Best African Safari Destinations for Families


If the kids love heading to the zoo, they’re simply going to adore heading out on an African safari! There’s no better place than the African plains for children of any age to learn about conservation while gazing on yawning lions, wallowing hippos, or browsing elephants.

The best African safari destinations for families can offer such experiences day after day.

But beyond their animal attractions, the best family safari destinations in Africa have a host of other advantages to recommend them. Incredibly safe destinations, staff go out of their way to ensure children remain entertained. Many lodges even have special kids’ programs for the youngest safari goers.

With so many potential safari destinations to choose between, finding the best African safari destinations for families can be tricky. That’s why we decided to reveal where you should be considering for your upcoming family vacation to the lands of simba and friends.

Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater


Kick fire the imagination of your family with a stay on the ridges created by an ancient – and now extinct – volcano. One of the Great Rift Valley’s most awe-inspiring sights, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site to boot, the Ngorongoro Crater protects around 25,000 individual animals within its 100 square mile area. This makes it one of the easiest places on the continent to spot must-see creatures from elephants to lions.

Easily combined with a family safari to the Serengeti, which it neighbors, the Ngorongoro Crater also provides fascinating insights into the earliest days of humanity at Olduvai Gorge. Here, evidence of humans thought to date back two million years has been discovered. At the same time, the region’s Maasai pastoralist communities are also welcoming to those interesting in learning about their culture – from where the very name Ngorongoro originates.

Kenya’s Maasai Mara

Maasai Mara

Although it shares the Maasai culture of Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater, Kenya’s Maasai Mara is also distinct enough to deserve its own place on our selection of the best African safari destinations for families.

And here’s why. From infrastructure to its diversity of wildlife, the Maasai Mara rivals any protected area on the continent. Direct flights to Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport are a regular occurrence from many departure countries. But the relatively small size of the Maasai Mara also means driving times in the reserve are reduced – a must for younger children with limited boredom thresholds.

On top of this, the Maasai Mara retains its crown as a Big Five safari destination, meaning it’s possible to catch sight of lion, elephant, leopard, Cape buffalo and rhino on game drives. Nor can the Mara’s vast ungulate herds be ignored, as the region plays host to the annual Great Wildebeest Migration of roughly two million animals.

Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

If your children are hitting their teenage years, you might want to think about switching the traditional safari game drive experience for an even greater adventure. Head to Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and anyone over the age of 15 has the option of tackling a trek in search of mountain gorillas.

Wild but habituated to the presence of humans, the gorilla families you’ll encounter are only separated by greenery and the expert knowledge of the ranger guides which will lead you. For an example of the importance of family, there’s probably no better natural attraction.

Gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is an activity easily combined with vehicle-led safaris in search of the continent’s much-loved animal species. While Queen Elizabeth National Park is perhaps the best African safari destination for families in this grouping, we much prefer recommending the mix of wonders at Murchison Falls National Park. Here you can not only see a long list of animals, but also the River Nile squeezed through the rocks of Fajao Gorge.

Rwanda’s Akagera National Park

Akagera National Park

Rwanda’s Akagera is very much a national park on the rise. The reintroduction of rhinos to its expansive grasslands has made it one of the continent’s newest Big Five safari destinations. But what helps make it one of the best African safari destinations for families is a combination of factors.

For one thing, Rwanda is recognized (along with the other countries on this list) as a safe destination in Africa for international visitors, including those traveling with children. Towns and cities across the country are renowned for their cleanliness, whilst an excellent road infrastructure makes traveling domestically a dream.

What’s more, there’s another chance for that life-changing gorilla encounter at Volcanoes National Park, ensuring that heading to Rwanda doesn’t have to mean missing out on that epic experience.

South Africa’s Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park

Outside of east Africa, South Africa’s Kruger National Park fights Kenya and Rwanda for pole position when it comes to the ease of organization and travel.

Although it may not have any possibility of trekking to mountain gorillas, Kruger’s size means there are plenty of different habitats to explore. And with that comes a whole range of species.

Kruger’s mammal numbers alone come close to 150 species, with favorites including African wild dogs, alongside black and white rhinos. Unlike some other national parks, Kruger is also open for private vehicles, making self-drive excursions a real possibility.

The Best African Safari Destinations for Families: Our Recommendations

Traveling with the whole family can help to cement bonds and create memories everyone can enjoy for years to come. But for a successful family safari, you’ll want to stick to the best African safari destinations for families.

Covering everything the continent has to offer, from Big Five game drives to mountain gorilla encounters and trips to the feet of magnificent waterfalls, traveling with the family doesn’t mean being limited on a choice of destination. Our family picks range from Kenya and Tanzania to Rwanda, Uganda, and South Africa, with further suggestions in our guide to the best place for an African safari.

If we’ve managed to convince you of the glorious nature of a family safari, but you’re not sure what to do next, don’t miss out simple guide to how to book an African safari either.


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