Where to go with young family- Africa?
Replies: 16 - Last Post: Oct 17, 2013 11:25 AM Last Post By: salimu
Feb 5, 2013 8:53 AM
Where to go with young family- Africa?Hi guys and girls!
My husband and I are hoping to plan a trip to Africa next spring (2014) with our 3-year old (to be next spring) and our new baby who will be about 8 months. I'm wondering if anyone has experience or recommendations travelling with very young children in Africa. I know this is a very broad region- we are thinking Namibia, Mozambique or Zimbabwe. My primary concerns are the health and safety of our young children. Our main goal is to see wildlife while we are there and explore any other natural wonders. We put off our dream of visiting Africa together this year, but we're very excited to go soon if we can!! Recommendations please :)
Feb 5, 2013 8:17 PM
1You haven't picked the easiest / safest places to visit in this region. I've been to Zimbabwe ages ago, but thought it was now unsafe? To see Namibia you need to be prepared for very long drives. My kids would probably enjoy the scenery, wildlife and sports now (at aged 5 and 8), but it would have been quite tedious with a baby and a 3 year old.
I don't know Mozambique, but have known people who have gone there. Both there and in Namibia (and probably Zimbabwe) you really need to think about what risks you are exposing your kids to. While there is a good chance you'll have no problems, the risks are real and you need to accept whether you are comfortable with them. Malaria for example - I was never happy to put my kids on anti-malarials at this age. For one, I never saw the point since these places could be visited when they were older and had more robust systems (there are plenty of exciting, adventurous but safer places to go). Also, my younger child is very difficult to get medicine into. But, many people don't have those concerns.. Another big issue is that you'll certainly find yourself far from good medical care at times. While you could get evacuation insurance, evacuation also takes time (I know from personal experience), and things can go wrong very quickly with young kids. It's scary having a sick child and know that you have to move them to get help (I live and work in Asia so have some experience with this).
If you really want to go to Africa, I'd go for the places that have better infrastructure. Or, why not somewhere in Asia or the middle east?
Feb 8, 2013 9:36 AM
2I am not sure if you are dead set on those countries, but if you are open to alternatives I would look at Tanzania. We took are four year old daughter on a trip through Tanzania (along with Malawi, Zambia and South Africa) and found it to be very easy to travel through as the infrastructure is pretty good.
There are many animal parks. You can choose to travel through the very popular "Northern Cicuit" to include the Serangetti or the less popular yet equally interesting Southern Circuit to include Selous NP, or choose your route.
As the infrastructure (IMO) is better than some of their Eastern African neighbors there is also the opportunity to travel through some of the less visited (by Western TRAVELERS) regions.
We had a great time and would definately recommend Tanzania as a country for young and adventurous families.
Feb 8, 2013 9:38 AM
3Thanks for the reply! Looks like there isn't a ton of discussion on this forum. I realize that I'm not interested in the easiest/safest places. I think Zimbabwe's fairly safe, despite the media attention it gets. My husband was there only 2 years ago, and he found it perfectly safe, safer even than Joberg. Of course the kids' health and safety is my primary concern, hence my researching different options. We're looking at all our options, but we are most interested in visiting Africa! Thanks again for your reply :)
Feb 8, 2013 9:43 AM
4Thanks so much Bluecat Run for your advice!! I was researching this morning, and Tanzania came up on. It's actually quite high on the list, just didn't write it in my initial quick post. Great to hear from other families who are willing to stay adventurous with kids :)
Feb 8, 2013 10:10 AM
5I apologize that I didn't include this earlier BlueCat Run, but it seems like you covered a lot of ground. Highlights and must-do recommendations from your trip? How long did it take you to visit and did you find you had enough time? We are thinking about 3-4 weeks in Africa, and a stopover in Europe to break up the long flight.
Feb 8, 2013 3:59 PM
6I am glad to see families take the plunge and travel to Africa, with some planning it certainly will be a wonderful experience. Having kids makes traveling so much richer and interesting as you meet people you would normally never meet. Its awesome!!!!
Here are a few of our highlights/tips:
If you fly through London and have less than 24 hours, I would recomend that you look at Yotel (a hotel in the airport that you pay for by the hour). It made a huge difference for us to have ashower and a rest before our next leg of the trip.
- Zanzibar: yes it is touristy, but nothing beats jet lag like a few days enjoying the beach.
- Lushoto in the Usambara mountains: a town in the mountains, great cultural experience
- Tazara train: from Dar to Mbeya (you go right through Selous NP.) We saw giraffs, elephants and lots of baboons. Really enjoyed staying overnight on the train.
- Livingstonia: Mushroom farm
- Nkota Bay (Mayorka Village)
Feb 8, 2013 8:51 PM
Feb 9, 2013 7:28 AM
8One more suggestion if you happen to go to Zambia.
We really enjpyed our time in the South Luanga National Park. We stayed at Flatdogs in one of their lovely chalets (a nice treat for everyone). Everyone at Flatdogs was very kind and accomodating and we saw a wide variety of animals including that walked right by our bedroom window.
One general suggestion for your trip is take things slow, Try to spend 3 to 4+ days in each location. Try to minimize travel times to 3-5 hours between locations for most segments. It makes all the difference.
Feb 12, 2013 11:11 AM
9the areas you are looking to visit are fantastic. We've gone through all of southern africa (and kenya on a later occassion).
I am considering popping down the RSA for a month and a bit with our six month old. And that is as far as I am comfortable (I am an Africa expert, but baby novice....).
If you are certain that this is what you want, you could consider Malawi and the most eastern Zambia. As bluecat said, south luangwa is fantastic, as is flatdogs. And Malawi is probably the friendliest country in the region. This way you can combine safari i Zambia, a bit of safari in Malawi and then stay by lake Malawi for a while and relax.
What do you intend to do about malaria - that and traffic risks should be your main concern.
Let me know if you want ideas on the other countries, or look through our blog.... http://ekspeditionafrika2008.blogspot.dk/2008_10_01_archive.html
Feb 16, 2013 3:03 PM
Feb 18, 2013 1:32 AM
11I'm sorry for hijacking your thread - but where in RSA?
We are seriously considering going there in july/august with the son - but am still worried about malaria, even if the risk is low around Hoedspruit where we initially intended to go.
Alternatively I am considering where else to go. It would be cool that it is a bit rustic, but with medical help near by....
Feb 28, 2013 2:28 PM
12Don't forget to get typhoid vaccination, yellow fever, measles and mumps. Malaria is endemic in Africa. Also, don't forget the drinking water must be purified/treated.
Sep 14, 2013 10:39 AM
13Sorry if I'm posting this twice, trying to remember how this site works. Been busy these last few months, haven't had time to log on (had a baby, went on a trip, and renovated our house). We're heading to a private game reserve near Kuruman, then going to drive up to Kruger to see the Big 5. If it's safe that is. Going to do my research, it's crunch time. My husband seems to think it's perfectly safe, but I just can't take his word for it when it comes to our babies.
Sep 14, 2013 10:53 AM
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