Dotting the coast of East Africa are; Sky blue waters, pearl white sandy beaches, beautiful tropical lodges, moss covered ruins of the magical archipelagos of Zanzibar and Lamu that welcome you with an everyday smell of spices and mesmerizing tropical beauty.Imagine enjoying a romantic evening cruising on an ancient Arab dhow as you watch the sun set on the beautiful blue coral Zanzibar waters.
When it comes to idyllic island beaches, fun-filled Mauritius and the exclusive private islands of the Seychelles immediately spring to mind. But African beaches are as varied as the enormous continent itself and range from the exotic islands of Mozambique’s Bazaruto and Quirimbas Archipelagos to the sandy white shores bordering freshwater Lake Malawi. And did you know that classic safari destinations like Kenya and Tanzania have mile after mile of unspoilt beaches as well as culture-crammed islands?
Family beach holidays and active beach holidays are also well-catered for in Africa (Bazaruto in Mozambique is particularly good for both), and you’ll find family-friendly accommodation, dedicated kids clubs, next-door golf courses, safe swimming and some of the best diving and fishing in the world.
Speak to one of our Safari Experts for more African beach holiday ideas – they can also easily combine a beach vacation with a safari for the ultimate African holiday.
East Africa: Uganda, Kenya, Zanzibar& Tanzania
East Africa offers classic big 5 animals in breath-taking abundance; Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania deliver excellent family safaris. And they’ve been doing it for years: there’s plenty of family-friendly accommodation to choose from and many lodges offer superb children’s safari activities and child-minding services while you’re out on game drives or if you fancy catching up on a siesta. East African countries are big and often lacking in infrastructure – spending hours on the road with a young family in tow can be challenging- We’d advise going for fly-in options.
Not forgetting the exotic spice islands of Zanzibar situated at the coast of Tanzania in the Indian Ocean. From the East to the North you will find extended powdery white beaches, fringed by coconut palms and sun-baked villages lapped by the turquoise sea perfect for a relaxing family holiday.
Indian Ocean: Mauritius, the Seychelles & Mozambique islands
All children love a beach holiday and our warm-water, white-sand African beaches won’t let them down but it’s your holiday too so we’ve selected easy-to-get-to destinations with plenty of activities for adults as well. Mauritius; with its extensive range of water sports and top dive sites plus world-class golf courses, the beautifulSeychelles with its exclusive superlative scuba diving and snorkelling. Closer to the mainland, Mozambique’s equally appealing Bazaruto and Quirimbas Archipelagos are also home to excellent diving and snorkelling plus many water sports.
Southern Africa: Namibia, Malawi, Botswana & Victoria Falls
Southern Africa’s heavyweight safari destinations offer once-in-a-lifetime holidays for adventurous families. Namibia has plenty of big animals too, principally in Etosha National Park, but your children will also love the massive sand dunes of the Namib Desert and unlike Botswana, Namibia is an easy self-drive destination as well.
Botswana is all about the wildlife, and as one of Africa’s best game viewing destinations, you and your family won’t be disappointed with what this safe and easy-travelling country has to offer. It’s also easy to pop across the border to Victoria Falls where Africa’s greatest array of adrenalin adventures await – white-water rafting, bungee jumping, elephant-back safaris and canoeing are among the most popular.
A beach holiday in a landlocked country? Absolutely! But visitors to Malawi won’t find the high rises, soulless resorts or crowded beaches of more mainstream beach holiday destinations; a Malawi holiday will take you instead to footprint-free stretches of sand and deserted tree-covered islands where you can laze on your sundeck accompanied only by the cry of a fish eagle.
South Africa: Cape Town, the Garden Route, Eastern Cape, Madikwe, the Kruger Park & Sun City
It’s hard to find an African country more suited to family holidays than South Africa. Home to everyone’s favourite city Cape Town and the world-famous Kruger National Park, modern and smooth-running South Africa also offers malaria-free Big 5 safaris in the Eastern Cape and Madikwe while the scenic and adventure-filled Garden Route has been delivering faultless family holidays for generations. The family piece de resistance however is Sun City, a got-it-all resort that delivers non-stop family fun, championship golf courses and Big 5 safaris as well as baby sitters and kids clubs so you can take a break too! Perfect for a self-drive holiday, South Africa’s various destinations are easily combined and our itineraries ensure all the highlights are included.
The family-friendly nature of an African vacation often surprises visitors but it pays to be prepared before you go. Use our Africa family holiday advice feature to get answers to the most important questions you have about bringing your family to Africa.
Mind the Malaria Mosquitoes.
Although the risk of malaria varies from season to season, many of Africa’s prime safari and beach destinations lie within Africa’s malarial belt and you are strongly advised to work with your safari consultant to see whether your planned itinerary takes in affected areas and what steps to take in terms of prophylactics. Families with young children and/or babies are advised to avoid malarial areas.
If you do go to a malarial area (especially during a rainy season) then prevention is key: use insect repellents, wear long sleeved tops and trousers in the evenings and early mornings and sleep under mosquito nets at night. Malaria-free destinations include Mauritius and the Seychelles as well as South Africa’s ever popular Cape Town, Sun City and the Garden Route while the country’s Eastern Cape reserves, Madikwe Private Game Reserve and Pilanesberg National Park offer excellent Big 5 game viewing in a malaria-free environment.
If you’re planning an African safari then activities such as game drives, nature walks and canoe trips will be on the cards and your children will be itching to join in. Check first with your safari consultant to see whether they’ll be permitted to join a group activity at the accommodation that you are interested in.
Activities like Gorilla and chimpanzee trekking cannot be undertaken by children under the age of 15.Some safari lodges allow children from the age of six on activities; others require that the child is over 12.
Many popular African holiday destinations offer professional kids clubs or activity programmes that take the pressure of providing entertainment and activities for your children completely out of your hands. Head for the Indian Ocean islands for destinations that take care of children in style: Mauritius is particularly famous for its excellent kids clubs while many lodges in the Seychelles have activity programmes designed for children.
As for safari destinations, your children will get an excellent introduction to Africa’s wildlife in the safe and professional environments ofUganda, Tanzania andKenya’s Masai Mara and Laikipia Plateau have kids clubs in a safari environment. South Africa’s Madikwe Private Game Reserve and Sun City as well as the Kruger National Park and its adjoining private reserves such as the Sabi Sands. Other destinations in South Africa featuring kids’ activity clubs include reserves in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.
Consider renting a family cottage or private villa for your African family holiday- Exclusive use accommodation is a popular way for families to get the freedom and privacy of home within a holiday environment. Our private family accommodation is fully serviced with the option of engaging the services of chefs, guides and baby-sitters; our recommendations also include accommodation with web connectivity, self-catering and entertainment facilities.