SA safaris with children


Jan 19th, 2004, 06:41 AM
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SA safaris with children

Going in early April for 12 days and haven't planned a thing yet. A little paralyzed because websites for lodges often say no children. We have 9 and 3 1/2 year olds who are very travelled and easy going. Any suggestions as to specific lodges around Kruger, is Pilanesburg worthwhile? Flying in and out of Joburg. Should we extend to Capetown or Durban? With kids is the best option self-guided and does that mean you rent a car and have option to hire a guide or can we count on hiring car and guide from the parks? Thoughts on Drakensberg? Thanks for getting us started...
podamu04 is offline  
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Jan 19th, 2004, 08:35 AM
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My experience of South Africa is not current enough to give you specific information about lodges, etc.

My general thought is that April is a lovely time to go to South Africa. The weather in most parts of the country should be good. Winter should not yet have arrived in Cape Town, while at the same time the summer heat in the Kruger National Park area should have moderated to pleasantly warm weather.

If you include Cape Town, which I do recommend, then I suggest you start in the south and work your way northwards, so as to stay ahead of the onset of cooler weather.

With only 12 days, my opinion is that you should only attempt to see two areas, one of which would be Cape Town and its environs, and the other of which would be the area around the Kruger National Park (either Kruger itself or one of the private games reserves nearby). You would need to fly between Cape Town and the Kruger National Park area. On your way out of South Africa, you would need to make your way to Johannesburg, either by car or by plane. So you would enter South Africa via Cape Town and exit via Johannesburg.

While the Drakensberg is a delightful area that I ordinarily would recommend, you don't have time to see it, IMO. If you try to work the Drakensberg and Durban into this trip, you're going to end up with an "If it's Tuesday this must be Belgium" scenario.

I have to think there must be some game reserves that accept kids. Heck, when I was a young kid, we went to the Kruger National Park, Hluhluwe, etc., all the time.

If you state what your budget is, it will enable the forum members who are up to speed with Cape Town hotels, game lodges, etc., to make recommendations.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
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Jan 19th, 2004, 08:52 AM
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SA's national parks accept kids in their rest camp accommodations - I know this because, when making reservations I noticed that the forms have boxes for indicating how many adults, how many kids under 2 and how many kids from 2-16 are to be included in the booking.

See these sites for information:
Kavey is offline  
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Jan 19th, 2004, 01:28 PM
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While there are lodges/camps that do allow children from about age 2, most "do not" allow children younger than 12 out on safari; some camps that allow young children have programs to keep them busy when parents are out on game drives.

Judy_in_Calgary makes a good point that if visiting CPT, you should do this first and work your way north to keep ahead of possible bad weather.

Don't know what sites you have checked but try

they list most accommodations in SA, select Mpumalanga for lodging in/around Kruger - the sites will indicate whether children are permitted. Some do allow, and some do have programs to keep them occupied.

You also don't mention what amount of budget you're considering, which would give provide an idea of what is doable. And I believe you might do better with a tour operator (either SA based or locally in your home country) doing most of the legwork for you.

Also, just received reduced airfare promotions from SAA and Virgin Atlantic from

select their air department for these current fare packages and add-ons from other than JFK and/or ATL. Premier Tours also does land packages in SA, so you can inquire of them your questions to get some idea of what is possible and estimated costs based on your budget. Once you have info from Premier you might choose some other tour operators for comparison.

Another thing you'll have to check is what precautions you have to take for the children as regards Malaria, and any innoculations they might need, though they're more likely to be current with some, than you are.
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Jan 19th, 2004, 02:14 PM
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>>select their air department for these current fare packages and add-ons from other than JFK and/or ATL.<<

sorry, but that should read:

from "either" JFK and/or ATL
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Jan 20th, 2004, 06:27 AM
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Thanks for the insights. Budget-wise, mid to high-range. Would rather not drive ourselves, so advice on local guide/tour operators may be helpful. We travel to spend time together as a family and therefore want to avoid scenarios where the kids get babysat and the adults do safaris. Hence the difficulty in finding lodges. We would be up for setting up separate drives if that can be arranged to allow for all to join in the experience. Cape Town and Kruger sound like what we'll focus on...
podamu04 is offline  
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Jan 20th, 2004, 07:12 AM
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You might take a look at the accommodations in the Kruger Park camps. They range from pretty basic to pretty luxurious, and children are absolutely welcome in the parks. The priciest park accommodations are really quite nice. In Addo Elephant Park, for instance, they consist of houses with two luxurious bedrooms and baths, a beautiful living room furnished in leather and ebony and real art work, a very comfortable verandah for game watching. The parks also have good restaurants.

You can arrange to go on drives with the rangers in the morning and at night, and kids are welcome. You can also drive your own (rented) vehicle and spot game for yourselves. We like to do both.

Besides Kruger, I would recommend Umfolozi-Hluhluwe park, if you want to see rhinos. It's fantastic.

You might ask an agency to give you some preliminary information. They can tell you about private lodges that take kids, and also about the national parks.

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