At Madikwe Safari Lodge, many of us have kids of our own, so we know and understand what an unforgettable experience it is for children to be in the bush. We therefore encourage you to bring your little ones with you on safari. We do, however, know that it’s daunting to do this for the first time, so we thought we’d give you some information to help you plan…
Let us know what you and your kids like to eat and we’ll do our best to accommodate your requirements with healthy, tasty food and snacks. We try to use as much locally grown produce as we can, because it just tastes better. We can’t promise though that a few marshmallows won’t find their way into the boma dinner menu to be toasted and enjoyed around the fire.
We’ve got two large family suites in Lelapa Lodge (Lelapa is Tswana for family) which are perfect for families with up to two children, ten years old and under. Each suite has twin beds and a comfortable sleeper-couch. The suites all have their own pools, which keep little ones busy during the middle of the day when we don’t have wildlife activities. The pools can be covered with pool nets to ensure safety outside of swimming times.
We’ve got a whole array of activities for you and your family to choose from. You can opt for as many or few as you feel like; the choice is yours. These are some of the activities we offer:
Adult safari drives are available to all children who are 6 years and older. Open safari vehicles are used.
Family safari drives are available to all children between 2 and 6 years old. Open safari vehicles are used. These drives are offered just after breakfast so as not to rush the wakeup process, and where possible we try and give each family their own vehicle for this game drive. Although we don’t approach or go into lion or elephant sighting areas, for safety reasons, it is an exciting opportunity for the kids to go out with their parents into the bush and enjoy seeing so many incredible animals.
Bush orientation entails a number of fun and interesting bush skill activities, for example learning which tree to use to make a toothbrush or which trees have edible properties. Kids will also learn how to find their direction in the bush, make fire and find water.
Bug CSI is offered by your field ranger, who takes the kids around the lodge area identifying the different bugs, tracks and interesting plants and writing up a list of everything that was seen and identified. The Lodge provides notebooks for sketching and writing which can then be taken home as a souvenir.
Dung tracking introduces your kids to the important role this plays in animal tracking and being a game ranger. Different animal dung will be identified during a drive and the kids will get to learn about the animals’ diets and other understandable behaviour patterns that can be read from their dung. Notebooks are provided which allows kids to mark off each spoor that they identify.
Track pack with plaster of paris, where kids make moulds of animal tracks found whilst on the family’s safari drive. They will be collected a little later when they have dried.
Painting/drawing/colouring in, a range of options that we try and make relevant to what was seen on the drives during your stay. These can be included in the notebook so that the memories the kids take home can be enjoyed by everyone.
Washing the safari vehicle with their ranger – getting wet and muddy is all part of the fun for some children. So if your kids like to feel the squelch of mud between their toes, we’re more than happy for them to help the rangers wash the open safari vehicles after a drive.
Baking in the kitchen gets the kids into the kitchen to try out their culinary prowess. They’ll get to decorate their own chef’s hat with coloured crayons, make and cut cookies and then decorate them with all sorts of exciting goodies. The cookies are enjoyed at lunch/tea time.
Making pizzas in the new pizza oven in the boma. The process starts with making the dough and ends with a lovely hot pizza being served for lunch/tea. Note that the oven is only operated by the Lodge staff so as to ensure the safety of the little chefs.
Soccer in the boma is a great way to burn off some of the boundless energy. This activity is not sponsored by FIFA, so if the parents prefer, we can also teach a little ‘non-contact’ rugby (one of South Africa’s national sports) or volleyball.
Our galaxy can be viewed from all the open wooden viewing decks. Either before or after dinner, your field ranger can arrange for a little show and tell about the stars and constellations that appear in our Southern hemisphere.
Games night / afternoon allows you and your kids to engage with other families by challenging them to a friendly games competition. We have a wide selection of board and card games. We provide drinks (cocktails for the parents) and snacks for this. In summer, this is a fun thing to do on the outdoor deck, and in winter around a roaring fire.
DVD’s with homemade popcorn for when the weather is really, really bad, which is a rarity.
All of the above activities will be hosted by our managers, so if you wish to slip away for a little R&R you can do this knowing you won’t be missed because your little ones are in excellent hands!
We understand that family holidays can be expensive, so we don’t charge for kids six years old or younger. We also don’t charge additional costs for any of the activities listed above (however there are a few basic terms and conditions that apply to this offer).
For everyone’s safety and best interests, there are a few rules that you need to be aware of, and comply with. But we are confident that these will not take anything away from an incredible safari experience for the entire family.
No walks for kids under 16 years of age;
Unfortunately no safari drives for kids under the age of two years and kids between two and six are only allowed on the late morning family safari drives;
The family safari drives for ages two and older depart at 11:00 in winter and 10:00 in summer with duration of approximately two hours;
Family safaris will not be taken into close sightings of lion and elephant;
Families who book a private vehicle can go on safari drives anytime. However, there is a surcharge for this and this vehicle is subject to availability;
Please feel free to contact us if you have any specific questions, as the more information we get before your arrival, the better prepared we will be for you and your family.
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