South Africa wildlife vacations for families
THE CONSERVATIONISTS OF TOMORROW
Wildlife watching en famille is a dream in South Africa, because there are superb companies that fully understand that children not only love animals, but they are also the conservationists of tomorrow. Instead of patronising them, they teach and inspire them. Instead of keeping children at arms’ length, they invite them to roll up their sleeves and immerse themselves fully in conservation projects. Wildlife vacations are wonderfully bonding for families and they don’t have to cost the earth.
ACTIVITIES FOR FAMILIES IN SOUTH AFRICA
WHAT TO DO WITH LITTLE ONES
There are few places that segue from safari to seaside so smoothly as South Africa, with Addo National Park stretching out to penguin packed islands, or where whales and dolphins dance in front of your eyes. The Kwa Zulu Natal coast is similarly stunning but less well known, but you can also go turtle watching here, or canoeing through the briny wetlands, where elephants come down to the water’s edge to drink.
Vervet monkeys are everywhere in South Africa but many get abused, taken in as pets and then neglected or simply orphaned. On volunteering vacations you can support these sanctuaries and their gorgeous guests, working to their eventual re-release back into the wild.
They are a great value way to visit the country, learn about conservation and also have an experience of a lifetime. Be prepared to work though – monkeys need a lot of attention!
There is nothing like sleeping under canvas when wildlife watching in South Africa, and there are plenty of places on offer, from Kruger to uMkhuze Game Reserve , where you can wake up to one of the best dawn choruses in the country. By camping you can also really get a digital detox, so that young and old can switch off from daily life and get switched on again by nature.
Wildlife vacations advice for families
responsible travel asks the experts
Anne Smellie from our supplier of family wildlife volunteering vacations in South Africa, Oyster Worldwide: “Be prepared to get stuck in and work. You aren’t there to lie on a beach, but to get actively involved in the project – all of you. But at other times it is good to be proactive too, For example, we have had families organise a sports day in a local school before. So just getting stuck into local life really is a good thing. Or bring an instrument with you if you play one, so everyone can have a sing song. Just think of things that can be bonding experiences that transcend language, such as sports, music and games.”