Katy Holland: Choose the right company and your safari will be child's play - News & Advice - Travel - The Independent

Katy Holland: Choose the right company and your safari will be child's play

Are we there yet? Find a safari company that focuses on families

Would I recommend taking two young children on safari? Reader Matt Ackers, dad to animal-obsessed seven-year-old twin boys, has emailed to ask my considered opinion. My answer? You bet I would – but only with the right company. A surprising number of safari operators don't cater well for youngsters (and some lodges won't take children under 12). So, first you need to find an organisation that really knows how to prioritise little ones.

Top of my list would be Bushbaby Travel (01252 792984; bushbabytravel.com), a family-focused company that works in partnership with safari specialists in Africa.



Its team can plan trips from start to finish – they've got all the insider knowledge about the best child-friendly safari lodges as well as offering personalised advice and tailor-made schedules. Bushbaby recently organised a trip for me and my own little monkeys to Kwandwe game reserve in South Africa with &Beyond (00 49 21 311 533 991; andbeyond.com). It was an experience I'd heartily recommend.



What I discovered on our trip was that there's so much more to a family safari than ogling elephants. The best child-friendly operators will go all out to offer TLC in buckets, throwing in everything from lessons in bush-craft skills to opportunities to meet ancient tribes, as well as game drives.



One of Bushbaby's most exciting new offerings for next year is a just-built family lodge called Gondwana at the Sanbona wildlife reserve, not too far from Cape Town (01483 425465; mantiscollection.com). Here children as young as four are welcomed on game drives, where they'll get to see rare and endangered species. And when they're not tracking down the big five, your little bushmen can partake in the Kids on Safari programme, led by qualified rangers, where they can try their hands at some lovely activities, including rock art and stargazing.



Other child-friendly excitement for 2010 includes the luxurious new Olarro Lodge in the Loita Hills of Kenya (00 254 20 8023022; olarrokenya.com), which is launching a Juniors Adventures Club. Children aged six and over can spend time with a local Maasai guide, who will introduce them to tribal life. They'll learn all about survival in the wilderness – from how to recognise a toothbrush tree to what's involved in building a bush shelter.



African Travel Gateway (00 27 15 793 1191; africantravel.com) is running a similar Young Explorers programme for children from the age of seven at Edo's Camp in the Kalahari. Here, you and your kids will get to spend lots of quality time with the San bushmen, learning about their history and lifestyle.



The only real drawback to an African safari is that, if your kids are anything like mine, they won't stop asking to do it all over again. As my younger son asked me when we returned from ours: "Why can't all holidays be safaris?" Be warned.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week