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12 Essential Tips For Planning A Family Safari In Uganda With Kids

12 Essential Tips For Planning A Family Safari In Uganda With Kids

12 Essential Tips For Planning A Family Safari In Uganda With Kids

A family safari in  Uganda is tailored tour package designed to cater for both the youngsters and adults on a holiday. If you can travel to Uganda with your kids, you should do so. There is no better way to bring a family together during precious holiday time.

Uganda, in East Africa, is an ideal destination for families looking for adventure due its friendly people, pleasant climate, and wonderful wildlife.

A family safari in Uganda will expose your children to a whole new world of adventures, where they will immerse themselves in the magic of nature, beautiful wildlife, gorgeous scenery, and colorful birds.

They will also enjoy a glimpse into the living styles of other children, completely distinct from their own experiences back home. However, there are some challenges worth keeping in mind for families going on safaris in Uganda – not least of which will be cost!

Here are a few important  tips for planning a family safari in Uganda

  1. Check Minimum Age Restrictions

If your are going for family safari in Uganda, you should be aware that although most Uganda safari lodges and camps welcome children of (nearly) all ages, some have a minimum age restriction of 4 and 12 years.

If you are booking through Kubwa Five Safaris, this will be one of the aspects taken into consideration when selecting the appropriate accommodation.

However, if booking direct, you must be sure to check the relevant child policy with the camp/lodge.

These limitations aside, you should also consider whether your children are ready for a safari in Uganda. There is no point paying a lot of money for a holiday that your children are too young to appreciate.

Also please take into consideration if you are travelling with younger children that the going can be slow over the long distances and often bumpy roads.

A little bit of patience will go a long way towards your enjoyment of this beautiful land! Some days have driving times of 6-7 hours. Furthermore there will be early mornings, when Africa is at its best.

Therefore, I wouldn’t recommend taking toddlers on a family safari in Uganda. Children should have quite a mature attention span and ideally a pre-existing interest in nature.

As a rule, children that have been exposed to and enjoy bush camping and other such outdoor activities will be ready for a Uganda safari at a younger age than children without any such experience or interest. Most children over about eight years old will gain a lot from a family safari in Uganda if planned carefully.

  1. Choose Family-Friendly Activities

If you are planning a family safari in Uganda with kids, your tour consultant at Kubwa Five Safaris will make recommendations for family-friendly activities that children are likely to enjoy the most.

Spending time on the banks of Lake Victoria – Africa’s largest lake will allow them to play in the sand and go boating on the lake while soaking up the sun under your watchful eyes.

Wildlife safari game drives and boat cruises for young kids are possible in the national game parks such as Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, and Lake Mburo National Park.

Each of these destinations has a unique variety of wildlife that kids will love. Imagine their awe as they spot a lioness perched on the branches of a fig tree in Ishasha Sector of Queen Elizabeth National Park, or ostriches running in the Kidepo Valley National Park with the inability to fly.

Most kids love elephants and there is no better place in Uganda to see these giants in big numbers than Queen Elizabeth National Park. Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is perfect for the family to track wild white Rhinos on foot.

A cultural tour visit to the local community village might treat your kids to memorable holiday lessons on how to shape and use a bow and arrow, make a fire or how to weave a basket, or even draw milk from cows using hands.  The resident kids and other community members love teaching young people their music and dances and sometimes even pass on a few words in the local language.

  1. Consider Age Restrictions On Activities

Not all Uganda safaris activities are open to children of all ages.

Keep in mind that kids under the age of 15 and 12 years are not permitted on gorilla trekking and chimpanzee tracking safaris respectively.

But if you do choose to visit parks such as Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, or Kibale Forest National Park, we recommend that you plan nature walks, forest hikes, or cultural tours.

Going on a nature walking with the safety of a ranger guide can be an educational and eye-opening experience for older children, as they learn about the healing properties of the plants they see and how to identify insects and animals by their tracks and droppings.

Whatever your children’s ages, it is important not to push them too hard on such a special holiday. Make sure to include some down time by the pool.

  1. Consider Discounts For Children

Also when planning a family safari in Uganda, consider discounts for children. In terms of pricing, most Uganda safari camps/lodges consider anyone over 12 years of age to be an adult.

However, please do not confuse this with minimum age restrictions or age restrictions that might apply for specific activities.

So, children over 12 years of age generally pay adult fare. Very few safari camps/lodges offer discounts to children over 12 years, and even children under 12 years need to be sharing with an adult to receive a discounted rate.

  1. Think About Children’s Activity Programs

Many safari lodges have now developed children’s activity programs and some even have a dedicated guide for families on a family safari in Uganda.

Mihingo Lodge in Lake Mburo National Park is the best safari accommodation for families with younger children as they offer specialist child-friendly activities for example horse riding, wildlife hides, cycling tours and many more.

Other Uganda lodges also have programs that mostly consist of a guide who takes the children under their wing. They will entertain them with a range of activities around camp (including story-telling, painting/drawing animals, and birding).

And they will keep an eye on them while the parents go on a game drives or any other activity. This can then develop into short bush walks. And it teaches them to identify different animal spoor and droppings) and game drives.

Most parents would like to share the many wildlife experiences with their children. When the children are a little older (8 to 12 years), they are able to fully appreciate going on a game drive or walk.

  1. Consider Sleeping Arrangements

Depending on the ages of your children, the camp/lodge may require one adult to sleep in the same room/tent with the under age child (or children).

This is a safety measure to avoid the situation where young children might wander out of their tent . Or they could react badly to a situation where an animal might approach the tent or even attack.

Babysitters are often available to allow the parents to take a few hours out to enjoy an evening meal together without the kids.

  1. Think About Meals & Meal Times

Meals and meal times are especially important for families going on a family safari in Uganda with younger children. Advise the manager of your child’s dietary requirements and try to work out meal times that are suitable and agreeably for all.

Some camps are able to arrange earlier meal times, but may then require a parent to be with the children when they go to bed. This is for safety reasons.

  1. Plan Your Safari Together

Involve the entire family in planning a family safari in Uganda  and before you go, read about the Uganda’s history, the places you will visit, the wildlife, and other things you expect to see. It makes it much more interesting while you’re there.

Adults and children should take photos, keep a family diary, and collect scrapbook items so that when you return home you can all make an album together. You’ll keep family memories alive and create an heirloom at the same time.

  1. Bring Binoculars, Wildlife Books & Healthy Snacks

As you plan your family safari in Uganda, note that hungry kids can be monstrous and make any adult on the same adventure stressed out. With children, hunger can strike at any time.

Whether you’re on a game drive in a national park or hanging at the poolside, make sure to have a solid supply of everyone’s favorite snacks. With some luck, it’ll satisfy your children enough to boost their mood and energy and tide them over until the next meal.

Packing a pair of binoculars for each kid is one of the best bits of advice for planning a Uganda family safari vacation in East Africa. When each family member has their own binoculars and finally spots the elusive leopard, you’ll be sure no one misses out on the extraordinary sighting.

Equally, children’s books that detail Africa’s wildlife, animals and birds you’re likely to see will be vital for an educative exploration.

Much of African safari game driving often shows the same animals, so spotting differences and learning about them in detail keeps the children attentive and passes the time.

  1. Best Time to Visit Uganda

Generally, the best time to go for a family safari in Uganda with kids is during the dry seasons.

There are two dry seasons in Uganda. The first dry season lasts from June, July, and August, overlapping with summer vacation in North America and Europe.

The December holidays are also an ideal time to visit, as the weather is again dry in the later parts of the month – and you will get a break from the harsh winters in the northern hemisphere.

If you’re considering combining your trip with visits to neighboring countries like Kenya and Tanzania, we can make that happen for you.

The Great Africa Migration of wildebeests, zebras, and gazelles in Masai Mara and Serengeti are an incredible sight and will ingrain the need for conservation in the future custodians of the Earth. Your timing needs to be more specific if you want to experience the wildebeest migration.

The peak of the calving is from January to February. June to July is the best time in the Western Serengeti, and August to September is when you have a good chance to see the Mara River crossing in Northern Serengeti.

The Dry season is also ideal to spend time on the Tanzania beaches in Zanzibar with lots of sunshine and minimal rain.

  1. Safety

Uganda is generally a very safe country. This is the case too when traveling with children. As long as you book your family safari in Uganda with a reputable company, there is no need for any concerns.

Note though that for safety reasons there are age limits for certain activities, such as gorilla trekking and chimpanzee tracking as noted above. Make sure that your children are aware of the restrictions (and that you keep an eye on their movements).

Most importantly, you should take heed of issues of safety as prescribed by the lodge/camp regarding walking/running in camp.

Many camps have no fence and you may need to keep a closer watch on your younger ones. Your guide will look out for your family’s safety, but parents obviously have a responsibility to keep a close eye on their children too.

Therefore as you plan your family safari in Uganda, it is a good idea to choose your accommodation carefully; some places are more child-friendly than others. Things to look out for include whether the accommodation is fenced or not and whether there is direct river access.

  1. General Precautions

Some general precautions for those planing a family safari in Uganda include protection from the hot African sun. Hats and sunblock are a must on drives and walks.

Mosquito repellent and ‘covering up’ areas of exposed skin in the early evenings is a must, especially in malaria areas. Therefore, be sure to explain to your children about drinking only filtered or bottled water.

Most safari lodges and camps place a strong emphasis on peace, tranquility and getting back to nature!

This may not be your children’s style! An ‘adults’ safari is really not suitable for many young children who often become bored and act up! Parents must ensure that their children do not infringe upon the enjoyment of other guests.

How Do I Prepare The Kids For A  Family Safari In Uganda?

A  family safari in Uganda is not very different from a general safari.

You might, however, want to tweak things to make the experience child-friendly and appropriate for your kids’ ages. There’s little in the way of pre-trip planning required for children.

Beyond that, chances are the children will be even more excited than you about the prospect of an African family safari in Uganda.

Before setting off, make sure that the children know a safari is unlikely to be a non-stop roll call of thrilling animal sightings. Explain to them that patience and stealth are essential to spotting wildlife.

The quieter they are and the more they wait, the more likely they will be to see something truly exciting. Try and get them excited about seeing the little creatures, or even the unusual plants and trees.

Important To Note

New rules on anti-child trafficking will require parents to provide airlines and immigration officials with birth certificates for children under 18.

This will apply even when both parents are travelling together with their children. When children travel with guardians, these adults must produce affidavits from the parents, as proof of permission.

Airlines will be been given instruction not to allow clients to board without the necessary documents. Keep an eye open for announcements regarding this.

We encourage families going on safari to follow us on Facebook – for the latest safari news and information. If you need additional information or want to book a tour, please contact us here