Not all game lodges welcome children below the age of 12. There are, however, plenty that do, going beyond the provision of suitable accommodation to offering special children’s programmes, with an educational slant.
A recently launched family facility is the two-bedroom Grant Suite at Tintswalo Safari Lodge in the Manyeleti Game Reserve bordering the Kruger National Park. Taking children from the age of nine, it provides young visitors with a fun, educational perspective of the African bush. Daily themes vary from South African and the Shangaan culture, to tracking and stargazing, with each day consisting of a talk, game drive and other activity.
At Lalibela Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape, Mark’s Camp consists of four family chalets ideally suited to families with children aged from two to 11 years old.
The camp offers specialised game drives for children from two to seven years in their own game-viewing vehicle with a ranger. These drives are shorter than normal, keep to main tracks and focus on plains animals, taking extra care to avoid dangerous game. A kiddies’ programme runs between 11h00 and 13h00 for children between the ages of four and nine years with arts and crafts and games to keep them busy.
In the same neck of the woods is River Bend Lodge at Addo, recommended by Jolene Windt, Strategic Marketing Executive for Classic Portfolio. “Not only is the lodge in a malaria-free area, it also makes provision for families, with inter-leading rooms and private-use villa. Children of all ages are welcome and we offer complimentary babysitting services.”
The three-bedroom exclusive-use villa, Long Hope, is particularly suitable. It comes with a dedicated chef, private vehicle and guide, enabling guests to tailor their Addo experience around the family’s needs.
Your Africa pinpoints Jaci’s Lodges in the Madikwe – which offers photographic safaris to kids from the age of six years – and Savannah Lodge in the Sabi Sand – where children as young as two are welcome on game drives – as suitable for young families.