Are you looking for a new and exciting destination for your next family vacation? How about an exhilarating trip to the African safari? A safari excursion is a great way to expose your kids to the wonders of the world, the excitement of seeing animals in their natural habitat, and a mind toward environmental stewardship at a young age. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind while planning your family excursion to the safari.
UNDERSTAND THE RULES
Make sure you contact your preferred safari outlet well in advance to ensure your kids are old enough to be part of the adventure. Most safari tour companies will ask that children be at least 7-10 years of age.
In the instant gratification type of world we live in, it can be easy for kids to quickly lose interest, especially if they expect to see wildlife at every turn. It can sometimes take hours to spot animals in the wild, so make sure you find ways to help them pass any downtime with “I spy” games or other related activities.
Help your kids share their memories by first enabling them to remember the trip in the first place. Provide them with a journal to jot down notes or sketch pictures of what they see. Carry a small digital camera so they can take more than mental snapshots of their excursion. They can then create digital photo albums to share with family members or classmates upon their return home.
DON’T OVERDO IT
Game parks range in size from those that can be walked across in a matter of an hour or two to others that can only be efficiently traversed via airplane. Smaller parks will likely provide a higher frequency of wildlife interaction, and the smaller animals in these game preserves may not be as intimidating as those you’d find in the larger destinations.
KNOW YOUR LIMITS
Better yet, know the limits of your children. If you have to force them to stay awake beyond normal bedtimes, skip naps, or simply run them ragged with 12-14 hour days spent on a safari, you may want to reconsider your plans. Kids don’t have the endurance that adults do, so know their boundaries and plan for plenty of snack breaks and rest times, if possible.
A wildlife excursion can be incredibly memorable and life-changing for kids of all ages. Just make sure you set expectations early on, plan your trip to accommodate your kids’ unique needs, and work with your tour operator well in advance to ensure the itinerary matches your vision for this family adventure.