South Africa safari for family

Nov 7th, 2001, 02:26 PM
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South Africa safari for family

Looking for advice/suggestions. I am planning a trip to SA for next March/April for my family of 5. Kids are aged between 10 and 13. The safari will be an important component of the trip.

I see a lot of postings that recommend a self-catered, "traditional" safari experience. That would be great if it was just me and my wife. But with the family in tow, we would prefer a more catered, "comfortable" experience. Having said that, I want the experience to be authentic (not like going to the zoo).

Based on my research, I am thinking a private reserve is the way to go. Now, many lodges will not take kids, but two options we do have are Mala Mala Main Camp and Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge.

Anyone have experience with these? What other suggestions do you have?

The cost, while important, is not as critical as having the right experience. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.
Nov 10th, 2001, 01:24 PM
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I don't have experience with either of those camps.

Have you considered Kruger Park and the Natal Parks Board camps? Hilltop Camp in Umfolozi-Hluhluwe is wonderful. The restaurant is great, and the views from the camp itself are fabulous. You drive yourself in your own car, but you can also arrange to go on ranger-led drives in 4-wheel drive vehicles, and walking safaris too. In Umfolozi you will see more rhinoceroses (is that how you spell it?) than you thought existed. The accommodations are more motel-like than you might wish though. Lovely cabins with 1 or 2 bedrooms and a sitting room and little porch, as I remember.

The camps in Kruger consist of rondavels, which have a wonderful African ambiance. In Kruger you will see lots of game, maybe lions or maybe not, but plenty of elephants.

You definitely won't have a zoo-like experience at either of these places, but you won't have a "camping out" feeling, which you may want.
Nov 11th, 2001, 06:08 AM
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When reading the Wilderness Safari brochure one suggestion I noticed was a camping safari, which they felt was well suited to children particularly.

The staff set up the camps every night and cook as well, but the children and indeed other guests, can help as much or little as they like.

There is all the comfort of well equipped tents, and good food, and guides who know about security and animals.

Their point as well was that a family would not need to worry about their kids being boisterous or disturbing other guests because the safari would be their own trip, not shared with lots of staid and boring old adults!

I booked Wilderness Safaris through a UK operator, Sunvil, and I think they have a preferred operator in most countries, but you might also be able to contact them directly to ask about what itineraries they could suggest which suit families.

They certainly appeared to have thought about the differing needs of families travelling in Africa to adult only parties.

Nov 11th, 2001, 01:23 PM
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You might try contacting Bert at They do book through Wilderness Safaris and he is a pleasure to work with. I am sure he will give you much advice for your particular circumstances and will arrange whatever you wish.
Nov 12th, 2001, 01:37 AM
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I have read good things about Camp Honeyguide, in the Manyaieti Reserve bordering Kruger. I am taking my family (children same age as yours) there next month and can let you know what we think of it. You can check their site at
Nov 12th, 2001, 02:46 PM
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My husband and I stayed at Inyati which is a private game reserve.Not sure if they take kids. There are about 10 chalets-ours has 2 hugh beds-each definitely slept 2. The service was great. They take you out twice a day for about 2-3 hours each to find animals. It was incredible! While in Capetown we had a private guide who tailored the trip to what we were interested in seeing.That was great because if we didn't like something we could always move on or stay longer if we wanted. He was soooo accomodating.We're going back and will use the same guides again. Contact me if you want more info.
Nov 12th, 2001, 03:17 PM
Maggie Bawden
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Why not visit the South Luangwa Valley in Zambia with Robin Pope Safaris. The time you are thinking of visiting is the green season when children over 9 are welcome.
I have recently returned from a seven day Safari with Robin Pope Safaris and would highly recommend the experience. Your every need is catered for, the guides are really first class and there is an abundance of wildlife.
More details on
Nov 20th, 2001, 03:27 PM
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My kids were the same ages as yours when we visited Sabi Sabi. It was the experience of a lifetime and one of my childrens best travel experiences. We have been to a few lodges and Sabi Sabi was definitely our favorite. We learned so much about every aspect of nature and can't wait to go back. Bush Lodge has been redone and looks sensational. We stayed at River Lodge which was destroyed in the floods. It was very luxurious and pampering. The staff went out of their way for us. As the children were too young to go on the Bush Walks, our guide took us on extra game drives.

Take warm clothing for the drives.
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