The last decade has seen a marked rise in family-friendly safaris in Zambia, with reduced prices for children and more activities geared towards kids and young adults.
Not all lodges allow children, and some have age restrictions of eight or 12. Families, especially those with very young children, can find excellent value and flexibility in Zambia’s growing selection of exclusive-use safari houses.
These can be found throughout the country, especially in the prime wildlife regions around the Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa National Parks. The upper Zambezi Valley – Livingstone, Victoria Falls, and surrounds – is also well-suited for a family holiday. Several tour operators, lodges, and hotels have facilities and itineraries that cater to all ages.
As Zambia’s tourism hub, Livingstone has a variety of half-day and day tours with relatively short transit times that give families some flexibility when choosing what to do each day. Zambia’s major parks offer excellent wildlife and nature, so choose a destination based on a lodge or hotel’s family policy rather than focusing on a specific region.
The Lower Zambezi and Luangwa Valley offer the broadest range of family-friendly safari accommodations, from low-key camps and private houses to high-end luxury lodges.
Highlights of a family-friendly safari in Zambia
Zambia has excellent potential for a memorable family holiday for families with teenagers (and older). Whitewater rafting down the Zambezi River, bungee jumping from Victoria Falls Bridge, and abseiling into the Bakota Gorge are activities where bragging rights and family bonding are guaranteed.
For the younger ones, a half-day tour of Victoria Falls or a visit to the Victoria Falls Snake Park or Crocodile Ranch tops the list of highlights in and around Livingstone.
Zambia also boasts some of the best walking safaris in Africa. In fact, it’s in the Luangwa Valley where the concept of walking safaris first began. Zambia’s award-winning guides undergo rigorous testing, and many are specifically trained to guide young adults.
Walking through the bush with some of the world’s best safari guides can be the perfect recreation for inquiring young minds. However, it should be noted that national parks do not allow children under 12 to join a walking (or canoeing) safari. Various camps also impose higher age limits, so you must check with your hotel, lodge, or tented camp operator before you book.
Travel Tips for a family-friendly safari in Zambia
- Ensure that your family’s immunizations are up to date, especially those for measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), tetanus, polio, diphtheria, hepatitis A and typhoid. Immunization against rabies, hepatitis B, and TB are also recommended.
- Zambia is a malaria area, so you’ll need to consult your doctor on the available prophylaxis options for children.
- Note that some lodges that allow families also insist that those traveling with children (under eight mostly) should reserve a private vehicle and/or guide for game drives.
- Make sure you’re clear on all aspects of your accommodation’s family policy before you make a booking.
- Although it may not be the most prolific period for wildlife sightings, families should also consider visiting Zambia for safari in the shoulder- or off-seasons – April, May, and November. Lodges are generally quieter then and thus often more amenable to hosting younger children. Rates are also lower out of season, and family discounts are more frequently available.