6 Family-Friendly Destinations
The AAC team has compiled a list of our 6 favorite family-friendly destinations. We considered several factors: age restrictions, private vehicle and guide accessibility, availability of family-specific rooms (minimum 8 years old), kid-specific activities, etc. We also made sure that the accommodations are just as appealing for the parents!
Regularly recognized by both Travel + Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler as a top family safari outfitter, AAC knows that a family safari is more than a vacation. A safari is a chance to disconnect from the routines and stresses of modern life, and consequently, presents an opportunity to meaningfully connect with your family. It’s also a chance to provide your children with memories that they will cherish for a lifetime.
#6 MalaMala Camp – MalaMala Reserve, South Africa
Featured Itinerary: 14-Day Best of Southern Africa Safari
Our first accommodation selection has been a staple of the African safari scene for nearly a century! Clients of Elena Theodosiou (one of our safari consultants) said the following about MalaMala:
Main Camp was my dream location for our safari. Teddy Roosevelt would have quite at home and I kept expecting him to walk through the door. Lovely guide – Robin Nester – took exceptional care of us… Nice people, lovely room, terrific food and we loved eating in the boma. The whole style of the camp was perfect for us.Fran Arnold
Easily accessible (it borders Kruger National Park) and boasting one of the best wildlife viewing experiences on the continent (almost guaranteed to see the Big 5), the safari experience at MalaMala is ideally suited for a first time safari-going family. A client of Mark Nolting’s had the following to say about the game viewing experience:
The game viewing at MalaMala was everything we expected. Many leopards, the Kambula lion pride, several elephant breeding herds, amazing birds, etc. Each day we set game driving “goals,” and each day we had to set new ones as we kept ticking them off on each drive.The Eisenberg Family
At the ranger’s discretion, kids staying at MalaMala are able to participate in kid-dedicated activities: animal spoor identification, basic survival skills, bush breakfast, and radio communication.
#5 Sasaab – Samburu Reserve, Kenya
Featured Itinerary: 11-Day Conservation Luxury Flying Safari to Kenya
Located faraway from the throngs of visitors lining the Maasai Mara Game Reserve’s roads, Samburu National Reserve is a hidden gem” says Alison Nolting! The landscape is arid and rugged, but possess a truly remarkable beauty. It is primarily inhabited by the Samburu people, who feature prominently as staff and guides at Sasaab; village visits may also be arranged.
For wildlife enthusiasts, Samburu National Reserve features reticulated giraffe, Grey’s zebra, gerenuk and Beisa oryx – species you can’t find in southern Kenya! Another wildlife attraction is the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary, whose aim is to rescue orphaned or abandoned elephant calves and then reintroduce them to the wild.Alison Nolting
Teenagers can participate in a myriad of activities, including the Samburu village visit, camel rides, hikes to Sundowner Rock’s viewpoint, and fly-camping. Kid specific activities include learning how to make a traditional bow and arrow from a Samburu guide. For wellness seekers, consider a visit to their superb SpaSaab.
A 3-time client of ours, who visited Sasaab earlier in August, glowingly praised his experience there, saying the following:
The lodge and adjoining tents are large and beautifully appointed… The large patio off our tent had a beautiful view of the river and its own plunge pool. It seemed like were there alone. A perfect place to relax and decompress… All the food was delicious, beautifully prepared and presented. It was the best we’ve had on safari.Ray Arvay
#4 Entamanu Ngorongoro Camp – Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania
Featured Itinerary: 14-Day Tanzania Family Widlife and Wilderness Safari
A relative newcomer at the world-renowned Ngorongoro Crater, Entamanu Ngorongoro Camp offers a traditional tented-camp experience where lodges is more common. Located on the northwestern part of the crater rim, it features fantastic sunrise views of the crater and sunset views of the Serengeti plains.
One of Elena Theodosiou’s clients had the following to say about his family’s experience at Entamanu Ngorongoro:
We loved the Entamanu Camp for its family-style dining, where we were able to meet travelers from all over the world and share our safari experiences with them. The views of the crater from the camp were incredible and we saw a large variety of wildlife on our drive to and from camp.Andres Dones
Activities that both children and adults can do include game drives, Highland walks, and a visit to nearby Maasai village. Ian Flores (one of AAC’s safari consultants) says that because of Entamanu‘s relationship with the local Maasai village, the cultural experience is more authentic for the Ngorongoro vicinity.
For multi-generational family groups that desire an additional degree of privacy, Entamanu Private has just opened. The ambiance, decor and excellent service are just as they are in Entamanu Ngorongoro. Guests staying there must book the entire camp – 4 at the minimum-maximum 12.
#3 Camp Zebra – Serengeti Park, Tanzania
Featured Itinerary: 14-Day Tanzania Family Widlife and Wilderness Safari
Camp Zebra is the only seasonal mobile tented camp of all the accommodations in this list! Its location is dependent on the Great Migration. Camp Zebra is located in the northern Serengeti from June to November, then in the south from December to March.
Kollin Buchholz (an AAC consultant) had a client whose family visited Camp Zebra during March. She had this to say about her time there:
We loved the location and the experience of a mobile camp. The food was delicious, staff courteous and thoughtful… and the bucket showers! Fun!
We were in the heart of the Great Migration and experienced seeing a newborn wildebeest calf just minutes-old wobble to her legs and walk with her mamma.Michelle Meyers
Most activities are focused on game viewing by vehicle, however, guests may also go on walking safaris and visit the local Maasai or Hadzabe. Depending on the camp’s location, hot air balloon rides can also be arranged; speak with your safari consultant to arrange this in advance!
#2 Sossusvlei Desert Lodge – Sossusvlei, Namibia
Featured Itinerary: 10-Day Namibia Spectacular
Sossusvlei Desert Lodge is located in Africa’s only International Dark Sky Reserve, where you’ll be transfixed just looking up from the camp fire at night. But, wait there’s more! The lodge has a state-of-the-art telescope, and a resident, professional astronomer to serenade you with tales of the night sky.
By October, Sossusvlei Desert Lodge will complete its 1.5-year renovation. The lodge’s stone-and-glass suites and common areas were already magnificent. But based off the renderings, it will somehow become even more spectacular! I just wish I could’ve seen the renovations complete when I was in Namibia back in May!Szilvia Hegyi (AAC Consultant)
There are plenty of other, non-astronomical activities available at Sossusvlei Desert Lodge. The lodge has a dedicated WILDChild Programme, and there are numerous activities adults can do. Ian Flores, our adventure-safari expert, talks about what sort of activities families can partake in:
When you visit Sossusvlei you want to drive to see Dead Vlei and the gigantic Big Daddy sand dune in the early-morning light. From there, its up to you: you can go on a nature walk, ride a “fatbike,” or drive quad-bikes through the surreal environment. Or for an unparalleled aerial view, go on a hot-air balloon ride. There’s an active and adventurous activity suitable for everyone! One of the reasons why Namibia is a favorite destination of mine is the scenery – it’s truly unlike anywhere else on Earth.Ian Flores
#1 Splash Camp – Okavango Delta, Botswana
The Okavango Delta is known worldwide as a stellar, uncrowded wildlife destination. However, many accommodations can to be pricey when planning a family safari.
This is a big reason why we included Splash Camp on our list! You will be wanting for nothing, whether you spend the afternoon lounging on your veranda’s lounge chair or taking a dip in the camp’s plunge pool. For multi-generational family groups seeking additional intimacy and privacy, Splash Enclave can be booked for group of 6-10 people for exclusive-use.
Activities include day and night game drives, mokoro rides, fishing, boating, and walking safaris.
Kyle Witten, one of AAC’s safari consultants and a Botswana expert, has had multiple clients who’ve stayed at Splash Camp. This one was particularly effusive of his experience:
Splash was a very pleasant surprise. The facilities were very comfortable. The game was amongst the best I have experienced in one concession. To top it all the staff was outstanding. The guide Thomas was very pleasant, and exceptionally knowledgeable. As a bonus he knew a lot about photography… This will be remembered as one of our best experiences in all our trips to Africa.Terry Ellis