Best countries for active family safaris

January 27th 2020  |   Family Safaris  |  by   Charlotte Opperman
active family safaris Family on a river crossing in Zambia

Safari activities come in many guises, with plenty more ways to enjoy the wilderness and wildlife than the traditional 4×4. Walking, riding (horses, camels and bikes), canoeing, boating, fishing – the list goes on, are all on offer if you know where to look. Mix it up a bit and even children with the shortest attention spans will be captivated. Here are our top countries for families looking for an active safari:

South Africa

Bordered by the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, South Africa encompasses so much it’s often called ‘a world in one country’. Its landscapes stretch from white-sand beaches to snow-capped mountains and include spectacular views and wildlife-filled national parks and reserves.

Enjoying a family wildlife drive, Singita Boulders Lodge, Sabi Sand, South Africa

Enjoying a family wildlife drive, Singita Boulders Lodge, Sabi Sand, South Africa

What you will find:

  • It’s a year round safari destination; good weather and wildlife for every school holiday
  • Riding safaris, walking safaris, mountain biking, sleep outs and fly camping
  • A number of excellent malaria free wildlife reserves and national parks
  • It combines very well with Mauritius for a malaria free safari and beach holiday
  • A wide range of styles of safari camp, from simple tents to luxurious lodges – something to suit every family’s wishes
  • Cape Town provides a wonderful contrast to safari with activities to suit children of all ages
  • High quality properties, service and infrastructure means South Africa is an easy, hassle free family holiday destination
  • Africa’s iconic wildlife including lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, zebra, giraffe, hippo and more
Babylonstoren at lovely base from which to explore the Cape Winelands

Babylonstoren at lovely base from which to explore the Cape Winelands

Zambia

The remote wilderness areas of Zambia present an unparalleled opportunity to experience Africa in all its vastness. A family safari in Zambia gives a taste of the real Africa and a feel for genuine adventure and exploration.

Family sundowner in the South Luangwa, Nkwali, Zambia

Family sundowner in the South Luangwa, Nkwali, Zambia

What you will find:

  • A wealth of safari activities on offer which makes it a particularly good destination for families travelling with teenagers
  • Try canoeing, boating, walking and fishing alongside wildlife in the national parks, as well as getting even closer to big animals on day and night drives
  • Within easy reach of Lake Malawi’s clear water and sandy beaches for a relaxing beach add-on after a safari
  • All the attractions of Victoria Falls, from the falls themselves to bungee jumping or more sedate river cruises
  • A collection of stunning private safari houses perfect for families
  • Family friendly tented accommodation throughout the national parks
  • Fabulous wildlife in remote parks with low visitor numbers
  • Africa’s iconic wildlife including lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, zebra, giraffe, hippo and more
Exploring the Victoria Falls, Tangala House, Livingstone, Zambia

Exploring the Victoria Falls, Tangala House, Livingstone, Zambia

Kenya

Kenya epitomises everything that is Africa. It hosted the first real wildlife holidays and its diversity of landscape, people and wildlife has drawn more people to safari than any other country in Africa.

active family safaris. Football with the guides at Encounter Mara Camp, Masai Mara, Kenya

There is so much more than wildlife. Football with the guides at Encounter Mara Camp, Masai Mara, Kenya

What you will find:

  • Endless opportunities to combine a family safari and beach holiday within the same country
  • Great weather and wildlife during summer and Christmas school holidays, as well as June, October and February half terms
  • Equally easy to combine safari in Kenya with beach on Zanzibar
  • Fascinating culture with many Samburu and Masai working as safari guides
  • Superb wildlife in world famous national parks and reserves
  • Safari camps and lodges full of character, often run by owners who’ve raised children in the bush so really do know what it takes to make the perfect family safari
  • Try riding, mountain biking, walking and fishing alongside wildlife in the national parks or reserves, as well as getting even closer to big animals on day and night drives
  • Africa’s iconic wildlife including lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, zebra, giraffe, hippo and more
  • The famous wildebeest migration and the drama it brings in the Masai Mara in August
Meeting the locals at Giraffe Manor, Nairobi, Kenya

Meeting the locals at Giraffe Manor, Nairobi, Kenya

Botswana

Botswana is without doubt one of Africa’s finest safari destinations. It’s a land of stunning contrasts, from the verdant wetlands of the Okavango Delta to the sparkling desert scenery of the Makgadikgadi Pans. Wildlife abounds and with private concessions, low guest numbers and great flexibility for exploring by day and night, it’s an irresistible paradise for the ultimate family adventure.

Learning local customs from the San Bushmen, Camp Kalahari, Makgadikgadi Pans, Botswana

Learning local customs from the San Bushmen, Camp Kalahari, Makgadikgadi Pans, Botswana

What you will find

  • Private mobile camping safaris planned around exactly what your family would like to see and do
  • The opportunity to explore with, and learn bush lore from, San Bushmen
  • A number of camps with specialist children’s guides and dedicated children’s activity programmes
  • Fabulous family riding safaris possible for keen young equestrians
  • Magnificent wildlife including lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, giraffe, cheetah and more
  • The opportunity to explore by boat and mokoro (traditional dug out canoe) in the Okavango Delta
  • Easy travel to, and therefore combines particularly well with, the Victoria Falls area
  • Direct flights between Botswana and Cape Town makes a safari and city combination very easy
Enjoying a family wildlife drive from Little Vumbura camp

Enjoying a family wildlife drive from Little Vumbura camp

Any questions on family safari holidays?

If you’ve got this far and not found an answer to a question you have that we should have included, please ask in the comments section below, or pop us an email. We’ll be sure to reply and may amend the article to include our answer.

What next?

We would be delighted to help you plan a holiday, or answer any questions if you’re at an earlier stage. Our team of experts have travelled widely throughout Africa. They can offer expert advice on every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris.  If you would like to talk to someone who has been there and done it, please just send us an email or give us a call.

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