Are you considering traveling to Africa with your children? Wondering if it is safe and how you can make this a unique experience for the kids? We are happy to help you. From our own experiences we know how it is to travel with (small) children through Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Namibia and South Africa. Here are 11 tips to make your holiday in Africa with children a success.
Tip 1: The best vehicle
It is reassuring for you as a parent of a young child if you can be in contact with your child at night without first having to go down and up a flight of stairs to the other tent. For families with younger children, we therefore recommend renting a bushcamper. This has a folding roof in which the parents sleep and the children sleep on the ground floor. You can see and talk to your child without having to go outside. A comforting thought.
Tip 2: WiFi everywhere
Maybe deserves a spot at number 1, because we can no longer escape it in this day and age. Although WiFi is available at more and more campsites, we recommend purchasing a prepaid 4G card with the necessary GBs for a few dollars. With it you can access the modern world in places where there is no WiFi, by means of a hotspot on your phone. Fortunately, 4G coverage outside the parks is excellent.
Tip 3: Keep a bottle or bucket handy
For those times when nature calls, a bottle or bucket is handy to have on hand. Especially at night it can save you a lot of stress and a nightly walk to the toilets.
Tip 4: Spotting animals together
There is nothing more fun than spotting wildlife together and using a colourful map with all the local mammals and birds. With binoculars in the childrens’ hand and a map on their lap, fun is guaranteed.
Tip 5: Know your own children.
It sounds so obvious, but every child is different and only you as parents know what your children can or cannot handle. Therefore, do not be tempted by a one size fits all trip, but customise your trip based on the maximum travel time that the children can sit still in the back seat and get advice on the travel distances. When the kids are having fun, the parents have fun too.
Tip 6: Age of the children
We advise travel to Africa with children only if they are older than 4 years. As children grow older, they remember more about the holidays. In addition, babies need other care and diapers, for example, are not readily available everywhere. If you want to drive with your children in an open safari vehicle with other guests of the lodge, they must be at least 6 years old. Walking safaris are possible once the children are over 16 years old.
Tip 7: Build in moments of rest.
It’s very tempting to get up early every day and look for wildlife all day long. Almost guaranteed, at some point, boredom will strike on the backseat and that will not benefit the holiday joy. Early morning and late afternoon are the best time to look for wildlife. By spending time at the pool or playing a game in between gamedrives, you keep it fun for the kids.
Tip 8: The right papers
Your child has a passport, of course, but you should also request the international version of the extract from the birth register for children under 18 years of age. This can be requested from your local municipality.
Tip 9: Vaccinations and medicines
The children also need vaccinations in addition to those they receive in the regular vaccination program. We advise you to always consult your local doctor. Also bring some medicine along specifically for the children.
Tip 10: Wildlife from big to small
Animals roam freely in most campsites where you stay. So it is extremely important to always keep an eye on your children and do not let them run around.
Africa is, if you see it from a child’s point of view, a large sandpit in which the temptation is very great to play in. Unfortunately, there can always be spiders, scorpions or other stinging bugs under the sand, so it’s better not to allow this.
Tip 11: Closed shoes
It is so tempting to walk with slippers or perhaps barefoot. This is certainly the case for children. Nevertheless, we always advise to walk with closed and preferably high shoes. Not only because of insects or reptiles, but also to prevent abrasions and infections. If you happen to leave them outside at night, knock them out first to remove the night visitors before putting them back on.
Hopefully these tips will help you see a trip with the children to Africa as a genuine possibility. If you want to know more about traveling with children, please feel free to contact us, or be inspired by our catalog.