Safari lodges that welcome children under 12
Whilst just about every safari lodge is suitable for older children, children under the age of 12 are not catered for at many lodges and so families do need to make sure that they pick a lodge that will suit the whole family.
There are a large number of lodges that do welcome younger children, but it is worth remembering that all the lodges right across South Africa will not allow children younger than 5 to go on the long adult game drives due to safety reasons - especially when driving into lion and leopard sightings.
Each lodge has their own rules, however, about the age that children can join the adults on a game drive, and you should check exactly what your children will be able to do at your chosen lodge when booking - only finding out when you check in that your 8 year old cannot go out to see the animals can ruin your whole family's time on safari!
A growing number of lodges offer a dedicated children's programme specifically for their younger guests, or at least provide child care/babysitting services if they are too young to join the adults on the game drives. Families with younger children often choose to go to a non-malarial area such as the Eastern Cape, Madikwe or Pilanesberg, or The Waterberg. The Eastern Cape is particularly popular for family safaris as it is the closest major safari area to Cape Town and the Garden Route.
Is it Safe for Children?
Yes. All of the lodges take safety very seriously, particularly where children are involved. Younger children will not usually be allowed to take a room on their own (i.e. without an adult sharing), and they will normally not be allowed to join in with bush walks.
Always make sure you have good sun protection cream and lotion to protect them against insect bites when out on game drives.