Botswana family safari planning with the experts

Famous for offering some of the most luxurious and exclusive (and correspondingly expensive) safari camps in all of Africa, Botswana’s high level of thoughtful service lends itself beautifully to a family safari for the right sort of adventurous family. Botswana is certainly not the first country to jump to mind when considering a family safari, but for some it will be the family holiday of a lifetime. 

Botswana Family Safari itinerary planning

A popular itinerary starts off in one of the larger lodges in Chobe, which acts as a good introduction to Botswana as WiFi and phone signal is still available in most hotels. For those who do not want the Chobe crowds, then the Linyanti area is an excellent park with beautiful boating and fantastic wildlife. Then, of course there is the must-see; the beautiful and watery Okavango Delta for unique mokoro adventures, unbelievable wildlife, staying at little extremely personalised luxury camps. For the seriously adventurous families with time on their hands, you could also head to the remote and desolate Makgadikigadi Pans.

A Botswana family safari can be seamlessly combined with an action-packed trip to Victoria Falls (a simple drive over the border at Kasane takes you into Zambia), or indeed a city break at Cape Town.

The big question for a Botswana Family Safari is whether you want to stay in private reserves (exclusive, intimate, activity-central) or the National Parks (restricted activities). The private reserves cover parts of the Okavango Delta, along with the Linyanti, Selinda and Kwando reserves. The only (but significant) con of the private reserves is the price tag. The National Park options still deliver a great safari, but without the high cost of the private reserves. These areas include Chobe National Park, some areas of Moremi, Makgadikgadi and the Kalahari.

Where to go with young children on your Botswana Family Safari?

Older children especially will be thrilled by the wildlife all over Botswana on safari, as it really is an incredible experience and a huge learning curve. If your children are into horses, there are also horse-riding safaris they can enjoy as well as the new option of hot air ballooning over the Okavango Delta. Whatever the ages of your children, your preferences as a family and your special requirements, we will carefully put together an itinerary to fit them all and to give you the very best possible safari experience.

The most family friendly safari lodges in Botswana

Hands down the best lodge in the Okavango Delta for children is Seba Camp. With a huge concentration on centring activities around children, you would almost expect Seba Camp's tag line to be 'the children are the future'. It's not, of course. But a family holiday here would prove an immersive experience for adults and children alike.

For the Selinda Spillway it’s absolutely Selinda Explorer’s Camp. Children are given a Young Explorer’s Pack on arrival which marks the start of their ‘training’ and over the course of their stay will work towards their Conservation Ambassador Badge. An extra touch that puts this top of the list is that your child will receive a letter from a local child inviting them to be a lifelong pen pal.

Chobe is not our favourite wildlife area as we find it relatively crowded, but having said that Muchenje is one of the best family safari lodges in Botswana. Opt for the two-storey family chalet, giving you more than enough space to eradicate the usual family bickering from your holiday – teenagers especially like this!

Leroo La Tau is our pick in the Makgadikgadi Pans. This camp has a spacious family room and is really spread out, so ideal for relaxation in between activities. Kids will love exploring with the San Bushmen, boating around the area and seeing the impressive Zebra migration - a sight fit to impress any age!

Botswana family safari activities

Activities on a Botswana safari for older children

If you are a family of keen horse riders then there are so many opportunities in Botswana! Aside from one opportunity in the Makgadikgadi Pans, all the horse riding happens in the Okavango Delta. In the Delta, the wildlife is truly phenomenal so you have to be at a pretty advanced level in order to enjoy this activity, but for the right family this would be an amazing adventure.

Mokoro rides are perhaps the staple Okavango Delta activity. They are perfect for older children and adults who want to get that authentic Delta experience for an afternoon or morning - younger children would not be allowed to Mekoro if they are not sensible, as you are gliding around hippo infested waters!

Walking safaris in Botswana are wide ranging and always exceptional. Learn about the smaller things; animal tracks, botany, smaller creatures and even dung! Always educational, if you want your kids to learn about how the unique Botswana landscapes tick over it is an extraordinary experience. However, again, the youngest age allowed on a walking safari is usually 16 as you have to be able to follow instructions from your guide sensibly and safely.

Most ages can enjoy boating safaris in a motorboat around the Okavango Delta, on the beautiful Linyanti River or Chobe. Boating safaris in our opinion are always best in the evening, when the temperature cools, animals come down to drink and importantly when you can enjoy a relaxing drink yourself whilst soaking in the glorious sunset ricocheting off the water.

Makgadikgadi gets a special mention here, as it is so versatile for a family holiday! You can tear around the pans on a quad bike (for older children… For obvious reasons!), game drive, horse ride, and you may even wake up to a friendly habituated meercat cuddling up to you! The interactions with the meerkats are always a roaring success as all ages delight in their cheeky disposition.

Activities on a Botswana safari for younger children

In most camps the age minimum is 6 years old. It is worth noting that apart from vehicle safaris, most other activities have varying age restrictions as they become more adventurous so you may be fairly limited as to what activities you can enjoy with very young children in Botswana. The exception to this is probably the Makgadikgadi Pans which is a bit of a children’s playground. 

How to combine the beach with a Botswana family safari?

Botswana is a landlocked country, so not as easily combinable with a beach break as other African countries like in East Africa. The closest destination would be Mozambique, famous for its spectacular white sandy beaches, which are probably some of the best in Africa. You have the Quirimbas and Bazaruto Archipelagos chains to choose from. However, they are not cheap! For a safari and beach combination we would implore you to consider an East Africa safari destination; it is much easier logistically and also cheaper to combine the two and Zanzibar (the go to East African island) is more appropriate for families than options in Mozambique.

Further afield you can also combine Mauritius with a safari in Botswana, although you have to take into consideration extra travel time. Due to non-connecting flights, the downside of combining Botswana with the beach is the annoying overnight in Johannesburg. Alternatively, both Victoria Falls and Cape Town work perfectly well with a Botswana safari pre and post safari.

Why a Botswana Family Safari?

Time to stop rushing around with your heads in a screen. A safari is a chance to ditch the iPhone and PlayStation, and reconnect with nature and with each other. Botswana’s wilderness is one of the last true ones in the world, and we cannot think of many better places to spend really special quality time with your loved ones.

Botswana is a great place for a wild education. With so little in the form of man-made entertainment, there are few distractions and the lodges will often have specially trained guides running children’s educational programmes. So with great luxury, comes great convenient service!

Botswana is all about intimacy and personalised service. Children are just as attentively looked after as the parents; there are no half measures just because children are short!

A Botswana family safari is not for everyone. However, there are very few family experiences that can compare for those whose children are mature and nature-savvy. 

On top of stunning lodges and first class hospitality, Botswana's wildlife is exceptional, from the marauding hippos, the wading elephants or the exceptional birdlife, it is one of the best places on the continent to view the big five, plus wild dog and cheetah. A boating, walking or vehicular safari never disappoints in Botswana.

How much does an Botswana family safari cost?

Safaris are not the most economical option for a family holiday; there is no question about it. Family tents are available across most camp, meaning you can all be under the same canvas - a relief to some..! It’s worth remembering that under 12’s are eligible for a reduction on their international air fares. On the ground in Botswana, prices start at around $950 per adult per night and about $600 per child per night. Although very expensive, if you have the budget then we really would recommend Botswana as the ultimate family holiday destination for older families looking for the best of the best.

Introducing Odyssey Explorer

Welcome to our new itinerary-building app! Odyssey Explorer allows you to browse a range of popular itinerary templates and tailor them to suit your budget and tastes. Once you are happy with your route template, Odyssey Explorer gives you the freedom to select and change your accommodation in each destination. It is an excellent tool for you to get an instant price for your dream trip before you work with a Tanzania expert to fine-tune it and make it into a reality.

When is the best time for Botswana family safari holiday?

When to go to Botswana is similar to the rest of Southern Africa, but for slightly unique reasons! Generally, Southern Africa is best in our summer months of July – September. This is when the parks are dry, the wildlife is most concentrated, and easier to spot as a result. However, there certainly are benefits for going outside peak season for several reasons.

For families, although it could be tempting to look at the summer months, it can be a good idea to go to Botswana in the May half term as rates are significantly reduced and the wildlife and weather is still great. October is another option but is extremely hot. For a festive family holiday, the lodges are fully booked in Botswana over New Year and Christmas – it is rainy season, but rates are still high and Botswana’s wildlife always delivers whatever the season.  
Although the Okavango Delta handily follows the same weather pattern as the rest of Southern Africa, it is best between July-September for different reasons! The water from the Angolan highlands is what fills up the Delta’s waterways, not the rainfall! This water begins to trickle down in March time and continues to fill up the Delta’s “fan” shape up until September, when it begins to evaporate in the heat. Then it starts again the year after. Confusingly, when the Delta is fullest, this is when the wildlife is best. The water limits the animals' movements and concentrates them onto islands, making them easier to spot. Also, water based activities are best when the levels are high for obvious reasons. It is worth noting that camps which are further from the pan handle will only have water activities available when the Delta is in peak flood from July – September.

Botswana Family Safaris - Africa Odyssey Tips

Book a safari camp with inter-connecting rooms or a family tent so you can all stay close together.

If you are a large, multigenerational family then looking to book a smaller camp for exclusive use is certainly worth considering. Being able to tailor make your days to how you want them is a real bonus and gives your trip that extra special feeling.

Going just outside of the main June to September season will still give you great game viewing, but at a fraction of the cost.

Avoiding the national parks and being in one of the private concessions will give you a really raw, intimate and quiet safari experience and you can be certain that your family's every needs will be attended to.

Keep your safari varied. Children will become bored after their 10th vehicle game drive. Choose a mixture of camps that offer a different experience.

A trip to Cape Town and/or Victoria Falls is always a good bookend for your safari. Cape Town has so much to keep all the family entertained and Victoria Falls is something no-one will ever forget once they see it. 

Botswana Family Safaris FAQs

Is it safe to take children on safari?

Safari naturally has added potential danger as you are staying in close proximity to wild animals. However, we only work with established, well organised and well-funded safari lodges and camps with a great safety track records. If you follow the instructions from the camp managers and guides then your safari will just as safe as any holiday you will take. Speak to us about which safari camps we believe are best suited for families. 

Botswana Family Safari Vs. South Africa Family Safari

Both Botswana and South Africa are great safari destinations for families. South Africa has been involved in safari and tourism for a lot longer than Botswana and as a result, South Africa’s domestic market has rocketed with a domino effect of big chain hotel builds in places such as the Kruger National Park. The feeling in certain parks of South Africa is that of mass-tourism, rather than secluded wilderness hideaways. Botswana is the opposite; private, luxurious yet hugely more expensive, it displays a more quality over quantity approach to tourism. Saying that, South Africa is still a really amazing first family safari destination and if your budget is limited it may be a better choice.

Client Reviews


Botswana family safari holiday - Reviews

I have been meaning to send you a note but have been so busy since we got back.  The trip was AWESOME!  It exceeded all of our expectations and was a fantastic family experience that we will remember forever! I actually logged into your site this weekend as I was planning on writing a review on your company but then got distracted.  I have full intention of writing a review for you, as well as the places we stayed – which were all great.

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Our trip was amazing, exceeded my expectations in every possible way and l am still in awe at seeing the wildlife in its natural environment, our Botswana safari was truly magical and to be able to spend it with my family made it even more special!

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We had a really marvellous time and the kids loved every minute of it. This was the first Safari I had been on with my entire family, which encompasses 10, 13, 19 and 23 year-olds.  I have never seen them all looking happy for so long, although it was a shame that the youngest could not go on the walking Safari.

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Overall the trip was a stunning success. It was wonderful to be able to share things like that with my sons. A lifetime of memories for them.

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This was one of the best trips I’ve done with my family in many years. As very experienced travelers and climbers I liked that George from Africa Odyssey worked with me upfront to customize our trip to our needs and interests and we went through many iterations until we got it right. He really listened to us and I know that made a huge difference in the quality of our trip.

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