Family travel: The Big 7

Crazy on big cats? Giddy for giraffes? We suggest some of the best child-friendly destinations in Africa to spot your favourite animal.

Published 22 Apr 2017, 09:00 BST, Updated 8 Jul 2021, 14:37 BST
A leopard.

A leopard.

Photograph by Getty

A lion roars. A zebra legs it. A leopard pounces. Nature can be cruel — especially when the ending is ruined by your child, who can morph into a beast more feral than any of the creatures roaming around you. Choosing a child-friendly lodge or operator is key if you want a trouble-free family safari and there's a growing number that cater to this market (and are good at keeping two-legged wild ones tame).

1 // Elephant: Luangwa, Zambia
It's not unusual to see elephants walking through reception at Mfuwe Lodge in Luangwa in November to gorge on fresh mangoes. Audley Travel offers seven nights in South Luangwa National Park with three nights at Mfuwe Lodge from £4,650 per person.

2 // Leopard: Sabi Sand GameReserve, South Africa
Head to Singita Sabi Sands Reserve, and book on a Mini Rangers Course and you'll be spotting the elusive leopard in no time. Families have private guides, cooks and trackers for the whole trip. From £9,802 per lodge, per night, for up to eight guests.

3 // Hippo: Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Watch the Kenyan hippopotamus bathe in the Talek River from your tent at Mara Explorers Camp. Kids can book onto the Adventurers and Rangers Club. Prices from £350 at Mara Intrepids and £480 at Mara Explorer.

4 // Lion: Serengeti, Tanzania 
Hear the roar of lions from your room with Yellow Zebra Safaris, which offers eight nights in Tanzania, with four at Lamai Serengeti from £5,471 per person.

5 // Cheetah: Etosha, Namibia
Older kids (12+) can visit the Cheetah Conservation Fund's education facility, before embarking on a wildlife drive to see cheetahs in Etosha National Park. G Adventures' 10-day Wonders of Namibia trip costs from £1,849 per person.

6 // Giraffe: Lake Nakuru Kenya, Samburu, Kenya
Keen to share a meal with a giraffe? One might appear while you're eating at Giraffe Manor in Nairobi. From £430 per person, excluding flights with The Safari Collection.

7 // Rhino: Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Track the endangered black rhino before bedding down in a dome-shaped family unit at The Highlands with Natural World Safaris. From £1,885 for a family of four, per night.

Published in the May 2017 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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