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Junior Meets: The 2013 Junior Design Award Highly Commended Family Tour Operator, Bushbaby

Bushbaby were Highly Commended in our category for Best Family Tour Operator. Director, Abigail Shaw, gives us her recommendations for a brilliant family break

Posted: 12 September 2013
by Helen McKay-Ferguson

Sunbathe with a sea lion in the Galapagos - image from Ecoventura
Giraffe-spotting in South Africa
Bushbaby founder Abi Shaw in the Rockies with husband Jim, Imogen (3) and sons Will (10) and Arthur (8).

Bushbaby was Highly Commended for Best Family Tour Operator in the Junior Design Awards, 2013

Junior: What are your three family holiday hotspots?
Abigail Shaw: British Airways now offers a direct service to Sri Lanka (with a touch down in the Maldives). This has really opened up the island as a possibility for families looking for an interesting long haul destination accessible by a child-friendly carrier. There are also many new hotels coming to fruition which have taken families in to account in their planning. The Frangipani Tree just outside of Galle is a lovely small hotel, with direct access to the beach. In the north, the Mudhouse is a cluster of wonderful eco-lodges, situated close to the newly opened up Wilpattu National Park – ideal for leopard safaris.

The Galapagos are no longer the remit of adult explorers. These truly remarkable islands are now a fantastic option for adventurous family travel. With child-friendly luxury cruises, 'back to nature' land-based, safari-camp experiences, dramatic landscapes and of course, endlessly fascinating wildlife, the islands present the travel opportunity of a lifetime for all ages. If you've always longed to swim with your children amidst turtles or sunbathe on a sea lion strewn beach this is your chance –  just don't forget your camera!

Thailand is great as a first, more adventurous destination with young children. The opening of a new elephant and rainforest camp in the Khao Sok National Park (easily accessible from Phuket) is also making it easy for families to combine a great beach stay with an action-packed few days in the jungle without having to fly up to the north.  Emirates new service to Phuket via Duabi makes access easier for families who don’t want to transit through Bangkok en-route.

What children’s activities should not be missed at the resorts you work with?
We offer so many memorable activties it's hard to pick just a few - but here's five for the best:

1) Riding with giraffe, white rhino and other plains game at Ants Nest in the Waterberg, South Africa.
2) Washing and feeding elephants and learning Thai cooking and dancing at Elephant Hills,Thailand.
3) Snorkelling through cenotes (underground rivers) and zip wiring through the jungle nearby to the Rosewood Mayakoba on the Mayan Riviera, Mexico.
4) Releasing turtles back in to the Ocean at the Frangipani Tree in the south of Sri Lanka.
5) Kayaking and snorkelling with sealions in the Galapagos (off your boat!).

What are your three must-have items to pack in a suitcase when travelling as a family?
Along with a sense of adventure and an open mind… Take a mask and snorkel or bug viewing pot, depending on your destination. A memory scrapbook or journal plus new colouring pens will keep children amused at hotel dinners. Pack a disposable camera for each child (take underwater versions for extra fun!).

If you had to sum your business up in a sentence, what would it be?
Whilst we are adept at arranging the ultimate family beach flop, our team of experts also strive to inspire parents to consider more adventurous holidays and make these a reality through tailored advice and detailed planning. 

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Sri Lanka, Galapagos Islands, Thailand, Bushbaby, family, children, holiday, adventure, junior meets

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