Splash out on a self-contained African adventure, writes Katie McGonagle.
There are lots of predictions out there for which trends might see an upswing in post-coronavirus travel, and one of the common factors for choosing holidays in the near future seems to be a desire for self-contained escapes.
From villa holidays to self-drive breaks, the theme running throughout is that clients want to travel, but in a way that ensures they can keep their distance from those outside their immediate circle of family or friends.
Operators have responded accordingly with new products dedicated to keeping travellers comfortable, while still giving them the full holiday experience they are seeking. This might come at extra cost, but for those who’ve missed out on their family holiday this summer, putting the money they’ve saved this year towards an adventure they feel confident in booking seems like a worthwhile trade-off.
“If parents have fond memories of their safari-beach honeymoon, why not send their brood on family-friendly game drives to spots lions, elephants and giraffes?”
With more time to plan, clients will be looking for something that goes above and beyond their usual sun-and-sea beach break, so why not suggest a trip that introduces their kids to new landscapes, wildlife and cultures they might not have experienced before?
If parents have fond memories of their safari-beach honeymoon, why not send their brood on family-friendly game drives to spots lions, elephants, giraffes and more? Or if they fell in love with the Arabian-influenced culture of North Africa on a pre-baby break, why not encourage them to explore those ancient landscapes with the kids in tow this time?
Nothing beats the stillness of the Masai Mara just as light begins to break and wildlife starts to stir, or the sight of a majestic bull elephant framed perfectly by the misty backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro in Amboseli National Park. If couples were swayed by a honeymoon at one of Kenya’s incredible reserves, why not recreate that sense of wonder in their little ones with a safari stay elsewhere?
Finding a family safari might feel like a challenge, with factors such as malaria-free parks and child-friendly accommodation to take into account, but opt for a pre-planned family itinerary and much of that hard work is done for you.
Rainbow Tours has a private Botswana & Victoria Falls Family Safari that dives straight in with some of the region’s most impressive sights. Guests start with viewing Victoria Falls from the Zambia side, with the option of a guided tour of the falls or a visit to a local village school to meet other youngsters, before crossing the border into Botswana. There, they’ll spend two nights in a family chalet in Chobe National Park, where game drives and a boat trip along the Chobe River offer ample chances to see the huge herds of elephants for which this park is famous.
“Guests start with viewing Victoria Falls from the Zambia side, with the option of a guided tour of the falls or a visit to a local village school to meet other youngsters.”
Next, a light aircraft trip to the Okavango Delta means families can mix regular game drives with journeys by mokoro (dugout canoe) and guided walking safaris, looking out for hippos and crocodiles in the water and leopards or buffalo back on land.
Book it: Rainbow Tours’ Botswana & Victoria Falls Family Safari costs from £4,510 for a 10-day trip from December 2020 to March 2021, including all flights and transfers, activities and accommodation with meals.
Marrakech is the ultimate exotic city break – close enough to home for a short-haul flight but far enough to feel like you’re experiencing a different culture, whether wandering its labyrinth-like souks as the call to prayer echoes from its mosques, strolling past its peaceful gardens or staying in one of its traditional riads. North Africa is a relatively easy and affordable way to introduce kids to this diverse continent.
Every primary school child is familiar with the pyramids of ancient Egypt or the legend of the boy-king Tutankhamun, so if parents are trying to inspire interest in home-schooling, suggest bringing those ancient monuments off the page with a trip to see them up-close.
“Visit the Aswan High Dam, Philae Temple and the Valley of the Kings, with highlights including an evening light show at Karnak Temple and a short cruise along the Nile.”
Start in Giza, where the world-famous pyramids and weather-beaten Sphinx can be found, followed by a trip to the new Grand Egyptian Museum or time to appreciate the busy streets of Cairo. Then embark on a tour visiting the Aswan High Dam, Philae Temple and the Valley of the Kings, with highlights including an evening light show at Karnak Temple and a short felucca cruise along the Nile.
Opt for a private land-based tour to give families more flexibility over time spent at each site, and tag on a beach stay on the Red Sea coast for some classic family fun time.
Book it: Exodus Travels offers an Egyptian Family Adventure, available as a group or private journey, from £1,699 for adults and £1,274 for children, including flights, for a departure in May half-term 2021. It includes flights, hotel accommodation, transport including overnight sleeper train to Aswan, and two days in Hurghada.
Like South Africa?
No matter where you go in South Africa, it’s special – from wildlife sightings in the Kruger to wine drinking in Stellenbosch, gorgeous scenery along the Garden Route to city vibes in Cape Town, you can’t help but fall in love with the place. It takes a lot to top it, but if clients have had a taste of the good life here, there are plenty more luxury options to explore elsewhere.
SkySafari offers fly-in safaris in Kenya and Tanzania using its nine-seater Executive-class Cessna Caravan aircraft to transport guests between Elewana Collection properties, offering the ultimate in luxury safari trips. Given current social distancing concerns, it has just added a buyout option so larger groups – particularly family or multigenerational parties – can take all nine seats and create their own luxury safari experience.
“Given current social distancing concerns, it has just added a buyout option so larger groups can take all nine seats and create their own luxury safari experience.”
Its Tanzania itinerary takes in top-selling landmarks including the Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park, giving kids a chance to marvel over sightings of lions, leopards, buffalos, black rhinos, impala, giraffes and more.
Accommodation is at Elewana Arusha Coffee Lodge in a Plantation House set among the coffee bushes, at Elewana Tarangire Treetops where rooms are built into the baobab trees, at coffee estate Elewana The Manor at Ngorongoro, and at either Elewana Serengeti Migration Camp or Elewana Serengeti Pioneer Camp, depending on the area of the migration.
Book it: The seven-night Tanzania Classic costs from $7,294 per person based on a group of nine passengers, including full-board accommodation with drinks, SkySafari flights, transfers and park fees; international flights excluded.