What Is the Best Safari Experience for Families?

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When it comes to amazing safari experiences, taking along the whole family can make for an incredible adventure…

While some people may assume that safari holidays are strictly for the grown ups, the fact is that safaris can be fun for every age group.

Bringing the children along can be an amazing adventure, and will enrich your experience even more. There’s nothing quite like seeing the world through their eyes, watching the excitement on their faces when they see a desert beetle trekking across the sand for the first time.

Why Should Kids Go On Safari?

As far as enriching experiences go, an African safari tops the list. There are few opportunities more exciting, more educational, and more beneficial for a child than taking them to see the world (as you can see in the video above).

What child doesn’t sit in front of the Lion King, or Madagascar, totally enraptured by the animals on the screen? This is their chance to see the characters come to life! There is no age barrier when it comes to education and adventure, as discussed in The Guardian: “The key to a successful safari is choosing the right location at the right time, balancing children’s health and safety with a sense of adventure, education and fun.”

Experiencing different cultures, and seeing new sights can open up their mind to the world around them, and will show them that there’s a huge world out there. It can foster an independent spirit, and help to instill a love of adventure in them, as S. Mitra Kalita found out when she took her Namibia as one of the top destinations for families. Namibia is an amazing family safari destination: in fact, National Geographic has rated it as one of the best places for a family trip.

Why Namibia?

Other than the fact that Namibia offers a classic safari experience, there are 5 main reasons why Namibia is the best destination for your family safari:

1. Namibia is safe – take a look at the Global Peace Index to see how it compares to other countries.

2. There’s a low risk of malaria, according to the NHS Malaria Map.

3. Many of the locals are fluent in English.

4. The roads tend to be in good condition, which makes for a smoother and better experience if you’re planning to drive.

5. Namibia offers plenty of superb accommodation for families, which takes me nicely to my next point…

What Accommodation Should We Choose?

If you’re looking for the most relaxing way to enjoy yourself, I would recommend a stay in one of Namibia’s luxury private lodges. I dedicated a whole post on choosing luxury safari accommodation recently, so make sure you take a look.

For those who like to be on the move, a self-drive safari through Namibia has plenty to offer in terms of adventure.

Of course, it’s important to remember that children aren’t always keen on long stretches of driving, so you’ll want to keep this in mind when planning your itinerary.

If you’re doing a self-drive safari you’ll want to plan for plenty of adventures along the way, and a few activities (there are loads of articles dedicated to ideas, like these Guardian tips on How To Entertain Your Kids On Long Drives) to help keep them entertained while driving past the long stretches of vast desert.

Whether you choose to spend your time in a luxury lodge or opt for a self-drive tour to explore different parts of this incredible country, there are plenty of adventures that you can choose from…

What Activities Can We Do As a Family?

Explore the desert and watch the way the light hits the dunes, or marvel at the lonely, isolated expanse of the eerily named Skeleton Coast: two opportunities that you’ll have while in Namibia. Here are 6 activities that you may want to schedule into your Namibian safari.

1. Hot Air Balloon Ride

Arguably one of the best ways to fully appreciate the vast landscape, and see some of the largest dunes in the world, is by taking a hot air balloon ride over the dunes.

Located in the heart of the Namib Naukluft Park, Sossusvlei, this is your chance to get a bird’s eye view of the dramatic and breathtaking dunes. Be sure to bring your camera. Rocky mountains, gigantic orange dunes, and spectacular light and shadows that play off of the landscape makes this a photographer’s dream come true.

2. Sand Boarding on the Dunes

For the older children, sand boarding is an exciting chance for them to practice their boarding skills.

The Namib Desert is home to some of the largest sand dunes in the world. Located just outside of Swakopmund, Ultimate Sandboarding provides the perfect chance for the kids to sand board for a few hours. Training is included, and no experience is necessary – check out the video above for an idea of what to expect.

3. Marine Animal Excursions

Walvis Bay is teeming with amazing marine life, and the chance to go out in a boat will allow you to get up close to many of these beautiful animals.

Dolphins can almost always be seen out on the water, and whales are also a common sight if it’s the right season. The Mola Mola Sunfish is another creature that you’re likely to see while on an excursion, as are seals and pelicans. Walvis Bay Lagoon is also a resting stop for nearly 80 percent of Africa’s flamingos; another spectacular sight that’s worth seeing.

4. Exciting Game Viewing Opportunities

Etosha National Park is one of the largest game reserves in the world and ranks near the top in terms of game viewing opportunities. Home to some 114 mammal species, and 340 bird species, there’s much for the kids to see in this park.

In addition to opportunities to spot elephant, lion, and leopard, this park is also home to endangered black and white rhinos. Not to mention a wide variety of insects, amphibians, and reptiles.

5. Scenic Flights Over the Skeleton Coast

A scenic flight is a great way to experience the Skeleton Coast. This coastline was named for the whale and seal bones that once littered the shores along the sea, remnants of the whaling industry.

Today however, you’re more likely to find the skeletal remains of shipwrecks that this wild coastline has claimed. Taking a scenic flight will give you an incredible perspective of this vast coastline, and will show you how it fits into the rest of the landscape.

6. A Stay in a Private Villa

When travelling with kids, it’s nice to have a place to return to at the end of a long day, somewhere you can relax, unwind, and just play in the pool. Namibia has a number of beautiful, luxury villas for you to choose from, including the Okonjima Grand Villa: an excellent lodge that overlooks a natural waterhole.

The Select Private Bush Suite welcomes children. It also provides comfortable accommodation, and additional features like large glass-panelled windows, a spacious lounge, and a pool.

Where Else Can We Go?

Of course, as incredible as Namibia is, it’s not the only destination for families. South Africa and Tanzania are two more excellent destinations for incredible family safaris.

When it comes down to it, the ideal safari is one that will best meet your preferences, and will provide you and your family with the experience that you’re looking for. Take a look at last week’s post “The Best Places to Go on Safari: A Month-By-Month Travel Guide” for some more ideas.

Are You Ready?

Are you & your family ready for the adventure of a lifetime?

If you’d like more information about family safaris contact Safari Drive today. We’d love to discuss some of the best safari options with you, allowing you to discover the most incredible opportunities that each country has to offer. This will help you to be sure you choose a destination that meets, and exceeds, your expectations.

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Photos by Massmo Relsig and Jeremy T. Hetzel

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