Family safaris have become increasingly popular among travellers seeking adventure. South Africa boasts many safari lodges that cater to families, but some stand out more than others. Here are our top 5 family safari lodges to visit in South Africa.
1. &Beyond Ngala Safari Lodge, Ngala Private Reserve
This timeless lodge is situated on a private concession within the renowned Kruger National Park, offering exclusive traversing rights on 14,700 hectares of wilderness land.
At Ngala Safari Lodge, you’ll enjoy some of the world’s most incredible Big Five wildlife encounters, led by an expert andBeyond-trained ranger and tracker teams. With sensitive off-roading practices in place, you can get up close and personal with elephants, buffalos, rhinos, lions, leopards, hyenas, giraffes, and more. And with 20 classic thatched cottages, including three family cottages and a spacious family suite, there’s room for everyone to experience the magic of the African safari.
Each spacious and classic ensuite cottage at Ngala Safari Lodge exudes a romantic ambience with nostalgic safari memorabilia throughout. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows make the most of sunny safari days, and a private veranda offers the perfect setting for intimate dinners. Family cottages can accommodate two adults and two children. In contrast, the gracious family suite accommodates four guests and includes access to a private swimming pool and the use of a private vehicle.
The lodge’s swimming pool and sundeck overlook a natural riverine woodland, ideal for avid birdwatchers. At the same time, a tranquil massage sala and a well-equipped fitness room can be enjoyed in between game drives. Dinners are set in a candlelit courtyard or showcased as an African feast in the open-air boma.
And suppose you’re looking for even more adventure. In that case, Ngala Safari Lodge offers a variety of activities such as twice-daily game drives with intimate wildlife encounters, interpretive bush walks, a rhino-notching conservation experience, or even a tailor-made private safari suited to your needs.
Rates start from R 10 365 per person per night.
Also Read: Family-friendly food pairings in Cape Town
2. Jaci’s Safari Lodge, Madikwe Game Reserve
Jaci’s Lodge has an excellent location, friendly staff, various rooms, a wildlife hideout, and more. The Nare suite accommodates six people and comes with its own game vehicle and ranger, making it perfect for families with young children.
Kids receive Jaci’s pups club goodies bags to learn about wildlife, and they can enjoy baking in the kitchen. The wildlife hideout in the adjacent Jaci’s Tree Lodge is open 24/7 and home to a resident croc and abundant wildlife. Jaci’s Safari Lodge is also a National Geographic Unique Lodge, which guarantees exceptional and inspiring experiences, a unique character, and a commitment to conservation and green operations.
3. Bush & Fynbos Villas, Gondwana Game Reserve
Gondwana Game Reserve is a luxury safari destination on South Africa’s Garden Route, less than a four-hour drive from Cape Town International Airport.
The reserve covers 11,000 hectares and offers a distinctive free-roaming, Big 5 safari experience. Guests can choose from various accommodation options, including stand-alone safari suites, bush villas, Kwena Lodge, Tented Eco Camp, Ulubisi House, and exclusive glamping getaways. The reserve provides world-class tourist facilities and attractions on its doorstep, including championship golf courses, great swimming and surfing beaches, and attractive coastal towns. Activities on offer include game drives, mountain biking, guided bush walks, and conservation activities. Gondwana Game Reserve also offers a fun Junior Ranger Program for Children.
4. Royal Malewane Africa House, Thornybush Game Reserve
Located within the Thornybush Private Game Reserve, the Africa House is approximately an hour from the Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport. This exclusive villa provides a self-contained space that sleeps up to 12 guests and was specifically built for families or small groups wanting to spend quality time together.
Guests at the Africa House can enjoy all the amenities of the main lodge, including access to a private chef and butler. The villa is beautifully decorated and provides stunning views of the surrounding landscape. You can relax in the welcoming dining room, lounge, or verandah, perfect for relaxation, dining, and socializing.
In addition to world-class hospitality, the Royal Malewane also offers exciting safari drives that take place in the early mornings and late afternoons. During these drives, you’ll have the chance to see magnificent animals, including the ‘Big Five,’ and over 500 species of birds.
5. Riverdene Family Safari Lodge, Shamwari Private Game Reserve
Shamwari Private Game Reserve, situated in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province, is a renowned safari and holiday destination that showcases the Big Five. The reserve is free from malaria and offers several lodges, including three catering to families travelling with children.
In addition to its proximity to the Garden Route, Shamwari offers incredible wildlife experiences, ranging from game drives to walking safaris. Children as young as four years old can join game drives.
Conservation is fundamental to the reserve, and guests are educated on its conservation initiatives. The Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and Born Free Big Cat Sanctuaries are must-see attractions at Shamwari.
Shamwari also features a specialized program, Kids on Safari, for children. It is home to the unique Kids on Safari Adventure Centre, which offers a variety of activities to keep active children entertained, including climbing walls, zip lines, and indoor craft activities. Childminders are also available upon request.
Follow us on social media for more travel news, inspiration, and guides. You can also tag us to be featured.
ALSO READ: Top 10 romantic getaways in KwaZulu Natal