Foster a Love of Wildlife With These Family-Friendly Safaris
If recently released “The Lion King” has you and your brood yearning to witness savannah animals up close, or if you have always dreamed of an all-ages African adventure, these outfitters can make that dream a reality.
The visual effects in the new Lion King movie have been touted for their awe-inspiring ability to bring a digitally-animated animal kingdom to life in a way that has never been done before. If the movie’s African animals and landscapes have inspired you and your family to see the real-life versions, or if you are intent on motivating the next generation of travelers to be more engaged with and educated about wildlife, there’s no better way than to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitats.
Thankfully, more safari outfitters than ever are creating itineraries designed to engage animal lovers of all ages. From a family-friendly safari with a strong focus on spotting beautiful beasts, to a more active adventure that will get everyone in your crew moving, there is an African safari that is right for you and your band of intrepid explorers.
Support lion conservation with andBeyond
Africa expert andBeyond has developed a new Kings of the Jungle itinerary that aligns with Disney’s Protect the Pride campaign in support of the Lion Recovery Fund, a global initiative dedicated to the future of Africa’s lions. For every Kings of the Jungle booking, a donation will be made to the Lion Recovery Fund.
Africa’s lion population has decreased by nearly half over the past 21 years, according to the African Wildlife Foundation, and the lion is regionally extinct in 15 African countries. To help raise awareness about this issue and about African wildlife in general, andBeyond’s 10-day journey takes travelers old and young through the Maasai Mara, Serengeti, and Ngorongoro Crater where they will experience daily game drives.
Guests will stay at andBeyond’s Bateleur Camp in the Maasai Mara plains. The exploration then continues in the western corridor of the Serengeti, known for its dense lion population and for its hippos, where travelers will stay at andBeyond’s Serengeti Under Canvas, a mobile tented camp. During a stay at andBeyond’s Ngorongoro Crater Lodge in Tanzania, travelers will be on the lookout for elephants and rhinos.
Prices start at $10,095 per person, based on double occupancy. Rates for children between the ages of six and 16 start at $5,265 per child, based on double occupancy. Children aged five years and younger will be charged adult rates.
Stay in your own bush house in the Mara with Asilia Africa
Create a customized family safari with a stay in one of three bush houses with Asilia Africa. This intimate experience in Kenya’s Maasai Mara comes complete with a full staff that helps families design their own itinerary at their own pace. Asilia offers three homes—the Mara House, Acacia House, and Topi House (pictured)—that can each accommodate up to six people in three double rooms. The homes have a pool where the whole family can relax and take a dip, and the added privacy allows families to enjoy their stay without worrying about disturbing other travelers. Families of six or more will have their own private vehicle and guide for their morning and evening game drives (and private vehicles can be requested for smaller groups as well). Asilia recommends its family safaris for children aged five and up, although younger children can be accommodated by special arrangement.
For those eager to embark on a more active safari with the family, there is a series of Asilia Adventures, which include multi-day walks across wildlife areas. While these would be too difficult for smaller children, older kids and teens might be up for the challenge, and the Maasailand Walking adventure is a cultural immersion option that is suitable for the whole gang.
Asilia’s bush homes are priced from $322 to $895 per person per night, including meals and activities.
Tanzania with Tauck
Tour outfitter Tauck has an entire portfolio of trips devoted to family travel called Tauck Bridges. Within that portfolio is the 10-day Tauck Bridges Tanzania: A Grand Family Safari trip, intended to immerse safari-going clans in life in the African bush. Families go out on morning and afternoon game drives in open-air safari vehicles for the chance to spot lions, wildebeest, gazelles, and elephants, among other native animals. For an exciting overhead view, the trip includes a private hot air balloon ride over Serengeti National Park. Families will also visit a Maasai community and a local primary school. Accommodations range from cottage-style lodges to the posh Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti.
The recommended age range for children on Tauck’s family tours is between eight and 18, although travelers as young as five can participate in the safari trip. (Kids must be at least eight, however, for the balloon ride.)
Prices start at $7,740 per person, based on double occupancy. Children age 12 and younger get a $500 discount off the adult fare.
Cycle, hike, and soar on Zicasso’s East Africa safari
Luxury travel agency Zicasso has created a Lion King–inspired 11-day family safari called Pride of Africa. The itinerary brings travelers through Tanzania and Kenya in search of lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and Cape buffalo. But it also offers some less typical experiences, including cycling and walking safaris in Hells Gate National Park in Kenya. Travelers will journey to Tanzania’s Olduvai Gorge, the site where fossilized bones have provided the earliest evidence of human life, and to Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa. Families will also have the option to fly high above the Serengeti on a hot air balloon ride. The recommended minimum age for these trips is 12 years old. Prices start at $5,625 per person, based on six people traveling together, with two per room. Children ages 12 to 15, sharing a room with an adult, can expect to be quoted about 30 percent below the adult rate, according to Zicasso.
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