A safari holiday is a wonderful way to instil a love of nature and conservation in children, and they love the wide-open spaces and amazing creatures you’ll get to see.
Travelling all the way from the southern end of South Africa to big game country can be a little challenging with little ones. Fortunately, domestic flights from Durban to Johannesburg or KPMIA(Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport), are easily accessible and will cut the ‘are-we-there-yet’s’ down considerably.
While most safari lodges welcome children, they’re not all equally equipped to keep them busy 24/7. However, there are a few that have gone the extra mile to ensure that youngsters are kept active and involved throughout your stay.
These lodges have dedicated children’s activity coordinators to ensure your children enjoy their discoveries in closely-supervised safety.
Here are our top picks for a memorable safari with children.
Thornybush Game Lodge
This excellent destination may offer high-end service and plush accommodations, but it’s a welcoming and down-to-earth destination for families too. In between game drives, eating and poolside fun, the lodge offers a range of activities specially designed for children.
Some of the items on the children’s entertainment programme include bush walks with rangers, picnics alongside the pool and treasure hunts.
Kololo Game Reserve
Another upmarket retreat near to Johannesburg, this family-centred establishment has a dedicated programme for youngsters. Colouring-in, puzzles, quizzes and fun wildlife safaris are all on the cards for kids at Kololo.
Jock Safari Lodge
Located in the heart of the Kruger National Park, this game lodge offers amazing opportunities for wildlife activities and birding. It also has a children’s activity programme which includes night walks around the camp, junior ranger training, arts crafts and outdoor fun and games.
Mabula Game Lodge
Mabula offers a full-on resort experience close to Johannesburg, with plenty for children to do. Under the banner of the Cubz Club, children get to enjoy stargazing and game drives with their peers as well as take part in games and races. As a rainy day backup plan, the resort also offers a games room with computer games.
Tau Game Lodge
This Madikwe game lodge has spacious family suites and a kiddie’s club to keep the youngsters on the go all day long. Activities include game drives, treasure hunts, art and crafts and the children receive their own ranger backpack full of goodies like a t-shirt, a badge and ranger certificate.
Palala Boutique Game Lodge & Spa
Limpopo’s Palala may be a small, exclusive establishment but it’s big on action when it comes to kids.
There are many of the usual children’s diversions available like an outdoor play area with a trampoline, board games, table tennis and computer games. There’s also a smorgasbord of bespoke kiddies’ activities up for grabs such as guided walks, river cruises, fishing, game drives and picnics.
Kaingo Game Reserve
Another small Limpopo offering, Kaingo has a daily children’s activity programme which includes outdoor playtime, baking, target shooting, kleilat (clay slinging), painting and crafts.
There’s also a gorgeous family unit called Leopard House which sleeps four and offers the peace of mind you need when travelling with rambunctious kids.
Madikwe Safari Lodge
This award-winning lodge places a strong emphasis on family holidays with suitable accommodation, excellent game viewing opportunities and plenty for the little ones to do.
The programme of activities includes dress-up plays, animal tracking, pool games and races, movie nights under the stars, baking, arts and crafts and the chance to meet interesting animals up close.
Wing Your Way into the Wild with Flights from Durban to Johannesburg
While Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport might seem like the obvious choice when you’re heading out on safari, it pays to remember that Mpumalanga isn’t the only safari hotspot around.
If you’re travelling from KwaZulu-Natal, airfares to KMPIA are generally more expensive than flights from Durban to Johannesburg, so it’s worth hiring a car from O.R. Tambo and taking the scenic route.
Besides, you’ll be missing out on the all the pitstops along the way, and South Africa really is so much more than just the Kruger Park. The northern provinces en-route are filled with gorgeous landscapes, quaint towns and roadside stops that just aren’t accessible by air.
Book your flight today and get your action-packed family safari adventure underway!