According to Kathleen Doheny, v.p., marketing, Kensington Tours, “Families—including multi-generational families traveling together—are becoming more adventurous. They want to explore the world together.” For those adventuresome families,
that yearning to explore beyond traditional family vacation hotspots will certainly lead them to Africa, which, says Dave Herbert, Chief Experiential Officer, Great Safaris, L.L.C., “offers so much variety and excitement for families, providing so many new experiences for all ages.” In fact, Abercrombie & Kent’s media relations manager Jean Fawcett notes, “[In Africa], there is as much, or as little, to do as you choose, which suits all age groups. And it’s all in the confines of intimate properties.” Tour operators and camps are hearing this “call for the wild” and responding with family-friendly itineraries and accommodations.
dunes, forts & palaces in morocco
You might think of Morocco as a quintessential luxury honeymoon destination, but Kensington Tours’ 10-day Ciao Bambino Kidtastic Desert Adventure private trip (starting at $5,150 pp) will have you rethinking your recommendations the next time a family booking
request pops up in your inbox. This is a wholly customizable
experience that “moves at the pace of the family,” Doheny points out, and which can be extensively customized to “fit with a family’s exact needs, rhythm, bucket list and preferences.” Cooking workshops with a local chef, horse-drawn carriage rides through dreamy gardens, a sleepover at a Bedouin camp, visiting old fortified towns, exploring desert dunes, and digging for fossils…these are some of the adventures families will partake in as they make their way through Morocco—with stops in Marrakech, Ouarzazate, Skoura, Erfoud, and Merzouga. The hotel choices are also uniquely family-friendly, not to mention truly immersive, from the Four Seasons Hotel Marrakech to exotic-named riads and Bedouin tented camps (backyard camping will never again hold the same allure).
Doheny points out that for Kensington Tours, family business is a core part of its offerings, noting that it’s a “segment that continues to grow.” She adds that the tour operator’s customized itineraries “with a private guide changes the way people see travel. Once they experience private guided travel, they don’t soon return to group travel. For travel agents, recommending a private tour with Kensington delivers an exceptional new experience.”
xmas in tanzania
For clients who’d rather see the world than surround their Christmas tree with layers upon layers of gifts, recommend Great Safaris’ 10-day Tanzania Adventure. It takes families to four national parks, including Lake Manyara, Serengeti and Tarangire. Adventures along the route include seeing the Maasai herding cattle and goats; spotting elephants, bush buck and hippos; a picnic lunch in the Serengeti; sleeping in a lodge that sits on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, home to some 30,000 resident animals; and visiting archaeological sites. Accommodations range from intimate coffee lodges with plantation houses to lodges nestled within wooded hillside valleys. This is made for little explorers—and their parents—who love the great outdoors and who truly want to get up-close to wildlife. The tour’s 4×4 safari vehicles with photo roof fit up to a maximum of seven passengers and all passengers are guaranteed a window seat. Rates, if booked by Oct. 31 and for travel between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, are $4,195 pp, with a 50 percent companion discount for the second traveler; rates for kids under 12 with two adults start at $2,495 per child. Departures from the U.S. are Mondays and Wednesdays. Great Safaris also recommends families add a 5-day extension in Kenya or a 4-day extension in Zanzibar for a true East Africa immersion.
ring in the holidays in southern africa
Abercrombie & Kent is recommending families ring in the holidays in Southern Africa with its 10-day Southern Africa Christmas on Safari: An Independent Journey. This limited edition trip, with rates of $10,295 and with travel dates from Dec. 19 to Dec. 28, hops from South Africa to Zambia to Botswana and offers thrills galore, including getting bird’s-eye views of the area’s stunning landscape while riding on cable cars and funiculars, as well as chasing after cheetahs, hyenas, lions, leopards, and black and white rhinos on game drives in the Moremi Game Reserve. There’s also plenty of time to make silly faces at endangered penguins at Boulders Beach and hop on traditional wood-carved canoes on the Chobe River. The most magical moment? Christmas in the bush. Accommodations are out of this world and are most definitely fit for any little princess or prince—One&Only Cape Town; Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma in Livingstone; Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero; and Sanctuary Chief’s Camp. Minimum age for this particular safari is 10 years old.
rustic indulgence in zambia
For an intimate getaway, the new Amanzi Camp in Zambia is a delightful option. The camp includes just four tents, including a family unit, and is located a little over a mile from its sister property Anabezi. Being touted as the more rustic (although definitely still quite luxurious) of the two camps, Amanzi is set on the banks of the Ngwenya channel of the Zambezi River. Each of the tents, which are spaced out and connected with a raised walkway to the main area, feature two double beds on a raised teak deck, an indoor shower and bathroom, as well as a private sitting area and balcony overlooking the Zambezi (the family unit is made up of two tents butting up to each other). When clients head over to the main area, they’ll look out over the mosaic of islands that are home to a group of majestic elephant bulls. After that they can take a dip in the pool, which sits just above the Zambezi River. Other activities include freshwater fishing in the river, a cruise along the river, game viewing—with the best months from April to November—birdwatching, night drives, canoeing and walking safaris. The lodge is currently offering a “three nights for the price of two” promotion, which applies to all 2016 bookings booked before April 1, 2016. Rates, which include activities, meals, beverages, accommodations, laundry, internal transfers, and non-premium brand beverages, start at $700 pp per night, and $400 for children sharing (8-17) during high season (July to October). To take over the whole camp and make it your client’s own, the rate is $5,400 pp per night during high season.
Africa With Kids in Tow?
Jean Fawcett says that although the minimum age for Abercrombie & Kent’s dedicated Family safaris is 5, “we generally recommend that safaris are best for pre-teens and teens because they require a fair amount of patience on game drives and the ability to follow directions. Additionally, on our Family departures, we do offer a Young Explorers Guide, who is on hand to arrange activities for the kids and educate them about the region in a fun and entertaining way.”
Kensington Tours’ Kathleen Doheny adds that the Ciao Bambino Morocco trip is designed with children 8-14 top of mind, “but I think it has appeal for kids 1-99 since it has a great mix of family-friendly activities and properties.”
Additionally, Fawcett notes that it’s now much easier to get to Africa, with “Nairobi as the major hub. The competition is pretty fierce, so it’s now significantly cheaper to get there than it was even 10 years ago. Whereas the likes of Hemingway and Roosevelt had to spend weeks on boats, trains, etc., you can now arrive in Cape Town in one flight from New York.
Abercrombie & Kent: abercrombiekent.com
Amanzi Camp: anabezi.com
Great Safaris: greatsafaris.com