We used to think we could design family safaris really well, until a few of us had kids, and then...we realised we could design them really, really, well. A family holiday is truly a work of art and not always easy to pull off. You have a group of people of varying ages, different interests, different sexes and their own individual opinions...and you have to ensure that they are all happy!
Thankfully the natural world is an area that never ceases to inspire interest in people of all ages, opinions and persuasions; there is something to engage everyone whether it be marvelling at a dung beetle as it rolls its merry way through the African dust, reaching the summit of Maccu Piccu, or tracking the tigers of India. The natural world is our niche and it provides the ultimate playground for families of all backgrounds.
As the world has become more accessible this has meant remote places that were once unlikely to welcome families as their clients are now at the top of the list. There is a whole new world out there for families to explore and right here we hope to open your eyes to some of the great new family opportunities…
The key to Kenya is accessing some of the private concessions and conservancies. These regions only permit a limited number of properties to be built and have strict regulations on number of vehicles allowed on wildlife sightings at any one time. This automatically increases the quality of your family adventure and ensures you are not sitting in a queue waiting for your glimpse of a lion in long grass. With only a few lodges in each private conservancy, you are guaranteed a quality experience and with these conservancies now bedded in more than ever, the resident game often beats that in the Masai Mara itself.It’s an oldie but a goodie. We used to not be huge fans of Kenya as we felt it was too mainstream for us. Over the last 4 or 5 years however we have to say we have been convinced otherwise; if you know where to go then you can avoid the crowds, enjoy some spectacular wildlife sightings and access some of the most pristine wilderness areas left on the African continent.
2. Galapagos Islands
Where better to get up close and personal to wildlife than the Galapagos Islands! With some of the most at ease wildlife on our planet, the Galapagos Islands offer that perfect educative experience for families with children. The boats in the Galapagos Islands all run on a set departure basis and with some of these being dedicated to purely family bookings, this is a great way to meet other families both for the parents and the children alike. If this is not your style, then we also cater to individual family requirements on private departures making for the perfect Galapagos adventure. Whilst the wildlife of the Galapagos Islands is the main draw, there are also plenty of other activities to keep everyone happy with snorkelling, diving and kayaking offering you alternative means to explore.
Great value for money, great fun and a huge amount to see! Borneo is an ideal family holiday destination with a variety of wildlife from swinging orang-utans, colourful birdlife, howling gibbons, lumbering elephants and lazy beaches. Aside from the wildlife we offer exclusive access to Miki’s Survival Camp where you spend the night as a family learning local survival techniques such as how to use a blowpipe, making bamboo chairs and camping out in the jungle! From jungle lodges to some of the best snorkelling and diving in the world, Borneo is a must for any family adventure.
4. South Africa
One of our more mainstream destinations, South Africa still has a huge amount to offer for those families wanting to get away from it all. From the city lights and atmospheric Cape Town, the winelands, whale watching and of course the Big Five, South Africa has it all…except perhaps, for great beaches. When it comes to beaches, it is probably best to give South Africa a miss and head to neighbouring Madagascar, Mozambique or the Seychelles. For value for money, diversity and a similar timeline to that of the UK however, then South Africa is hard to beat.
Not somewhere that one at first considers for family holidays, however Alaska and Canada offer some great opportunities to get away from it all and enjoy each other’s company. One of the last remaining true wildernesses the outbacks of Alaska and Canada offer an array of grizzly bears, heli-skiing, fly fishing, wilderness trekking, polar bear watching and more. From luxury all inclusive lodges such as Ultima Thule Lodge and Clayoquot Wilderness, to wilderness camps, expedition ships and Arctic camping, these destinations offer a truly once in a lifetime experience.
6. Costa Rica
If you want good value for money, wildlife and beaches, then Costa Rica must be considered. Costa Rica was almost invented as the ultimate family playground. From tree top lodges, volcanic peaks, cloud forests and zip lines to white water rafting, horse riding and surfing, you won’t get bored and with some of the most incredible wildlife and nature experiences, you are guaranteed to come away having learnt something new.
Wildlife is not the only attraction to the Red Island, with tropical waters and pristine beaches, Madagascar also offers some great beach relaxation and staying at either Princesse Bora Lodge or Anjajavy, you will not be disappointed.One of our favourites, so maybe we are slightly biased?! Everything about a Madagascar holiday conjures up a world of discovery and excitement; this tropical island knows no bounds and has endless surprises in store. Weird and wonderful wildlife from cyanide eating bamboo lemurs, panther chameleons, geckos that look like leaves, and whales breaching off the coastline, if your kids want to get up close and personal and experience something truly different then this is the island to visit.
School holidays are a fabulous time to take the family away on those once-in-a-lifetime adventures. Below we have detailed some of the best places to explore with your children during their breaks from education for Easter, summer and Christmas holidays.
Track the Gorillas in Rwanda & Uganda
The kids have to be 15 years or older but this is a trip that will not be forgotten. It is also the rainy season, however due to the overcast conditions this is one of the best times for photography.
Tiger Safaris in India
The best months to track tigers in the wild through the forests of India. As the temperatures rise, the long grass dies back, the water sources are limited and the movements of the tigers are easier to predict making for ideal viewing conditions. To date we have only ever had one client that has travelled with us that was not successful in successfully seeing tigers in the wild!
Polar Bear Mothers & Newborn Cubs
There is a period of two weeks in the month of March when if you are lucky, you can see polar bear mothers and newborn cubs emerging from their dens. This is truly once in a lifetime experience but one well worth investing in.
Kenya and Tanzania for the Great Migration
One of the most mesmerising wildlife spectacles you will ever see. Whilst July and August are great months, if you can stretch it then visit during the month of September as it gets quieter and quality and exclusivity of sightings therefore improves.
Big Cats of Brazil
These summer months provide the peak times for spotting the elusive jaguar venturing through the wetlands of the Pantanal. As temperatures increase and water sources diminish, these big cats make their way down to the riverbanks in pursuit of their prey…
A good time to visit but as long as you avoid September (when all the boats are in dry dock), you can pretty much visit all year round!
The Polar Bears of Svalbard
These are the months if you want to explore the frozen north. As the season progresses the ice melts and you can make further progress round the Spitsbergen archipelago and even in the later months attempt a circumnavigation. Our personal preference however are the months of June through to early August as the white snow covered backgrounds make for ideal photography especially when coming across the King of the Arctic.
Tropical Costa Rica
These are some of the driest months of the year making for great exploration and also the arrival of humpback whales to mate in the waters off the coast.
Botswana Shoulder season
Botswana is one of the most expensive safari destinations on the African continent and therefore if you can’t afford peak season, go during these months! December is especially good with great savings, great sightings and often only the odd afternoon shower to deal with. This is a great opportunity for families to enjoy some of the best game viewing and private concessions on the African continent.
The Frozen South
Head to Antarctica aboard one of a selection of ships we offer. This is a once in a lifetime adventure. Temperatures are slightly warmer and you have more daylight hours making this a popular time to visit. On top of this you also have the penguin hatching season, the emerging seal pups attempting their first steps, and the start of the whale watching season towards the end of January.