There is nothing to beat the thrill of a safari trip with toddlers and teens and combine it with an exquisite beach getaway. Planning your family holiday to include both can be a trip of a lifetime.
So here are some top safari and beach holiday destination ideas that will get you dreaming – not only of golden sands, but surreal sunsets over the savannah as well.
Tanzania and Zanzibar
The Serengeti has always been considered the jewel of the African crown, and this National Park of Tanzania is only growing in stature year after year.
Not only is the Serengeti an ideal spot to look for the Big 5, but it also lies on the route of the annual wildebeest migration, said to be a spectacle of the natural world. During this period, millions of animals travel from Serengeti to rich grasslands of the Masai Mara in Kenya.
Both Tanzania and Zanzibar are catered to welcome all types of visitors, including families, with a variety of accommodation options to suit a family adventure of every type.
An array of wildlife experiences are on offer, which includes game drives, walking safaris, night safaris and even hot air balloon rides for a bird’s eye view of the animals in the African bush.
Far away from the plains of Serengeti lies the largest intact caldera in the world, the breathtaking Ngorongoro Crater, where predators are found constantly on the move for the abundant prey available.
Further up, in the Manyara region lies another gem by the name of Tarangire National Park, a place known for its massive population of African elephants. The park is also home to quirky baobab trees that can attain a height of 30m and more.
While Tanzania does offer world-class safari adventures for the whole family, the beaches of Zanzibar are equally alluring, especially after the thrills and spills experienced in the African savannah.
Zanzibar is a tropical oasis which offers the perfect respite from the hectic safari schedule and instead immerses visitors in local culture to recharge their batteries.
Most of the private hotels and resorts boast private beaches, which is ideal for a family with children. While the adults can spend time at the pool, the young ones can entertain themselves with water sports activities or in-house games.
Take the family to experience a bit of island life by touring Stone Town, the older part of Zanzibar and then give the kids a double delight on Kungwi Beach, the protection centre for the endangered hawksbill turtles.
Watch volunteers monitoring the nests of the turtles and making sure that the hatchlings are cared for till old enough to make the tricky trip from the beach to the sea, thus giving them a far greater chance of survival.
Zambia and Malawi
A family safari beginning at Livingstone, Zambia and ending on the pristine shores of Lake Malawi offers the perfect mix of a bush and beach experience.
A carefully planned trip will provide plenty of opportunities to bond with the family and spend quality time at some of the exclusive family accommodations available on the safari.
Ideally, upon arrival in Zambia, you will head straight to Livingstone, home to Victoria Falls, one of the seven wonders of the natural world.
Here the whole family will find a plethora of things to see and do, from adrenaline-filled experiences to spending a sedate time at your lodge soaking up the scenery.
Game viewing options are also there, apart from spotting the white rhino at the Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park or a rafting trip on the mighty Zambezi for the adventure seekers to make the whole safari experience a bit more exceptional.
Key activities in Livingstone will include cultural tours, sunset cruises, elephant rides, canoeing and even bungee jumping.
The family will simply fall in love with the South Luangwa National Park, located at the end of the Great Rift Valley and touted to be the largest unspoilt tract of wilderness in the whole of Africa.
Here you will go on game drives, both during the day and night, a village tour, a textile tour for bringing back souvenirs and a visit to the Chipembele Wildlife Orphanage.
Finally, you enter Malawi and visit Pumulani on the Nankumba Peninsula, located on the stunning shores of Lake Malawi, bordering Lake Malawi National Park, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site way back in 1984.
At Pumulani, you have the option to go birding, kayaking, snorkelling, scuba diving, sunset cruising, village tour or exploring the place on a mountain bike.
The remote beach setting at Pumulani is just right for those who want to soak up the sun or swim in the lake’s clear blue waters.
Classic Kenya safari with beach
A host of spectacular inland wilderness parks, combined with some of the finest coastal regions on the Indian Ocean, has made Kenya a dream destination for families wishing to enjoy the best of both worlds, safari and sand.
An ideal family safari should begin with seven to eight nights on a remote outback and end with a touch of tranquillity by the oceanside for three to four days. This will suit the needs of all the members, whether it is their first trip or a repeat bush experience.
The African bush draws visitors from around the world like a magnet to see the big cats and the herbivores roaming around freely in their habitat.
On your family safari, you will stay at the private El Karama Lodge in Laikipia. Your full two days here will include game drives, both during the day and at night, guided bush walks, community visits and more.
Children will have a unique opportunity to participate in the daily two and half hour bush school, where they are educated in various activities like wildlife tracking, fishing, cooking, and painting.
Your next step is Masai Mara, where during your two nights, you get to explore the Mara North Conservancy on day and night game drives as well as learn about the rich culture of the Masai tribes on a community visit.
The never-ending excitement of spending a hectic week in the bush may leave you feeling exhilarated, but in the end, the family is bound to be a bit exhausted.
The coral reefs in Kenya are among the best in the world for snorkelling and diving. Moreover, Watamu and Malindi are renowned for their fishing, and the big fish challenge here is an angler’s dream.
The idyllic Kenyan coastline of the Mombasa North Coast is a superb place to bury your toes in the sand and sip a cocktail or two to unwind before returning back home.