We often get asked how old children should be before they can be taken on safari. There are two ways of answering this question. The first is to do with age restrictions that certain camps and lodges impose. The second is to do with what’s a sensible age to take them, which relates not only to safety, but also to how much your children are going to get out the experience (some children can get bored quite quickly, others have astonishing stamina). This also bears on how much it’s going to cost you to take them. Reference the first approach, many lodges won’t take children under 8, some under 12 and some won’t take children at all. However, there are a number of camps and lodges that are outstandingly well equipped to have even very young children. These are often owner-run bush homes like some great lodges in Laikipia, Northern Kenya, where they have their own children and love having others to stay.
Our approach, which by-passes the first question on age restriction, is often to suggest that you look at a private camp or a private house, which needn’t be nearly as expensive as it sounds and gives you the total flexibility which can really make a family holiday. This then just leaves the “when’s it sensible” / “when’s it safe” question. The truth here is that it does depend on your own children and the sort of safari you’re contemplating. We have travelled with our own children from very young ages, but having started at 6 months (the only positive game sighting by our son on this safari was a beetle), it’s fair to say that they have got exponentially more out of the experience year on year, to the point where at around 6 or 7 they were fizzing with excitement and properly engaged in the whole thing.
Safety is of course of paramount importance so if you do travel with children, your guide will always tailor the experiences to them – and we will always discuss these things in detail with you to be sure that you’re totally comfortable with what we’re suggesting and that you’re not embarking on anything fool hardy.