An African safari is the ideal vacation destination for your family and more so if you are nature and travel enthusiasts. What could be more thrilling than an African wildlife safari in a place of unrivaled exotic beauty, unlike anything your family has ever seen or experienced?
Travel to a faraway place and experience the profound quiet and stillness of the African bush, a peace broken only by the sound and presence of the wild animals just beyond your camp. You and your family will move across vast spaces teeming with the Big Five – lions, rhinos, elephants, buffaloes, and leopards.
And, if you’re lucky, you’ll spot one of the Little Five, tiny creatures that correspond in tiny ways to the Big Five. Your kids can keep an eye out for the elephant shrew with its long nose or maybe spot a rhino beetle. They’ll know one when they see one!
And if your kids are older than eight and you want to witness the life-and-death drama of the Great Wildebeest Migration, the Serengeti is the place to go. Or if your dream is to get up close and personal with wildlife and then have some fun at the beach, you can find that too in the islands of Zanzibar.
And amazingly, an African family safari has more reasons to recommend it than just the abundant wildlife and spectacular scenery. Here are our top four reasons why an African safari might be the most intriguing, enjoyable, and instructive trip you ever take as a family.
1. Adventures Found Only in Africa
The wildlife in Africa moves across a stunning tableau of iconic mountain peaks, vast savannahs, wooded forests, gorgeous beaches, and ancient geologic wonders. There is no place like Africa to observe such an abundance of wildlife in such a diverse array of natural habitats.
There are walking tours for more specific wildlife sightings, such as the chimps at the Mahale Mountains National Park or the flamingoes at Lake Natron. There are hundreds of species of rare birds, plant life, and insects found only in Africa. On an African family safari, you can explore those areas of Africa, and the wildlife habitats, of most interest to your family.
You’ll want a front-row seat to fully grasp the hype and sheer drama of the spectacular wildebeest migration. It’s the world’s largest land mammal migration, with over two million animals, including zebras and antelopes, ranging through the entire Serengeti and into southern Kenya. An astonishingly picturesque route, counter-clockwise through the Serengeti and Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve, this annual migration offers far-flung settings for witnesses to this classic African experience.
Be sure to seek expert advice to time your visit during the migration, such as when you can observe calving season in the southern Serengeti or river crossings to the north.
2. Those Teachable Moments
If your kids are passionate about wildlife and nature programs, imagine their excitement to go on safari. But the truth is, whatever they’ve seen on TV or at the movies will fade away once out on an African game drive. Expert guides will educate kids on regional flora, fauna, birds, and indigenous butterflies. The kids will be able to correlate better the geography and wildlife lessons from school with their deepening knowledge and appreciation of nature and fragile ecosystems. Firsthand experience is the perfect addition to their gratitude jar.
And even parents and older family members will have something new to learn. Observing herds of elephants lumbering by, giraffes grazing among tall trees, or lions stalking their prey is much richer and more instructive than anything narrated on screen.
Some lodges offer junior ranger programs to teach kids how to track wildlife, and many are willing to provide more information about local culture. Also, local lodges’ sustainable everyday operations serve as excellent teaching tools for complex subjects, such as environmental awareness, conservation, and empathy for local citizens.
Topics that are only theory back home in the classroom become fascinating, eye-opening, and firsthand experiences of cultural diversity as you and your family enjoy the warm hospitality of African tribal communities, each with customs uniquely their own.
3. Offers a Break From the Hustle and Bustle of Daily Life and Some Surprises Too
A change of scenery can be so refreshing. You can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, relax, and spend quality time with your family. Of course, with the complete change in environment and unfamiliar lifestyle practices, you may experience some culture shock.
While on safari, you can enjoy every beautiful, memorable moment in nature because you’ll have no WiFi connection! That can take some getting used to. You may feel a little uncomfortable with wild animals moving through your camp, bathroom breaks next to the jeep, and some aspects of traditional African delicacies and local cultural customs.
But these things add to the fun of being in Africa. When in Rome! On an African safari, your family will have the pleasure of discovering and moving through uncharted territory. It’s part of the adventure.
4. A Cost-Effective Family Vacation
One pleasant surprise when planning an African safari is the range in pricing. Yes, some African safaris are very expensive, but families can find affordable options that offer great value.
A safari package usually includes meals, accommodation, sightseeing, and game viewing. You’ll have the basics covered beforehand and can work within your budget on the extras, such as flights between destinations or hot air balloon rides–which can be pricey.
Be sure to work with reputable, experienced tour operators who can cover all the safari contingencies while you concentrate on having a good time with your family.
An African safari, with its unique blend of wildlife adventure, enriching cultural encounters, and breathtaking landscapes, is a family vacation opportunity not to be missed.
So, if you’re wondering where to go next for your family vacation, why not plan an African safari? There is nothing like a safari experience to disconnect from daily life, expand your children’s horizons, and strengthen your family bond. Enjoy an African safari as a family, a treasured, memory-making adventure you’ll always share.