5 Common Myths About African Family Safaris

by Sandy Salle on April 22, 2014

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Image to the left photographed by Olwen Evans

There are hundreds upon hundreds of great family-friendly destinations around the world; why choose Africa for your next family vacation? There are bugs, diseases, and there are just not enough things for the entire family to enjoy, right? WRONG!

Africa is by far one of the top destinations in the world for families looking to experience a unique journey that combines adventure with relaxation and cultural exploration with deep historical insight.

I’m sure you have quite a few objections on why you don’t want to go to Africa and for most, these objections are based on some common myths surrounding this great continent.

See below for some of the most common myths and misunderstandings pertaining to African family vacations:

1. We won’t be able to find stuff for the whole family to enjoy.

Quite the contrary! As one of the world’s leading family destinations, Africa, especially South Africa, offers a vast array of activities that the entire family can appreciate. Even the activities that are toddler friendly are ones that the whole family can enjoy.

Some of our favorite family-friendly activities in South Africa include:

  • Visits to Robben Island for some historical insight into the Apartheid
  • Trips to the beautiful Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
  • Hikes up Cape Town’s famous Table Mountain
  • Visits to Two Oceans Aquarium, Butterfly World, and / or Eagle Encounters Raptor Rehabilitation Center
  • Shopping and dining at the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
  • Shark cage diving off the coast of Gansbaai (note that if your children are quite young they can just stay on the boat and watch the sharks breach from the water!)
  • Beach lounging at one of Cape Town’s premier beaches

2. The kids are too young.

This is definitely a call you have to make, but in my personal experiences and opinion, children ages six and up can reap the everlasting rewards of an African family safari vacation. At the age of six, they’re old enough to stay at most properties in southern, eastern, and central Africa, and can take part in most activities. In fact, I started taking my children to Africa when they were six years old.

3. I don’t want my children to have to take tons of medication and get vaccinations to go to Africa.

Not all areas in Africa are at risk for certain diseases—therefore, vaccinations and medications are not required in these areas. South Africa, for example, does not require a yellow fever vaccine, and many of its most popular game reserves are malaria-free, which means you and your children do not need to take antimalarial pills.

For a list of malaria-free game reserves, click here.

4. I don’t feel comfortable staying in tented accommodations, but that’s all that Africa has to offer.

There are a wide variety of accommodations that can be found in various parts of Africa.

To give you a little description of the various types of accommodations, I’ve outlined each below:

Mobile Camps: Depending on personal tastes and preferences, you may choose to experience a multiday mobile safari, where your tent will be moved and set up for you each day as you venture to new locations.

Non-Mobile Camps: Non-mobile camps do not move and are often made up of spacious canvas coverings. They are known for their ability to completely immerse guests into their natural surroundings.

Lodges: Situated in complete wilderness, with the only outside stimulations coming from nature, lodges are the perfect way to surround yourself with the tranquility of the African wilderness.

Villas and Safari Houses: From amenities to accommodations, and activities to dining, every element of your vacation should be customized to your specific needs. And one of the best ways to experience the beauty in Africa, in a way that is catered completely to your standards, is in a private villa or safari house.

Hotels: Renowned for their superior service, lavish interior designs and amenities, and location within urban areas, deluxe hotels provide guests with the opportunity to explore city activities, shopping, attractions, dining, and entertainment—even quiet natural surroundings.

5. I won’t be able to get alone time with my spouse.

The majority of places we send families to in Africa offer kid programs, as well as professional childcare services so that mom and dad can rest assured knowing the kids are in good hands while their off enjoying a wine tasting, safari, candlelit dinner for two, or a romantic bush bath with champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries.

family safari vacation

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