Safari and service – the perfect combination for families

Unless you’re focused on spotting tigers, cougars, jaguars, bears, or wolves, Africa is by far the best region for wildlife safaris, from gorillas and other primates in Rwanda and Uganda to the ‘big 5’ of Kenya, Tanzania. , Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa, and “up-coming” wildlife destinations like Malawi, Ethiopia, and Mozambique.

Most camps and lodges these days cater well to children, making for a fabulous educational family vacation. Unfortunately, Africa is also the region of greatest poverty and need, which is also an opportunity for families who want to make an impact, help their children appreciate how lucky they are, engage meaningfully with local people, and make a difference.

Luxury safaris and service trips in Africa really are the perfect combination for families who want to inspire their children to change the world. And by traveling to Africa in 2022, he is taking part in rebuilding tourism, which has been devastated by covid, with catastrophic effects on families who depend on visitors to put food on the table.

Here are some suggestions to make your African safari impactful and rewarding, where you can bond more closely with your children:

1. Kenya

Head to Kenya for the iconic Masai Mara, views of Africa’s highest mountain Kilimanjaro from Amboseli, and fascinating subspecies like the gerenuk, Grevy’s zebra and Rothschild’s giraffe in northern parks like Laikipia, Meru and Samburu. Kenya also offers fabulous beaches (my favorites are Diani, Malindi, and the Lamu Archipelago) to complement your safari and service trip.

Make your safari meaningful by helping build classrooms in a community on the edge of the Masai Mara, where you can also help build eco-stoves for families who might not otherwise be able to afford them.

when to visit

July to August is when you can see the fascinating migration of wildebeest moving from the Serengeti, across the river where hungry crocodiles await. Go in 2022 to witness this with far fewer crowds than previous years.

2. Tanzania

Tanzania has epic parks, from the Serengeti to Ruaha, the unique Ngorongoro Crater and the off the beaten path Katavi, which pairs well with Mahale for chimpanzees. And of course, beyond safari, Zanzibar Island offers spice tours, fascinating Stone Town, and beautiful beaches (although my pick for the best beaches is nearby Mnemba Island).

Make your safari meaningful by building an eco-friendly house for a family in need. You have the opportunity to exchange stories with the locals and gain insight into their lives.

when to visit

June to October: June and July are the best months to see the wildebeest migration. August through September is the best time to see wildebeest river crossings in the northern Serengeti.

Volunteer Luxury Holidays in Tanzania

3. Rwanda

Rwanda is home to sublime luxury accommodation as a base for encountering the extraordinary mountain gorillas – each trek allows an hour to spend time with these fascinating creatures, so I recommend doing two treks. NB: children must be at least 15 years old to go on the gorilla excursion. Chimpanzees and golden monkeys can also be seen, as well as growing populations of lions, giraffes, zebras and hippos in Akagera National Park.

In Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, you can finance and help build a home for street children or help teach in classrooms. You can spend part of the day teaching and the other part as a combination of clubbing with the street children in the projects (currently housed in rented housing or reintegrated and cared for by guardians/parents/relatives), visiting groups of genocide survivors , and craft groups made up of genocide survivors.

when to visit

July-September is the dry season, which makes hiking to the gorillas considerably easier, and Kwita Izina, the baby gorilla naming ceremony, takes place every September.


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Head to Namibia for stunning desert scenery, towering sand dunes and the rugged Skeleton Coast. In terms of wildlife, see unique desert-adapted rhinos, elephants and lions, as well as Etosha for spectacular bird species, leopards, rhinos and giraffes. From Walvis Bay, near Swakopmund, you can meet seals and dolphins, even by kayak.

You can make a difference by helping to reduce human-elephant conflict by digging a watering hole for desert-adapted elephants away from human settlements, saving human and elephant lives.

when to visit

July-September is the dry season, and although Namibia is mostly desert, it gets wet from November onwards, which scatters wildlife, making it harder to see.

5. Zambia and Botswana

Famous for its walking safaris, North Luangwa National Park is off the beaten track and wild. If you prefer to view wildlife from a vehicle, South Luangwa is magnificent, as is Kafue, and neighboring Botswana’s Chobe National Park is home to the largest number of elephants in Africa, and the Okavango Delta is unique for its wildlife sightings. in the water, even by canoes (mokoros).

You can build a home for a widow and her children in Zambia, in a village near the spectacular Victoria Falls, providing reliable shelter for the rainy season, reducing illness and school absenteeism, thus improving education and chances of earning money. a good job.

when to visit

July – September is the dry season. Victoria Falls is not in full flow at the moment, but it is still impressive and worth seeing, especially from the Zimbabwean side.

6. South Africa

Rainbow Nation has a lot to offer. For a safari head to the Sabi Sands, a private reserve adjacent to the Kruger National Park, with great opportunities to spot leopards, wild dogs and of course lions and buffalo. I also love Tswalu in the Kalahari for the desert lions, roan, pangolin, cheetah, oryx, ant wolf, sable and those adorable meerkats.

Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and well worth exploring, along with the fabulous nearby Winelands and the stunning Garden Route. Make a difference in Cape Town and help renovate a nursery, prepare and serve meals at a soup kitchen, or socialize and exercise dogs at a dog shelter.

When to visit:

July – September is the dry season for wildlife watching but this is the wet season in Cape Town which can also be quite cold so it is a bit tricky to find the perfect month but if you had to choose I would suggest may. or November.

Africa is a remarkable destination. Wildlife is justifiably a big draw for visitors to Africa, and by incorporating a service component into your safari, you can discover Africa’s hidden gems: its people. You and your children will return home transformed and inspired to make an even greater difference, realizing that the true beneficiaries of your service project are your family. 2022 is an ideal year to go to Africa. Be the change.

Christopher Hill is founder and CEO of Hands Up Holidays. Hands Up Holidays is an award-winning travel company specializing in tailor-made luxury family trips that combine sightseeing with hands-on service projects.

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