The team at AAC has judged their 5 top family lodges to try out in 2018. Both Travel+Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler have recognized us as a best family safari outfitter and the 5 places we recommend to other families, are also where we take our own as well! These standout properties will put you in the heart of wildlife in Africa, and at the same time cater to family trips with everything from free stays for children to fantastic guides in the bush. Stay at one of these stellar safari lodges and we promise your kids (from ages 8 to 18+) will thank you both now, and when they’re grown.
1. The highest concentration of cheetah in Tanzania can be found at Namiri Plains, consultant Elena Theodosiou’s pick for favorite family property. A three night stay here is ideal and can be woven into a private safari for families very nicely.
She enthuses about the guest tents that look out at the Serengeti horizon, including one specially built for families with two rooms adjoining. And few family evenings can compete with sitting in the pristine outdoor area enjoying the sunset, then sitting around a campfire with an authentic experience of the bush, followed by an excellent meal under the stars.
Client Bill Harker and family enthuse: “Send all your clients to Namiri Plains. Mother lion on a kopje nursing 4 tiny cubs. 6 male lions on a bluff next to camp overlooking a herd of buffalo which they plunder whenever hungry. Saw 19 cheetah in 2 days. Mostly mothers with cubs.”
2. Tswalu, in the malaria-free Kalahari in South Africa, is the top pick of senior consultant Szilvia Hegyi. Among the myriad activities for families are star-gazing under the Kalahari’s diamond skies, horseback riding with equestrian guides, and visiting the families of meerkats (from the Discovery Chanel hit “Meerkat Manor”), a rare sighting and always a big hit with children, says Szilvia.
The room we had was great with a spectacular view of the watering hole which was constantly visited by animals. We had some great animal sightings including the meerkats, cheetahs, black rhino, and wild dogs which was exciting. We did the sleep out which was a real highlight of the trip. So well done and something we will always remember says client Heather Kelley!
3. Mark Nolting, AAC CEO (and dad to two boys), recommends Singita Pamushana in the Malilangwe Private Reserve in Zimbabwe. His family has enjoyed the oasis in the bush with “only one small lodge in a beautiful 136,000 acre reserve with fabulous wildlife. There are day and night game drives, escorted walks with professional guides, and a very high level of food, service, and accommodations, including multi-bedroom suites ideally suited for family groups.”
Client Tom Schenkenberg says “this is one of the best places in the world (in my experience, 61 countries). The villas are fantastic. The people are incredible. The guide, Mark Friend, was amazing.”
4. Mashatu Game Reserve in the Tuli Block of Botswana is home to large herds of elephant, prides of lion, and fabulous cheetah. Mashatu Main Camp, located in a private reserve in southern Botswana, is senior consultants Lynne Glasgow’s and Kyle Witten’s favorite camp for families. The reserve has vast open spaces, beautiful location, and great activities for families, not to mention the inviting swimming pool and family suites. Lynne will typically combine with the sister camp MalaMala in Sabi Sand near Kruger.
Says AAC client Ness Lee: “We thoroughly enjoyed having the private vehicles which gave us options as we were following various animals for as long as we were able to, watch a sunset, skip breakfast and have it “to go” so that we left by 6am, take milky way photos etc. Loved the photographic vehicle at Mashatu and Mala Mala. This made it easy for Steph, Ellie and David to swing across from one side of the vehicle to the other when taking photos with large lenses. The animals were incredible in their natural environment.
5. The Sanctuary at Ol Lentille is located in Laikipia, renowned as the ideal part of Kenya for children and families to safely enjoy the excitement and stimulation of an authentic safari experience. That combined with incredible views, four stunning villas and a private 40,000 acre conservation area is a winning family formula, and highly recommended in an East Africa itinerary by Alison Nolting. The variety of activities at Ol Lentille will really keep your children entertained. Above and beyond the game drives, on offer are walking safaris, quad and mountain biking, camel trekking, horse riding, authentic community experiences and activities in the lodge like archery, croquet and boules.
Review a listing of all our Family Fun Safaris