Botswana is a superb destination for a family safari - our Botswana expert shares some of his favourite family friendly lodges and camps
01 Feb 2021
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I first started visiting Botswana when I was 11 and have been back every year since as well as living there for 3 years. It is this exposure to its wilderness, culture and incredible wildlife which shaped my career working in Africa and helping people put together the best trips possible so they can share my experiences and love for this fascinating country.
The beauty of a Botswana safari is its exclusivity and remoteness. When it comes to family holidays this has previously acted as a drawn back for families but over the past 5 years as camps are being refurbished and rebuilt, we are seeing camps becoming a lot more family-focused and a large number of camps adding family units. Botswana’s concessions have strict bed numbers so as more value is seen in family holidays it is fast becoming a very popular option.
One thing to note when booking your family safari is that availability can be tight in Botswana at the best of times with many people booking up to a year before their trip. Most camps will only have one family unit and for safety reasons, these are required for families with children under 16/18 so it's essential to start thinking about your trip early to make sure you are able to stay in your desired camps or lodges.
The numerous activities available at Camp Kalahari make it an integral part of any family safari.
Rooms: The Camp has 10 Meru-style tents of which six are twins and a family unit, the camp is also very flexible when it comes to adding beds for children.
Highlights: Without doubt on of the biggest draws here is being able to spend time with one of the families of fully wild, habituated meerkats which can be followed and observed feeding and going about their natural ways.
Other activities: This semi-arid desert hold a large diversity of wildlife which can be seen on morning and evening game drives, bush walks with the Zu/Hoasi Bushmen or on quadbikes whilst exploring the salt pans.
The Makgadikgadi Salt Pans are an area like no other and combined with camps further North in the Okavango Delta, Chobe National park and surrounding areas it works well at the end or beginning of your trip.
Situated on the shoulder of the Chobe National Park in the remote Linyanti region, Linyanti Ebony perfect for families.
Rooms: The camp comprises of 4 luxury en-suite tents of which there are three standard tents and 1 family tents. Sleeping only 10 people its exclusivity is perfect for larger or smaller family groups looking to spend quality time together whilst having undivided attention in camp and your private guide/vehicle.
Highlights: Built on raised platforms overlooking the Linyanti River and Marsh there is plenty to keep any family occupied. The game viewing up in this region never fails to disappoint and is as good as it gets. With huge mega-herds of elephant as well as a high density of large carnivores every game drive will be a thrill.
Shinde enclave is nestled next to one of the major tributaries of the Okavango Delta, flowing throughout the year this offers water activities and incredible game viewing all year round. Next to the newly refurbish Shinde Camp, Shinde Enclave is a completely private camp within the larger camp.
Private camp: Sleeping 6 with its own private dining room, bar and outside fie deck this is perfect for family groups. Rebuilt in 2020 it has the style of a classic safari camp and is surrounded by some of the best game viewing in the Okavango Delta.
Activities: Games drives with some fantastic wildlife, fishing and floating down the Delta in a Mokoro (depending on the water level).
Machaba Camp is a personal favorite of mine. As soon as you arrive at Machaba it feel like home. I have been traveling to this area for 20 years and the game viewing just seems to be getting better and better.
Highlights: Situated on the edge of the Moremi Game Reserve you will struggle to find better game viewing anywhere in Africa. As you walk out your luxury tented suite you look right across the Khwai river into Moremi and watch the elephants come down to drink. The staff are exceptionally friendly, and the guides are very good at keeping children of all ages occupied and interested in the wildlife around them.
Rooms: The camp comprises of 10 spacious tents of which 2 are family units with a lounge area, 2 bedroom and a bathroom with and the customary outdoor shower added onto the rear.
One of the great things about Machaba and the Khwai area is because you are on the edge of and not inside Moremi Game Reserve you have the ability to go on night drives in the evening. With extremely healthy populations of leopards, hyena and lion I would say this is one of the top destinations to view Africa’s large carnivores.
Located on the banks of the Kwando River this classic camp is remote, exclusive and comfortable.
Highlights: The views over the lagoon opposite are unrivalled, especially in the afternoon when huge herds sometimes 300+ will come down to drink all together.
Rooms: With 8 twin-bedded safari style tents there is plenty of room for families and with children welcome this is a great spot to get away from the crowds and enjoy some family time.
Activities: With activities such as game drives, walking safaris (age dependent), fishing and boat cruises there is plenty to keep the family busy.
On a recent trip to Kwando lagoon for 2 nights I was lucky enough to see wild dog, brown hyena, spotted hyena, leopard and lion during my stay which is testament to the guides and the wildlife in the area.
In conclusion there are several options for family safaris in Botswana, I find that some of the biggest restrictions are availability and budget, however with a good first-hand knowledge of all the camps in Botswana we will be able to put a trip together which is perfect for your family. If you are working to a tight budget I would recommend travelling in the green or shoulder season to make the most of any offers and special rates. A number of camps will also have reduced rates for children which we can utilize.
Now that we’ve given you some inspiration for brilliant family safari holidays in Botswana, get in touch with one of our experts and we’ll put together the perfect family holiday. Call us on 01768 603 715 or send us a message using the button below.