Africa is a continent that’s full of wonder. Home to a vast range of wildlife, unique tribes and some beautiful landscapes, it’s a place that will no doubt fill your family with awe.

Whilst Africa may not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of a family vacation, many African countries have become more and more accessible to families with children in recent years with many family-friendly tours and lodges now available.

Watching your children’s faces as they lay eyes on the mighty King of the jungle or a towering giraffe really are moments that will stay with you forever.

In this article, I’m going to dive into the very best places to visit for a family-friendly safari in Africa.

1. KenyaKenya

Kenya is one of the most accessible safari destinations in Africa with direct flights to Nairobi available from many destinations in Europe. Taking just one flight is often preferable for families with young children as it saves on journey time.

As the birthplace of safari, Kenya has a great safari infrastructure and there are countless lodging options available, many of which are family-friendly.

A good starting point would be to choose a camp that is fenced, as animals often wander around unfenced camp sites, especially after dark.

Two of Kenya’s most famous parks are the Masai Mara and Amboseli National Park, both offering some of the best safari experiences for families. The Angama Hotel Group boasts of three camps in and on the perimeter of both of these parks. They offer various accommodation styles, tons of fun activities for kids plus a wide choice of safari options. These include breathtaking scenery, game drives, ballooning, cultural tours and being close to the Mara River crossing, to view the drama of the Great Migration.

The Ol Pejeta Bush Camp, situated four hours north of Nairobi is another family-friendly lodge that apart from horse riding tours and game drives to view its diverse wildlife including the Big Five, offers tons of fun activities for children. These include playing hide-and-seek with the anti-poaching dogs, visiting the endangered species enclosure and playing wildlife conservation-themed games with a ranger. 

The Saruni Camp to the north is another option that is worth a look. It provides spacious family-style lodging, great wildlife viewing and tons of child-focused activities. Animal tracking, bush and survival skills, learning to hunt with a bow and arrows and other environmental activities, keep kids entertained for days.

In terms of pricing, a Kenya safari costs a similar amount to a Tanzania safari, coming in at the higher end when compared to countries like South Africa and Zambia, due to the higher park fees. It is however cheaper than a Botswana safari.

2. NamibiaNamibia

A vast country mostly taken up by dry deserts with not much to see except dead straight and flat roads running to the horizon surrounded by sand dunes, may not sound like the ideal place to bring kids on safari, but I have news for you. While that may be true for most of southern Namibia, the Etosha National Park, situated on the northern section, is the country’s flagship safari destination and a magnet for all wildlife lovers, including families with small children. 

Despite the harsh environment and dry climate, Etosha is brimming with wildlife, including four of the Big Five. The only big animal missing here is the buffalo. It also has some unique attractions not easily found elsewhere.

Here you can find lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants, rhinos, eland, zebras, giraffes, springbok, and of course, Namibia’s pride and national animal, the distinct looking gemsbok, also known as the oryx.

Dozens of lodges in and around the perimeter of Etosha offer a wide range of family-friendly lodging, entertainment and safari options. The Mushara Group has a collection of such lodges scattered around the park. Some are fenced, providing extra safety, while others do not require you to even leave your camp to view the abundant game all around you. Many water holes are lit-up making night viewing of animals possible without having to travel far, or in some cases, not at all.

They also offer ‘kid’s safaris’ with a young ranger, play areas with jungle gyms, games rooms stocked with toys, books, TV and wildlife DVDs, and swimming pools, some with separate kiddie’s pools. 

Apart from viewing wildlife, the Sossusvlei area in central Namibia, is a wonderful place to visit. Towering rust-coloured sand dunes surrounding a flat white salt pan with ancient trees still standing vertically, is a sight to behold. And then there’s the Skeleton Coast to take in breathtaking scenery where the desert meets the blue Atlantic Ocean. A visit to Cape Cross is a must to witness the vast seal colony, while beach fishing is at its finest for dads and the kids alike. 

3. South AfricaSouth Africa

South Africa rates among the top safari destinations found anywhere In Africa. National Parks dotted with privately or state-run lodges and camps, providing all amenities imaginable, lie scattered across every province of the country. From the vast Kruger National Park, the country’s pride and most famous park, to small private parks that you can drive around on a single drive and still view the Big Five. Visitors to South Africa are spoilt for choice!

Apart from the spectacular diversity and abundance of wildlife around the Kruger National Park, the Eastern Transvaal also has breathtaking scenery to offer. Nearby, there is the Panoramic Route leading to the Blyde River Canyon with spectacular views of canyons, mountain peaks, waterfalls and of course, the heavenly ‘God’s Window’.

In Kwazulu-Natal, the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Park is a wonderful location to view endangered rhinos plus the Big Five, while a wetlands area and the St Lucia Lake, estuary and stunning coastline nearby, provide an unlimited number of beach and bush activities for families.


A truly special family-orientated safari park that lies a mere 2½ hour’s drive from the coastal city of Durban is the Nambiti Big Five Private Game Reserve. Numerous lodges scattered within provide play areas, jungle gyms, swimming pools, fishing, and many other family-friendly activities. Their game drives are out of this world, allowing for regular stops for children, either for that inevitable ‘mom I need the toilet’ call,  a snack or sundowner. It’s not uncommon to see at least four of the Big Five on a single drive. Leopards in this province tend to be more elusive than anywhere else, avoiding humans at all costs, after being hunted extensively by the Zulus to this day.

4. TanzaniaTanzania

For many serious wildlife nuts, Tanzania easily takes the gold medal among all the countries in Africa. Having iconic parks like the Serengeti, Ngorongoro and the elephant-rich Tarangire National Park all in close proximity, families need not go anywhere else for a truly magnificent African safari experience.

The Serengeti is of course synonymous with the greatest animal migration on our planet. Nearly two million, yes two million, wildebeest, zebras and various antelopes take flight racing across 1,000 kms of wilderness, while being hunted by lions, leopards, hyenas and of course, crocodiles when they cross the many rivers along the way – an experience filled with awe, drama and excitement for kids and adults alike.

There are countless lodges and tour operators in and around the Serengeti and Ngorongoro that cater for families with spacious family rooms and extra child-focused activities. Most have play areas, games rooms and swimming pools for kids to enjoy in between game drives and offer many cultural and nature walks and ballooning safaris. 

As the Serengeti flows into the Masai Mara Park just across the Kenyan border, it may be worth arranging a joint Kenyan and Tanzanian safari experience, which can help to reduce travel time and costs.


Mbali Mbali Tarangire River Camp comes recommended for families, offering family-sized rooms, great wildlife drives, a swimming pool, walking safaris along Lake Manyara, and cultural visits for kids to experience Maasai traditions. About 50 kms north of this camp, placid bicycle tours through banana and coffee plantations are popular for families, learning much about the cultivation of these crops and their significance to the local population.

5. BotswanaBotswana

Landlocked Botswana may have large portions of arid desert-like landscapes to lush tropical jungle but is also blessed with the life-giving Okavango Delta, the largest inland delta in the world. Within this multi-ecosystem wilderness live a vast array of mammals, birds, reptiles and many freshwater fish species. Elephants, lions, hippos and leopards are some of the many incredible species that you can hope to encounter here. It is also home to many endangered species not usually found elsewhere, helping to place Botswana high on the list of safari destinations in Africa.

All the animals living in the Okavango and Chobe National parks are entirely dependent on the annual floodwaters that flow inland instead of out towards the sea. When they arrive, they transform the arid, bone-dry and inhospitable escarpment into a lush green oasis triggering off a massive migration of millions of animals and birds seeking to quench their thirst and feed on the abundant vegetation and on each other.

Another park worth visiting is the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, which is twice the size of South Africa’s Kruger National Park and is situated in the southwest corner of Botswana. This park is famous for its semi-arid rust-coloured landscape, its black-maned lions, endangered brown hyenas, cheetahs, large herds of springbok and gemsbok, not forgetting the gangs of curious and ever watchful meerkats. They are a real joy for children.


Most camps in the Okavango and Chobe offer excellent facilities and activities aimed at children. A good choice is Camp Okavango in the heart of the delta, although it is only accessible by air. Apart from family suites, and being surrounded by water, they offer boating safaris to view game, nature walks along the various islands, birding and fishing trips. No game drives occur here.  

Lodges in Chobe are more easily accessible and perhaps more geared up for families, with Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero, Chobe Game Lodge and Elephant Camp being ideal.

Chilwere is fenced, making it easier for parents to relax, and has a pool plus a number of children’s activities like treasure hunts and nature walks. Surprisingly however, there are no family rooms.

Finding the right family-oriented lodge in Botswana can be tricky, so it’s wise to do some serious investigating well in advance. 

6. ZambiaZambia

For enjoyable and more peaceful safaris with less crowds, but without compromising on the abundance and variety of the wildlife, Zambia is an excellent choice for a family safari.

Having no less than 20 state parks all set among a most breathtaking landscape, there is no shortage of lodges that cater specifically for families with small children.

The biggest and most popular park, the Kafue National Park is a wonderful choice, having four of the Big Five plus so much more, with the exception of rhino, which have been poached to extinction.

The North and South Luangwa National parks are great choices too, with the North Park having Zambia’s only stock of rhinos. The South Park boasts of being the ‘Birthplace of Walking Safaris’ while the Luangwa River that flows through the length of both parks, has the densest hippo population in Africa.

Luangwa Safari House, located in the South Park is a family oriented hotel, having large family rooms, a swimming pool with wildlife viewing from the deck and the lodge continually arranges a host of family-friendly activities. An underground hide next to a waterhole provides excellent game viewing with an air of adventure for kids and wonderful photographic opportunities.

The Mukambi Safari Lodge, perched high and alongside the Kafue River, provides spacious family sized suites, full on pool, bar and restaurant and a separate children’s pool. Apart from the standard game drives, they have tons of other activities, such as walking safaris, boat and sunset cruises, fishing on the river and visits to the local community to learn about their culture and lifestyle.

So there you have it – this is what you can expect if you’re planning a safari with your family in Africa. There is nowhere better to escape from the noise and stress of city life, than being outdoors in the African bush, totally free, surrounded only by wildlife and beautiful natural scenery. Well, the only thing that can beat that is by having your family with you every step of the way!

What a great way for children to forget about their iPads, tablets, and other electronic paraphernalia for a while and immerse themselves in the beauty of nature.

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