Just imagine your family waking up to a brilliant sunrise over the Savannah from the best African safari lodges! This is just before heading out for game drive on a real safari in Africa. Africa is a beautiful and diverse continent by virtue of natural attractions. It comes with several choices that will make confused on what to take.
You will be overwhelmed when it comes to game-viewing destinations for families. Accommodation for your family plays the most important role on your safari. It is therefore important to look at the best African safari lodges that are family friendly. When planning an African safari trip for the family:
- You’ll want to select a location with easy access. It should not be far from the airport with facilities designed with children in mind.
- You will definitely be looking for a Malaria-free region, too. This is so that your family doesn’t need to take curative medication later.
- You’ll want to confirm any age requirements before booking your safari accommodations. Some African safari lodges set an age limit on game drives.
- You’ll also want to know if an African safari lodge offers children’s programs. There are many that offer children’s programs with age-appropriate activities. This will ensure that your kids can get the most out of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Here we look at the 10 best African safari lodges for safari-going families:
1. Giraffe Manor
This is not exactly an Africa safari lodge if we stick to the definition. It is among the best African safari lodges for families. However this is one of the best places to start your Kenya safari tour with family. Giraffe Manor is located in Karen, one of the serene neighborhoods of Nairobi. This is an incredibly child-friendly small hotel in Nairobi. The Giraffe Manor is home to a herd of very playful Rothschild giraffe. You can even hand feed them at the kitchen table or at the front door of this luxury Nairobi hotel.
This family friendly luxury Nairobi hotel was originally built to resemble a Scottish hunting camp. Giraffe Manor has 10 bedrooms along with two suites. The suites have direct access to the courtyard, ideal for families especially those travelling with children to Africa. Children of all ages are welcome to the Giraffe Manor.
This family friendly luxury Nairobi hotel is just outside the city centre. Giraffe Manor is less than half an hour’s drive from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The hotel is surrounded by forest with views of Mt. Kilimanjaro in the south. The resort’s giraffe population shares its home with many different types of birds. There are also warthogs and even the rare bushbuck.
2. Shamwari Riverdene Lodge
The Shamwari Riverdene Lodge located in the Shamwari Game Reserve. This is in South Africa’s Eastern Cape and makes to the best African safari lodges. It is an ideal spot for your first African family safari adventure and qualifies to be in the best African safari lodges for families. Shamwari Riverdene Lodge is located in Port Elizabeth, this is in a Malaria-free area. Shamwari Riverdene Lodge happily welcomes families with children as young as 4.
It is however important to note that children must be older in order to go on a game drive. There is so much to do here beyond normal game drives. These include visits to the Born Free Foundation Big Cat Rescue Center.
The center houses lions and leopard that have been saved from circuses and zoos. There is the Shamwari Wildlife Hospital that nurses wounded wild animals back to health. This is before releasing them back into the wild. Riverdene Lodge features nine
interconnecting, air-conditioned rooms. They come with satellite television, a lounge area and private balconies. The balconies lead to the garden. The lodge has a BBQ area, and a swimming pool. There is an onsite children’s coordinator to suggest activities. These activities are custom-tailored for your family’s unique interests.
3. Madikwe Safari Lodge
This is another one of South African safari lodges in the list of the best African safari lodges for families. Madikwe Safari Lodge is located in the Malaria-free Madikwe Reserve. This is in the North West Province of South Africa. Madikwe Safari Lodge gets top ratings from families. This is because of their accommodations and age-appropriate introductions to the African bush. This South African lodge also welcomes children as young as 2 years old. At Madikwe Safari Lodge you can Book one of two spacious family suites in the Lelapa Lodge. The suite can accommodate up to two children under the ages of 10.
The suites even have private pools that are covered with a safety net when not using them. Many of the lodge employees are parents, so they know what kids like. As a plus Madikwe Safari Lodge will also take your kids’ food preferences into account. Just let them know what works best for your family and the staff will do their best to accommodate.
Game drives are in open vehicles and are available for those 6 years and older. They also have Family safari drives also in open vehicles. This can accommodate children between the ages of 2 and 6. These lodge also a ton of fun activities for kids, like Bug CSI with a field ranger. Children can participate in painting and coloring. They can make pizzas in the lodge’s new pizza oven at the boma. The lodge organizes impromptu soccer games and viewing the night sky.
4. Camp Jabulani
Magic happens every day at Camp Jabulani. The camp is located near Kruger National Park in South Africa’s Kapama Game Reserve. Here, your family will meet a herd of very special elephants that live on the property. In 1997, a 4-month-old elephant was found abandoned. He was taken to the nearby Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre. This elephant was hand-reared and named Jabulani. Later, in 2002, HESC launched a rescue mission for a dozen Zimbabwean elephants. These were elephants whose lives were in the balance when they were tagged for meat after the war. It was clear that Jabulani would become part of their family when they arrived in South Africa.
Camp Jabulani was created as a home for the elephants. It was also a place where visitors could come to spend time with them. Fifteen elephants now reside on the property. Camp Jabulani is a high-end property that offers all-inclusive African safari lodge Package. However, the elephant-back safaris and time spent interacting with the herd is priceless.
Families on Africa safari with children here must ensure the young are 12 years and above to stay at the main lodge. A few days at Camp Jabulani’s Zindoga Presidential Villa is a must for families who can afford. This is a camp-within-a-camp, and includes two spacious suites. The suites are connected by a living and dining area. There’s also a private heated plunge pool and roomy wooden deck for game viewing. You’ll have your own safari team, including a ranger, private 4×4 vehicle and a chef and butler. Children of any age are welcome at Zindoga.
Young guests are invited to take part in the camp’s excellent children’s program, Team Tusker. Activities include storytelling, dress-up parties, art and crafts projects. There are also tracking tutorials, bird watching and bug catching, as well as survival basics.
5. King’s Camp
King’s Camp is one of the best-kept secrets when it comes to affordable luxury African safari. King’s Camp is located in the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve in South Africa. For families looking for affordable but best African safari lodges, this is the lodge. It is one of the only places in the world where you can see rare white lions in the wild. At this private reserve “Big Five” can be easily seen.
There are many other species to be spotted here, pretty much on a daily basis. King’s Camp accepts children 6 years and older. It harkens back to Colonial days and strikes the right balance of elegance and comfort. You can book one of 11 standalone thatched-roof bungalows or Waterbuck Private Camp. There is also a four-bedroom villa that comes with its own safari vehicle, ranger, butler and chef.
The camp is roomy enough for a 8 outh African safari. King’s Camp is situated on a dry riverbank that offers fantastic game viewing. In-room decor includes beautiful and functional mosquito nets. Also on the rooms are claw-footed tubs, indoor, outdoor showers, private patio decked out with a hammock.
The rangers, trackers, camp managers, chef and staff create a family-like environment. The guests on safari to Africa feel welcome the moment they arrive. There is an on-property watering hole. This draws the attention of animals all day long. Guests either relax by the camp’s pool or in the shade of the thatched viewing deck. What a way to watch the elephants and impala stop for a drink or dip.
6. Richard’s Camp
Richard’s camp is located in southwestern Kenya. This is a family-owned and operated luxury camp in Kenya. At Richard’s camp, you’ll find traditional tented accommodations near the Masai Mara Game Reserve. Forest Camp sits on the edge of a riverine forest with grass plains stretching away from it. This means game drives easily sight elephants, big cats and herbivores.
The grazers include zebra and impala that graze the plains each day. Richard’s camp has six tented suites are available with either twin or double beds. Extra beds can be brought in for families on Kenya safari sharing accommodations. The tents operate via solar power and offer 24-hour light, heated showers and flushing toilets.
Meals are enjoyed outdoors or in the camp’s sitting area in front of a roaring fire. There is also a private camp on the property that can accommodate up to 10 individuals. This is ideal for groups or families on safari who want complete privacy. We rank this as the best African safari lodges for families in Kenya. There are also additional lodgings at River Camp located about a half-hour away.
Game drives and escorted bush walks are the core of the experience here. One can also go on a day trip to nearby Lake Victoria or visit a Maasai village. The adults can go on a hot air balloon safari or flight-see over the gorgeous Masai Mara. The camp’s owners are raising their own child right on the property. They can expertly answer questions about age-appropriate safari activities.
7. WILDchild Program & Family Suites
&Beyond is an African safari specialist offering accommodations. This is throughout southern and East Africa. The company recently devised its WILDchild program that’s available at all lodges. Rangers trained in working with children to keep kids engaged throughout their vacation. This is achieved with special programs about wildlife, conservation, and African culture.
The company also installed new family suites at select lodges in South Africa and Tanzania. &Beyond recommends many lodges for families. They include Kirkman’s Kamp, Phinda Zuka Lodge, Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, and others. &Beyond Kirkman’s Kamp is a favorite with families due to its location.
This African safari lodge is in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve next to Kruger National Park. It’s an easy 90-minute charter flight from Johannesburg and yet the animal viewing is exquisite. That’s because there are no boundary fences between the Reserve and National Park. Animals and game drive participants roam across that invisible line. It’s not unusual to see leopard, lion, elephant, buffalo, and rhino here. This area also allows off-road driving so your guide will get you as close to the wildlife as possible.
8. Jock Safari Lodge
Jock Safari Lodge is situated in Kruger National Park in South Africa. This African safari lodge welcomes children of any age. that is the reason why it make in in the best African safari lodges for families. It is important to note that only those 4 and older can join a game drive. It is only children who are 16 and older for a walking safari.
Kids especially love Jock’s unique “frogging” safaris. Here guests set out with head lamps and gum boots. They will be searching for 34 different types of amphibians that live nearby. These include banded rubber frogs, bubbling kassinas, and painted reed frogs. Kids are wild about this activity, which is best during the rainy season, November through March.
Accommodations at Jock Safari Lodge are decidedly in the luxury category. They include Main Jock, with 12 individual thatched-roof bungalows. This can be configured with queen or twin beds. Each offers air-conditioning, a private plunge pool, claw-foot tub and outdoor shower. The bungalows also come with a private viewing deck over the river. Fitzpatrick’s Lodge is a three-room standalone compound that’s perfect for families on safari.
9. Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti
African Family safari vacations are an expensive proposition. The Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti is no budget option either. However, it’s a fabulous destination for families on Tanzania safari. It is ideal for families with deep pockets. The lodge and its 77 guest rooms are tucked into the plains of the Central Serengeti. East Africa is home to places your kids have read about in school. They include Mount Kilimanjaro, the Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Victoria.
The Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti is located in the homelands of the Maasai people. The indigenous population now survives as craftsman, farmers and ranchers. They wear distinctive brightly colored traditional clothing. Most impressively, this lodge is smack dab in the middle of the path of the annual Great Migration. This takes place between July and September.
You’ll also have no trouble viewing the Big Five here. Families on Africa safari can take advantage of the Discovery Centre. It’s the gathering place where guests learn about the Maasai people and Africa’s history. They also take part in programs that support local schools and wildlife conservation.
Finally, the Kijana Club is open to kids ages 8 to 17 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. This s the main reason why we have this lodge in the best African safari lodges for families. Here, children can work on arts and crafts projects. They will take part in environmental programs and learn about the animals of the Serengeti. They can simple enjoy some downtime playing videogames or watching a movie. This is an option ifyour kids get tired and don’t want to go on every single game drive during their stay.
10. Luangwa Safari House
Luangwa safari house is an option for reticent safari-goers. This is a private house in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park that offers the comforts of home. Luangwa Safari House can comfortably house up to eight people in four bedrooms. It is recommended for groups or large families on African safari in Zambia.
The house has a spacious dining/living area. A chef, house manager and private guide and vehicle are all at your disposal. Meals and activities are carefully matched to your family’s interests, too. There’s also a solid children’s program that extends from game drives to guided nature walks.
It also includes trips to the Kawaza Village School and Chimpembele Wildlife Education Center. Back at the camp, kids can help collect eggs from the hen house and bake cookies in the kitchen. Children age 7 and up are welcome at Luangwa Safari House.