Africa... for The Lion King
Where has broader horizons and bluer skies than Africa? What’s more, luxury safari lodges offer top facilities and services with spas, private pools and the gourmet food and wine you’d expect from your local Michelin-star venue. Many have also added children’s clubs to their repertoire for those too young for dawn patrol. The perfect combination.
A prime example is Ulusaba, Sir Richard Branson’s luxury lodge in the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve in South Africa. Here, managers Llane and Karl have created a Cub’s Club for adventurers under the age of six (the age from which children can go on game drives). There are treasure hunts and games within the safety of the stunning lodge while parents head out on game tours. This is one of the most luxurious lodges in the region and offers superb guides and service. Virgin Holidays + Hip Hotels offer a three-night stay in a suite at the Ulusaba Rock Lodge from £2,799 per adult and £1,179 per child, including flights, meals, drinks, game drives and private plane transfers, until September 2010.
Further north, in the South Luangwa National Park of Zambia, Norman Carr Safaris has just launched a Luangwa Lion Cub’s club, where children learn to identify animal tracks and droppings on walking safaris and get the chance to interact with local schoolchildren. In the evenings, children sit with the ranger and learn to eat the Zambian way (sitting on a mat eating with their hands) while parents enjoy a private dinner, before reconvening around the campfire. Expert Africa offers a nine-day trip, including six nights with Norman Carr Safaris, from £8,234 for a family of four, including all flights and transfers.
Sadly, many of Africa’s best safari regions are in malarial zones, which is not ideal with children, but at the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve on the west coast of South Africa you can still see lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, cheetahs, hyenas, zebras and rhinos. Makanyane Safari Lodge is an exclusive game lodge in this area with eight thatched double suites – all with spectacular views over the Marico River. Rooms cost £450 per person per night (children cost £225), including meals and game drives. Alternatively, stay at Madikwe Hills Private Game Lodge which has a spa and a Kiddies’ Club. A three-night stay in a suite (large enough for a family of three) costs from £795 per person with Seasons In Style.