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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
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

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    ICE ICT: Lead Business Consultant

    £39,000: ICE ICT: Specific and detailed knowledge and experience of travel sys...

    Day In a Page

    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
    UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

    39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

    There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
    Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

    Computerised cooking is coming

    From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
    Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

    Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

    The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
    Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

    Education: Football Beyond Borders

    Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
    10 best barbecue books

    Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

    We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
    Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

    Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
    Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

    Making of a killer

    What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
    UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

    Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

    Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
    Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

    Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most