The family-friendly nature of an African vacation often surprises visitors but it pays to be prepared before you go. Use our Africa family holiday advice feature to get answers to the most important questions you have about bringing your family to Africa.
Malaria & Malaria-free Destinations
Although the risk of malaria varies from season to season, many of Africa's prime safari and beach destinations lie within Africa's malarial belt and you are strongly advised to work with your safari consultant to see whether your planned itinerary takes in affected areas and what steps to take in terms of prophylactics. Families with young children and/or babies are advised to avoid malarial areas.
If you do go to a malarial area (especially during a rainy season) then prevention is key: use insect repellents, wear long sleeved tops and trousers in the evenings and early mornings and sleep under mosquito nets at night.
Malaria-free destinations include Mauritius and the Seychelles as well as South Africa's ever popular Cape Town, Sun City and the Garden Route while the country's Eastern Cape reserves, Madikwe Private Game Reserve and Pilanesberg National Park offer excellent Big 5 game viewing in a malaria-free environment.
If you're planning an African safari then activities such as game drives, nature walks and canoe trips will be on the cards and your children will be itching to join in. Check first with your safari consultant to see whether they'll be permitted to join a group activity at the accommodation that you are interested in. Some safari lodges allow children from the age of six on activities; others require that the child is over 12.
Alternatives include engaging a private vehicle and guide for your family or making use of the child-friendly safari activities at our recommended safari lodges.
Many popular African holiday destinations offer professional kids clubs or activity programmes that take the pressure of providing entertainment and activities for your children completely out of your hands.
Head for the Indian Ocean islands for destinations that take care of children in style: Mauritius is particularly famous for its excellent kids clubs while many lodges in the Seychelles have activity programmes designed for children.
As for safari destinations, your children will get an excellent introduction to Africa's wildlife in the safe and professional environments of South Africa's Madikwe Private Game Reserve and Sun City as well as the Kruger National Park and its adjoining private reserves such as the Sabi Sands. Other destinations in South Africa featuring kids activity clubs include reserves in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape while Kenya's Masai Mara and Laikipia Plateau are the places to go in East Africa for kids clubs in a safari environment.
Exclusive-use accommodation is a popular way for families to get the freedom and privacy of home within a holiday environment - consider renting a private villa or family cottage for your African family holiday.
Available in both beach and safari destinations as well as Cape Town, our private family accommodation is fully serviced with the option of engaging the services of chefs, guides and baby-sitters; our recommendations also include accommodation with web connectivity, self-catering and entertainment facilities.
Ideal for families who want a holiday at their own pace, a self-drive family vacation is one of the best ways to explore South Africa's most family-friendly destinations. Have a look at our recommended self-drive tours that take in Cape Town and the Garden Route - the driving is easy, the scenery wonderful and you'll never be short of an interesting stop-over or tantalising detour en route.
You can even go on a self-drive safari holiday to some of the best Big 5 destinations in the country: the malaria-free Eastern Cape reserves and the Kruger National Park are full of animals, simple to access and once you're at the lodge, you can relax and go on guided game drives and other safari activities.