Between the ages of five and 18, extended periods of time with our children are few and far between. The summer holidays are particularly precious, therefore, and though the typical family holiday destinations can be crowded, we know some extraordinary locations where you can spend quality time together creating unforgettable memories. Your kids’ adventures will be the talking point of the classroom for the entire academic year to follow! We’ve chosen five of our favourite destinations for an exceptional Summer holiday escape.
The Great Migration
It’s hard to imagine what the sight of 2 million wildebeest on the move will actually look like: you have to be there in person. It’s one of the riches wildlife watching experiences on Earth, not just because of the scale of the herds but also because so many iconic predators follow in their wake. August can be hot and humid, but it is when the animals move to cross the Grumeti River. The waters are crocodile infested, which makes it dangerous for the wildebeest, antelope, and zebra. You’ll be on the edge of your seat hoping the calves make it safely across the river to the other side.
Beaches of Mauritius
Mauritius has beautiful white sand beaches and turquoise ocean. Truly it is an island paradise. Properties such as the LUX Belle Mare make the most of their glorious location, with sublime suites and infinity pools looking out at unspoilt stretches of beach and the Indian Ocean. There are plenty of activities which you can do together as a family, including horse riding along the coast and a variety of watersports, but if you do want to relax with some “adults only” time, then you can be confident your offspring will be well looked after and entertained with their own activity programme, including outdoor cinema showings on the beach.
Malaria free safari
If you want to see the Big Five but have babies or very young children in your party, consider booking a malaria free safari in South Africa. In certain reserves there’s no need to take prophylaxis, nor to spend your time covering up and rubbing in insect repellent. The Madikwe Game Reserve is one of our favourite destinations for family safaris, and you can explore the wilderness on bush walks and game drives. There are ample opportunities for your kids to refine their tracking skills with an expert guide, or to take a short bumble through the bush with a ranger, while you sit back in the spa or follow your own more strenuous programme.
With teens in tow, you may want a summer holiday escape which is more physically demanding and which cannot fail but to elicit an enthusiastic response. Hike through the dense jungles which cloak volcanic foothills to find a habituated gorilla family in the Volcanoes National Park. Use the Virunga Lodge as your base, and plan an adventure which combines epic views, vital conservation work, and coming face to face with one of our closest primate relatives.
Botswana has the largest wild elephant population in Africa, with tens of thousands of these incredible creatures roaming in family groups through the Okavango Delta and the desert sands. Following them on game drives, nature walks, and mokoro (canoe) safaris can be quite emotional, particularly when you see how familiar their family relationships are, and the gentle way in which they care for one another. Stanley’s Camp is an ideal spot for your elephant safari, and it’s conveniently close to the Living With Elephants project, where you can spend time up close with the elephant.
Laura Burdett-Munns is Managing Director at Africa Exclusive. Africa Exclusive has been creating the finest tailor-made safaris since 1990, specialising in luxurious accommodation in beautiful remote places.