Swap Santa for Safari

December 5th 2022  |   Family Safaris, Countries, Experiences, Unique Experiences, Miscellaneous, South Africa, Tanzania, Zanzibar and islands  |  by   Becky Thomson
Swap Santa for Safari

A family Christmas to remember – book now for Christmas 2023
With schools and many offices shutting shop for the Christmas holidays, the seasonal break provides the perfect excuse to swap the depths of winter for adventures in sunnier climes. It’s a magical time to be exploring Africa, whether that’s soaking up summertime and safari in South Africa or wildlife viewing in Tanzania.

When planning a safari, it pays to book a way in advance to secure the top spots. Never is this truer than when taking the major holidays into consideration. This is why now’s the perfect time to be plotting Christmas in Africa in 2023.

Take the hard work out of a family Christmas at home with one of the following recommendations.

Cape Town and Safari
Often referred to as ‘The world in one country’, South Africa boasts stunning cities and wildlife-rich national parks. An ideal combination for a family holiday to Africa.

Start the trip with a few nights in Cape Town discovering its heritage, wildlife, and wine. With average daytime temperatures hitting the mid to high twenties, Christmas is a delightful time to be in this charming coastal city.

Cape Town has so much to offer

The Cape Grace is an ideal base, set on a private quay in the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront with Table Mountain as the backdrop. This luxury, 122-bedroom hotel comes complete with all the facilities you’d expect of a large hotel including a heated outdoor swimming pool (and kids’ pool), and spa. Families can be accommodated in one, two, and three-bedroom suites.

Or opt for the characterful Welgelegen guest house just minutes from the city centre. This boutique Victorian home has just twelve bedrooms, some with Table Mountain views, and is elegantly decorated throughout with a combination of antiques and contemporary pieces. Breakfast is included and nearby Kloof Street has a fantastic selection of restaurants for easy eating out.

There are plentiful sightseeing options in and around the Mother City, from historical tours to day trips out to the Winelands. Highlights include hiking or catching the cable car up Table Mountain, taking in the beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay, and strolling around the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. You can even spend Christmas Day at the beach with the penguins.

Penguins at Boulders Bay

From here, it’s a short flight to Port Elizabeth before transferring to Kwandwe Private Reserve for a family safari. The huge 54,000-acre reserve is in the heart of South Africa’s malaria-free Eastern Cape, home to four of Africa’s iconic species: lion, black and white rhino, buffalo, and elephant, as well as cheetah, giraffe and many other species. And being located on South Africa’s southern coast means it’s a good time to visit weather-wise.

There are five lodges and villas to choose from including the family-friendly Kwandwe Ecca Lodge. Providing light and airy accommodation, the lodge has six suites, three of which are family suites that can accommodate two children on day beds in the sitting room. There are wraparound wooden decks with private plunge pools and both indoor and outdoor showers. While the main areas of the lodge include a sitting room, dining room, children’s play area, and larger swimming pool. Guests can join day and night drives, step out for guided bush walks and enjoy sundowners as well as fishing in the river. Children can have separate mealtimes and a there’s even a children’s menu.

Excellent wildlife viewing at Kwandwe Private Reserve

Alternatively, take advantage of a special deal when combining a stay at Welgelegen followed by a safari at Tanda Tula. Located on the Western edge of Kruger National Park, Tanda Tula Safari Camp sits within a 20,000-acre private reserve. Thanks to the lack of fencing on the border, allowing animals free range between the Kruger and the reserve, guests can look forward to some of the greatest diversity of wildlife in Africa.

Accommodation is provided in twelve East African style tents. Highlights of a stay here include dips in the pool, wildlife drives, walking safaris and sleep-outs in the elevated hide next to the watering hole.

Elephants at the waterhole at Tanda Tula Safari Camp

Tanzania safari and Zanzibar beach
Another great option for a family holiday at Christmas, Africa’s iconic Serengeti National Park is a must for world-class wildlife viewing. Head to Lamai Serengeti lodge, its prime location in the far north of the park ensures year-round wildlife spotting opportunities. Far away from the madding crowds of the mobile camps (who flock south in search of the migration in December), guests can look forward to a private concession-like experience.

Serengeti National Park is a must for world-class wildlife viewing

Designed to blend unobtrusively into the rocky kopjes, the lodge has twelve rooms artfully constructed from canvas, plaster and timber. Many of the rooms have views out over the Mara River, great for observing wildlife on the plains stopping to take a drink as well as the resident hippos and crocodiles. The camp is split into two to ensure a private experience for all guests, each with its own mess area, lounge, bar, and pool.

Aside from the annual wildebeest migration, this part of the Serengeti has a healthy concentration of lion, leopard, and buffalo to be seen all year round. Guests that come at this time of year are often surprised by the lush, green bush and tranquility.

Family dining at Sayari Camp

Also located in the remote northern Serengeti, Sayari Camp is another favourite. The fifteen luxury tents are raised on wooden platforms, with en suite bathrooms. Each comes with breath-taking views out over the plains from the bed and free-standing bath. A spa, bar with its own solar-powered microbrewery, and swimming pool complete the offering.

Sayari pool

Sayari Camp – luxury tent and pool

Wherever you rest your head, days can be spent exploring on wildlife drives or bush walks.

What better way to round off an exhilarating family safari than with a few days hanging out at the beach? Located just off the coast of Tanzania, the spice island of Zanzibar serves up idyllic white sandy beaches and tropical coral reefs. Barefoot luxury is the order of the day. For simple but exceptionally good accommodation, Breezes Beach Club and Spa is hard to beat. Choose to relax at the beautiful beach or by the pool, or get out windsurfing, kite surfing, sailing, paddle boarding, and kayaking. There is also a PADI scuba diving centre and tennis court for those who seek a more active break.

Breezes Beach Club and Spa

For somewhere a little more luxurious, Xanadu is a small lodge located on a pristine, private beach along the same stretch of coast. Each of the eight villas comes with a butler service and a private plunge pool. The restaurant serves Swahili-inspired food and there is a beachfront spa to wash away the dust of the plains.

Barefoot luxury at Xanadu

Whichever option you plump for, one thing’s for sure, you’ll come home having created memories that will last a lifetime.

What next?

We would be delighted to help you plan a safari encompassing any of the destinations mentioned here. Our team of experts has travelled widely throughout Africa and can offer expert advice on every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris. 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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