Family Trip to Africa


May 8th, 2004, 02:19 PM
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Join Date: May 2004
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Family Trip to Africa

I am wondering about going to Africa for a couple weeks in December with my family. We have two teenagers and want to see lots of nature but also relaxation.
Is it safe? Where should we go? We don't like big cities, but we also prefer not to camp out. My husband and children are concerned with safety issues (as am I).
I have literally no clue where to start. Which country should we visit? Would any place in Africa be warm enough to swim on the beach?
Also, my daughter studies French, and it would be nice for her to have opportunity to speak it. Is the Ivory Coast a good place to visit? Again, would it be safe?
Are flights very expensive or moderate? Can we go to Africa and stay in decent hotels and hike, but not camp out? Where is the best place to see nature and culture, but stay safe? Where is a good place that is not too rural but is not a city, yet has people and shopping. (Major concern with daughter).
Also, is the food good, edible, delicious, or awful?
Thanks for your help.
ElizJynes is offline  
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May 9th, 2004, 12:47 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Hi ElizJynes,

I live in Namibia and can tell you that it fits pretty much everything you're looking for with the exception of being french-speaking. It is safe, you can do safaris, there's hiking, December is summer here so you can go to the beach in Swakopmund or Long Beach, the shopping is not as great as it would be in Cape Town, but there is shopping in Swakopmund and Windhoek, there are plent of activities on the coast for teenagers as well (quad bikes, 4x4 trips, parasailing, fishing, kayaking, etc). There are many reasonably priced lodges here so you wouldn't have to camp. The food is great - a lot of very good meat inland and excellent fish & seafood on the coast.

Hope this helps to give you some ideas...
Oipuka is offline  
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May 9th, 2004, 04:12 AM
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ElizJynes - As you've already noticed Africa is a large continent with over 50 countries. The various regions provide for different cultures, activities, safaris, shopping, cruising, islands & beaches, etc. You can really get it all, somewhere.

You do mention the Ivory Coast, Western Africa - thought there is rarely much discussion here on that side of Africa, though Morocco is and French is spoken there, as well as English. And in the northern part of Africa, many travel to Egypt and you can find French spoken there. But there is more than language to attract one to Africa.

Most of the concentration here is East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda) and Southern Africa (South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and occasionally Malawi).

The areas in East Africa and Southern Africa will be warm if not hot in December, though East Africa has warmer waters for coastal/island activities/relaxation.

But you should consider what it is that you would actually enjoy for a vacation for the entire family and what kind of budget you are considering. December being holiday time, prices will be relatively high for accommdations (though if before Dec 15, you might just miss the real high prices; air travel will also be expensive at this time of year.

As to safety, Africa is as safe as any place these days, and rarely has anyone on this board reported issues regarding safety; in fact, most everyone reports security is very high and all have been able to enjoy their holidays knowing this.

You will find big cities in South Africa (Cape Town, Johanneburg, Durban); Kenya (Nairobi); Tanzania (Dar-es-Salaam). Otherwise, most places in these countries visited are rather compact, though shopping of one sort or another are available - but shopping for what? We're not talking Paris or London for fashion, though local fashion items can be found. More likely people purchase items indicative of local cultures.

For families, many people choose holidays in East Africa - Kenya and/or Tanzania - which can provide cities, though few spend much time in cities as they'd rather get out for safari. However, both countries have lovely coastal areas and islands which are a great way to relax mid-way or at the conclusion of their safari. And if you're interested in golf, hiking or horseback ridings, these are easily doable in Kenya.

Accommodations in these countries range from hotels, lodges, permanent tented camps, mobile tented camps and can range from budget to moderate to the most luxurious - whatever one could desire. This holds true for food as well. Though you're not likely to find franchises in a city like Nairobi, there are restaurants to meet any need; and out on safaris no one every goes hungry - food is plentiful and very tasty.

I would suggest that you do a "search" on this board - in the upper portion on left is a box where you can enter Kenya Safari, or Tanzania Safari, or South Africa Safari, etc. and click the "go" towards the right - the various threads will appear on the left and you should read thru to see how many posters have started as you - not sure where to visit. Read the questions asked, the responses and you'll have an idea of what travel to Africa can offer you.

Also stop into a book store and pull out a few guidebooks on the various countries - you certainly don't have to buy all, but browse to get a better idea of what might suit you family's needs. Remember, this has to be your vacation.

Once you have a better idea of the area that will meet your requirements, there will be more opinions from just about everyone on this board to enable you to make a decision. Do some more homework, then come back here for our specific input.
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May 9th, 2004, 10:22 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,552

Your question is very general and I think you're trying to accomplish too much in one trip. I agree with the posters who suggest South Africa, and Namibia which are also safer destinations than some of the areas in West Africa which may be more unstable politically.

I have visted several countries in West Africa including some of the Francophone countries, however these countries have a less developed tourism infrastructure and I believe are less suited for a first time visit to Africa. Additionally they offer far fewer game viewing/safari opportunities.

welltraveledbrit is offline  
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