Taking your kids on safari with you can be an incredible way to spend quality time together, while opening their eyes to the world around them. However, while you might be content to read, relax, take naps or journal your adventures in-between expeditions, you’ll need to go a step further to make sure that both you and your children get the most out of the experience.
Give them their own camera
Often, an entire family will only have one camera between them to capture everything from the wildlife to family snapshots. One way to engage your children, and help them enjoy the experience, is to give them their own point-and-shoot camera.
Challenge them to photograph as many interesting creatures and plants as possible and watch them entertain themselves for hours. This is also a fun activity for the family to get involved in together.
Alternatively, you can encourage them to draw pictures of what they see in their free time. This will allow them to create their own memories of the safari, and creatively express their experiences on paper.
Find a family lodge
Try to pick family orientated lodges that are focussed on engaging your little one’s interests. Lodges that are generally great for children are the ones offering a variety of activities like swimming, bushwalks, track-casting, arts and crafts sessions, and educational game drives – all specifically geared towards children.
Have an expert teach them survival skills
Some safaris have talented locals who will introduce your little ones to the basics of survival. Something like a survival bush skills course is also a great option, teaching the whole family all they need to know to get the best out of the African bush.
These tutorials can cover everything from crafting bows and arrows, finding animal spoor and making plaster imprints or tracks, to starting campfires and being shown the uses of different types of trees and bushes. Using these skills, they can learn which fibrous grasses are best for cleaning teeth, which colours attract unwelcome fauna and which leaves could leave them with an unwelcome rash. These are skills they can take with them long after the safari is over.
Have fun cooking up some local cuisine
Just as parents often indulge in some quality family time at home cooking and baking, so you can recreate this magic away from home. Prepare some basic, local recipes for stovetop or campfire. You can find some delicious recipes ranging from Kenyan lemon flavoured mandazi to a traditional Nigerian dish of yam and vegetable sauce.
With the right forsight, it’s easy to engage and involve your children in a family safari adventure that all of you can enjoy together.
Kerry Beetge is an avid travel and copy writer, who’s mission is to find hidden local gems wherever she goes. She’s also hellbent on making practical travel a reality for families who love a good adventure and want to make the most of any experiance together.