Family Safaris and Vacations in Africa

  • 01 of 10

    Family Safaris and Vacations in Africa

    Camel Caravan in the Sahara Desert
    Niko Guido/Vetta/Getty Images

    Planning a family safari or family vacation in Africa? Want to know the best destinations for a family safari or tour in Africa? Get advice on family safaris, vacations and tours in Egypt, Tunisia, Kenya, Tanzania, Morocco, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, as well as family volunteer vacations in Africa.

    Bringing your family to Africa is safe, adventurous and educational. Learning how to make spears with Maasai warriors or riding camels in the Sahara desert are experiences that will stay with your family long after the vacation is over.

    All of the recommended tours in this feature actively welcome children and don't just tolerate them. It's important to understand that taking your children to Africa will expose them to a certain level of poverty as well as disease. Make sure you're children are old enough to take malaria medication before you head off on safari to Kenya, Botswana or Tanzania. If health issues are a concern for you, choose a family vacation in South Africa. It's a perfect destination for families with young children. (see more general advice about family safaris) When you're researching your trip let the kids help plan your itinerary.

    Family volunteering in Africa is an excellent option if you want a meaningful vacation which really gives back to the environment and/or community.

    If you have questions about planning your safari, you can see all my safari articles here


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  • 02 of 10

    Egypt Family Vacations

    Image of The Sphynx and the Great Pyramid in Giza, Egypt
    David Hutchinson

    Taking your family on vacation to Egypt is a great idea. They'll love going inside the Pyramids and tombs to explore. Riding camels, trains and feluccas will also be a thrill. Bargaining in Cairo's bazaars is always fun and inexpensive.

    Look for a tour that doesn't start too early each morning. Make sure the hotels you stay at have swimming pools and certainly add on a few days at the Red Sea to your itinerary. A long cruise down the Nile isn't ideal if you're traveling with young children since there's not much to do other than visit ancient sites. A trip to Luxor and then on to the Red sea is a more family-friendly way to go. Try to avoid the very hot summer months especially if you plan to go to Luxor and/or the Desert.

    See Tour Egypt's article about bringing your children to Egypt for more information.

    Recommended Egypt Family Tours:
    Thomson Family Adventure - 10 days in Egypt includes Cairo, the Red Sea and Luxor. This trip departs from the US.

    Abercrombie and Kent - A 10 day family holiday which includes Cairo, Abu Simbel, and Luxor. The Nile cruise has a children's activities coordinator on board.

    Adventures by Disney - a 9 Day family-friendly itinerary with expert guides leading your group and enthralling kids with hands on activities and lots of personal attention. Includes Cairo, a Nile cruise and the beaches of Sharm el-Sheikh.

    Responsible Travel's Handpicked Family Vacations - Vacations include camel rides in the desert, one week and two week family-friendly itineraries, farm-stays, dolphin watching and more.

    More Information about traveling to Egypt...

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  • 03 of 10

    Tanzania Family Safaris and Vacations

    Elephants Tanzania Kilimanjaro
    Grant Faint/Getty Images

    A family safari in Tanzania offers a wonderful experience which can easily be combined with a beach vacation in Zanzibar. Tanzania is Africa's best safari destination because of the sheer variety of wildlife parks, their immense size and the numbers of animals.

    Choose itineraries where there's not too much driving involved (i.e. a lot of parks to visit) especially if you have young children. It's also a good idea to opt for lodges with swimming pools to fill up the time in between game drives if your children are younger. Find out if there are child-friendly programs on site which will occupy the children if you are out on a long game drive.

    Note that some safari lodges won't accommodate children under 6. Avoid long game-drives or drives between lodges in safari parks if you have younger children since they won't be able to get out for a bathroom stop due to the wild animals.

    Recommended Family Safaris in Tanzania:
    African Portfolio offers a 9 day family safari in northern Tanzania.

    A two week Tanzanian family safari. (Recommended for ages 6 and over) includes the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire and more.

    2 Week Family Safari from Thomson safaris also includes Zanzibar, Olduvai, Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti and more. Thomson safaris specialize in Tanzania and have an excellent reputation.

    Serengeti Family Safari from Wildland offers a good safari itinerary for those with teens that includes all the major northern parks in Tanzania including opportunities to mingle with local tribes, a visit to a school, and camping in the bush.

    More Tanzania Travel information...

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  • 04 of 10

    Morocco Family Vacations

    Typical street scene in the medina, Morocco
    © Sjaak Zijlma

    A family vacation in Morocco should include at least Marrakech and/or Fes which are fascinating for children of all ages to explore. There are so many trinkets to bargain for, alleyways to get lost in and spices to smell, there won't be a moment of boredom. And you're all bound to get the giggles at the tanneries because of the smell.

    Moroccans are extremely family-oriented and you'll get lots of positive attention when you travel there with children. Morocco has excellent beaches, Essaouira for example is a wonderful destination. You can also explore the desert and ride camels as well as spend a few nights in a Kasbah (fort) in the cooler Atlas mountains. Moroccan food isn't too spicy either so you can sample everything from kebabs to couscous. Pastries, fresh fruit and nuts are on sale everywhere for a quick and easy snack. Avoid traveling in mid-summer because it get's very hot, or get a Riad with a swimming pool so you can cool down at midday.

    Morocco is relatively easy to travel around independently. Even small hotels can be booked online and car rental is simple. If you'd rather go on a tour see the recommendations below :

    Recommended Family Vacations in Morocco
    Moroccan Family Adventure from Dragoman offers a 2 week itinerary with family-friendly accommodation and flexibility.

    Morocco Family Adventure from Thomson Travel.

    More Morocco travel information...

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  • 05 of 10

    South Africa Family Vacations

    family vacation south africa
    Alistair Berg/Getty Images
    South Africa is a perfect family vacation destination. You have the flexibility of hiring your own car and planning your own trip. All budgets are catered for and there's excellent family-friendly accommodation which accept children of all ages. Most hotels have swimming pools there are even wineries like Spier, with plenty to entertain the children while you enjoy some world-class vintages.

    If you're worried about malaria and don't like the thought of your children having to take anti-malarial medication, there are plenty of excellent family-friendly malaria-free safaris you can take.

    An ideal family vacation to South Africa would include Cape Town where you can swim with penguins, visit the aquarium, experience the townships, and ride a cable car to the top of Table Mountain. The Garden Route is filled with excellent beaches, a monkey sanctuary, Cango caves, ostrich farms and much more. And of course a safari at the numerous family-friendly safari lodges, like Jaci's Lodges, is a must. Read our Top 10 List for Family Activities in South Africa" for more ideas.

    Recommended Tours:
    12 day family safari from Wildland which includes a nice mix of beach, safari, and city fun along with many active adventures. Destinations on this trip include the Garden Route, Cape Town and Kruger National Park.

    10 day family-friendly tour from Welcome Africa includes Cape Town, Knysna, Plettenberg and Lalibela Game Reserve. Lots of activities and sights in this itinerary which your children will love.

    Adventure's in Africa 10 day South Africa Tour is luxurious and well planned out. It includes Cape Town, the Winelands, Grootbos, and the spectacular (malaria-free) Madikwe Game Reserve.

    Self-drive family tour is a two week self-drive itinerary from the Safari Company, that takes you from Johannesburg to Cape Town via Sun City, Madikwe Game Reserve and Knysna.

    More South Africa travel information...

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  • 06 of 10

    Kenya Family Safari and Vacations

    Annual Migration of wildebeest, Masai Mara, Kenya
    Getty Images/Daryl Balfour

    A family vacation in Kenya offers some of the best safari experiences in Africa and can easily be combined with a relaxing beach vacation on the Indian Ocean either in Mombasa or Lamu. Kenya's most popular wildlife parks like the Masai Mara are smaller than Tanzania's and offer a higher density of animals. The best time to visit is July to November during the annual migration of millions of wildebeest and zebra.

    Ideally you want to spend less time driving to your destinations so look for some flying options or stick to visiting just a couple of parks. The tours below are geared to keep children occupied by visiting wildlife orphanages, meeting local tribes, learning how to track animals -- all excellent opportunities for educational fun and it allows parents to enjoy the occasional long game drive without the kids in tow.

    Recommended Family Vacations in Kenya:

    7 Day Kenya Family Safari with the option of adding on a beach holiday in Mombasa.

    Kenya Family Safari is offered by Gamewatchers. A one-week safari with a difference! Designed especially for families, this Kenya holiday offers comfortable accommodation and includes exciting activities and adventures for the children. .

    More Kenya travel information...

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  • 07 of 10

    Tunisia Family Vacation

    Tunisia Family vacation Sahara Camel trek
    Getty Images/Sami Sarkis

    A family vacation in Tunisia will suit every family looking for a bit of relaxation as well as adventure. Tunisia is very family-friendly, it's safe and there's lots to do, even for families with small children. There are troglodyte dwellings to explore, ancient amphitheaters, Star Wars sets still intact in the desert, beautiful Mediterranean beaches and fascinating bazaars.

    If you can, avoid the peak months of summer unless you plan to spend all your time on the beach. Tunisia gets hot. The most popular beach resorts in Tunisia are well-known to Europeans and they include Hammamet, Sousse and the island of Djerba.

    Recommended Family vacations to Tunisia:
    Tunisian Adventure Family Holiday is an 8 day fun-filled itinerary which includes Camel rides, Saharan dunes, palm filled oases, cave homes, a massive Roman arena and a relaxing beach.

    Tunisia Desert Explorer Family Holiday an 8 day land based tour that includes Camels and camping in the Sahara. Optional go-karting on the flat salt pans of the Chott Djerid. Red Lizard train ride through spectacular scenery. Visit to Star Wars film location at Matmata.

    More Tunisian travel information...

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  • 08 of 10

    Namibia Family Safari - Namibia Family Vacation

    Mark Downey/Getty Images
    Mark Downey/Getty Images
    Namibia is an ideal family safari or family vacation destination. And as Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt discovered, it's also a fine place to give birth! Namibia is one of the few African countries where a self-drive holiday is an excellent option, allowing for maximum flexibility. This is important if you're traveling with younger children. Most of Namibia is malaria-free.

    The impressive sand dunes at Sossusvlei offer the world's largest (and most spectacularly colored) sand box to play in. While the sea is a little chilly there's a perfect swimming beach for children in Swakopmund. World class safari parks like Etosha offer family-friendly lodging and there are also opportunities to learn how to hunt with San Bushmen or play with the Himba.

    Recommended family safaris and vacations in Namibia:
    Desert Escape: Namibia Family Safari is an eight day camping trip that includes wildlife viewing in Etosha, Swakopmund, the Cheetah Park and Sesriem.

    Desert Adventure - Natural High Safaris covers the highlights of Namibia. Perfect for adventurous families. A safe environment, comfortable accommodation, flexibility plus loads to do

    Self-drive tours from Rhino Africa. Lots of self-drive itinerary options for you to browse and figure out what would suit your family best.

    More Namibia travel information...

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  • 09 of 10

    Botswana Family Safaris and Vacations

    Botswana Family safari
    Getty Images/Digital Division

    Botswana is a great family safari destination. You can enjoy a lot of safaris from the water in traditional canoes called mokoros. There are opportunities to track animals with San bushmen and skip across the border to see the magnificent Victoria Falls. Since a lot of travel within Botswana is done by light aircraft you also don't have to spend too much time in cars driving long distances, which can be boring for kids.

    Botswana is one of the best, but most expensive safari destinations in Africa. The older the children, the more they'll remember. I would recommend children be at least 10 years old to get the most out of a family safari in Botswana. Most safaris in Botswana will run between the months of March and November.

    Recommended Family vacations in Botswana:
    Family Safari in Botswana and Victoria Falls featured by Responsible Travel. This is a great 9 day trip that includes Botswana’s Okavango Delta, the Kalahari Desert (where you'll be tracking rhino with bushmen) and the Victoria Falls. Minimum age is 7 for children on this trip since most of the accommodation is in small private camps surrounded by wildlife.

    Siyabona's Family Safaris in Botswana. Three options to choose from, all geared to families looking for adventure. Each package includes safari drives, the Victoria Falls, rafting and more.

    Wonders of the Okavango a Ker and Downey luxury family safari luxury which includes the best of Botswana.

    Self-Drive Itineraries for Botswana to give you the ultimate flexibility, which is very handy especially if you're traveling with younger children.

    More About Botswana's Top Attractions

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  • 10 of 10

    Family Volunteer Vacations in Africa

    Girl in Pink, Northern Ghana, West Africa
    Lauren Mong
    Volunteering in Africa as a family is a wonderful way to spend a vacation. Voluntourism is becoming increasingly popular with adventurous families looking for a meaningful vacation which gives back to communities and/or helps the environment. The recommendations below are geared specifically to families, although children should be at least 8 or older to participate.

    Make sure you prepare your children for conditions in rural Africa especially if this is their first visit.

    Recommended family volunteer vacations in Africa
    Family Wildlife Volunteering holiday in Kenya. This volunteer vacation includes several days at an elephant sanctuary, a safari in Tsavo National park and some relaxing beach time in Mombasa.

    Kenya Family Volunteering and Safari is a ten day itinerary which is educational and exciting and will enable your family to immerse in the culture of Kenya, with opportunities to view wildlife.

    Family volunteering in South Africa -- work with wildlife or community projects throughout South Africa.

    More short-term volunteer opportunities in Africa...