Traveling on safari with a young child requires careful planning due to the many considerations that must be made. With decades of first-hand knowledge, our Africa Safari Experts can help you plan a trip to the continent's biggest attractions that the whole family can enjoy without breaking the bank.
Even while it is possible, taking infants and young children on safaris, is not something that is done very often. Children are known to imitate the animals while on safari, and they also sometimes share their food with the animals. That is all well and good, but you also need to give careful consideration to a large number of other aspects, including the following:
There are age limits on guests at many resorts and lodges. The age limit is normally set at six years old, however, for foot safaris and gorilla trekking, it is increased to sixteen years old. Because of this, your options for somewhere to stay are instantly limited to the handful of establishments that do not impose an age cap on their guests.
There are a significant number of unenclosed lodges and campgrounds. A camp that is not walled in lets all kinds of animals, especially dangerous predators that are most active in the evening like lions, leopards, and hyenas, roam freely across the area. For the safety of young children, you will need a reserve that is completely surrounded by fencing rather than just an elephant fence. Again, this inherently places constraints on the kind of accommodations that are available to you.
Malaria zones should be avoided at all costs while traveling with very small children since they might not be capable of taking preventative medication. You should also assess whether or not you will require immunizations to prevent yellow fever. There are still pockets of the world where tsetse flies may be found; their bites are notoriously excruciating.
Small children may experience discomfort due to the lack of pressurization and the frequently confined space in light airplanes. They are also more susceptible to being sickened by instability and the heat dissipation that arises in the heat of the day, both of which can bring on feelings of being sickened in motion. It is important to keep in mind that, particularly in East Africa, the flight might pick up and drop off other guests along the way to your lodge. Because of this, there will be several takeoffs and landings throughout the flight, which could render it unpleasant for children.
It's important to consider that many camps and lodges require families with toddlers to hire a private vehicle. Renting a private vehicle may be fairly expensive, and keep in mind that when on game drives, passengers are often expected to remain quiet for the duration of the experience. In addition, there are regulations in place that limit how near tour operators and their young passengers may approach potentially dangerous animals, particularly when they are traveling in open cars. Due to this, your ability to watch the large cats and maybe even other erratic game like elephants may be severely limited or kept at a considerable distance. It is in everyone's best interest to keep animals away from loud, high-pitched noises like a newborn screaming, as this tends to make them nervous and cause them to look for the source of the sound.
The wake-up call each day is before dawn, where you'll enjoy an early morning game drive, during the day there will be various activities offered by the lodge, and in the evenings you'll enjoy another game drive, dinner, and drinks around a campfire. You will be required to be outside for a minimum of six hours every day. Consider how your toddlers will adjust to a new routine and plan accordingly.
There are hardly any lodges or camps that provide comprehensive programming, amenities, or staff members for toddlers. For instance, there is a low probability that there will be a tv, and the network signals most likely won't be powerful enough for streaming.
We have a lot of fun going on a safari, but we have to confess that it may be uncomfortable at times due to the heat, the dust, and the bumps. Can you handle a cranky toddler on a lengthy car ride or the inconvenience of having to change them when you don't have access to a bathroom?
Although many facilities have safari stores where guests may purchase souvenirs and even some essential amenities on occasion, these stores often don't carry stocks of infant supplies, and it is very hard to get such products outside in the wilderness. You will be required to have adequate supplies of whatever you require with you at all times.
The requirements of young children often need the acquisition of a lot of ancillary products, such as baby strollers, nappies, baby formula, plenty of clothing, and much more. Because light airplanes have extremely stringent luggage limitations, you need to be sure that all of your belongings can fit into one bag at a time.
When it comes to safari lodgings, South Africa is unrivaled. Lodges catering to families with children are especially common in the Kruger National Park, as well as malaria-free zones in the Eastern Cape, and the Madikwe Game reserve.
Many visitors pair a safari with stops in Sun City, Cape Town, the Garden Route, or Mauritius, all of which have plenty of family-friendly lodging options, attractions, and stores stocked with baby necessities. Mauritius is a great destination for relaxing and is one of Africa's most visited islands, Mauritius also caters to families with young children. Several days in a tropical paradise may be the perfect antidote to the scheduled nature of a safari. And traveling from Kruger to Mauritius is simple.
Even though they cost more, they offer numerous advantages that are hard to put a price on, such as a private chef (perfect for those with dietary restrictions or who prefer to stick to a routine), ample space (no other guests will be inconvenienced by a toddler's tantrum), and sometimes even a private vehicle. Even if you're only bringing a nanny along for the trip, several of them feature separate rooms with amenities and TV.