Africa is an exceptional destination for family and multigenerational travel and a favorite with our Family Travel Network readers. The combination of Big Five wildlife safaris, cultural interactions, and incredible learning opportunities makes for one of the best vacation experiences in the world. In addition, many camps and lodges in Africa cater to families with children's activities, spacious accommodations and special family programs.
African Travel has been working with families traveling to Africa for decades and has exceptional insider knowledge about the best in family camps in Africa. We asked African Travel for their insights. The following lists some of African Travel's favorites and have great family accommodations, entertaining kids' activities and offer an overall outstanding experience for kids and adults alike. Many of these are in malaria-free regions.
Here are African Travel's Top Picks (in alphabetical order):
Camp Jabulani's Zindoga Villa, South Africa
Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, South Africa
Jaci's Lodge, South Africa
Lewa Wilderness Camp, Kenya
Madikwe Safari Lodge, South Africa
Mala Main Camp, South Africa
Mara Intrepids, Kenya
Sabi Bush Lodge, South Africa
Shamwari Riverdene Lodge, South Africa
Tongabezi Tangala House, Zambia
Here is some information on a few of African Travel's favorite family camps in greater detail:
Few places on earth can rival the setting of Heritage Hotels' Mara Intrepids on the vast savannah grasslands of the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. Offering many activities for the children, the Heritage Hotels' Adventurers' Club is one of Africa's best children's safari clubs, providing a unique close encounter with the African wilderness and some of the world's oldest tribal cultures. The Adventurers' Club is available for children between the ages of 4-12. The goal of the Club is to offer young guests an outdoor hands-on educational program and help children appreciate nature as well as the need to conserve it by taking care of the land, the wildlife and its people. Above all, the Adventurers' Club helps to ensure that all of the children's safari programs will not just be instructive and safe, but also loads of fun.
Tangala House is a luxurious family home on the banks of the Zambezi River. This exclusive, private vacation home has four bedrooms, three with ensuite bathrooms, and a private swimming pool. Stylishly designed and furnished, it was featured in the UK's House and Garden magazine and comes with a car and boat, chef, waiters and a private guide - all courtesy of Tongabezi. Ideal for a Zambia family safari, Tangala House sleeps up to eight people and has a children's playroom. The rooms are enclosed, with large glass fitted windows to keep out the insects and allow guests to enjoy the magnificent views across the Zambezi. Over 145 species of birds have been spotted from the kitchen window and elephant herds can often be seen drinking on the opposite bank. The Tangala House provides a truly relaxed and excellent family experience in Africa.
Mala Main Camp is an ideal family travel destination welcoming children of all ages. Children are able to participate in a holistic program that is tailored to suit their needs. The intent of the staff at Mala is to both entertain and educate the children who come to visit. Children are always under the supervision of a responsible ranger while they are in the program - whether within the confines of the camp or out in the bush. The program is geared to work with children ages 12 and under. Activities depend upon the time of year and the number of days that the children are in the camp. On arrival, the ranger looking after the family will assess the enthusiasm and level of independence of the children. Then, in collaboration with the parents and guardians, various activities will be designed to fill their days out in the bush.
Packed with endless attractions and activities aimed at both adults and children, a family safari at Sabi Bush Lodge is the ideal way to spend a family vacation. At Sabi, the African family safaris offer amazing opportunities for young and old to experience the fragile beauty and variety of the bush together. Families with children have always been welcomed at Sabi Sabi's Bush Lodge. Now the family experience reaches a new level with the opening of the EleFun Center, a complete children's facility at the Bush Lodge that fosters children's awareness and appreciation of nature. The center was designed by child care professionals who set about creating a space that is fun, safe and educational. The EleFun Center offers hands-on, interactive activities designed for two distinctly different age groups. The Junior Tracker program is for 4 to 8 year olds, and the Junior Ranger program is for children between the ages of 9 and 12. "In the bush" activities for the older children are run by specially selected qualified game rangers. Children also enjoy the "My Handprint in Africa" message wall where each child can leave his or her name and hand print in color. Many of the children also leave photographs that they take while on safari at Sabi Private Game Reserve.
The colonial-style, Riverdene Lodge with nine luxury rooms, infinity rim flow pool, supervised playroom, spacious green lawns and jungle gym facility will ensure entertainment for the whole family. Upon arrival, the children's coordinator will discuss activity options with the family taking the family's size, children's ages and the current weather into consideration. Childcare facilities are available at an additional cost for children younger than four years as they are too young to join game drives. Each child will receive an age-appropriate gift pack. When staying at this property, some of the highlights for families will include an exclusive visit to the Born Free Foundation Big Cat Rescue Centre and a visit to the Shamwari Wildlife Hospital. Here, different types of wild animals and/or raptors are being cared for under special supervision by the Shamwari veterinarian team for release back into the wild. Children can participate in various social, sporting and arts and cultural activities under the supervision of the children's coordinator. Options could include: African bead making, clay making activities, face painting, star-gazing and African story-telling.
Madikwe Safari Lodge is ideally situated in the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve. This lodge boasts 3 exclusive camps with a total of 20 suites, ensuring privacy. Each suite features a spacious sitting area with circular fireplace and en-suite bathroom. Families can start their day with an early morning game drive. Professional rangers are able to assist with tracking African wildlife. Some of the game families could see include the Big Five (Lion, Rhino, Elephant, Leopard and Buffalo). Other wildlife include Cheetah, Oryx, Wild Dog and Impala. This safari lodge in Madikwe Game Reserve also offers interactive bush walks, which allow guests to get close to nature and learn more about the surrounding African bush while keeping an eye out for some of the over 250 different bird species. Some of the birds guests can see include the Crimson-breasted Shrike, Martial Eagle, Cape Vulture and Carmine Bee-eater. Additional children's activities include special game drives, planet activity books, tracking, birding and frog safaris, child minding and kiddies meals.
African Travel can create a custom package specially suited to each family's needs and includes one or more of these fabulous family camps. For more information about Africa safaris and African Travel, visit their website at www.africantravel.com.