FOUR GREAT FAMILY SAFARIS
Animals and beaches South Africa
The Kwandwe Private Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape is a 54,000-acre haven for the Big Five – and its Ecca Lodge (right) has a great programme for kids: family suites come with a plunge pool plus private ranger, tracker and vehicle. The ranger’s “bug hunts” and “pooh patrols” will keep children amused. Then you’ll head to Tsala Treetop Lodge, one of South Africa’s most spectacular hotels, with treehouse villas and suites high in the Tsitsikamma forest canopy. Just six miles from Plettenberg Bay, Tsala is ideally situated for the Garden Route’s golf, hiking, scuba diving, cycling and beaches, though the hotel is only suitable for children aged eight and older.
A seven-night family safari and beach adventure over February half-term costs from £4,198 per person based on a family of four. The price includes three nights in a family suite at Kwandwe Ecca Lodge on a fully inclusive basis, four nights in a two-bed villa at Tswalu Treetop Lodge on a B&B basis, all international and domestic flights, private road transfer to Kwandwe and five-day car rental (bestofsouth africatravel.com)
charm, which work well as a base for groups with children. You have your own space and guide, set your own schedule, and the lodge fits in around you. Expert Africa will help choose child-focused guides who know how to bring young people into the safari. Start with four nights at Luangwa Safari House, which overlooks a waterhole, where animals come to drink. Next, you’ll spend three nights at the stylish Chongwe Safari House (below left), by a gentle river that’s ideal for canoeing – and includes walking safaris, and day and night game drives.
A seven-night trip, including all flights, meals and activities, for four adults and four under-18s, costs from £5,546 per adult and £4,188 per child/ teenager. Children under 12 cannot go on walking safaris or canoe trips, though younger children can go on short wanders in the vicinity of camp, searching for tracks (expertafrica.com).
This comprehensive self-drive trip around Namibia, which is ideal for October or June half-term, includes the country’s main highlights but is tailored for families: Namibia works well because the most dangerous animals – elephants and lions – are concentrated in one area, so in most of the country kids can get out and poke around a bit; they can run up sand dunes in Sossusvlei (above left), and go kayaking with seals in the coastal town of Swakopmund on this particularly active fly-drive trip. The final stop is Etosha National Park where you’ll stay in a fenced rest camp in the heart of the park. There is a large swimming pool and also a floodlit waterhole where you can
Safaris are expensive: there’s no two ways about that. But for families dreaming of taking their children to Africa, this is a relatively budgetconscious way to see animals in the wild. Leave your malaria pills at home when you visit Madikwe, a South African private game reserve the size of Lincolnshire. Base yourself at Lelapa Lodge (below) in a family suite with its own plunge pool. There is no age limit and children will enjoy the special activities – including making pizzas, star gazing and games nights – as much as the thrill of going on game drives in search of the Big Five.
A five-night safari for a family of four costs from £1,949 for two adults and two children. The price includes flights and is based on a December 2017 departure (virginholidays.co.uk).