Written by
Jody van Merode

Published on: June 14th, 2018

Last modified: October 16th, 2023

There’s nothing like an African safari for thrilling wildlife experiences and magical family bonding. The best family safari lodges in Africa offer varied, engaging activities for little ones, teenagers and even grown-ups. There are malaria-free lodges, action-packed camps and captivating wildlife to discover on an ultimate safari adventure with your family.

Any trip with children requires plenty of planning, and a family safari is no exception. It’s important to consider which style of safari is best for your kids – taking into account their ages and interests – and to choose a lodge that provides everything you want. Some of the best safaris in Africa for families are those that can be customised and adapted to your needs.

At Jacada we specialise in arranging bespoke family trips – and we have first-hand experience travelling with our own families on safari. To help you choose the perfect spot, our experts have compiled a list of the best safari lodges in Africa for families. Below we’ll highlight which age group each property suits best and what makes it so special.

The Best Safari Lodges for Young Children

 

In the world of safaris, kids under age 12 are usually considered young children, and there are some age-related considerations to be aware of. For example, game drives aren’t always ideal for younger kids, so some lodges offer age-appropriate activities for them instead.

Fortunately, there are plenty of family-friendly safari options. One thing to keep in mind is that much of eastern and southern Africa has a malaria risk, which requires extra preparation. To avoid this, we suggest staying in a malaria-free reserve if you’re travelling with young kids.

Kwandwe, South Africa

The malaria-free Kwandwe Private Game Reserve in South Africa’s Eastern Cape features two luxury lodges that accept all ages. We particularly love Ecca Lodge where children can enjoy the educational activity books and animal checklists. Renowned for its epic treasure hunts, Kwandwe is a great place for curious young minds.

Morukuru, South Africa

In the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve you’ll find Morukuru Family, a collection of three private houses: Owner’s House, Farm House and River House. Here you’ll have a dedicated staff of experts to assist with everything from animal tracking to childcare. Morukuru is specifically designed for families, with kid-friendly goodies, activities and game drives.

The Best Safari Lodges for Adventurous Families

 

When it comes to family adventure, an African safari can certainly deliver. The most remote and adventurous safari lodges are often best for families with teenagers, who can participate in all the exciting activities on offer.

Some of the best private reserves in Botswana and Zimbabwe are well off the beaten track, while the deserts of Namibia and the gorillas of Rwanda promise once-in-a-lifetime safari experiences. If you’re ready for an unforgettable adventure, these lodges are ideal.

Wilderness Little Kulala, Namibia

Wilderness Little Kulala is an intimate camp set in the epic red desert of Sossusvlei. Thrill-seeking travellers can make the most of the lunar-like landscapes on quad bike and e-bike adventures. Embark on a magical sunrise hike up ‘Big Daddy’ (the largest sand dune in Sossusvlei), or float across the sky on an exhilarating hot air balloon safari.

Wilderness Bisate, Rwanda

Wilderness Bisate is a stunning safari lodge at the cutting edge of conservation. Set within the breathtaking Volcanoes National Park, it’s the perfect home base for trekking through the Virunga Mountains to witness mighty mountain gorillas and golden monkeys in the wild. The minimum age for gorilla trekking is 15, so this destination is best for older teenagers.

 

The lodge itself is truly magical, with its six spherical thatched villas blending into the foliage. Bisate is also one of the most sustainable lodges in the world, with a strong focus on environmental protection and an innovative tree-planting initiative. 

Wilderness Vumbura Plains, Botswana

Wilderness Vumbura Plains is located in the Okavango Delta, one of the premier wildlife regions in Africa. The camp’s remote setting means that simply getting there is an adventure – and once you arrive, you’ll enjoy an authentic safari experience far away from the crowds. Jeep, speedboat and hot air balloon safaris are sure to create magical family memories.

Matetsi, Zimbabwe

Close to the epic Victoria Falls and situated within its own private game reserve, Matetsi boasts excellent safaris, tours of the nearby waterfalls and fun on the Zambezi River. Older teenagers can also enjoy a host of other adventurous activities, from canoeing and whitewater rafting to ziplining and helicopter rides – or even bungee jumping.

Lewa House, Kenya

Lewa House is an authentic family-friendly lodge in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, whose owners raised their own children here. It’s also good for all ages, but there are some especially exciting things to do: horse riding, canopy walks, helicopter rides and natural pools in Ngare Ndare Forest are just the beginning. We also love the strong focus on conservation.

The Best Safari Lodges for all Ages

 

If you’re travelling with children of different ages – for example, kids under the age of 6 and teenagers – it’s important to find a safari lodge that suits everyone. One good option is to choose a kid-friendly camp in a legendary location like Kenya or Tanzania. While older kids seek out the Big Five, the little ones can splash in the pool or play in the shade back at camp.

Sala’s Camp, Kenya

If you want to see the Great Migration with your family, Sala’s Camp is a fantastic choice. Set in the Maasai Mara, it’s surrounded by wildlife. Children of all ages are welcome here, with plenty of nice touches like babysitting services, breakfast cookouts and private plunge pools. There’s even a family-friendly safari programme that encourages kids to find the ‘Little Five’.

salas-camp-bush-lunch

Forest Chem Chem, Tanzania

Forest Chem Chem is a slow-paced safari camp that’s ideal for families. Located in a shady forest within a private conservancy between Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Park, it’s the perfect place to see ‘big tusker’ elephants and other animals. Kids of all ages can enjoy customised activities, cultural visits to Maasai villages and cooking around the campfire.

Faru Faru, Tanzania

Set in Singita Grumeti – one of Tanzania’s most exclusive private reserves – Faru Faru offers an authentic safari experience for the whole family. Childcare services are available to keep little ones entertained, while older children can track animals, go birdwatching, learn about astronomy or practise wilderness survival techniques in the Young Rangers programme. 

Londolozi, South Africa

Based in the Sabi Sands private reserve, Londolozi almost guarantees excellent game sightings; even the elusive leopard is sometimes spotted here. The camp caters to children aged 6 and up, with private swimming pools and a dedicated team who make game drives magical for kids. The Cubs Den will also keep younger family members entertained at camp.

granite-suites-riverview-bathroom

The Best Safari Lodges for Large Families

 

Travelling with a large family poses its own unique challenges, from finding appropriate activities for all ages to making sure there’s enough space for everyone to be comfortable. You might consider a camp that can be booked exclusively for your family, creating a totally tailor-made and flexible experience that’s perfectly suited to your particular needs.

Tarkuni Private House, South Africa

Set in South Africa’s malaria-free Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, this is a completely exclusive and exquisitely comfortable family home. The private Tarkuni residence is superbly spacious, with room for up to 10 family members, and comes with a team of staff and private vehicles. Children can enjoy bush walks, picnics, horse riding, archery, animal tracking and more.

Tarkuni Private House, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, South Africa

Arijiju Laikipia, Kenya

A secluded safari escape awaits your family at Arijiju, within the spectacular wildlife haven of Laikipia. This beautiful private home has space for the whole family, with private chefs, butlers and game rangers who can completely customise your experience. Arijiju’s swimming pool, spa, lounges, cinema and sumptuous suites make it an ideal home away from home.

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