A few years ago you started a family and now your angelic toddlers are mobile – they’re teetering on the edge of becoming a preschooler and need to learn about their colourful surrounds. It’s probably been a couple of years since you’ve enjoyed a holiday and now that the kids are bumbling around, it’s time to take them on their first safari.
The wild inspires, enthrals and delights all who encounter its beauty. It’s the perfect holiday option for families to reconnect while being pampered and cocooned in the raw power of nature. And, it’s never to early for children to learn how to respect and love the wild!
The problem is – where do you go on safari with tiny toddlers? Major concerns include babysitting issues, malaria, game drives with youngsters who can’t sit still and staying in child-friendly accommodation. We sent one of our travel consultants, Liselle Raath and her burgeoning family on an expedition to the malaria -free Madikwe Game Reserve in the Greater Kruger to explore two luxurious, family-friendly lodges. And she was only too happy to give us feedback!
The Madikwe Game Reserve is based in the Kruger’s North-West province and is home to the big five, over 300 species of bird and a wealth of big game. Their choice of lodges included Tuningi Safari Lodge and Madikwe Safari Lodge, both of which have exceptional programmes geared towards children and plenty of outlets for adults to pamper themselves.
1. Is there a structured kids programme to keep the tiny tots entertained?
Yes! And there’s loads to keep the little ones entertained.
2. Are children allowed to go on game drives?
Yes, kids over 6 are allowed on game drives. Kids under 6 can do a bumble game drive for an hour after breakfast with their parents.
3. Is there an in-house babysitting service?
Yes. Normally they charge approx. R75 an hour/per child.
4. Is there a high concentration of wildlife in the area?
We had a great wildlife experience overall and saw lion, cheetah, elephant, buffalo, rhino and plains game. In South Africa, it was our second best game viewing after Kruger, but overall the best malaria-free safari experience in South Africa!
5. Are the rooms/suites child-friendly?
Very, yes. We had a 2-bedroom villa at Madikwe Safari Lodge and at Tuningi they have baby cots with mosquito nets and a sleeper couch for kids in the rooms.
6. Do the lodges have menu for kid’s?
Yes – one can expect spaghetti, sandwiches, macaroni & cheese, pizzas and chicken schnitzels. And there was lots of fruit and cereal for breakfast options.
7. What did your children, Levi and Sadi, get up to while they were there?
They loved the swimming pool with all the toys and floating pillows at Madikwe Safari Lodge and also the kids bumble game drives and the array of wildlife colouring books and crayons. At Tuningi there is also bumble drive, a large kiddies entertainment area with LOTS of toys, dolls, cars, blocks, clay, crayons, colouring books….too many things to mention!!
8. Where did you stay while in the Madikwe Game Reserve?
We stayed at Madikwe Safari Lodge and Tuningi Safari Lodge.
9. How did you get there ?
Flew to Johannesburg, rented a car and self-drove. It’s a 4,5 hour drive, but you can also do a private road transfer from Johannesburg or do a light air transfer with Fed Air.
10. What would you do differently next time?
We hope you enjoyed our travel consultant chat with Liselle. If you’re thinking of a Kruger family safari, the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve in the Greater Kruger might just be the option for you.