The Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve, home to the once famous Mapogo Lions, has a variety of lodges that specialise in family-friendly accommodation as well as activities. Your child’s idea of fun might not be driving slowly in the car the whole day, looking for wild animals. But with the educational activities offered by the lodges, you will definitely manage to keep the whole family happy.
The activities include interesting bushveld facts and survival skills, as well as an introduction to wildlife conservation. Not only will you build priceless family holiday memories, your children will return home with a wealth of valuable skills and knowledge.
10 Tips for Taking Children on Safari
Before we explore your safari options, here’s a few tips to help you plan the best African family safari.
#1 Build Up the Anticipation
This can be a fun family activity before your trip, especially if it’s the first time your children go on an African safari. Use the opportunity to get everybody excited about the upcoming adventure, and you can also add an educational element to the experience.
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#2 Investigate Sleeping Arrangements
Depending on your choice of lodge, you can request adjoined family rooms to make your children feel more comfortable in the strange environment. Some lodges also offer a sleeping out option in tents, which you can consider as a fun add-on experience.
#3 Create A Game Drive Kit
If your children are old enough to join on the game drives, it’s a good idea to be prepared to keep them busy when they seem to be losing interest in slowly driving around, looking for animals. Consider purchasing a binocular and camera specifically for child use. Another great idea, is buying a few guide books and creating a checklist for kids to work from.
#4 Don’t Plan Too Much
Remember, it will be quite a sensory overload if it’s the first family safari. Rather take things a bit slow, pacing yourself through the holiday, than trying to squeeze in as many things as possible.
Safari Clothes for Children
The choice of clothes will mostly depend on the time of year you travel. Temperatures in this area can be quite extreme. It’s best to pack for both extremes. Even in the summer time, the evenings can become chilly after an afternoon thunderstorm. And in the winter the middle of the day can become almost as hot as a spring or summer day.
- Zip-off safari pants
- Short and long-sleeve shirts
- Close-toed sandals
- Extra pair of walking shoes
- Sun hat
- Swimwear and goggles
Top 4 Child Friendly Safari Lodges in The Sabi Sands
#1 Londolozi Founders Camp and Londolozi Varty Camp
Londolozi means ‘protector of all living things’ in Zulu, and this lodge lives up to its name, being a leader in the ecotourism industry. They are specifically famous for their special relationship with the leopards in the area.
The reserve is situated in the heart of the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, on the Sand River. It is a family-run lodge, with a prestigious Relais & Chateau status. You are guaranteed an amazing luxury safari experience.
Londolozi takes prides in catering for the special needs of families. The Londolozi Cubs programme has been tweaked over the years to introduce children to the wonderful magic of the African bush. With all the fun-filled activities, they won’t even notice that they are learning! The programme will turn your children into little rangers, instilling in them a sense of the delicate balance between people and nature.
The Londolozi Cub’s den includes fish pounds and campout tents for exploring. Children younger than 6 years old are not allowed on game drives, but there are babysitting services available to keep an eye on them while parents and older children are away from the lodge. Activities include bird watching, spoor identification, African dancing, plus arts and crafts such as candle making and Papier Mache.
#2 Elephant Plains
All children are welcome at this lovely lodge, but only children older than 12 are allowed on game drives. No children are allowed on bush walks. The lodge structures the Mini Tuckers programme according to how many children are present. This ensures that every child enjoys an enriching and unique safari experience.
The passionate staff will keep your children thoroughly entertained with educational activities. These include beading, painting and drawing, as well as more nature-orientated fun. Children can go on special supervised mini bush walks close to the lodge and learn how to construct an ant farm.
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#3 Ulusaba Private Game Reserve
Ulusaba is the private game reserve of the Virgin Active legend, Richard Branson. Only children older than 11 are allowed. The Cub’s Club keeps children busy with a wide range of fun-filled learning activities. They offer a mini ranger course, teaching children bush skills such as tracking and spoor identifying.
A special unique offering, is the children’s spa menu. Treatments include a Choco Boo Hand and Foot treatment, with chocolate. Children can also enjoy special meals prepared for junior palates. The Cub’s Club Backpack is a fun goodie bag filled with games, toys and activities to keep children entertained for hours on end. All the activities aim to teach children more about the African bush, in a fun way. Complimentary babysitting services are available at all times.
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#4 Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge
Sabi Sabi lodge aims to create a safari experience that focuses on quality family time. The beauty of the African bush can be enjoyed by young and old alike. Acquiring more information about the bush and animals creates a special appreciation for nature.
The interactive children activities were designed professionally, incorporating knowledge into the entertainment. The Elefun centre offers two programmes. The junior tracker program is suitable for children aged 4 to 8. And the junior ranger program is offered to children aged 9 to 12.
With a strong edutainment philosophy, your children will return home after the safari with a wealth of new knowledge. The activities include, map reading, identifying animals and insects, arts and crafts, bush walks, and more.
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