No one forgets the first time they saw a lion in the wild. A family safari creates shared memories for life. It is a chance to disconnect from the distractions of technology and focus on the wonders of nature. And on each other.
With more and more family friendly camps the Okavango Delta and surrounding region is becoming one of the best destinations for family safaris. The Okavango Delta is also well positioned to be visited as part of a wider itinerary, with easy access to Cape Town and Victoria Falls – both fantastic destinations for families.
Here we share some of our favourite family friendly camps and lodges. There are a number of factors to take into account when choosing the right camp for your family safari, with strict age restrictions at some camps and on some activities which we have taken into account here. For more information on these important factors read our post on ‘Is the Okavango Family Friendly’.
Various camps offer exceptional kids activity programmes introducing younger travellers to the magic of Africa and its secrets. Junior ranger training is an exciting option for many a youngster. Witness the joy and excitement as your young explorers take on Africa and discover their roots beginning their own journey of self-discovery against the perfect backdrop of Mother Nature.
Young Explorers – one of the best family safaris in Botswana- and one of the most authentic. This three day program has been specially designed for families, bringing alive the wonders of the African bush with a variety of engaging, educational and fun activities. Young Explorers is a private safari experience, families will have exclusive use of the Footsteps Camp on the private Shinde concession -one of the best areas in the Okavango. Footsteps has three simple but comfortable tents including a family tent. This is your own private bush home for your 3 night stay, complete with professional guide and camp team.
The Young Explorers family safari operates from the Footsteps Camp however it is possible to upgrade this programme to Shinde Camp for a more luxurious stay.
This superb three- day adventure safari experience includes a multitude of educational and exciting activities to suit all ages. Along-side a traditional big game viewing safari by 4×4, emphasis is also placed on learning wildlife tracking skills – both on foot and in 4×4 safari vehicles. The building of traditional animal traps (for display purposes only!), fire building, identifying animal spoor and birds and learning how to pole a Mokoro (subject to water levels) are all in a day’s fun and led by your family guide. Tailor-made game drives, fishing excursions and shooting air rifles at tin cans are hugely popular activities and to top it all off, on completion of the safari, children receive a Young Explorers certificate, t-shirt and cap.
Camp Kalahari – Affordable and fun – laidback Camp Kalahari in Makgadikgadi Salt Pans is the ultimate safari camp for young explorers of all ages. Offering an epic list of adrenalin-filled activities such as quad biking excursions, traditional game drives, horseback riding and bushman walks with the Zu’/hoasi bushmen to discover the amazing creatures that have adapted to living in this desert environment, there is never a dull moment here.
A habituated meerkat family that love to interact with their humans while using them as lookout posts welcome visitors with wild abandon, much to the excitement of kids and adults alike. Home to the second longest migration of zebra in Africa, Camp Kalahari is the perfect platform to introduce kids to the mysterious ways of the wild.
Topped off by accommodation in a Meru -Styled family tent, simple tasty meals and long lazy afternoons at the swimming pool –often visited by thirsty Ellies – the fenced Camp Kalahari has become a favourite for families looking for a safe and relaxed family dream holiday.
Kanana, Okuti and Dinaka Camps – all three camps are run by Ker and Downey Botswana, and are ideal for young safari lovers, offering a great all- round safari experience, fantastic game viewing and a combination of activities that are available all year round. A massive attraction to these camps for families is the complimentary private vehicle for all groups of 4 or more guest, a huge saving on the usual mandatory cost for a family private vehicle.
These camps are set in very different locations – Okuti in the Moremi, Kanana in the western Okavango and Dinaka in the Kalahari – and combine beautifully. A full range of experiences comes together with these camps, from game drives and boating to bushman walks and photo hides.
Set in the beautiful Abu private concession in the western Okavango, Seba is one of the best family camps in the Okavango with two specially designed family tents. These are incredibly spacious two bedroom tented rooms offering plenty of space to spread out between activities. One of the family rooms features a private pool on the deck.
Seba Camp accepts all ages and runs its own ‘bush buddy programme’ which matches the young children in the family with a dedicated and specially trained safari guide as a mentor during their stay. The guide runs a serious of fun and educational activities with the children to learn more about the nature and the wildlife around them. Each child receives a special bush buddy bag with themed goodies.
As well as traditional activities such as 4×4 game drives – the Bush buddy will organise activities to suit the particular child – ranging from tracking lessons and spoor identification to make a scrapbook for the safari. Soccer and volley ball help to burn off energy and cooking in the camp kitchen is also an option. Basket weaving, jewellery making and African storytelling are also activities on hand.
Private Mobile Safaris
Perhaps the most authentic safari experience for any family- a private mobile safari. This is a safari in the truest sense of the word, moving every couple of days to a different area bringing with it a new environment and game viewing. Mobile safaris offer a real sense of adventure and a chance to really connect to nature – without compromising on comfort! Private mobiles provide you with your own guide, camp and staff to look after you in the wilderness. The days are flexible and run according to your interests and not a camp schedule. Mobile safaris will often take all ages though it is recommended for ages 6.
A full range of outfits offer different experiences. Beagle Expeditions offer truly off the beaten tarck safaris on a private concession in the remote western Okavango while Letaka Safaris offer superb safaris through some of Botswana’s most famous parks. Barclay Stenner offer a more luxurious safari through the parks while Unchartered Mobiles offer a luxurious safari on a private concession in the northern Okavango.
Chobe Game Lodge – the only lodge located within Chobe National, Chobe Game Lodge is a fantastic start to a family safari itinerary, with its diverse wildlife and complete package of water and land safaris. The two bedroom family suites offer plenty of privacy and space and the private pool on the balcony provides hours of entertainment. Flexible mealtimes and child friendly meal options can be served in -room.
Flexible 4WD game drives and cruises along the Chobe River provide endless opportunities to enjoy elephant encounters along the riverbank and huge herds of buffalo abound. Impala and the majestic giraffe are common sightings. Predators are plentiful in the northern region of the Chobe National Park, and excellent sightings of lion, wild dog and leopard are regular.
Linyanti Ebony Camp – set on the diverse Linyanti concession, this is an ideal choice for families wanting to explore Chobe away from the crows with the same prolific wildlife sightings. Being on a private reserve means the activities can be more flexible too. As a result of the camp’s location in a private reserve -the Chobe Enclave – both night drives and guided walks are permissible.
African Bush Camps, who own and run the camp are known for their excellent guides who have been specially trained to offering engaging and informative safaris for younger travellers. Their childrens programme- Ngwana Club – offers great children’s activities such as camp nature walks, arts and crafts and cooking lessons when back in camp.
The Linyanti Marsh is the sole source of water during winter months when herds of elephant come down to the river to drink – the Linyanti Ebony Camp makes this area perfect for children to view larger game species.
The spacious meru – style family tents have private decks where cheerful family dinners can be set up. A swimming pool is a pleasant distraction from the soaring midday heat and a Boma area provides an alternative setting for family friendly buffet style meals.
Khwai Bush Camp – Welcoming children of all ages, Khwai Bush camp is another excellent family friendly camp in a game rich area, Khwai. This is one of the more affordable safaris camps too, without compromising on your safari experience. The two en-suite family tents are perfect for families. Daytime and night-time 4WD game drives explore the concession and Moremi Game Reserve and cultural visits to Khwai village offer a glimpse into life in the Okavango. If in camp, a sparkling swimming pool is a hotspot for younger guests. Family-style feasts in camps are relaxed and friendly.
Machaba Camp – located in the wildlife rich area of the Khwai River of the Okavango Delta, Machaba Camp accepts children of all ages and is particularly family friendly. The family tents here are among the best we have seen in this category of affordable luxury safaris – incredibly spacious and comfortable.
The special drawcard at this camp is the year-round fantastic game viewing. For families with children younger than 6 years of age, a private vehicle must be booked at an additional cost which allows privacy and flexibility. With close proximity to Moremi Game Reserve, guests also have the opportunity to visit this world -renowned game reserve. Enthusiastic older children will relish in the opportunity to experience mokoro excursions and short bush walks with professionally qualified guides who are familiar with entertaining younger guests at Machaba.
Gomoti Plains – Gomoti Plains Camp invites children of all ages to experience the wonder of the Gomoti Floodwater plains of the Delta. With a good variety of wildlife, a mixture of habitats and two family – sized tents with shared lounge area and en-suite bathrooms and a walk-in entry swimming pool overlooking the river, Gomoti Plains is an attractive option for guests travelling with children.
Children are offered a varied menu at mealtimes and the timings of meals can also be flexible to suit the schedule of activities and family rest periods. There are board games in the main area of the camp as well as colouring books and collecting activities for those keen on learning more about the environment. Children above the age of 12 years can join professionally guided bush walks and mokoro excursions.
Contact us for more information and to start planning your Okavango safariContact