, bicycled the beaches of Zanzibar, bungee-jumped from the bridge connecting Zimbabwe and Zambia, and rafted the Zambezi. But I loved the safaris throughout Zimbabwe, Botswana and Tanzania the most. The animals were incredible, and even better was the safari lifestyle. We woke up, had a great breakfast, got into a safari vehicle and viewed animals all morning, stopped somewhere for a picnic lunch, saw more animals, and then returned to our lodge in the late afternoon where we would swim overlooking stunning plateaus, have several glasses of Amarula and dinner, and then wake up the next morning and do it again. We planned some things in advance, but made a lot of impromptu decisions as well.
Africa with Kids
Fast forward to the present. We’ve now taken the kids to Africa a couple times, and it’s…different. First, I’m not as comfortable being spontaneous when traveling with kids. I want things to go right, and not end up sleeping outside somewhere because we didn’t book a lodge in advance. Second, the safari lifestyle isn’t as attractive for kids, day after day after day. I could go out every day for two months seeing giraffes, lions and wildebeest in the wild. My kids, not so much. So when Travelocity asked me to write about my tips for taking kids on safari, it was a perfect chance to think through what advice I’d give others based on what has gone well for us, and what mistakes we’ve made. I’ll list the first tip here. The entire post is on Travelocity’s Inspire Blog, and is linked at the end as well.
Tip One: Go Where the Animals Are
Africa is filled with amazing parks, from Kruger National Park in South Africa to Hwange in Zimbabwe, from Tanzania’s Serengeti to Kenya’s Masai Mara, and many others. The parks don’t move, but the animals do. So whenever it works to fit a safari into your travel/vacation schedule, research where the animals will be during that period and make your plans accordingly. Want to see the great wildebeest migration? The wildebeest are constantly moving between Tanzania and Kenya, generally furthest south in February and up north in August. Or schedule your safari based on the optimal conditions for the animals you’re most interested in. Want to see elephants? They’re a lot easier to find during the dry season, when they stay close to water sources.
Tips Two through Five
My full post is at https://www.travelocity.com/inspire/five-tips-for-taking-your-kids-on-safari. Enjoy! And if you have tips based on your experiences, please comment on the post, or below. We’ll be going back to Africa often and I always want to plan better and see more, and have the best family-friendly safaris possible.