Luxury South African Safari Family Vacations

By: Gillian Meier

Child-friendly safari's are few and far between. There are not many safari reserves in South Africa where families can enjoy an up-market, luxurious African Safari exprience. An exception is the the Kalahari Desert. The Desert invites children and parents to enjoy a safari experience where parents can relax while their children play freely in these mystical surroundings.

A recent survey by American Express's Platinum division found that over 90 percent of its affluent cardholders prefer to travel with their children. This new breed of worldly traveleraged 15 and youngeris accustomed to fine food and designer labels, just like their parents.

While an African Safari vacation appeals to many international travelers, the up-market traveler yearns for a Safari experience that can offer a family a safari vacation that is an embodiment of luxurious comfort and personalized service. This up-market traveler is enticed by resorts that can offer superb quality; that offer assurance of the finest settings and top-quality vacation experiences.

To establish this level of extravagance and lavishness is often easily attainable and there are an abundance of resorts to choose from throughout South Africa. The more demanding challenge however is to discover a luxury safari resort that is also child-friendly.

Unfortunately there are many exclusive and luxurious South African Safari resorts that do not welcome children. When children are permitted to visit the reserves, they often forget how important it is to cater for children. They may not have kid's menus and their idea of accommodating children often means that they sleep on the corner couch. Safari resorts that claim to be kid friendly should go out of their way to create an environment in which the children are entertained and where they can feel welcome and at home.

Another essential consideration when planning an African family safari vacation is to ensure that the game reserve is in a malaria-free area and where there is no need to worry about preventative malaria medication for the parents or the little ones.

Family vacations will never be the same after visiting the Kalahari Desert. Released from the cooped up confines of urban environments, boys and girls will relish in the delight of open spaces of the African bush; sliding down the red sand dunes, coming into contact with wild animals on the game drives or on horseback safaris, and being able to meet their friends from Meerkat Manor in real life. And while the children enjoy these new South African Safari experiences, parents are free to relax, knowing that their children are safe, cared for and entertained - while they can kick back and enjoy a truly carefree vacation, maybe do a little stargazing together at night and take a stroll along the Milky Way. With the night-time air so clear and so black in the middle of the Kalahari Desert, stargazing is a truly special and unique bonding experience.

The Kalahari Reserve is also renowned as an excellent place for bird watching with more than 200 species of birds some of them indigenous to the arid zone, found in the varying habitats of the reserve. Raptors and in particular, vultures, are very well represented. The most abundant species are the white-backed vulture and the lappet-faced vulture.

A special treat for children is a hot air balloon ride across the skies looking down on the red desert sand dunes and vast African planes. Of course the most popular activity at an African safari is game watching from the private game viewing vehicle or by horseback trails. A guided walk with an experienced game ranger provides and educational and entertaining experience for the children.

While the children are entertained, the adult can enjoy superior facilities such as the tantalizing tastes of African cuisine and fine wines, a private chef and a luxury spa treatment. Even the youngsters deserve a little pampering after a hard and dusty day of game watching and playing under the African sun.

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