South Africa with a 2 year old

May 23rd, 2005, 03:41 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 78
South Africa with a 2 year old

How bad an idea is this? My husband and I want to go to SA this August/September. Is this something we can do with our 2 year old son? Can he go on Safari? Stay at a Lodge?
klt is offline  
May 23rd, 2005, 03:55 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I don't think it's a good idea to go on safari with a toddler. Many lodges will not accept children under 12!
MyriamC is online now  
May 23rd, 2005, 04:14 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 414
IMO not a good idea. Many safari camps will not accept children. Safaris are long and at times very hot. Neither you nor your travel companions would be happy if your toddler decided to have a tantrum or cry at the wrong moment. Toddlers are also attention seekers and to be quite honest, I would ask to be removed from a vehicle that had a toddler in it. I love young children and have 2 grandchildren, but when paying lots of money for a safari..I want to enjoy it in peace and quiet. Of course there have been some teenagers and adults I would like to ban too!!! Maybe there are some lodges with babysitting available?
Mincepie is offline  
May 23rd, 2005, 05:03 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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You'll find lots and lots to do in South Africa that is suitable for a two year old. Cape Town, the winelands, the garden route and even the beaches of both east and west regions.

But spending time in a private safari lodge is probably not a great option. Whilst there are a very small number that accept younger children, even these will have activities geared towards children older than two, I'm sure. And, as Mym already mentioned, many don't accept children younger than 12 at all!

What you could do instead though is a self-drive trip to a game park or two. The advantage of this is that you'll be in a rental car, you can carry with you as much specialist baby stuff as you think you'll need, you can pause and comfort upset toddler as often as needed without disturbing other park visitors (provided you're considerate enough to close your windows when he's making a noise) and you can also feed the baby during the game drives without problem. On top of this, you'll be able to stay in self-catering accommodation which will provide what you need to heat his meals plus allow you to choose between cooking for yourselves too or using the camp restaurant (where applicable) for your main meal.

We self-drove in Addo, Hluhluwe, Imfolozi, Ithala and Kruger and whilst the game viewing is not the same as it is in a private lodge with off-roading and expert guides it's pretty good for everything but predators. It's definitely a worthwhile experience!

Accomodation in Ithala and Addo was particularly good and would work well for a family with small child.
Kavey is offline  
May 23rd, 2005, 01:03 PM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 83
Most lodges won't take young children. However, there is one exception that looks perfect for you: Ulusaba in the Sabi Sands. Not only does it take children of all ages, but it even has a kid's club. They have babysitting, so you could go out on a game drive while your child is entertained at the lodge. It really looks beautiful. Here are some links:

Here's some information on the kid's club (from their website):
Other Cub's Club features include:

A treasure hunt to help familiarise themselves with their surroundings.
Story books in their rooms and in the Lounge. These include old favourites and ones with an African or animal theme.
Educational books in their room and in the Lounge that help them get the most out of their experience in Africa.
A great range of new and classic children's DVDs and videos that they can watch in the lounge, along with music CDs.

We have lots of games up our sleeve and we always try to combine entertainment with some education.
Your ranger will be more than happy to spend time with your cubs to tell them all about the bush and the animals they see.

We regret that very young cubs (under 6 years) cannot participate in our regular game viewing programme, however we are happy to try to arrange a closed-vehicle bush drive or similar. Also, due to safety, cubs are not able to participate in Safari Walks, but we can arrange short excursions around Rock Lodge to spot birds, insects, lizards and so on.

We can arrange bedtime story telling in the Lounge complete with milk and cookies, or whatever normally helps get your cubs ready for bed!
On departure, all cubs will be invited to become permanent members of Ulusaba Cub's Club and will receive a bi-annual newsletter and a birthday card.

In addition to this we can also arrange Cub's Cuisine if you wish, such as pizza, toasties, pasta etc. and a free babysitting service is available, however please be aware that off-duty staff who have experience with children are used for this, due to our location we do not have professional child carers available, but with advance notice this could be arranged at an extra cost.

travelwmn is offline  
May 24th, 2005, 07:20 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 78
Laibela Game Reserve which has the “Big 5” has a great program for families with small children.

They offer babysitting and entertainment for the children whilst the parents go on the game drives.

The Addo Elephant National Park can also be visited in a hire car and there will be plenty of elephants to keep even a 2 year old occupied.

The area is also malaria free and requires no medication.
colind is offline  
May 25th, 2005, 06:59 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 330
Ignoring the whole idea of a toddler on a game drive, I would feel really stressed out taking a 2 year old on such a long flight, worrying about getting him proper travel innoculations (although as colind says some areas in SA are malaria free), worrying how he might react to the change in food and water. Kavey's idea is excellent but, I would worry if traveling independently - what if the baby gets sick, what if you need help for any reason and you're in a self-catering room with no medical staff around and the nearest town miles away? What if you get lost (happened to us in SA)? I took my kids to SA when they were 10 and 12 and that was about right for a first experience.
Lin is offline  
May 25th, 2005, 07:19 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 78
I moved with my family to South Africa with a one year old and have traveled backwards and forwards to the U.K. ever since the journey has never been a big deal.

South Africa has a great health service, far, far better than relying on the National Health Service in the U.K.

If you were to follow my advice even on Safari you would less than an hour away from an excellent hospital and no medication or vaccinations are required.

My son is now 11 not yet 12 and you can’t keep him away from the Game Drives.
colind is offline  
May 25th, 2005, 08:58 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 150
I'm taking my 5 year old daughter to Cape Town and Kruger in a month. South Africa is a very developed country with an excellent infrastructure and good healthcare. I would go although to a place that has a decent childrens program. Ngala is meant to be good.
laguna92688 is offline  
May 27th, 2005, 04:25 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 330
Just a small clarification. I have also traveled several times in South Africa and I realize it has a great healthcare system. What the problem can be though, is where you are when you or your baby get sick or have an accident. When we went with our kids, for example, we did a self-drive. One of our stops was at Rocktail Bay which is extremely remote and took us many hours over rutted roads. Another stop was at a Zulu village where we had to ride an oxcart for an hour just to get to it, and there was no electricity, phone, etc. So it absolutely does depend upon your itinerary as to whether you can take advantage of the healthcare services in a timely manner if you have a health emergency. And, MY baby did NOT travel well on a plane so I think one has to take into account their own child's reaction to changes in air pressure, long periods of inactivity, etc. It's not to say you can't do this trip, but there should be careful planning. Going to Cape Town is unquestionably easy, just like other big cities, but venturing into the bush with a baby isn't the same thing.
Lin is offline  

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