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Botswana Family Safari: The Lion King Experience

OVERVIEW

This peaceful, affable nation is one of the most gorgeous and diverse places on earth. A land of wide desert where big game roam, along with rich delta regions where hippos, lions, and birds all meet at lush waterholes, Botswana is a scene right out of The Lion King—and your kids will delight in the abundant opportunities for face-to-face encounters with their favorite characters come to life.

WHAT WE LOVE

  • Okavango Delta: Plan your trip to maximize seeing the incredible natural diversity and colorful ecosystem of the Okavango Delta. Observe the zebra, elephant colonies and other wildlife that roam the savannah and inhabit the Selinda spillway, a unique seasonal waterway that links the Delta with the wildlife-rich floodplains of the Linyanti Marshes. Or choose to specialize: many lodges and wildlife reserves offer single experiences that allow travelers to safely get up-close and personal with their—and their kids’—favorite animals.
  • Meerkat Walking Safari: If Botswana had a national mascot, Meerkats would be the perfect choice. These friendly, enterprising, curious little creatures are the epitome of entertainment, and family members of all ages will love watching these little creatures scurry about their daily chores. A number of lodges around the Kalahari Desert offer Meerkat safari experiences specifically for families—an utterly charming way to enjoy some laughs in the bush.
  • Selinda Camp: Located on the Selinda Reserve, a 330,000 plus acre private concession that overlooks the Selinda spillway, Selinda Camp offers families luxurious private, thatched tents with panoramic views of the floodplains and native wildlife.  Apart from child-friendly game drives, guided nature walks, birding and fishing expeditions for all ages,  Selinda Camp also encourages guests to get involved before their trip by packing small items—stationary, school supplies, flashlights and other goods—which they can then distribute directly at a local underserved school or village.  There's no better way for your entire family to experience the thrill of giving back, and to connect with communities many travelers never have the chance to see.
  • Jao Camp: Best for ages 12 and up, Jao Camp is located on a remote island in the middle of a private reserve in the Okavango Delta. The camp is surrounded by ancient forest and seasonal floodplains dotted with small islands that are home to a variety of bird and animal life that your kids can observe right from your villa deck. Jao Camp also offers guided river tours in a mokoro—a local version of a canoe—where kids can fish and watch families of hippos and elephants at play.

 

WHAT TO KNOW

  • Botswana offers amazing animal sightings year-round. The green season from December through March brings intermittent showers, but also lush vegetation and lots of young babies.
  • Keep plenty of drinking water and other snacks on hand.
  • Make sure to take regular bathroom breaks – before setting out and at every stop.
  • Bring children's binoculars and/or digital cameras.
  • And, remember: for many kids—and adults—an African safari is a once in a lifetime experience. Don't rush: get out of the vehicle wherever and whenever it's allowed, don’t be afraid to linger at destinations, and stop whenever your child wants. Even if it’s “just another impala,” you never know when they’ll get the chance to see one again!