Without question, kids love the African safari experience. Being able to see, hear, and smell big game closer than you ever thought possible is a thrill to everyone, young or old.
However, after several days on safari, we find that all kids need a break from game drives. This is when a great kids club can elevate the family safari, by providing fun and educational activities for kids and introducing a great opportunity for adults to go on longer game drives or track animals that may require a bit more time and patience.
In recent months, we’ve been thrilled to see fabulous kids programs evolve at safari camps across Africa. There are several properties that have invested heavily in their children’s programs in the interest of offering the best possible experience for families on safari.
Here are just a few of our favorite experiences available at kids clubs on safari.
Kids Clubs dedicated to fostering children’s awareness and appreciation of nature
One of our favorite kids clubs in South Africa was actually designed by childcare professionals who set about creating a space that is fun, safe and educational. Very sweetly called the “EleFun Centre,” kids can participate in the Junior Tracker program (for 4 to 8 year olds) and the Junior Ranger program (for children between the ages of 9 and 12).
Here, families discover age-appropriate bushveld themed activities and ‘edutainment’ designed and supervised by qualified staff and including interesting bushcraft subjects such as animals, bugs and birds, tracking, and map-reading. Plus, the chance to get involved in wildlife conservation is a fantastic experience for children!
Kids also love time for creative hobbies and arts and crafts. Camp safari guides lead bush walks and talks, as well as specially planned children’s game drives. The beautifully designed center also includes a wonderful, secure, outdoor play area.
Older kids can enjoy exciting adventure walks with a ranger into the bush and around the lodge.
Kids Love the Serengeti of the Sea
So once your family has seen the lions, rhinos and other beautiful wildlife of the savannah it’s time to check out the Marine Big 5: whales, sharks, dolphins, seals and penguins! Head to one of our favorite regions in South Africa, a mecca for whale watching and over 100 southern right whales are known to come here to mate and calve. Bottlenose dolphins also come by the hundreds and can be seen hunting strategically on large shoals of fish.
In addition to fabulous marine life, the on-site kids activity area is on the same floor as the dining hall, lounge, deck and bar area. While you’re enjoying a sunset cocktail, a leisurely and romantic dinner, playing chess, reading a book or even lazing at the pool – your children will be kept busy in the gaming room. This area has a big screen projector, pool table, fooseball table, library, arts and crafts, lounge, games and the sweetest nannies. Expect to find loads of other kiddies running about and making friends.
We have access to some fabulous nannies
Most of our favorite safari camps and lodges offer nannies on site to step in as needed. But these are much more than your standard babysitter. These nannies have typically been involved with the safari camp or lodge owners families for years. They are kind, patient and more than happy to indulge the whims of your child.
Expect your kids to bake bread or a yummy dessert in the camp kitchen, try their hand at wildlife sketching, learn a phrase or two of Swahili or just relax under the watchful eye of a trusted caregiver.