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What to Know When Planning an African Safari for the Family

by Eugenia Lazaris

Sep 7, 2023

© Alexander Shalamov | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / Africa

Figuring out where to go on your next round of family travel is the fun part, but, from there, things can get a bit tricky, especially if planning a bucket-list trip like an African safari. There are a lot of moving parts to such a trip, and it is well worth the effort to consider some key points to ensure the vacation is a resounding success.


The most important part of your planning will be figuring out when you want to take your trip. While chances are good you will see the Big 5 — lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos and buffalo year-round (not to mention plenty of zebra, wildebeest, cheetahs, giraffes and more) — the weather in Africa has a lot to say about when you should and shouldn’t plan a visit.


Southern countries like Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana experience dry season from May through October, while East Africa, where you will find safari favorites like Kenya and Tanzania, have two dry seasons, one from January through March and another from June through October.


Generally, these dry seasons are the best time to visit, as the rainy season often sees tropical storms that can not only make wildlife viewing dangerous, but also see conditions get dangerous and some safari camps close for safety.


It is important to set a budget for your trip, but you’ll have to be realistic about it. While the value that comes from experiencing some of the world’s last remaining, truly wild regions is priceless, the trip itself comes with a price tag, and it’s pretty big, so making sure the trip works with your budget may take some advance planning.


The cost of your trip will be affected by a few factors, such as time of year (low season versus high season), the region you plan to visit and the level of luxury you are looking for. Expect to spend anywhere from $450 per night per person to upwards of $2,000 per night per person. These rates should include accommodations, gratuities, meals and safari excursions. These prices don’t typically include souvenirs or airfare.


Lastly, you’ll want to carefully select your safari company based on your family’s specific needs. Whether traveling with young children or adults, it is important the tour operator has a program designed to accommodate them. This ensures they are safe, engaged and have the time of their lives.


If traveling with young children, Madikwe Safari Lodge in South Africa is one of the highest rated for families thanks to its location in a malaria-free reserve and the above-and-beyond care the lodge puts into crafting a family-friendly experience. At family-owned Madikwe, you can enjoy spacious family-style lodging, kid-friendly menus, kid-centric activities and safari excursions. While the lodge doesn’t accommodate infants, children aged 2–6 stay for no charge.


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