a guest blog by Sandy Salle of Hills Africa Travel

One of the greatest concerns travelers have when it comes to international family travel is safety. We often hear from families who would love to travel to Africa but who also have some safety concerns: “Is a safari safe for our family?” “Are health conditions in Africa safe for my family?” “Is traveling to and through Africa safe for my family?”

The answer to all of those questions is yes, Africa is a safe and wonderful place to bring your family. But, as with all destinations outside of your own country, there are obvious safety precautions that should be addressed and looked into prior to departure.

Some of these universal travel concerns include health precautions, language barriers, differing cultures, and unfamiliar governments. With these concerns lingering, it’s important to be educated, and have the right tools to prevent any unexpected emergencies when traveling outside your native country. The enriching and rewarding family experiences far outweigh any of these concerning factors, as all safety precautions are addressed prior to departure.

But two of the most popular safety concerns we receive from clients are in regards to family safari tours and children on safari. Both of these safety concerns are addressed below:

Family Safari Tours:

When embarking on a family safari—or any type of safari for that matter—with a qualified and professional safari provider, you can rest assure knowing you and your loved ones are in excellent hands and completely safe.

Always taking rigorous safety precautions, each guide is armed, and equipped with handheld communication devices and extensive training in proper safety procedures and animal behavior. In fact, professional guides require a minimum of four years of training in the field before they can accompany safari goers on an outing.

Whether taking part in a canoe safari, walking safari, or game drive, professional guides know exactly where to go, what to do in case of any emergency, how far of a distance to keep from animals, and how to protect safari goers if an unexpected situation should arise. Each and every action a professional guide takes is always in the best interest of his or her safari participants.

When choosing a safari provider for your family, it’s important to ensure that the provider only employs guides who have the experience and training to handle any rare and unpredictable situations that could develop. A guide with experience can read a situation and avoid it before it even happens. A good guide develops a feel and instinct for the world around him or her, as they spend thousands of hours in the field.


Children on Safari:

Although some accommodations do require children to be a minimum of 12 years old, others do not have this requirement, and offer activities for nearly every age. Whether you have younger children or late teens, the entire family can enjoy exciting experiences that range from adventurous safaris to Cape Town city tours, horse riding tours on the beach to cultural expeditions with the native Bushmen, and a trip to Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary to elephant back rides. Not to mention, visiting Africa as a family is one of the most rewarding and unforgettable ways to share the experiences of new cultures, fascinating history, and exciting adventures, as an entire family.

And for those families with younger children, children-friendly camps offer a variety of activities for the young ones who aren’t yet of age to participate on a game drive or safari tour. While the children are enjoying bush treasure hunts, bead-making classes, and bedtime stories from traditional African storytellers, parents can relax or partake in an adventurous safari tour.

One of our favorite children’s programs is at Olarro Lodge in Kenya, which offers children ages 6 and up the opportunity to take part in The Olarro Juniors Adventurers Club (OJAC). The club is ran by certified and highly qualified Maasai guides who introduce the kids to animal tracking techniques, survival techniques used in traditional Maasai culture, plant species used for medicinal purposes, and environmentally conscious practices. It’s truly a rewarding experience for all children who take part, and, parents can rest assured knowing that their little ones are in good hands, having fun, and discovering new and exciting things about the environment.


Sandy Salle is a native of Zimbabwe and was born and raised in Southern Africa. She is the Chief Executive Officer of Hills of Africa, a top provider of customized, luxury safari vacations, and is passionate about using her first-hand knowledge of Africa to create the trip of a lifetime for her clients. Currently based state-side in North Carolina, she resides with her husband and two small children.

For more information, read Sandy’s blog: www.livethemagicofafrica.com

visit the Hills of Africa website: www.HillsofAfrica.com

or request additional information at hoainfo@hillsofafrica.com

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".