Classic | Botswana

For the family soul

The following thoughts on the family safari are partly the result of Kyle de Nobrega having spent much of his time as a guide hosting families (including his own) in places where it was once thought impossible to host families and partly down to the fact that he and his wife Ruth have brought their own son Ira Wild in the wildernesses of northern Botswana. As a father and a guide, he is a huge advocate of the way a safari – its difference, the challenges it sets, the people one meets – can help unlock and realise extraordinary things in children and, so, in the wider family.       

Africa is a continent for families. I’d say every commercial safari country has something to offer families as logistics are easy and there are a plethora of options for lodging and experiences.

Make it educational, make it fun

Depending on age, Kenya is extraordinary for older children in their teens. You have the ability to explore some extremely remote areas in the north by helicopter which is a bag full of fun. This is also a brilliant part of the world to interact with some of the tribes like the Samburu, an amazing way to show young minds the planet’s cultural diversity of humans on the planet.

Another great place is Tanzania. As with Kenya, both can be linked to end off for some classic fun under the sun in the idyllic waters of the Indian Ocean and experience the relaxed energy that epitomises the East African coast. The diversity of landscapes, culture and lodging options in East Africa suit families and means you have so many opportunities to ensure your safari is educational and fun.

More than memory

There is a great misconception on what age kids must or must not go on safari. The greatest limitation is that we think kids will not remember until a certain age.

It’s not necessarily the memories you need. Think about how many things any of us reliably remember of our earliest experiences: before five years old, no more than a handful of really strong memories; and before three years old, virtually nothing. It’s what happens inside you that builds character and embeds a spirit that you’ll carry – very occasionally consciously, usually unconsciously – for the rest of your life.

Open-minded travel

Travel with an open mind and don’t be scared to show your kids, of any age, the place we all came from. These can be some of the most educational experiences we can offer our children.

Try to select camps that don’t just offer game drives day in and day out. Activities like a bit of walking, quad biking, or swimming in rock pools, all help diversify your safari and break up the days making it a fun outing for all. In this regard, again Kenya stands out in offering a wide variety of ecoregions and experiences that take us away from the classic game-drive approach.

All images courtesy of Kyle de Nobrega

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