How to choose the perfect African family safari

Jacqueline Freer 02 August 2012
Part of the South Africa Safari Collection
Back to the Our Blog

When researching, planning and booking a family safari in Africa, you’re spoilt for choice. Where to go? When to go? How to go? This can get confusing when all you really have in mind is the perfect getaway with your loved ones. Here are considerations, suggestions and some sound advice for choosing the perfect places for family safaris.

Game viewing is one of the highlights on a African Family Safari (All photos: Mrpepper27)

East Africa or Southern Africa

Your first step in choosing the right place for your upcoming African adventure is deciding on whether you want to visit Eastern or Southern Africa. Africa is home to the world’s great game and wildlife reserves the best of which are situated in these two regions on the continent, perfect for family safaris.

Eastern Africa, steeped in Arabian culture, draped in stories of the areas great Masai warrior, is where the Wildebeest migration occurs with a move in the masses migrating between Kenya and Tanzania. This is where we will find some of the greatest national parks on the planet. The world famous Serengeti is located in Tanzania while Kenya offers visitors the opportunity to discover the magic of the Masai Mara.

Southern Africa is where some of the most renowned reserves are situated. Kruger National Park in South Africa, Okavango Delta in Botswana and Etosha National Park in Namibia offer a variety of family safari options. Tailor-made safaris can include other "non-safari" destinations like Cape Town, the Garden Route and the Drakensberg.

Weigh up the regional differences

Accommodation in East Africa is a typical hotel operated lodges while exclusive tailor-made safari options to consider in planning your perfect African getaway for the family include Meru style tents, fantastic for family safaris in Kenya and Tanzania if the hotel style safari is not what you’re after.

In South Africa, the majority of game reserves and most national parks offer exclusive accommodation like cabins, chalets, luxury camps, raised platform permanent tents, standard campsites and self-catering cottages. A general rule of thumb to keep in mind and consider when choosing the perfect safari location for family holidays; the smaller the property and the higher the star rating the more exclusive the safari experience.

The preferred way to safari in East Africa is in an open vehicle style with windows and pop-up roof which allows for standing up and great viewing opportunity. Visitors to the Southern African region will find that game driving vehicles are modified without windows and open sides, designed to enrich your game viewing experience.

A family on safari in an open safari vehicle.                  

The best time to go on safari

When it comes to planning family safaris, the number one frequently asked question is “when would be the best time to travel Africa” and the answer to this question would depend on whether the emphasis of your safari is game viewing.

It is important to consider though that family holidays are dependent on school breaks which would be the best break to take time out exploring Africa on safari.

What is commonly known as Green Season in the game viewing areas of Southern Africa is the rainy season during the summer. It is is from December to March which makes for incredible game watching in certain parts of Africa. The cooler winter months are from May to August. June through to October is high season known as being the dry season. East Africa has a long rainy season from April to May with a shorter one again in November.

The temperatures are generally the same or at the very least they are similar in both East and Southern African game viewing regions. December to mid-January is peak season in both East and Southern Africa. 

Warthogs are one of the animals you are more likely to see on your family safari.                       

We tailor make all family safaris

No two families are the same, so neither should any two family safaris. Chat with our journey experts to plan family safari.

Some related info

Five things to do in and around Johannesburg

Planning a South Africa safari that will take you to Johannesburg for a few days? Are you wondering what you should do there either before or after your safari? We’ve compiled a list of five things that will suit the type of traveller you are. Whether you prefer the outdoors, tasting delicious cuisine or want to learn more about South African history, then these top destinations may be…

Great places to go on a hot air balloon ride in Africa

That ever present bucket list creeps up on us the older we get and this list seems to be growing every year. It’s almost a dead giveaway that many people out there would count going on a ride in a hot air balloon as a definite item on this formidable list. You’ve travelled all the way to Africa, to see the amazing nature and abundance of wildlife so why not make it that much more special…

Three amazing lion pride camps in South Africa

Flora and fauna are nature’s gift to mankind and taking a minute out of your busy schedule to appreciate the beauty that the world has to offer may be the best thing you ever do in life. Game watching during a luxury safari in South Africa can be an exhilarating and fulfilling experience. You don’t need a month’s long training about how to survive in the wild in order to watch lions in…

A brief history of the Kruger National Park

The Kruger National Park is South Africa’s oldest and largest national park. Approximately 950 000 people visit this prized park each year. Both local and international visitors are astounded by the sheer size and diversity of wildlife and habitats in this corner of the country that is about the size of Israel. How did the Kruger National Park come into being? We delve into a brief…

Kleenex Flower Route is blooming awesome

Spring has sprung and the West Coast is a riot of pollen and colour. Two things are always around, when a spread of stunning flowers are in blossom: 1. Tourists with cameras and, 2. Hayfever. So who better to team up with West Coast Tourism, Northern Cape Tourism and Cape Town Tourism than Kleenex? The Kleenex Flower Route runs from the Western Cape to Springbok, with a display of…

Five reasons why you should visit Phinda Private Game Reserve

Snorkelling, diving, game watching, cultural learning and beautiful accommodation are the hallmarks of the Phinda Private Game Reserve. This small but powerful reserve is home to facinating wildlife species and a unique ecosystem that never fails to enchant visitors. A great alternative to the Kruger National Park, with just as much game and activities to enjoy, Phinda should be on your…