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Travelling with Children
This information is by no means meant to be a comprehensive guide to travelling with children, but hopefully it will give you some food for thought.
Malaria: In most of eastern & southern Africa malaria is endemic all year round and taking an appropriate prophylaxis is highly recommended. As the mosquitoes are of a chloroquine and fansidar resistent type, some of the prophylaxes may not be recommended for young children (please seek advice from your GP or travel clinic). You may therefore like to consider travelling to a malaria free area, such as
Age restrictions: Many lodges in game parks are unfenced and animals have free access onto their property. This is one of the main reasons why many wildlife lodges have age restrictions. Also for safety reasons, age restrictions are applied to some safari activities, such as walking and canoeing. Many lodges will not allow children under 12 yrs old and certain activities are limited to children older than 14 yrs old (sometimes even 16 yrs). So if you are travelling with children under 12 years of age, please let us know, so we can recommend appropriate accommodation and activities for your Africa trip.
Safari with children: Game drives can be long, hot & bumpy and after a while a little boring, especially when the wildlife is hiding in the bush, and the younger children can get easily distracted. To keep everybody happy and interested give your children e.g. their own camera or binoculars, play games by e.g. awarding points for spotting certain animals, birds, insects, trees etc. We always include a bird & animal check list in our pre-departure pack. Consider making multiple copies before leaving home, so everybody can have their own copy to tick off what they have spotted, and over lunch & dinner you can all compare notes.
Consider staying in accommodation with facilities such as a swimming pool, early dinner options, baby-sitting and children safari programmes. Some safari lodges have special children's programmes to keep the younger ones entertained and organise activities such as special bush walks for the kids. For example, Ker & Downey's (Botswana) Young Explorers programme is an excellent example of this and here mum & dad often end up being part of the programme as well, bringing the family even closer together.
Ground covered: Try not to be too ambitious as to the number of sites, national parks or regions you can squeeze into your two week or so family holiday. Avoid at all cost long & boring road journeys when travelling with children. Please remember, when you travel as a family you may not be able to cover as much compared to travelling with adults, but the joint experience will most certainly enrich your family's life.
Child friendly options: A bush & beach holiday is a great family solution. The combination of a wildlife safari and spending time on the coast is very easy to achieve in countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and South Africa. Self-drive holidays in e.g. South Africa and Namibia give you the freedom and flexibility that you may like as a family. Camel treks in e.g. the Sinai Desert are a great family option, malaria free, safe and fun for both the children & parents.