Well, the answer is ‘Yes’ to both, but some game reserves and safari lodges have age restrictions, so you need to do some careful planning before you leave home.
There is nothing more exhilarating than setting off on a 5am game drive in the middle of the African bush, and whether you are heading out into the vast plains of the Masai Mara or simply searching for the Big 5 in Sabi Sands, a safari holiday provides us with a unique opportunity to see wild animals in their natural habitat.
Experiential and educational, Safari holidays used to be something that only the wealthy could enjoy, but today there are numerous different options available such as self-drive safari’s, malaria-free safari’s, and family friendly safari’s, so there really is something to suit every budget and every taste.
One of the most common questions we get is “can we take our children on a safari holiday?” and while the answer is usually “yes”, not all safari properties accept young children and so you need to look out for a child friendly lodge.
You also need to consider the obvious ‘dangers’ (I use that word loosely, but you know what I mean), the risk of tropical diseases such as Malaria, and also the fact that safaris usually involve long periods in a 4×4 jeep looking for animals, which can be boring and tiring for some kids, but exciting and invigorating for others.
While I am not sure I would take a child under six or seven on a safari, there are safari lodges, such as Chitwa Chitwa in South Africa, that offer a full program for children of all ages, such as daily bush walks, making moulds of animal tracks, face painting sessions, and evenings spent roasting marshmallows whilst listening to folk-tales.
Children aged six and above are usually allowed to participate in game drives, and if you feel your children would enjoy the experience, the educational possibilities are endless.
‘Safari’ is a Swahili word meaning ‘journey’, and as Africa is now more accessible to international travellers than ever before, more and more of us can make that ‘journey’ with our entire family.