Snap your fingers and before you know it, your kids are ready to fly the nest. Make the most of these precious years and create lasting memories together – ones that involve lions, rhinos and elephants, and nights spent around camp fires under African skies. Safaris for kids can also be a great way for them to learn in a unique environment that stimulates all senses.

What do you need to know when planning your family safari?

While many safari lodges are child friendly, there are age restrictions in place for game drives. In most Big 5 game reserves in South Africa, children under 6 years old may not go on game drives unless they are in a private game drive vehicle. You may need to budget extra for a private game drive vehicle.

Ready to hit the bush with kids in tow? Here is GILTEDGE’s pick of safari experiences and kid-friendly safari destinations that deserve to be enjoyed through the eyes of youth.


1. BEST FOR FANS OF THE LION KING: andBeyond Grumeti Serengeti River Lodge (Tanzania)

“The Great Migration” – an opportunity for your kids to experience The Lion King movie in real life. This part of the Serengeti is known for its large prides of lions (four prides of 20 to 60 lions live in the area). A unique family experience awaits you in this western region of Tanzania with the Grumeti Lodge’s WILDchild programme.

It provides youngsters with a guide who helps them spot and identify animal footprints near the lodge. Older children can participate in conservation research and bird spotting challenges. The luxurious family suite (that overlooks a hippo pod-filled river) is designed for two adults and two children, but extra beds can be requested if needed on safari with your kids. Childcare is also available.

2. BEST FOR A ROAD TRIP: Shamwari Private Game Reserve Experience (South Africa)

Enjoy exploring on your own terms? Then this city and safari combo is just right for you! This safari for kids getaway sets off from Cape Town, with your luxury base at the V&A Waterfront. Here you can make the most of this captivating destination by visiting the iconic Table Mountain and some wildlife like penguins in their natural habitat. Then, take a leisurely drive up the fabled Garden Route and spend two nights in Knysna, an idyllic coastal town known for its oysters.

To conclude your trip, indulge in a five-star safari adventure at the Shamwari Private Game Reserve, which has a Kids Adventure Centre with zip lines, climbing walls and tall towers where kids can burn off excess energy.

3. BEST FOR EXPLORING THE OKAVANGO DELTA: Maun to Kasane Experience (Botswana)

Desert & Delta Safaris has designed an exceptional eight-night family safari to explore Botswana. It offers a great combination of four key ecosystems and environments in this fantastic country, providing an adventure that is tailored to suit families. From game drives through pristine natural habitats to cultural encounters with local communities, many amazing experiences await on this safari for kids.

Imagine seeing your child’s amazement when they spot their first elephant drinking from its trunk! An experience not to be missed is the Chobe Game Lodge, where you can watch gigantic herds coming to drink from the Chobe River.

4. BEST FOR KEEPING KIDS BUSY: Londolozi Varty Camp (South Africa)

When it comes to children, Londolozi Varty Camp really knows how to make them feel welcome. There is a full slate of activities specially designed for the younger members of the family on this safari for kids. Right after breakfast, they can dive into an array of fun that only the African sun can offer. From fishing and rock climbing to mud fights and family-friendly game drives in the renowned Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve, the kids will have an unforgettable time.

There are also classes to encourage creativity through cooking, baking and arts and crafts. Last but not least, the pool next to Cub’s Den is a guarantee that the kids will absolutely love their stay at Londolozi.

5. BEST FOR BEACH LOVERS: Bazaruto Archipelago and Sabi Sands Experience (South Africa/Mozambique)

Experience the ultimate adventure on this 11-day trip that spans two countries. The journey commences in South Africa at the renowned Sabi Sands, known for its outstanding leopard sightings. After exploring the wildlife of Sabi Sands, you will continue to the picturesque paradise of the Bazaruto Archipelago, which consists of five small islands. The main attraction is Benguerra Island, which truly resembles a fairytale dreamland where children can discover a world of tropical fish while snorkelling.

6. BEST FOR MULTI-GENERATIONAL GROUPS: Singita Ebony Lodge (South Africa)

Ebony Lodge is set among giant trees, right on the banks of the Sand River in the Singita Game Reserve. Ideal for multi-generational families seeking total privacy and flexibility, Ebony Villa accommodates up to four adults and four children.

Two-bedroom family suites are available for young children, and the two Lewis suites side-by-side are ideal for older teens. With exclusive access to 45,000 acres of wilderness, Ebony Lodge offers a remarkable array of adventures that can be tailored to each family’s preferences and children’s ages and interests when on safari with kids. The Singita Mini Rangers’ Course also offers activities such as bird watching, tracking and bush survival training.

7. BEST FOR WATER-BASED SAFARIS: The Marine (South Africa)

Hermanus, the coastal village less than two hours from Cape Town, is famous for its whale watching. From June into summer, pods of southern right whales congregate here, with lavish displays in Walker Bay. The Marine overlooks their watery playground and offers cliff-top views of their breaching, bubble blowing and general whale craziness – all of which can be seen from many of the hotel’s private balconies. Whale safaris on the water are also offered.

8. BEST FOR MALARIA-FREE TRAVEL: The Western Cape to Madike Game Reserve (South Africa)

What better way to introduce your family to the beauty of South Africa than a trip from south to north? Spend three nights in Cape Town, an ideal spot for beachgoing, great restaurants, and cableway rides up Table Mountain. After that it’s off to De Hoop Nature Reserve at the southernmost tip of the country, with remote beaches and 86 species of mammals including bontebok and Cape mountain zebra. Then travel northwest to the stunning Winelands region (aka South Africa’s gastronomic gem). Finally, enjoy a malaria-free safari at Madikwe Game Reserve on the Botswana border – home to all five members of the Big 5, and ideal for a safari with kids.

9. BEST FOR FAMILY GLAMPING: Linyanti Ebony (Botswana)

Nestled between the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park is the acclaimed Linyanti Ebony, known for its family-friendly atmosphere and excellent game viewing. The Linyanti Channel provides a constant source of water that allows an abundance of wildlife to thrive, some of which can even be seen from the camp. Here, visitors can explore the region on day and night game drives, take a mokoro trip on the water or a walking safari along the pristine river ecosystem.

The four elevated Meru tents are built to blend with nature and overlook the wetlands. The family tent has two interconnecting rooms, while children will benefit from activities such as nature walks around the camp, arts and crafts, and cooking classes offered by specialised guides – guaranteed to make your kids fall in love with conservation!

10. BEST FOR VISITING VICTORIA FALLS: Thorntree River Lodge (Zambia)

Thorntree stands as a tribute to the mighty Zambezi River, and its two family units (each with four beds) offer spectacular views of the river, where crocodiles and hippos frolic. Guests can relax on the riverside deck and watch the river steadily approach its stunning waterfalls. The shared riverside deck features an infinity pool, wooden decks that float on the water like a small boat, and a sunken boma for cosy evenings. There is also an exclusive boat for unforgettable sunset cruises kids on safari will love.

11. BEST FOR TRAIN TRAVEL: Rovos Rail Namibia Experience (South Africa/Namibia)

Parents can truly enjoy their travel with someone else seeing to the needs of the kids. They won’t even have to drive, thanks to this luxury mode of travel. The iconic refurbished vintage steam train, the Rovos Rail, takes you from Pretoria to Namibia’s Walvis Bay, and through the Kalahari Desert. It’s a different way to experience the African bush, but one you can enjoy by sitting back and soaking it all in.

Ready for a custom-made safari for kids tailored just for your family?

Let one of GILTEDGE’s travel experts put together a safari your kids will never forget. Every family is unique, and that’s why our team will design an experience just for you.