Family safari holiday planning with the experts

With lodges and camps beginning to focus their attention specifically on families and children, a family safari has never been a better idea than it is today. A safari is the ultimate family holiday - adventurous, personalised, comfortable and exciting - all ages will be captivated by the outstanding African wildlife. In our opinion, safari is the best family holiday for ensuring everyone, big and small, goes home with reluctance and fond memories lasting a lifetime. 

The best family safari countries in Africa

East Africa Family Safari Vs Southern Africa



East Africa includes Uganda, Rwanda (both offering amazing gorilla trekking for the older families), Tanzania and Kenya. Our pick of the bunch for a less specialised and safari/beach holiday is Kenya and Tanzania. When compared to Southern Africa itineraries, East Africa is more cost effective. Flights are easier and cheaper to the beach and they are spectacular safari destinations with or without family!

Kenya and Tanzania are old safari hats, so have pretty much perfected the family safari game drives and experiences for youngsters. 10-12 year olds really suit exciting big five game drives in Tanzania and Kenya in The Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Masai Mara Game Reserve. For families who would like a relaxing safari experience – still with amazing wildlife – our favourite family holiday destination is Southern Tanzania, which is so close to the beach.

Saying this, some may prefer Southern Africa combined with either the exciting Cape Town (fabulous for older families) and Victoria Falls instead of a beach extension. Southern Africa is composed of Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Namibia.

South Africa is the best option for families who want to see all the big five without paying a premium; there are numerous luxurious options which are half the price of similar Botswana properties and also some malaria-free reserves for very young children.Similarly, Zimbabwe is exceptional value for money, though it is probably better for teens with a sense of adventure, whereas South Africa safari lodges cater for younger children exceptionally well. Zambia is an unbelievable destination for adventurous older families, though tends to be more expensive than Zimbabwe and the excellent value South Africa options.

For those with deep pockets, a family safari in Botswana offers an unbeatable experience, though you pay a premium for luxury here on top of the already expensive private reserve prices.

The best East Africa family safaris

Southern Tanzania is our absolute favourite East Africa family safari destination, Ruaha and The Selous are awesome parks with fantastic wildlife and an array of activities to keep everyone happy. Older kids can enjoy walking safaris, whilst younger children can have exciting night drives and enjoy the boating safaris in replacement with a standard afternoon game drive. Southern Tanzania is phenomenal due to the exceptional luxury you can get for your money here in comparison to the north. This means that in between game drives the kids can enjoy splashing in a pool for $700 per person per night as opposed to $1,400 per person per night which would be the price of this lodge style in the Serengeti!

Saying that, northern Tanzania (The Serengeti and Ngorongoro) offers one of the most unbelievable game viewing experiences on the continent. Noone in the family will forget seeing the Great Wildebeest Migration in a hurry! Aside from this the predators across these two parks are some of the most concentrated on the continent. So if you don’t mind forking out a little more for your wildlife experience then northern Tanzania is a spectacular family safari destination.

In Kenya, the Masai Mara is an especially fantastic option for a quick safari for those who would only like a few nights in one location. You can fly in and out and will have seen most (if not all!) of the big five in a short few days. Then it is easy to head down to Tanzania’s Zanzibar for some rest and relaxation. It is marginally less expensive than the Serengeti with a few bargain luxury options, though it is more touristy too.

If you are after a longer Kenya safari then Laikipia is probably the best family safari destination out there. Southern Tanzania activities seem limited in comparison to what is on offer here! Made up of a patchwork of private “ranches”, this area has exceptional flexibility in activities; whatever your family’s preference Laikipia is sure to cater for it. Enjoy everything from quad biking to horse riding, all in one of the most relaxed and carefree safari areas on the continent.

The best Southern Africa family safaris

By far the best country in Southern Africa for young families is South Africa. Here, you can get a lot of luxury for your money, and no one is going to be twiddling their thumbs on game drives with the exceptional concentrations of big five wildlife in the Kruger, and the greater Kruger private reserves. With Cape Town a stone’s throw away from your safari, it is also exceptional for older families!

Zambia and Zimbabwe would both be exceptional options for older families who appreciate being out in the wilderness a bit more. Zambia would offer a very raw experience for families who love chilled out places and amazing wildlife, but who also have relatively deep pockets as it is not cheap to get around the country. Zimbabwe is Botswana’s excellent value neighbour; this would be ideal for those older families who are wildlife obsessed, like luxury and don’t want to pay a premium. Both countries offer the very best guiding and walking safaris on the continent. Also, the huge draw of the Zambezi river which not only comes with the Victoria Falls, but a huge array of activities too from boating to kayaking, to bungee jumping and excellent fishing… For older families with specialist interests, Zambia and Zimbabwe would offer a phenomenal safari experience.

Botswana offers the crème de la crème of luxury family holidays. As a warning, lodges here do not come cheap so for most families, a holiday in Botswana is not really an option, However, if you do have the budget then the private reserves and lodges here can offer a simply unbeatable safari experience for the whole family.

Namibia is not so good for families as the accommodation is expensive (yet luxurious!) and the flights even more so… This adds up an awful lot when paying for everyone! An option is to self-drive, though bear in mind that Namibia is more about landscape and less about the wildlife!

Family Safari and Beach Holidays in Africa

As previously suggested, the very best options for a safari and beach combination are in East Africa; namely Kenya and Tanzania. The beaches off east Africa are far more easier to access than in Southern Africa, and the logistics could not be easier.

Zanzibar is the most popular and the best beach destination in Africa for family holidays. It is as little as a 40 minute flight from the nearest safari (The Selous) and has a range of hotel options suitable for all ages and preferences. Private villa experiences, big resorts or our favourite - little boutique hotels with bundles of character - are all done exceptionally well in Zanzibar.

If you like to get more off the beaten track, then there are a few other island options off Tanzania which offer something slightly different...

There are two private island options; one is Mnemba Island which is utter paradise, but also comes with a huge price tag at $1,700 so is not so economical for families. The very best alternative to Zanzibar is the family friendly, relaxed and reasonably priced Fanjove Private Island. The accommodation is authentic so not uber-luxury, but the island is one of the most beautiful in the Indian Ocean and for the adventurous, the activities are endless.

For those adventurous families who do not want to spend their holiday lying on a beach, there is also Pemba Island and Mafia island which offer unbelievable underwater activities but very poor beaches!

Kenya’s coast has had a turbulent recent history, so is not that popular for families at the moment. However, the once bustling Lamu Archipelago is set to be the next best place to visit for our beach extension as there has subsided in recent years. Zanzibar, watch this space!

The best family friendly safari lodges in Africa





Accommodation is a huge part of a family holiday to ensure everyone feels secure, happy and entertained. It is important not to choose somewhere too romantic, too smart or too small so you and your children have space to relax and unwind how you see fit, without an restrictions or disapproving onlookers! 

Family safari accommodation


Your safari can be simple and rustic (bucket showers, no electricity), or fantastically luxurious, chic and stylish (with fine wines and dining, spa treatments and every creature comfort), with lots of options in between...

The "types" of accommodation can be divided into "tented" or "non-tented" options. The difference here is not necessarily between being in luxury and rustic accommodation. Some of the most luxurious lodges in Africa are "under canvas", yet totally permanent and with all the luxuries in the world. On the flip-side, you could have an unauthentic and commercial brick hotel in the middle of the wilderness which is not "tented" or "under canvas", and will not be nearly as luxurious as some of the intimate and high-end tents out there.

Our general go-to distinctions between our preferred lodge styles are uber-luxury costing up to $3,800 pppn, luxury costing around $1,300 pppn, barefoot luxury costing around $1,000 pppn, authentic with a splash of luxury costing upwards from $600 pppn and rustic, bona fide safari camps which cost up from around $400 pppn.

Family beach hotels in Africa


It is important to go for a beach hotel which is right for you! Luckily, there are so many options for a variety of budgets and experiences. Authentic barefoot luxury beach hotels begin from around $180 per person per night and can go all the way up to $1,700 per person per night for a private island experience. Ask us for the very best beach hotels in Africa, but see below for our all time favourites, most of which are in Zanzibar as this is the most popular beach extension destination for families.

How much does an Africa family safari cost?

Africa offers a wide range of accommodation options of various styles, so to some degree an itinerary can be crafted to fit your budget whatever it may be - although of course the bigger your budget the more options you will have.

The most expensive element of any African holiday is the safari part; a night on safari is much more expensive than a night at a beach. The lowest cost for safari accommodation is roughly $400 per person per night, whereas it is much lower for a Cape Town, Victoria Falls or beach hotel. It is worth noting that your safari is so expensive because included in this is guide, vehicle, camping and conservation fees as well as the lovely intimate safari experience you get in these little lodges which burst with character.

Itinerary planning is all a matter of balancing your time and budget between safari and different extensions, be it Cape Town, Victoria Falls or the beach, in the way that works best for you (which will as a result affect the price of your trip!). Generally, we recommend at least three nights on safari, as we feel that any less is too little to really ‘get’ the experience.  Four to six nights on safari is absolutely perfect in our opinion for adults and older families – much longer than this will be astronomically expensive and you’ll probably get “safari-ed out!”.

For much younger children, four nights on safari is probably best as early starts to catch the best wildlife can get tiring after a while. Also, any more nights and you will be changing locations, meaning small flights with agitated kids…


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 a family safari holiday?

Africa is enormous and each country’s climate depends on its own certain factors including latitude, altitude, distance from the sea etc. The very best time to safari depends on each particular area, and also depends on what you are after from your experience. For further information please see our individual country pages.

In general terms, East Africa has an equatorial climate, with little seasonal temperature variation across the year, and it is dry in our summer which is confusingly their winter and the best time to go (July – October). Similarly, Southern Africa has the best wildlife and is driest in these months – Southern Africa has a more extreme climate though, and safari is closed throughout their summer (rainy season) from January through until late March. Luckily, the weather is generally best in school holidays and the wildlife is too which is another reason why a safari is such an amazing family summer holiday.

However, there are always exceptions to the rule!. Festive season is actually peak season for East Africa as December falls handily between the two rainy seasons, so a Christmas safari is more than possible and also a very popular choice. Furthermore, although January, February and March are wet and rainy for southern Africa safari, this is one of the very best times to see the Great Wildebeest Migration calving in the Southern Serengeti in Tanzania. Equally, Cape Town is wonderful and sunny and dry in January through until May! It is best to call up with your dates and preferences and we can guide you to the very best destination for you.

Family Safari Holidays - Africa Odyssey Tips

Take some time to recover from your flight before or/and after your safari! It is so important for kids not to be tired going into a safari, as you really want to make the most of your quality time in the bush.

We know where the best tents and rooms are for families so make sure you ask us about interconnecting rooms to ensure you can all be under one canvas!

Keep variety in your safari! Ask us about going to parks and camps which offer some variety, such as night drives, walking (depending on the age of your child), boating and maybe even horse riding.

Look at safaris during half term instead of in the summer months which are peak season, so naturally a lot more costly.

We would definitely recommend a private vehicle. This way, your family can have freedom and will not get twitchy if you have another passenger who loves birds, when your kids just want to see a lion!

Africa Family Safaris FAQs

Is it safe to take children on safari?


Of course, when you are in the bush there are potential dangers particularly because it is home to wild animals. The freedom of the animals is what makes a safari so special, which is why they do roam around. However, camps have very stringent policies to make sure guests are very safe. As long as you listen to staff and your guide, then you will be perfectly safe. We only work with very well established safari camps and lodges, all of which have impeccable safety records.

Adventure Family Safari Vs Luxury Family Safari


You can be as adventurous as you like when travelling with older children, enjoying all the safari activities in the world! Walking is a particularly special experience, as you really get to see the nature and animals from a completely different perspective than you do in a vehicle. However, there are walking age restrictions in many camps across the continent. So, if you have a really young child then we would recommend a jeep safari. If your budget can afford it, then the luxury options really do cater for youngsters extremely well, so this is definitely worth looking at too.

Client Reviews

[100% BASED ON 9 REVIEWS]

Family safari holiday - Reviews

We thank you for your attention to detail and for always answering our questions and being so responsive and personal. We feel like you are a friend!

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Our trip... perfect. Everything was perfect. Organisation, people, accomodation, safaris, guides… 

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Many thanks for a superb holiday – unforgettable.

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We had a FANTASTIC experience and I cannot thank you and your colleagues enough for your help in making it so. Each and every place we stayed were wonderful.

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All of us agree that our trip could not have been better! If there might be in the future a repeat of a trip to Africa, it goes without saying that it would be organized by you.

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I don't normally write reviews but I was genuinely blown away with the holiday but also the level of support from you and the team.

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The trip was a 100% success and we could not be more pleased.

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The experience was simply great! It worth every single GBP we paid. All arrangements ran fantastically.

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We had a wonderful time and we will definitely refer you to those interested in a safari. We had an amazing time and will never forget it! 

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