A safari might not be the first activity that comes to mind when planning a vacation with young children, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better experience that exposes your little ones to nature, wildlife and traditional African cultures. It’s a getaway that’s both entertaining and educational for the youngest in the family.
Seeing the awed and amazed expressions that grace children’s faces while learning the secrets of the African bush is a joy you won’t want to miss. Top lodges and camps all around Africa are noting the importance of having a safari for kids and are now offering specialist junior ranger programs to grow their interest and knowledge through age-appropriate, safe guided activities.
Here are our favourites child-friendly safari lodges when going on an Africa safari with kids...
|Insider tip: some lodges insist on a private vehicle when travelling with young children, but where they don’t, we advise opting for one anyway. When using a private vehicle on game drives, you’re able to dictate exactly how long you stay at each sighting and how long you’re out in the bush for – which will really come in handy if your little one gets restless while out.|
Child-Friendly Safari Lodges in Kenya
Angama Mara, Masai Mara
Famed for being located on the site of the Out of Africa movie's romantic picnic scene, Angama Mara is an award-winning safari lodge perched right on the edge of an escarpment. This remarkable lodge boasts sublime service, tasteful décor, and never-ending views over the Masai Mara. Not only is the lodge located close to a hotspot for the Wildebeest Migration's river crossings, but another feather in Angama's cap is its heavenly 'garden-to-table' dining experience in the shamba (Swahili for 'vegetable garden').
Although Angama Mara is a wonderful choice for couples and honeymooners, the lodge is also a fantastic place for an African safari for kids. Angama's philosophy is that children should be connected to the natural world's beautiful wild places, animals and local communities from an early age. So while mom and dad are having a nap, taking in the views, or enjoying a romantic picnic on the Out of Africa kopje, Angama has a jam-packed list of fun things for the kids to enjoy. From harvesting greens in the shamba and playing board games in the library, to learning the art of spear throwing from a Maasai warrior and stargazing with toasted marshmallows, a safari for kids at Angama Mara will create the kind of memories that last forever.
Ol Pejeta Bush Camp, Ol Pejeta Conservancy
The Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya’s Laikipia region is one of the most inspiring conservation success stories in Africa. It’s a refuge for the two remaining northern white rhinos on Earth, as well as other vulnerable species like black rhino, chimpanzee, African wild dog, cheetah and Grevy’s zebra – all protected around the clock by dedicated rangers.
Ol Pejeta Bush Camp is a relaxed safari camp on the banks of the Ewaso Ngiro River. It’s an excellent choice for safari holidays with kids, offering a plethora of fun activities like playing hide-and-seek with Ol Pejeta’s anti-poaching dogs, visiting the endangered species enclosure, and horse riding. Kids can even sign up for the Junior Ranger Programme and journey through the conservancy while completing a series of questions and games, and end with being presented with a ranger hat, certificate and an honorary pin.
Saruni Samburu, Samburu National Reserve
Situated in the tribal lands of Kenya’s Samburu National Reserve, Saruni Samburu is a luxury safari lodge boasting breath-taking views over a private conservancy. This pristine wildlife sanctuary is teeming with animals – from giant elephant herds and the reserve’s legendary leopards to endangered wild dog and the 'Samburu Special 5': Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, Beisa oryx, Somali ostrich and gerenuk.
Designed specifically for safari holidays with kids, Saruni’s Warriors Academy is an interactive wildlife safari for kids with a strong focus on education. Under the expert tutelage of Samburu warriors, families can enjoy a fun learning experience that allows them to explore the region’s unique wildlife and the authentic lifestyles of two of Africa’s most fascinating tribes: the Maasai and Samburu. Learn valuable bush skills and experience first-hand the ancient wisdom needed to survive in the wild. Gain knowledge in wildlife tracking and learn how to use a bow, arrows and spears. The Warriors Academy experience can easily be combined with standard safari activities, lasting from one day to one week.
Child-Friendly Safari Lodges in South Africa
Kwandwe Ecca Lodge, Kwandwe Private Game Reserve
The Eastern Cape is a laid-back and affordable malaria-free destination that is perfect for a safari for kids or those holidaymakers doing a self-drive road trip along the Garden Route from Cape Town. At Kwandwe Ecca Lodge, children become honorary members of the Blue Crane Conservation Club, named after South Africa’s endangered national bird. As 'Blue Craners', they get animal checklists, take a pledge to 'live green' and learn about conservation on the excellent 'Bugs & Bones Walk' to identify animal droppings, tracks and skills, and the rich insect life of the wilderness.
For children keen on water, there are supervised 'Minnow's' fishing trips. There is an opportunity to plant the indigenous spekboom, a succulent that is one of the Top 5 carbon-storing plants in the world, as a way for the children to off-set their own holiday footprint. For a safe thrill, little ones can go on their own 'Stripes & Hooves' game drive to view non-aggressive and non-predatory game like zebras, monkeys and giraffes.
The Motse at Tswalu, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
The Kalahari may seem inhospitable to outsiders, but it’s one of the easiest environments in which to take safari holidays with kids for many reasons. For one, it’s malaria free, so no need for medication. It’s also generally sunny, which means that few days are spent inside due to rain, and kids can spend hours tiring themselves out in the swimming pool.
Motse Lodge in the Tswalu Kalahari Reserve offers a Junior Ranger programme that’s designed to cater for children of all ages, and includes exciting supervised activities like archery (the kids make their own bows and arrows), tracking animals on foot, and identifying and casting different spoor. Every Junior Ranger gets their own backpack full of fun guides and tools, and they are taken on interesting, educational bush walks. Not to mention that staff always have an answer to the inevitable, 'But why?'
Madikwe Safari Lodge, Madikwe Game Reserve
The staff at Madikwe Safari Lodge definitely haven’t forgotten what it’s like to be a kid: their junior survivor bush orientation includes quirky lessons on which trees’ branches make the best toothbrushes, how to find direction in the bush, make fire and source water. 'Bug CSI' identifies different plants and insects found around the lodge, with youngsters encouraged to make sketches of them to take home as mementos. Spoor can be moulded in plaster of paris and, for those who aren’t squeamish, dung tracking will show them how to identify, well, animal poop.
But the fun for children needn’t stop there when you leave malaria-free Madikwe. Combine your safari for kids with a few days of fun and excitement at Sun City's The Palace of the Lost City, the continent's most popular 'beach and ocean' resort.
Thornybush Game Lodge, Kruger
Thornybush Game Reserve is a 14,000-hectare private reserve that shares a fenceless border with the iconic Kruger National Park. Encounters with the Big 5 (elephant, buffalo, rhino, lion and leopard) are standout experiences for safari-goers here, especially the top-quality leopard sightings. It’s not impossible to see each member of the Big 5 in a single game drive at Thornybush.
A first of its kind, Thornybush Game Lodge opened its doors in 1961 and put the game reserve on the map as a world-class safari destination. Furthermore, it offers some of the best family safaris in South Africa, thanks to a strong focus on specific family-orientated services to ensure that every safari for kids creates a lasting memory. Youngsters will love tailored bush walks with skilled rangers, baking, and creating bush art with natural elements like leaves and seeds – a special and memorable keepsake of their time in Africa.
Dulini Leadwood, Kruger
With gorgeous views over the granite boulders marking the confluence of the Sand and Mabrak Rivers, Dulini Leadwood offers exclusivity and solitude in a secret corner of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. Comprising only four luxurious suites, Leadwood is the perfect honeymoon setting and delivers some of the best family safaris in South Africa.
The lodge reflects a contemporary style and boasts every creature comfort imaginable. Suites are lavish and spacious, and glass-fronted to immerse guests in the incredible Kruger wilderness. Big 5 game viewing is unparalleled at Leadwood, and each meal is passionately prepared by expert chefs using fresh, local ingredients. If you’re looking for an exclusive South Africa safari with kids, look no further than Leadwood.
Marataba Safari Lodge, Marakele National Park
Marataba Safari Lodge is one of only four lodges and camps situated within a privately managed section of the Marakele National Park in South Africa. The park forms part of the greater UNESCO Waterberg Biosphere Reserve and protects a variety of animals (including the Big 5), significant Iron Age sites, and rock art by the San people – indigenous hunter-gatherers who are the first cultures of Southern Africa. It’s also a malaria-free region, so when it comes to family safaris in South Africa, you don’t get much safer than Marataba.
Each family suite at Marataba Safari Lodge features a bunk bedroom for the kids that’s thoughtfully appointed with toys and games, bedside mugs for yummy hot chocolate, and storybooks to inspire dreams of Africa. But Marataba is not only one of the best child-friendly safari lodges in South Africa, it also offers specially organised activities and excursions for children – allowing kids to play, explore and just be kids.
The lodge’s Eco Garden is at the centre of the action, a fun clubhouse for the kids featuring a jungle gym, paddling pond, movie projector, toys, games, and much more. Then there’s Marataba’s Mack & Madi crew, a dedicated team of field guides and childminders that will take your kids on safe adventures, encouraging them to explore while you take a breather.
Child-Friendly Safari Lodges in Botswana
Footsteps Across the Delta, Okavango Delta
Footsteps Across the Delta specialises in two things: walking and family safaris. When signing up for the specially designed Young Explorers programme, families have the exclusive use of the entire camp, as well as a professional safari guide, personal chef, waiter, housekeeper and (traditional canoe) guides.
With a strong emphasis on learning how to track game on foot and in a 4x4 vehicle, children will also be taught how to make small animal traps and start a fire from nothing more than two sticks. By the end of your African adventure, your kids will be able to recognise different animal spoor, identify a range of birds, pole a shoot an air rifle at tin cans, fish, and even drive a safari vehicle. They’ll receive a certificate, t-shirt and cap at the end of their safari for kids – proof that they can 'rough it' in the African wild with the best of them.
Child-Friendly Safari Lodges in Zimbabwe
Bumi Hills Safari Lodge, Lake Kariba
The tranquil setting of Zimbabwe’s Lake Kariba offers the perfect romantic backdrop for mom and dad to enjoy a little alone time on the water – whether it be an intimate cruise at sunset or nature walk, hand-in-hand, along the banks. What about the children, you ask? The Ngwana Club at Bumi Hills Safari Lodge keeps your little ones so busy, they won’t even notice you’re gone. African Bush Camps' specially designed programme educates children about their surroundings through fun activities, from nature walks around the camp grounds and storytelling to cultural arts and crafts and cooking classes.
Somalisa Acacia, Hwange National Park
Another African Bush Camps property, Somalisa Acacia offers an enthralling safari getaway in Zimbabwe that caters specially to younger guests. The Ngwana Club specialises in a fun safari for kids, educating them on their surroundings and the local wildlife through activities like nature walks around camp, arts and crafts, and cooking lessons. The best part about Somalisa Acacia is its Elephant Pool, a watering hole right next to camp that’s regularly frequented by herds of elephants – there are few things more exciting than getting up close to nature’s gentle giants.
Child-Friendly Safari Lodges in Tanzania
Singita Serengeti House, Grumeti Game Reserve
The Serengeti plays host to nature’s greatest spectacle, the Great Wildebeest Migration. Singita Serengeti House’s enviable perch in the private Grumeti Reserve provides some of the best seats in the house to watch thousands of wildebeest, zebra and other plains game journey in search of better grazing. Not only will you and your family be able to see this natural phenomenon, you’ll also have exclusive use of the luxury house – including private onsite staff, a private safari vehicle and dedicated guide.
The Migration isn’t the only entertainment on the cards. Family bonding can take place over a match of tennis, watching a movie in the media room, or taking a dip in the 25-metre infinity swimming pool. Serengeti House also has a Mini Rangers course that’s sure to delight children of all ages. Young explorers will have the opportunity to learn how to track animals, dabble in some astronomy, upskill in bush survival techniques, put their knowledge to the test in nature quizzes, and participate in various competitions.
Gibb's Farm, Ngorongoro Crater
Gibb’s Farm is an historic lodge situated on the outer slopes of the iconic Ngorongoro Crater. Founded in the 1920s as a coffee plantation, this serene organic farm offers guests an idyllic retreat while exploring the Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Manyara. To fully experience the natural rhythms and beauty of Gibb’s Farm, guests are offered a variety of activities to enjoy on and around the acreage.
Gibb’s Farm is one of the best child-friendly safari lodges in Tanzania. It’s a wonderful place where families can enjoy a host of things to do – from milking cows and collecting fresh-laid eggs, to painting with the farm’s resident artist and exploring the surrounding coffee fields. Gibb’s Farm also offers a delicious kids’ menu – a highlight on a safari for kids is usually the farm’s afternoon tea featuring a cascade of fresh muffins, pastries and cakes.
Child-Friendly Safari Lodges in Zambia
Chongwe House, Lower Zambezi National Park
Set against a magnificent mountainous backdrop, Chongwe House is an award-winning home from home that rests on a tranquil stretch of the Chongwe River bordering the Lower Zambezi National Park. Because it’s an exclusive-use property with four en suite bedrooms, Chongwe House is ideal for safari holidays with kids or a group travelling together.
Having a dedicated butler, chef, safari guide, vehicle and boat will make you feel like you have the wilderness all to yourself. Plus, mealtimes and game drives are completely flexible, allowing you to enjoy a vacation at your own pace – perfect for a safari for kids. Chongwe House can accommodate four to eight guests and features open-air bathtubs, waterfall showers, a swimming pool, and spacious indoor and outdoor lounges with dining areas that encourage spending quality time together.
Child-Friendly Beach Resorts in Mauritius
LUX* Le Morne
Blessed with the best sunsets in Mauritius, LUX* Le Morne is a boutique beach resort at the foot of Le Morne mountain. Situated on a long stretch of white sand beach with a reef-protected lagoon, LUX* Le Morne is an idyllic grand finale to an African safari for kids.
The resort’s kids club is a modern and mindful experience, a space where children can learn, make new friends, and even gain a little independence. Kids between three and eleven years old can enjoy supervised age-appropriate activities, walks in nature, building sandcastles on the beach, painting shells, and going on treasure hunts. There are also several curated family-friendly activities like an outdoor cinema, Zumba classes, arts and crafts, catamaran cruises, and swimming with dolphins – fantastic ways to connect as a family.
Child-Friendly Safari Lodges in Namibia
Safari House, Etosha National Park
This three-bedroomed, private house can accommodate a maximum of six adults and three children, and can be booked on an exclusive-use basis. And with a private chef, vehicle and guide, Safari House offers your family the luxury to set the pace of your vacation. Flexibility is key here, and this restored traditional farmhouse is the perfect spot for a safari for kids in Namibia.
Your family will enjoy unpretentious hospitality at Safari House, while spending your days on exciting game drives in an incredible private reserve bordering the world-famous Etosha National Park. Track white rhino, search for elusive desert species, and be thrilled by the top-quality lion sightings in the area. Head back to your home from home and relax on a shady veranda while enjoying an 'armchair safari' provided by the waterhole mere metres away. The kids can take a dip in the swimming pool while your private chef whips up something for lunch. The fenced garden will remove any worries about the little ones venturing off, which makes Safari House one of the top child friendly safari lodges in Namibia.
Ready to Start Planning Your African Safari For Kids?
Get in touch with our team of Africa Safari Experts to help tailor-make a once-in-a-lifetime trip for your family: