Africa – Where to Stay and What to Do
Note: This page is part of my Top Spots recommendations. It’s organized alphabetically by country and then by city, but it’s purposely not indexed since I want to inspire browsing, and help you to discover places you may not have thought of as kid-friendly. If you attempt to book one of these lodges and it’s not in business anymore, or you don’t find it to be kid-friendly, please let me know!
- Safari Outfitter: Sunworld Safaris in Kenya and its sister company 4×4 Adventures in Tanzania are excellent. They crafted a 15-day safari for us to five parks throughout Kenya and Tanzania that was flexible, kid-friendly and priced at half what other companies quoted. My safari post is here.
- Camp: The Tortilis Camp was great. We were upgraded from the Family Tent to the Private House and it was a perfect layout for families – two bedrooms with a large open-air living area in-between along with two full baths. The food was the best that we had anywhere in Africa, and the staff went out of their way to make sure the kids were happy at meals. From our rooms we could see Mount Kilimanjaro, elephants, zebras and baboons.
Maasai Mara, Kenya
- Camp: Little Mara Bush Camp. This was the only camp/lodge that we stayed at in Africa with a kids club, and our kids loved it. There’s a Maasai who runs the kids programs, and our kids spent hours with him (their choice) doing nature walks, beading and archery. They say it’s the best kids club they’ve been to anywhere in the world. Beyond that, the family tent was excellent, with more than enough room for 4 or 5, and the tent is one of the closest to the main lodge. We could see hippos from our porch. It’s a great location for game drives too, and very close to the air strip. My safari post is here.
- Hotel: The Giraffe Manor was like a fairy tale. My kids liked it. I loved it! Giraffes come up to the property in the afternoons/evenings for treats and in the morning they poke their heads into breakfast. And there are a few rooms where the giraffes can wake you up in the morning. All food and drinks were included, and the food was excellent. There are also warthogs that roam the property which my youngest daughter loved. Our suite slept five. My post on our stay is here.
- Destination and Resort: Six Senses Zil Pasyon. Another Six Senses Resort that is utterly perfect. We helicoptered in and spent three days relaxing at our villa and on the beach, hiking, kayaking and swimming. My post is here. A definite bucket-list destination!
Lake Ndutu, Tanzania
- Destination: Lake Ndutu was one of our favorite parks in East Africa. The wildlife viewing was excellent (in February) with hundreds of thousands of wildebeest plus zebras, elephants, cheetahs, lions, flamingos and giraffes, and you can drive off-road which makes for a more personal experience. My safari post is here.
- Lodge: The Lake Ndutu Luxury Tented Lodge was great. There’s a family tent setup that connects 2 or 3 tents to sleep 7-8. The staff went out of their way to entertain our kids with magic tricks, the food was excellent, and the pool was the best that we found in East Africa. Two negatives: it’s one of the only places that charged for water at meals, and the laundry was priced several times higher than anywhere else.
Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
- Destination: This is one of the easiest, most family-friendly parks. Yes, you may find 30 vehicles around one lion, but you can also go hours without seeing another vehicle. Other than giraffes, you’ll see virtually all of Africa’s great animals in the crater, and it’s easy to find them. The crater is fairly close to Arusha, with its international airport. If we had to pick one park for an introduction to Africa, or a must-see for a shorter trip to Africa, this would be it. My safari post is here.
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
- Camp: The Serengeti Pioneer Camp was our single favorite place that we stayed. The location is remote but stunning, overlooking the Serengeti from the central and dining areas. Our tent was amazing – picture British safari luxury from 100 years ago – and both nights we were there, our tent was surrounded by impalas eating under a full moon. The food was excellent, and the managers were very kid-friendly – giving our kids Animal Bingo sheets to make the game drives in the park more fun for them. And they’ll do your laundry at no cost.