The very best family holiday, in my opinion, is a safari. A safari offers absolutely everything and is a fun filled holiday, whether a young child or a teenager, and perfection is then ending up on the coast or sailing around an island at the end.
Being a parent myself, I am always on the lookout for the very best family holiday and I come back to the same one time and time again, which is a family safari. It simply offers something for everyone, providing one has the budget. Whether you have young children (and there are always malaria free regions, such as in South Africa), or older children, then it simply ticks every box. I am lucky enough to take my family on safari every year and they have been happy enough to be my guinea pigs!
The best family holidays take into consideration everyone’s interests and hobbies – whether you are an outdoorsy type of family who would like to have a private, tented camp erected just for you in a wildlife rich region, or whether you would love to simply fly camp for just a night beneath the stars. Then there are treehouses too, that one can sleep in for a night.
Learn about other cultures – I remember watching my eight year old daughter spending time in Kenya with Maasai children – the only adults present were our guide and tracker, whom she knew well and trusted and who acted as her interpreters, and she sang and danced with the children and they taught each other songs – the fact they didn’t know each other’s language didn’t matter at all. I have never seen such laughter on both sides of the fence. And this to me is really important. In our western society, our children have so much and I do believe that in a gentle and sensitive manner, we should introduce them to other cultures and educate them accordingly. My children learned how to make bows and arrows, which trees were good to use for this, and how to shoot them. They learned how to make fires with no matches, they visited a school and spent half a lesson with other children, which was illuminating for everyone!
They then learnt about the Maasai warriors and what it takes to become a warrior these days, together with learning about how these cultures are struggling to hold onto their identity in the 21st century. This is all very much here and now, and relevant. Perhaps you might like to go on a walking safari assisted with camels and led by Samburu warriors. Learn so much along the way.
The children can then go off to the coast – perhaps to a beautiful villa which comes complete with a private skipper and boat and so the days can be spent with complete flexibility and freedom, snorkelling around islands and having picnic lunches on them. Or perhaps staying at a beautiful, chic, Robinson Crusoe lodge on its own private island? Going out with the fishermen in their Arab dhows and learning how to fish.
Perhaps it might be sailing on a catamaran in Madagascar which is wonderful fun, and fishing and snorkelling and diving at random. If a luxury family safari is more your style, then you can stay in villas throughout Africa or luxury lodges and camps. Charter from place to place in your own aircraft which means that you don’t have to wait at any point. The best thing is to have your own private vehicle and guide which does allow one complete flexibility and freedom and it means that you can bond together as a family, without the need of making small talk with strangers at the dinner table.
Namibia also offers wonderful family safaris, with quad biking on the desert dunes and adrenaline oriented sport invented for the desert, such as sand boarding etc. Spend time with cheetah, up close and personal – something children – no matter what age – always enjoy!
Botswana too offers fabulous experiences – from sleep outs under the stars in the Kalahari desert, to being with habituated meerkat and quad biking across the salt pans. You can even go out for a couple of nights with your guide and bedrolls and have your own adventure, away from everyone! Or have a tented camp closed to you, headed by a wonderful guide who is so good with children and teaches them everything from learning about the night sky, to poling a mokoro (and in our family’s case – losing the pole!), but it is all good fun and educational.
Ultimately, the best family safari is one where everybody has got something out of it. You return united as a family, sated and happy.