Family holidays in Africa: Is it safe to take kids on a safari?

Planning a holiday is quite a tough task no matter where you’re planning to go – the packing, trying to find everyone’s passport and then getting everyone to the airport – the horrid process need not be any more worrisome than what it already is.

So, when you’re planning a safari trip, is it really safe to bring your kids along? Well, it’s a difficult answer to find. Some people wouldn’t think it was a terribly smart idea, yet others may want their children to see the wild first hand and not through David Attenborough DVD’s.

Family First

The good news is there are plenty of ways to make your family safer on a safari.

Generally no matter where you plan to go for a safari holiday, be it South Africa or Brazil, it is always safest to plan the trip with safari experts – unless you’re feeling particularly brave (and stupid) -then I bid you good luck with defending your family with a travel iron against a massive lion.

All places that offer a safari trek are generally safe for children however, it usually depends on the particular animals you wish to see and not necessarily the area itself.

If you do take this advice and seek experts to plan with, they will probably plan the best route they know to ensure a safe and exhilarating visit.

The ages that are recommended for children to come along on a safari are six years plus. But, if you really are set on bringing tiny tots, then suitable arrangements can be made so that the whole family are included in the holiday snap shots.


But, what if it isn’t only lions, tigers and bears (oh my) that are on your mind? There are nasty diseases that exist in exotic lands across the world that most people wouldn’t wish on their worst enemy.

Malaria would be a main concern if the safari setting of your choice would be in South Africa or Africa. Well, you can be reassured that any safari expert worth their money will have trained medical staff on hand should anything go wrong.

It is also worth noting that risk of Malaria really does depend on the area which you are travelling to. So do a little research and see where you would feel safest.

For example you’ll find Malaria to be less rife in South Africa but in places such as Zambia and Angola it is unfortunately quite rampant. Having said that, there are plenty of precautions in place to protect visitors such as Aadvark Safaris who only use camps which have the best sleeping facilities (provided mosquito nets) and where the population of mosquitos are generally low.

If someone should get malaria then medicines are provided which are more than simple for children to take and ensure their way back to health via medical camps which are always close by.

Planning Your Holiday

Of course, you can really make sure you have chance to relax with your family by combining a beach visit in with your safari trek. Adequately preparing for your South Africa holidays should be your top priority. So with proper precautions met, a trip to the doctors before you go to the airport, it seems as though it would be safe to take kids on a safari.

It really is a matter of being mindful and taking necessary safety measures and avoiding things that may strike you as a bad idea. For example, trying to stroke a lion or, spraying your kids with beef juice and tying them to the back of a safari truck – not a good plan.

  • Claire O’Neil is a freelance writer and travel enthusiast.

Author: Muzi Mohale

Hi there, am your host and I blog about the tourism industry in South Africa. You're also welcome to contribute your expert content on matters affecting the industry. You can reach me on muzi[at]

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