Regardless of how many Jellycat giraffe teddies the children own, or how Elmer the Elephan encyclopedic they are, nothing even comes close to seeing African wildlife in its natural habitat for the first time. We think that your wild things will enjoy a safari experience in family-friendly South Africa from around the age of five. While safari may not have registered on your radar for sprogs this young before, choose the right destination (clue: that would be South Africa) and your diminutive David Attenboroughs will love the experience every bit as much as you. Add time spent in The Cape for the perfect all-round family trip.
While lots of our favourite safari camps in Africa cater well for kids, South Africa takes the top spot for its malaria free reserves, meaning no pesky malaria pills accompanying meal times for the youngsters' first safari. Our top picks are the Madikwe Game Reserve in the North, or the private reserve in the Eastern Cape.
Featured Hotel: Madikwe Safari Lodge
Malaria- free Madikwe Game Reserve is home to the Big Five (buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard and rhino) and the gem that is Madikwe Safari Lodge. The owners have young twins so absolutely get what's required, including private mid-morning (rather than the usual dawn) game drives and real life guided paw patrols to track animal prints.
The suites at the lodge have one room for parents, with an additional fabulously decorated bunk room for your little ones. The lodge also has a dedicated team on hand at all times to entertain the younger ones of the group.
Not to be outdone by South Africa's safari destinations, the nutrient rich waters off The Cape are home to another safari list for the children to tick off; this time the 'Marine Five of dolphins, great white sharks, penguins, seals and whales, which can all be seen on boat trips. We think that this beats an aquarium any day..!
The Best of the Rest
Combine your safari with time in The Cape, where we suggest a day exploring in a private 'Adventure Utility Vehicle' equipped with bikes, paddle boards, wetsuits and personalised picnic. You'll spend the day snorkelling in rock pools, spotting basking seals, surfing penguins, ostriches and baboons and searching beached shipwrecks for treasure.
When To Go
A Family Safari in South Africa is a great family holiday all-year round, fitting in perfectly with any of the school holidays.