It is always difficult deciding where to take the family on holiday, especially when everyone has their own ideas on how the time away should be spent…
Taking a holiday means cutting down on stress and experiencing new things.
But where do you go to rejuvenate your mind, body and soul whilst keeping the kids entertained? Nothing ticks those boxes quite like a safari! The bush environment is multisensory – providing lots of fresh air and good doses of vitamin D for everyone.
Here are our top five family-friendly safari lodges in South Africa.
Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge nestles in the private Sabi Sand Game Reserve which forms part of the Greater Kruger. The lodge is designed to blend in with nature and has plenty of open spaces in which to relax and unwind.
The lodge prides itself on being a ‘home away from home’ and families are well taken care of by the exceptional hospitality team. The well-appointed suites at Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge allow two small children to share with adults whilst the two luxury villas are self-contained units that can accommodate families of four and come equipped with their own safari vehicle and private guide.
The lodge facilities are top notch and include two swimming pools, a viewing deck that overlooks the Msuthlu riverbed, a spacious lounge, atrium, bar, Amani Spa, and a dedicated children’s centre that offers a play area and fully supervised kids programme that focuses on wildlife conservation and bush skills. The centre is run by qualified childcare professionals.
Children over six years of age are permitted on the scheduled game drives and child minders are available at a nominal fee for those families with younger children. Children between the ages of three and six years may accompany their parents on safari if there is exclusive use of a safari vehicle.
Madikwe Safari Lodge nestles in the 75 000 hectare malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve, a lesser known gem located in the north-west region of Gauteng. The Madikwe region offers a superior Big 5 safari experience and is well-known for its incredible sightings of Wild dogs.
There are three unique lodges but Lelapa Lodge is best for families. There are two family suites that have a second bedroom with children’s bunk beds and a sleeper couch.
Dithaba Lodge is a great option for multi-generational families with four suites that can be booked out exclusively.
There are many activities available for children at Madikwe Safari Lodge, including family safari drives, bush orientation, bug CSI, dung tracking, track pack with plaster of Paris, baking in the kitchen, making pizzas in the boma, star gazing, games night and much more.
The warm and inviting Shamwari Riverdene Family Lodge is located in the Eastern Cape’s renowned Shamwari Private Game Reserve. The malaria-free game reserve is home to a number of successful conservation projects and a variety of wildlife, including the iconic Big 5.
Families can look forward to a more exclusive safari experience with only nine opulent suites and exceptional lodge facilities, including a lounge area, bar area with fireplace, dining room, outdoor seating area, swimming pool and a children’s play centre.
The Kids on Safari Adventure Centre is designed to keep kids entertained, with a number of indoor and outdoor activities. The centre has climbing towers, elevated walkways, zip lines, a toddlers’ play area, a maze, and a mini soccer field. The Kids Adventure Centre is always supervised by a kids coordinator. Childminding is available at an additional cost for families travelling with kids under four years of age as they are not permitted on game drives.
The Garden Route is a favourite for family getaways and Botlierskop Private Game Reserve nestles at the foot of the magnificent Outeniqua Mountains, midway between Mossel Bay and George.The malaria-free Botlierskop Game Reserve is home to four of the famous Big 5 (no leopard).
The eight luxurious, family-friendly self-catering bush villas are great for families who like to have flexibility when it comes to meals and activities.
The game reserve offers guided game drives, horseback safaris and bush walks. Kids six years and older can enjoy the game drives and horseback safaris but all children can take part in fishing excursions, kids spa treatments, and a junior ranger programme.
Phinda Private Game Reserve nestles between Mkuze Game Reserve and the Greater St Lucia Wetland Park in KwaZulu-Natal. The lush plains and sweeping mountain ranges make it the perfect place for a number of wildlife, including the Big 5.
Phinda Mountain Lodge is well equipped for families, boasting three family cottages and a family suite. The family suite offers interleading rooms and the option of an additional bed in each room.
Phinda Mountain Lodge will only allow children over the age of six years on the scheduled game drives unless a private safari vehicle is booked.
The lodge also offers a children’s programme and child minding is available at a nominal fee.