From big game to beaches
Family holidays in Africa
Africa has a lot to offer families, but it's important to visit places that actively welcome children, rather than simply accept them. Africa isn't ideal for babies or very small children, who should avoid areas with malaria. However for interested children, who are old enough to understand what they see, Africa can be an amazing and inspiring place.
Private houses and villas can be ideal for families. In recent years, we've seen more families travelling together, and a rise in small groups of like-minded friends sharing a trip. Both work best when they have their own space and flexibility in their meals and activities. Often a private villa can be an ideal solution, and many of these come with their own private chef and even a private safari guide.
Family holidays in South Africa's CapeSouth Africa's Cape is free of malaria and the obvious choice for families with small children – so many, many places welcome children. What's more, self-drive trips here (and in Namibia) enable you to travel at your own pace and stop where you like to explore – so the Cape is the first Africa stop for many families.
Picking the best family options is difficult because of the vast choice, but a few stand out. In Cape Town the Vineyard Hotel is very comfortable, and has all the facilities for children that you'd expect in a large hotel like cots available and a child-minding service, plus large gardens in which to play, a great swimming pool, etc.
On the Cape's southern coast, Grootbos Private Nature Reserve is an outstanding option for families because of its dedicated activities for younger visitors – which vary from early-morning pony-feeding, to petting sessions with small farm animals, pony- and horse-riding, and guided beachcombing and bug-collecting.
Further east, Hog Hollow is a great-value option for families, with a friendly team; fun, funky family rooms; and it's close to some lovely self-guided walking trails around the forests and beaches of Tsitsikamma National Park.
In the game parks of the Eastern Cape, the fairly economic Elephant House makes a comfortable base for self-drive trips including Addo Elephant Park – it's close to the gate and very family-friendly. For guided game-viewing experience, Ecca Lodge welcomes children and is a good choice, whilst its sister-camps on Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, Uplands Homestead or Melton Manor, are usually booked for exclusive occupancy – ideal if you're looking for the flexibility of a private villa, and don't mind a fairly high price tag.
(See more of our top places for family holidays in the Cape…)
Family trips to NamibiaIn Namibia, many smaller guest farms and lodges welcome children. New Bushmen playmates at Nhoma can be wonderful, whilst active children will relish the hands-on approach at Mundulea. Sand-boarding and kayaking near Swakopmund are tremendous fun and Sossusvlei is perhaps the world's largest sandpit! Meanwhile, the national park restcamps in Etosha have four-bed bungalows suitable for self-driving families – and many of the countries lodges have 'family rooms' where parents and children have adjoining bedroom, sharing a bathroom.
For great privacy and flexibility, both Okonjima and Mushara have excellent private villas, whilst Wolwedans also has a 'private camp' that can be booked by small parties.
(Read more about the best spots for family holidays in Namibia…)
Family holidays in ZambiaMany of Zambia's safari camps are small and run directly by their owner – some of whom will have children, or at least have brought up their own children there. Because of this, these can be very welcoming to families. This would include smaller, family-owned camps, like Tafika, Chiawa Camp and Chongwe River Camp.
Across Africa, there are relatively few lodges in big game areas which are really family-friendly, but Zambia's 'safari houses' are. They run with their own guide, activities and chef and they stand out for offering not only great safaris for small groups of adults, but also for opening up some of Africa's wilder areas to families. There is nothing 'toy' or 'cut-down' about these safaris; they offer great areas, top guides and excellent game, but with the high degree of flexibility that families need.
First among these, Robin's House was designed for four guests. More recently, the imaginative new Luangwa Safari House and Chongwe River House are both designed for up to eight people. The old Manor House at Shiwa Ng'andu feels like a private stately home and Tangala House, near Livingstone, is the private house of the owner of the nearby Tongabezi Lodge!
(Read more about family-friendly lodges in Zambia…)
Family trips to BotswanaIn Botswana, there are a handful of camps which cater well for children – although most will insist that each family staying books its own private guide and vehicle. This means your activities are very flexible. Many camps, including DumaTau, Chitabe Lediba, Jao, Savuti, Seba Camp and Vumbura Plains all have large family rooms – with inter-connecting bedrooms. This is surprisingly important, as families don't want to have walk outside to go between bedrooms at night if there are wild animals around.
At many of Botswana safari camps some we can also, for a further cost, arrange a specialist children's guide for you whilst you stay. Some camps go further: Sandibe and Nxabega are generally very child-friendly, even publishing their own fun quiz books for children; whilst Edo's Camp and Footsteps operate a 'Young Explorers' safari especially for families – which aims to introduce the children to fun activities in the bush.
For families or small groups who want effectively their own private safari camp, there isn't a great choice in Botswana – unless you're willing to book out one of the many smaller (16-bed) camps. However, one obvious choice would be the Villa Okavango near Abu Camp, but talk to us for more information about staying in exclusive small camps here.
(See more of Botswana's top lodges for family holidays…)
The privately-guided safaris in our Wild about Africa brochure also work brilliantly: private mobile trips based partly at Santantadibe Reserve have usually been a huge success with families – they operate entirely to your schedule. (Read more about privately-guided family safaris in Botswana…)
Family trips to Tanzania and ZanzibarIn northern Tanzania, our private-guided safaris can work very well for families with older children – and the 'per person' costs usually reduces as more people join a trip. We don't usually recommend these for younger children though, and the drives can be long and dusty.
In southern Tanzania, several camps welcome older children including Impala Camp, Ruaha River Lodge and Mwagusi Camp.
Tanzania's more family-friendly beach locations include Breezes Beach Club on Zanzibar and Chumbe Island, which is geared towards informing as well as entertaining. Meanwhile in the Mafia Archipelago, both Chole Mjini Lodge and Pole Pole are understanding towards the needs of children and Kinasi Lodge has a lovely family room.
Part of Sand Rivers, Kiba Point is a private family-sized camp which will take a group of up to eight, staying in four neighbouring cottages. Identical in size, the Lukula Selous Camp offers an amazing amount of flexibility in a vast private area. Zanzibar's highly original Kikadini Villas combine the seclusion of several funky private houses with the facilities of a small hotel.
(See more of our top places for family holidays in Tanzania and family holidays in Zanzibar)
Family holidays in MozambiqueMozambique's Indigo Bay caters well to families, including supervised games in a children's club. As an alternative Indian Ocean retreat, Bazaruto Lodge has its own two-bedroom villa.
(See more of our top places for family holidays in Mozambique…)
Family holidays in the SeychellesFurther east, the malaria-free Seychelles offer super seaside family holidays – and with no malaria on the islands, they're generally ideal for family holidays. A few places that stand out include the Turtle Club at Lémuria Resort, which has a very professional and well-equipped children's club; all the beach-side villas on North Island, where their own lounge/office easily becomes a sumptuous bedroom for two; and on a much simpler level, the self-catering villas at Les Villas d'Or offer flexibility and great value. Other family-friendly self-catering places include the value-conscious Côte d'Or Chalets and the more luxurious Banyan Tree.
(Read more about our best lodges for family holidays in the Seychelles…)
Family holidays with Wild about AfricaIf you'd like to take your kids on a family-friendly camping safari joining a small group of like-minded travellers, or if you prefer an exclusive family holiday to Namibia or Botswana, click on the following link and see Wild about Africa's suggestions for family-friendly safari holidays.
Family holidays in Ideas for family holidays in Botswana
Family holidays in Ideas for family holidays in Kenya
Family holidays in Ideas for family holidays in Mozambique
Family holidays in Ideas for family holidays in Namibia
Family holidays in
For an outstanding seaside family holiday, consider a visit to the stunning tropical islands of the Seychelles. They are generally very friendly, free of malaria and large predatory animals, and most have beautiful white powdered beaches - perfect for families with small children!Ideas for family holidays in Seychelles
Family holidays in Ideas for family holidays in South Africa
Family holidays in
Tanzania is a great option for families with children - there is a good range of family-friendly safari lodges, and, with the stunning beaches, both on the mainland and the nearby islands it's easy to find a varied holiday which the whole family will enjoy.Ideas for family holidays in Tanzania
Family holidays in
Zambia has a handful of great safari camps, lodges and dedicated houses which offer superb facilities for family safaris - and these pages will help you to identify them, and choose between them.Ideas for family holidays in Zambia