Taking your children on safari is an amazing adventure for the whole family to enjoy together. South Africa, in particular, is perfect for a family safari as it has many child-friendly and malaria-free reserves. Top malaria-free reserves for families include Madikwe and Pilanesberg in the North West; Sanbona in the Western Cape; and Shamwari in the Eastern Cape.
Sanbona in particular, is great for young kids and it is just three hours from Cape Town, while the Pilanesberg in the North West is not far from Johannesburg. To make sure you get the most out of the bush experience, there are few things you can do to make the trip easy to do and safe for the whole family.
Stock up on snacks and things to nibble on (just remember bathroom breaks are scarce). While it may be a good idea to consider keeping your game drives short to match your kids’ attention spans, you may sometimes end up cruising for a little longer than expected. This could lead to very hungry children. So, stock up on nuts, biltong (a South African speciality of dried cured meat) and dried fruit.
Always have a supply of water in the car, especially during summer months. Make sure you ration it to avoid any pit stop emergencies. Remember, disembarking from your vehicle is illegal and extremely dangerous in any game reserve. Keep your kids cool and comfy. Be sure your kids dress appropriately—light and loose-fitting clothing is always a good way to dress in the bush.
Have a swimming kit handy, as most of the rest camps and some of the picnic spots have swimming pools. After a hot game drive kids are definitely going to want to jump in. Keep them snappy happy—cameras need not be expensive and may become a priceless hobby. If you’re not interested in your kids using your expensive equipment or smartphone, let them snap away with your old point-and-shoot digital camera. You may be delighted and surprised at their perspectives.
Make some new friends with the knowledgeable ranger. Most camps have a few resident rangers, who often take guests on paid game drives. These super knowledgeable men and women are the heart and soul of every safari adventure. You may not necessarily partake in a game drive, but take your kids to say hi to the ranger. They are really friendly and willing to share their wealth of bush knowledge. Keep it fun and secretly educational.
Bring in an element of fun – get your kids to keep a list of all the animals you spot and have a prize for the one who managed to spot the most. Not only will the game element keep your children entertained, it will also teach them so much about nature, animals and the wild.
Courtesy of SA Tourism.