One last family holiday

November 25th 2021  |   Unique Experiences  |  by   Charlotte Opperman
One last family holiday

Safari works on so many levels as a celebratory holiday and is a wonderful choice as a last hurrah before children flee the nest. So well in fact, that my own children – who at 26 and 27 are well past the nest fleeing stage – will still drop everything for a safari.

If you know where to look, the wealth of safari activities is astonishing – walking, riding (horses, camels, bikes and quadbikes), canoeing, boating, fishing (the list goes on) – as well as the more traditional 4 x 4 wildlife drives. Mix it up a bit and all ages and attention spans will be captivated.

It goes without saying that wildlife is superb throughout so here are some other thoughts on top countries for a truly memorable final (possibly) family holiday:

South Africa – If you’re keen to avoid malarial areas then head to South Africa. With safari highlights including horse riding, Big 5 game viewing, playing with habituated meerkats, star gazing and swimming with penguins there’s something for everyone. Add Cape Town, the Winelands and superb beaches along the Garden Route and you’ve a real winner.

One last family holiday

Fascinating conservation safaris at Marataba Explorer’s Camp

What you will find:

  • A year-round safari destination
  • Riding safaris, walking safaris, mountain biking, sleep outs and fly camping
  • Several 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
  • Some interesting options to get involved with hands-on conservation efforts

Tswalu The Motse lion

Tswalu is a magnificent spot for a few days

Stay: Marataba Explorer’s Camp, Tswalu, Ant’s Nest

Zambia – Activities range from bungee jumping and helicopter flips at the Victoria Falls, to walking, boating, fishing and canoeing in the Lower Zambezi National Park. No two days are the same and there’s prolific wildlife in quiet reserves. Home to some of Africa’s original private safari houses, wonderful bush camps, and fine guides, it’s a great choice for families looking for a proper African adventure.

One last family holiday

The view from Time + Tide Chongwe River House, one of Zambia’s most magical safari houses

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
  • Within easy reach of Lake Malawi’s clear water and sandy beaches for a relaxing beach add-on after a safari
  • Plenty to do at Victoria Falls with bungee jumping, river cruises, rafting, helicopter flights all on the menu
  • A collection of stunning private safari houses perfect for family groups
  • Family friendly tented accommodation throughout the national parks
  • Superb options for fly camping and sleep outs
  • Fabulous wildlife in remote parks with low visitor numbers

Canoeing on the Zambezi River close to Tongabezi

Stay: Tongabezi, Time + Tide Chongwe River House, Kaya Mawa

Kenya – As well as marveling at Kenya’s incredible wildlife you can swim and tube in rivers, jump off waterfalls, track animals with Samburu and Masai guides, ride horses and camels, sleep under the stars, fish, walk with local guides through the land where they live, and camp in places of great beauty. And if you’re tired after all this, then relax for a few days on Kenya’s glorious Indian Ocean coast (for the not tired then there’s water skiing, sailing and snorkelling to enjoy!)

One last family holiday

Walking with local guides at Karisia is a great way to learn about the fauna and flora

What you will find:

  • Endless opportunities to combine a safari and beach holiday within the same country
  • Interesting conservation angles with particular focus on elephants and rhino
  • Equally easy to combine safari in Kenya with the beach on its own coast or 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 family owned and run
  • Try riding, mountain biking, walking and fishing
  • The famous wildebeest migration and the drama it brings in the Masai Mara in August and September
Elephant Watch Camp

Get a behind the scenes look at elephant conservation at Elephant Watch Camp

Stay: Karisia Safaris, Offbeat Ndoto, Elephant Watch Camp, Manda Bay

Botswana – Home to some of Africa’s most exclusive camps, exciting predator action and dense wildlife populations Botswana is a true safari classic. The Okavango Delta is a great spot for a mobile safari where you can explore from your own private camp. You’ll have a private guide and vehicle too, so the pace is set by you, for you. Combine the Delta with the other-worldly Makgadikgadi Pans on the edge of the Kalahari Desert and it’s as though you’ve had two different holidays in the same country.

One last family holiday

Exploring the other-worldly Makgadikgadi Pans from Camp Kalahari

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
  • Fabulous family riding safaris possible for keen young equestrians
  • The opportunity to explore by boat and mokoro (traditional dugout 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
Riding safari viewing giraffe, Africa Horseback Safaris, Okavango Delta

No finer way to explore than on horseback for families who ride. Okavango Horse Safaris

Stay:  Drumbeat Safaris, Okavango Horse Safaris, Camp Kalahari

Tanzania – Families on the hunt for a properly wild experience will love the southern parks of Nyerere (formerly Selous),  Ruaha, and further west in Katavi or Mahale national parks. There’s excellent walking, fun river activities – including the chance to cast a line to a ferocious tiger fish – and the opportunity to night-drive and fly camp too. The Serengeti offers a classic East African wildlife experience with a chance to see the wildebeest migration while the Ngorongoro Crater is jaw dropping in so many respects. Combine with some R&R on Zanzibar and you’ve a classic beach and bush safari.

One last family holiday

Thrilling chimp tracking at Greystoke Mahale

What you will find:

  • The immense Serengeti – one of the world’s most iconic national parks
  • Tracking chimps through the pristine forests in Mahale, a wondrous spot in Tanzania’s remote far west.
  • The challenge of conquering Mount Kilimanjaro or her less famous, but arguably more beautiful neighbour, Mount Meru
  • The wildebeest migration
  • Profuse wildlife in the Ngorongoro Crater
  • Riding and walking safaris (including walking with the migration)
  • Hidden gems like Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Parks where you can ride bikes or walk through friendly local villages, and explore an extraordinary treetop walkway
  • Dreamy beach escapes in the Zanzibar archipelago
  • A glorious mix of accommodation from classic tented camps to sumptuous luxury lodges
Wayo Fly Camp tent view

A Serengeti walking safari with Wayo Africa is a proper African adventure

Stay: Greystoke Mahale, Wayo Africa, Chem Chem, Kiba Point

Zimbabwe – is a great spot for an active family with older children. Hwange is a wonderful park where there’s horse riding, mountain biking, great fly camping, and the Elephant Express safari train alongside walking and vehicle-based wildlife viewing. Head to the Matobo Hills for rhino tracking and bushman art, while lovely Lake Kariba has boating and fishing. Combine safari with a few days in the Victoria Falls area and you’ve got a wonderfully varied holiday.

One last family holiday

Glorious setting at Singita Pamushana

What you will find:

  • Some of Africa’s finest wildlife guides
  • Excellent wildlife in quiet national parks
  • Adventurous multi-day canoe safaris
  • The stunning Victoria Falls and the activities available in this area
  • Wide range of accommodation including a lovely selection of charismatic owner-run camps

‘Lions on the line’ on the Elephant Express.  Bomani Tented Lodge

Stay: Singita Pamushana, Amalinda Lodge, Nyamatusi

What next?
Our team of experts has travelled widely throughout Africa and the Indian Ocean and can offer expert advice on every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris. If you are keen to include any of these suggestions in one last family holiday, or indeed anything we haven’t mentioned here, in a safari itinerary do get in touch – chatting to people by phone or email is what we do best. We listen, we explain, we answer all sorts of questions even those you didn’t know to ask, and finally we make suggestions. If this is your first time to Africa or your twenty first, we have a team standing by to help make the planning easy and the journey the best ever. Please get in touch whatever stage you’re at.

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