In this article we highlight some holiday ideas for adventurous families. If you’re thinking about a safari trip for yourself and your children sometime over the next year there are a lot of options and many great choices. At Natural High we’ve road-tested them all so here’s our sample bucket list for family adventure.
1. A magical Madagascar family adventure
Madagascar is a magical destination for a family holiday. From rainforests rich in exotic wildlife to world class beaches and islands, this place offers something for families with children of all ages. Madagascar's remaining rainforests come alive with the calls of lemurs and exotic birdlife and are home to brightly coloured insects including spiders.
You will encounter lemurs the size of a child, with the ability to leap 7 metres in a single bound from tree to tree. In the evenings, night walks are hugely enjoyable for children who will love spotting nocturnal lemurs, sleeping chameleons and all manner of creepy crawlies, including spiders. Make Northeastern Madagascar, home to the largest unbroken primary forest a focus of your trip. Both children and adults will be mesmerised by encounters with a rescued family of lemurs at a reserve close to Andasibe.
2. Getting up close and personal with elephants in Mana Pools, Zimbabwe.
Elephants are regular visitors to the handful of authentic, mobile tented camps in Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park. Mana Pools is arguably one of the best game areas in Zimbabwe. From here you and your family can watch wildlife from a boat, canoe, jeep or on foot. Typically you’ll be out on short drives, during which your guide will take every opportunity to pick up an elephant trail and follow it on foot into the bush. Some guides even know individual animals and are therefore permitted to get extraordinarily close to these magnificent creatures. Age restrictions here mean this is ideal for families with teenage children or above.
3. Dune boarding and quad biking in the Namibian desert
With its epic desert landscapes, Namibia is a fun-filled and safe destination for a family safari. The sand dunes make children out of us all and there are so many different ways to experience the desert landscapes, including dune boarding and quad-biking. The coastal dune belt between the towns of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay provide some of the best natural surfaces on its slopes and there's nothing quite like hurtling yourself headfirst down a 100m slope on a piece of plywood. Quad biking provides a less tiring but equally exciting family activity with the opportunity to take some fantastic photos during the day.
4. Microlight flying and helicopter rides over Victoria Falls
The Victoria Falls is a fun spot for families – with an abundance of high adrenalin activities on offer including waterfall walking and white water rafting, but perhaps the most spectacular is the chance to fly over the falls in a microlight or take a helicopter ride. Viewing the majestic Victoria Falls is from above provides a spectacular photo opportunity as you get a bird’s eye view of the huge volume of water spraying into the air as the Zambezi river crashes down over 100m to the base.
5. Family trekking adventure high in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco
The High Atlas is the greatest mountain range in North Africa and one of the most rewarding wilderness areas you can visit. Our private trekking expeditions in this beautiful part of Morocco use private tented camps carried on the backs of mules to explore remote mountain valleys, far away from signs of the modern world. Tents are A framed, with proper beds and duvets and freshly cooked meals are served in a stand-alone dining tent or en plein air. Travelling in this way is perfect for families and routes can be chosen to cater for all ages and levels of fitness - from a short ramble through the villages to more demanding multi-day treks. All these trips are organised privately for each family and lead by a highly experienced Berber mountain guide, often born and raised in these mountains.
6. Mixing with the meerkats on the Makgadikgadi Pans
The Makgadikgadi Pan is an ancient (now dry) lake that existed in what’s now the Kalahari Desert in Botswana. This vast area larger in size than Switzerland attracts herds of wildlife during the brief rainy season including zebra, wildebeest and antelope but for most of the year this is a harsh, dry environment where only a few of the best adapted creatures reside. As luck would have it, one of these creatures is a firm favourite with families and children - the meerkat. Here you will find colonies of habituated meerkats who are more than happy to sit on your head as a way of extending their line of site. An unforgettable experience for all the family to remember for years to come.
7. Chimpanzee trekking in Tanzania’s Mahale Mountains
The breathtaking Mahale Mountains lie on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika in the far west of Tanzania, and are home to the Tongwe people and a few hundred wild chimpanzees. Chimp trekking is quite unlike any of the more traditional forms of safari. Here you are on your feet throughout and in an awe-inspiring forest that bares no resemblance to anything else in the Tanzanian wild. These chimpanzees are habituated animals, entirely oblivious to the presence of humans. They will feed, play and fight sometimes within a few feet of you and your family.
8. Swimming with rays and giant turtles on the Madagascar coast
Madagascar’s coastline is teeming with marine life, from the humpbacks that migrate south in August and September to whale sharks that appear in December. Nothing can compare with the sight of breaching humpack whales close to your boat ! Children will be mesmerized by the chance to swim or snorkel with ghost-like manta rays or giant green turtles while everyone will relish the chance to relax on pristine white sandy beaches, enjoy the local seafood and cool off in calm turquoise waters. There are also many great diving opportunities around some of the small islands here which may suit some of the adults or older children in your family.
Posted by: Admin