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What better way to renew and refresh ties than on a family safari in South Africa? Mixing up a long school holiday by taking the family to the bush is an exciting way to escape the busyness of the city and the routines of home. And our four tried and tested simple tips will take your holiday from good to epic!

Have a guide that inspires a love for the wild

With the right guide, the wilderness becomes an endless outdoor classroom to be explored together with some of the most passionate and knowledgeable teachers. Whether out on an adventure in the game vehicle or learning on foot about the language of the bush, a great guide will have everyone engaged on your family safari in South Africa. More than that, this is a guide that inspires a deep appreciation for nature and understanding of why caring for it is vital. These things aren’t measurable, but they will stick with your kids and possibly even shape their lives.

Guide in game drive vehicle looks at a pair of giraffe on family safari in South Africa

Bongani, Stuart and Kyle are some of the best rangers and guides in the business! By finding out the interests of both young and old, these guys share this special part of KwaZulu-Natal in a way that makes the safari experience meaningful for each guest. They are the encyclopedias of the bushveld and by the end of your family safari you will all be a little more fluent in reading the ‘bush newspaper’. When you’re back at camp, sitting around the firepit under the stars, don’t be shy to ask them to share their funny wildlife stories, intriguing folktales and cultural traditions.

Re-energise with healthy and tasty meals

Locally-sourced fresh ingredients and talented kitchen staff are a match made in safari cuisine heaven. Throughout your safari, you can count on healthy and delicious food served with the heartwarming hospitality that South Africans are famous for. Meals are often influenced by modern and traditional local flavours; but alternatives are always offered for those that want something more familiar to them. It’s important to make the lodge aware of any dietary preferences or allergies well before your arrival.

Guests of Rhino River Lodge enjoy breakfast by a pool of water during their family safari in South Africa

Getting up before sunrise for a game drive might not sound appealing to all (or maybe any!) family members. But we promise that the incredible wildlife sightings and golden landscape of Manyoni in the morning makes it absolutely worth it. Of course you won’t be asked to do so without that all-important first cup of coffee or tea.

A midway break involves warm beverages (the grown-ups can enjoy a cup of Amarula coffee), our famous homemade cookies and rusks, and much stretching of legs and arms. The second and last game drive for the day is in the late afternoon and, just before the sun does down, your guide will setup a table of chilled drinks and snacks, like biltong and nuts, to enjoy with the view.

Pack the binocs and books

But even with these stops, kids can become restless in between sightings. It’s a good idea to pack at least one pair of binoculars, some wildlife books and notebooks for them to scribble down or what they’ve seen so far. Alternatively, you can ask for an animal and bird species checklist that can be marked off throughout the game drive. Young budding photographers will be in their element, with plenty opportunities to practice their craft and take home a camera filled with landscape and wildlife snaps.

Cheetah walks in front of game drive vehicle with family on safari

Children under four years’ old are not allowed to go on game drives in Manyoni Private Game Reserve. This is to ensure respect for and safety of all participants – guides and guests alike – on the game drive and the wildlife that you encounter along the way. Our lovely babysitter is trained and experienced in looking after little ones, so you are welcome to book her services before arrival at the lodge.

Choose spacious and private accommodation

Privacy, space and comfort are at the heart of a happy holiday together, and these travel qualities have always been particularly important for family safaris in South Africa and beyond. It gives you the freedom to enjoy the beauty, tranquility and joy in nature together in house that feels like your home-away-from-home, with all the creature comforts and amenities that child-friendly safari accommodation should have.

Swimming pool, wooden deck and loungers at The Homestead that is perfect for private family safaris

We can accommodate four people in our two Family Loft Chalets and The Homestead, and six in our newly renovated Cottage. each with special features like a private boma (Family Loft Chalets) and a pool and deck (The Cottage and Homestead). These are large and spacious for a small family or friend groups that need more privacy and space, which is great for the kids because they can be noisy and let off steam without worrying about other lodge guests. At the main lodge, there is also a pool, garden and comfy indoor lounge. So you’re spoilt for choice!

Our team of lodge staff and rangers are ready to take absolute care of the most important people in your life – your family. Contact us to book your next family holiday in the bush!