Travel is so important for everyone to experience, it broadens your mind and for children it is no different. It helps them with their geography allowing them to see the countries and people of the world making it real and not just learning from a book. Experiencing different cultures, languages, food and people opens their minds to being tolerant and understanding the world around them. Safaris help them to appreciate nature and the importance of wildlife, with conservation, preservation and nurturing of the environment very evident in the day to day life of a safari camp.
If you are considering travelling with kids to Zimbabwe there are a few things you will need to consider first. The type of trip will depend on the age of your children, with a majority of camps not allowing children younger than 6 years old. We have found that 8 years is a good age for them to come on safari as they are old enough to appreciate and understand the experience. You will also need to decide what type of visit will suit your family. Are you very active and sitting in a game drive vehicle for 3 – 4 hours will have them, and everyone else, tearing their hair out? You will need to look for places to stay that offer other activities, not just game drives. Most camps will insist that a family has a private vehicle, which is great as this means that if the attention span is failing after 2 hours, you can stop for a quick game of elephant dung cricket to burn some energy or just head back to camp. You will also be able to tailor your game drives to what, you as a family, would like to see and not have to consider the other guests that would normally be sharing your vehicle. Bring a pair of binoculars for every member of the family, even if they are low res for the kids, it will help them study the animals being pointed out, reduce fighting over who has had them for longer and also teach them a new skill. Disposable or cheap cameras are also a fun thing for them to use, providing them with entertainment and memories after the trip.
You need to find the right kind of lodge to stay at, if you know your children thrive on meeting other kids, then a lodge with activities specifically for children and kids clubs is a must. Some camps offer special kid activities like colouring competitions, junior bush walks, bushlore or tracking outings. Usually children under 16 years can’t go on a bush walk, but guides will often take them just around the camp to show them spoor, plants, insects and dung. This suits most children as a 4 hour walk can be way too long!! Village visits are another activity that is very good and most lodges and camps offer these. They get to see how other people live, sometimes with no electricity or running water, and how different cultures live, sleep, cook and dress.
If 3 or 4 nights on safari is too much for the kids, then only do 2 nights and combine your trip with an activity filled destination like Vic Falls, where there are many things for them to do and see. If they are keen on culture then the Great Zimbabwe Ruins is another fun place to visit with its ghost and battle stories to keep them entertained.
There are amazing areas of Zim that can provide you and your children with a life time of memories and some much needed family time away from the hustle and bustle of day to day life. So consider bringing the whole family to Zimbabwe for that never to forget experience.