Top 5 family friendly safari lodges in South Africa

February 13, 2017
family friendly safari lodge

The nostalgia and excitement of safari is magnified ten-fold when children are involved! From the moment you touchdown, you will all be captivated by South Africa’s vast and awe-inspiring scenery, dramatic landscapes and wilderness, making it an ideal first-time family safari destination. We have tracked down the most child-friendly private safari lodges in South Africa to help you plan your next family holiday to South Africa

Little Garonga, Makalali Nature ReserveGaronga_accommodation safari south africa elephant

Why we love it 

Charismatic owner, Bernie Smith, calls it ‘Safari for the Soul’ and there is no doubt that laidback Little Garonga is a place where you can enjoy a little piece of Africa in all her natural beauty! Being set in the private Makalali Nature Reserve, just a stone’s throw away from the renowned Kruger National Park, you won’t have to venture far to see any wildlife… with two watering holes right below the rooms, you may have some friendly visitors coming to say hello!

Best family room  

Little Garonga’s two-bedroomed Hambledon Suite is perfect for families as it comes with a private pool and a separate bathroom for the kids. If you are feeling extra adventurous you can even spend a night in Garonga’s epic treehouse sleep-out deck (at no extra cost) and enjoy a night under the African sky.

Top family activity 

For a more exhilarating safari experience guides provide wilderness walks and tracking adventures. For something a bit different visit the nearby Blyde River Canyon, one of the largest canyons on earth…

little garonga decking

Chitwa Chitwa, Sabi Sands

Why we love it 

Nestled amidst the unspoilt bush in the northern region of the world famous Sabi Sands, is the stunning safari lodge of Chitwa Chitwa. Seamlessly integrated into the surrounding bush, Chitwa provides a perfect eclectic balance of African chic with environmental harmony. Wake up to the sound of the local wildlife, enjoy your morning coffee in front of the visual spectacle that is an African sunrise, before kick-starting your day on the plains in the company of the Big 5- in particular leopards! The feeling of peace and serenity which surrounds the Chitwa Chitwa lodge is the reason we love this place so much…

Best family room

Chitwa Chitwa’s two-bedroomed Charlsy Suite is superb for families. Alternatively for extra privacy stay in Chitwa House, complete with your own private chef and private safari vehicle to go on game drives with your guide and tracker.  

Top family activity 

Go searching for leopards in the Sabi Sands one of the most rewarding regions for spotting leopards in Africa! Head out on an evening game drive when these big cats are most active!

chitwa chitwa family safari south africa

Kwandwe Ecca Lodge, Kwandwe Private Game Reserve

Why we love it 

Nestled in the heart of South Africa’s unspoilt Eastern Cape province lies Kwandwe Ecca Lodge in the Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, a world-class Big Five safari destination in 54 000 hectares of pristine private wilderness. Upon arrival, your little ones will receive ‘Ranger in Training’ backpacks with:

  • Containers for collecting bugs
  • A magnifying glass
  • A booklet for identifying wildlife
  • Craft pack made by a local community centre

On the last day, children are awarded a ‘Ranger in Training’ certificate signed by the game ranger. They can also enjoy daily treasure hunts or the one hour ‘Horns and Stripes’ morning game drive after breakfast (with or without parents) to view non-aggressive animals such as giraffe, zebra, monkeys and warthog.

Best family room

Kwandwe’s contemporary Ecca Lodge welcomes children of all ages so is an ideal option for families with young children! Stay in a family suite or book one of Kwandwe’s sole use private villas and enjoy the luxury of your own guide, tracker, chef and house staff.

Top family activity 

Our top family activity at Kwandwe is the reserve-wide scavenger hunt, on your game drive follow a map and collect clues that have been strategically placed in the reserve- these items are then used in an activity such as learning how to start a fire with flint and kindling or arts and crafts…

kwandwe private game reserve

Tswalu Kalahari, Southern Kalahari Desert

Why we love it 

Set amidst a spectacular landscape of shimmering grasslands and rolling desert dunes, the malaria-free Tswalu Kalahari is situated at the foot of the Korannaberg Mountains in the Southern Kalahari Desert, and yet, is easily accessible from both Johannesburg and Cape Town. Safari takes on a whole new meaning here… you can track Africa’s wildlife on foot, on horseback or in a 4×4 open game vehicle and the game viewing is superb! Spot extraordinary wildlife such as desert black rhino, black-maned Kalahari lions and the curious meerkats!

Best family room 

Stay at the main lodge, The Motse (meaning the ‘village’ in Tswana), in a two-bedroomed Family Suite with ensuite bathrooms, an outside shower with desert views and private sundeck with stunning views of the Kalahari… The Motse also has an outdoor heated swimming pool.

Top family activity 

Experience the thrill of hot air ballooning over the Southern Kalahari, join a walking safari, go rhino monitoring or savour the simpler things in life such as star gazing and sleeping under the Kalahari night sky!   

tswalu safari lodge south africa

Sanctuary Makanyane Safari Lodge

Why we love it 

Located in the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve, on the border with Botswana, Makanyane Safari Lodge is just a 50-minute small aircraft flight away from Johannesburg. Makanyane welcomes children over 12 years of age, so is a great option for families with older children! A family safari holiday here will offer an unforgettable wildlife experience, that will stimulate, educate and entertain young minds whilst promoting a deep respect for the environment.

Best family room 

Children may share their parents’ suites, which can fit up to 2 rollaway beds.

Top family activity 

Trade a jeep for your feet and see the bush from a whole new perspective on a guided bush walk, led by one of the park’s top guides who are brilliantly informative!

Makanyane south africa elephant room view safari sanctuary makanyane safari lodge

Talk to one of our Africa specialists today to book a family safari holiday of a life-time to South Africa! 


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Top 5 family friendly safari lodges in South Africa
We have tracked down the most child-friendly and malaria free private safari lodges in South Africa to help you plan your next family holiday...

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