Safari checklist for family travellers


The summer holidays are approaching and proof that there is more than one way to safari, Acacia Africa have three very different experiences on offer. Small group trips, upscale lodges and glamping options, and a new accommodated overland collection are available for those with kids in tow, the tour operator aiming to make Africa affordable.

Covering parks and reserves which house the Big Five, the small five and even their own five, the itineraries combine popular wildlife haunts with off the beaten track locations, and to ensure it's an unforgettable safari, the team has prepared a checklist including pointers on when to go, what to bring and how to get more out your time in Africa.


* Safari-tainment: Safaris in Africa are a far cry from Disney World and there may be times when the group is waiting patiently to capture a dramatic moment in the wild. A pair of children’s binoculars will be a valuable addition, but buy a pair that takes into account your child’s interpupillary distance (the measurement between the exit pupils of the eyepiece of the binoculars), and make a visit to your local optician before purchasing. There are also various iPad apps available to keep the kids entertained for example, Game Drive. Features include a drag and drop checklist, quizzes, animal tracking features and more.

* What to wear: While temperatures may soar during the day in Africa, they can also drop to single figures at night so bring some warmer clothing including a fleece for the evening. Pack lots of layers for the kids from vests to t-shirts as it might be a cool start to the safari and a heat wave on your return.

* On the road: Some overlanding tours could include a whole day of driving so consider bringing card or board games (a table is available at the back of all Acacia Africa’s trucks), books, comforters and travel sickness tablets.

* Recharge: The tour operator’s trucks feature an iPad jack to share music and also chargers, but ask your tour leader about the best place to recharge your batteries off road as accommodated overland expeditions take up to 18 travellers (children learning to share space and facilities on route) and you won’t want to miss those magical safari moments.

* Best time to Book: The time of year you travel can greatly affect your experience especially with younger children. In the African summer the temperature in Botswana often hits highs in the mid 30's making the winter period (June to August) the best option.

* Routine: Game drives run in the early hours as this is when the animals will be at their most active. Keep a ready made bag within easy reach for those early morning starts. Include the essentials: mosquito spray (apply any in the early morning and evening), tablets, sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, baby wipes, lip balm and any essential medication.


* Learning about Africa: Think about the activities you would like to enjoy as a family and as individuals, for example a flying safari over the Okavango Delta or a sand boarding lesson in Swakopmund, and budget for these pursuits before you take the trip. This is a great way to learn about Africa, children eagerly surfing the net and finding out more about the locations they will be visiting.

* Essentials: Some African countries require at least six months from your period of entry on your passport and a valid yellow fever vaccination. It’s wise to keep these documents to hand so you can find them easily at any border crossings.

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