Tom Otley rounds up luxury family-friendly holiday options, from kayaking with seals to jeep safaris and Aztec temple tours
This self-drive safari is tailored to families with children. Wisely, the itinerary incorporates plenty of swimming pools - starting with a guesthouse with a pool in Windhoek, then a drive via the Naukluft Mountains to Sossusvlei. Highlights include a coastal walk to Swakopmund, kayaking with seals (or boat trips to view the seals, as well as dolphins), and trips into the sand dunes to catch lizards and geckos. Older children can try dune boarding or quad-biking; younger ones can head to the aquarium or beach. The final stop is Etosha and a fenced rest camp in the heart of the park.
Audley Travel’s Namibia self-drive family safari costs from £1,875 per person for 15 nights, based on a family of two adults and two children under the age of 16 travelling in May or November. Flights not included.
On the famed island where The Beach was filmed, the Phi Phi Island Village Resort has an eco angle mixed with activities. Kids can learn about sustainability while taking part in a “Young Survivor” course that teaches fishing, shelter building and water collection techniques, as well as how to light a campfire. Alternatively, families can explore the mangroves by kayak and learn about the life they support on the island from an expert guide.
Other attractions include a craft workshop, where children can help tend the resort’s coral reef nursery, and junior cooking classes teaching families to prepare nutritious Thai food.
If that all sounds a little worthy, there is the Phi Phi Island Village mini triathlon and seaside boot camp. Set on the resort’s 800-metre beachfront strip, each contest features a variety of activities such as swimming, running, aerobics and Muay Thai boxing.
Rooms from £370 per night in August based on a family of four sharing a two-bedroom bungalow with breakfast and a welcome drink on arrival.
A year-round destination, Iceland is only a three-hour flight from the UK and offers plenty of outdoor family activites. Reykjavik is an ideal base from which to explore both the city sights and the country’s natural wonders, including Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir hot springs and Thingvellir National Park. With the Reykjavik and Golden Circle Family Adventure tour, stay at the Hotel Reykjavik Natura, which features stylish Scandinavian décor and a restaurant serving Icelandic specialities.
Cox and Kings’ five-day, fournight tour costs from £695 per person and includes flights, accommodation, a Golden Circle coach tour, entrance to the Fontana Geothermal Baths and a 24-hour Reykjavik card, providing free access to museums and city buses. coxandkings.co.uk
With a variety of direct flights to choose from, Mexico offers plenty of culture and history for all the family, with the rich legacies of the Mayan and
Spanish empires to draw on. The tour includes Mexico City, pre-Colombian sites in the jungle, pyramids and the temples of Uxmal, as well as the superb Ball Court, where competitions were held and the losers beheaded.
The tour finishes on the beaches of the Mayan Riviera at the Rosewood Mayakoba, which organises yoga classes, scavenger hunts and Spanish lessons for children. Additional options include visits to the Mayan village of Tixkokob and colonial city of Izamal, horse riding on the beach, snorkelling with turtles, zip-lining through the jungle and a meal with a Mayan family.
Abercrombie and Kent packages from £2,889 per person, based on a family of four. Includes three nights in Merida, a night at Chichen Itza and three nights on the Riviera Maya; flights not included. abercrombiekent.co.uk
This 11-night open-jaw trip (into Delhi, out of Mumbai) starts with five-star accommodation at the Oberoi Delhi (Gurgaon) and a cycle rickshaw ride through Old Delhi. It continues with a train ride to Agra with private guide (staying at the Oberoi Amarvilas) and the Taj Mahal, then a jeep safari in Ranthambhore National Park (staying in an Oberoi Vanyavilas luxury tent). Five nights at the Alila Diwa hotel in Goa are also included – it has three restaurants, a pool bar and lounge plus the Spa Alila, offering Ayurvedic healing treatments.
An 11-night tour for a family of four with two children under 12 costs £9,800 with Greaves India. Includes domestic flights between Jaipur and Goa and a return from Goa to Mumbai.
For a beach break in Oman, try the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa. It comprises three interlinked hotels, of which the Al Waha is childfriendly, with family rooms with DVD players and Playstations, and a kids’ club. The Surf Café, aimed at teenagers, has internet-enabled computers and a menu of healthy fast food. The Splashpad water play area is open daily from 9am to 6pm, offering aquatic activities in a shaded area for the whole family. Babysitting services are available upon request.
British Airways Holidays is offering seven nights at the Shangri-La Al Waha from £499 per person in August, based on a family of two adults and two children sharing a onebedroom suite. Flights not included. ba.com/muscat