Safari with Kids
Safaris are a great vacation for kids. Since we just got back from our safari I thought I would put together a few tips on how to make taking your little ones on a safari easier.
Find a kid friendly resort. This will make your trip SO MUCH easier! We stayed at the Saruni lodge in Samburu and they were amazing! Each day they asked what Taylar wanted to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner and made her meals special for her. They provided a special warrior kids camp for her to learn about the animals and life as a warrior and she absolutely loved it! They were constantly checking on her and asking how she was doing no matter where we were. They also told me at any point on the game drives if she was ready to go back to the lodge they would bring a car to take her back. I couldn’t be happier with how they treated her the entire trip! I highly recommend this resort for kids!
If you have very small children book a resort with babysitting. We didn’t bring Ava because we thought she was a bit too young when we considered all the immunizations we had to get for the trip. And thankfully it worked out since right after our safari we found out she had cancer. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to bring younger kids. Iif you do, I recommend a resort with babysitting so you can go on the game drives without interruption. Unless you have an amazingly well behaved small child (which I don’t have). The game drives can be up to 4 hours long and if your kids are like mine, they don’t love to sit still that long. Taylar was 5 when we went and she LOVES animals so she did great on the game drives and was very interested in the animals but I wouldn’t take Ava on a game drive as she can’t sit still.
For your older kids put together a safari backpack they can take on game drives. I did this for Taylar and it was perfect. She had binoculars, a camera, water, hat, jacket, sunglasses (these help with the sun and the dust), sunblock, bug spray, wipes and for tay I brought her favorite blanket to rest on during the early morning drives. This keeps kids busy, keeps their things organized and you have everything you need in their backpack for a good game drive.
Pack extra clothes. Most resorts limit the amount of luggage you can bring. Check with your resort to see if they do laundry daily or not. If not, and you have a kid that likes to get dirty, bring extra clothes. Some days Tay was covered in red dirt. Thankfully our resort did daily laundry so we didn’t need to pack an enormous amount of clothes but if your resort doesn’t do laundry I suggest packing an extra outfit or two in the event your child gets extremely dirty or throws up like Tay did one morning.
Check the weather and pack accordingly. We actually should have packed for warmer weather but for some reason I was in winter mode and packed a lot of warm clothes so we were a little hot. Check the weather before you go. Usually on the early morning and evening game drives you will need at least a light jacket, and during the day you will need shorts, tshirts, hat and sunglasses.
Snacks. If you child is a picky eater I suggest bringing snacks for the game drives to keep them happy. Tay isn’t a big snacker so we were okay but if you child does need snacks I suggest bringing some from home. Africa is a new and different place and sometimes it can be overwhelming to kids. If they have a few snacks and items from home it will help them adjust to the new cultures around them.
Bring bug spray and sunblock! These are necessary! Really. Bring them!!!
Immunizations and malaria medicine. Get immunized and take your malaria pills! I know there is a big debate on immunization right now but if you are going into one of these areas, GET IMMUNIZED! Talk to your doctor about the region you will be traveling to. He or she will be able to give you a list of the immunizations required for your trip. Also, be sure you get malaria pills from your doctor for your entire trip!
Tired kids. If your kids have meltdowns because they are tired consider not going on all the game drives or scheduling some downtime for them. Tay is a machine and was in bed at 10 each night and up at 5. Most kids can’t do this, so make sure your kids get enough rest during the day.
Make it an adventure and keep a good attitude. Don’t go into a safari expecting it to be exactly like home. It won’t be. So embrace the adventure with your kids and enjoy the different cultures and life you experience while on safari. A good attitude can make even the worst trips wonderful. We had a few moments on our trip were I wasn’t sure I wanted to embrace the adventure because we were staying in a tent in the bush, but as soon as I changed my attitude it made everything better. This goes along with any foreign travel. So have a good attitude no matter what challenge you face during your travels and you will be sure to have a great time. This includes laughing when you actually want to cry. :)