Saturday April 5 2014

Gearing up children for safari


By Roland Mukiza

Safari is a great way to spend time with your family over the Easter holiday. It is a combination of amazing animal sightings, adventures in an awesome national park and of course some quality family bonding time.
Today, we share some tips with you that could make your family safari, (an expedition to observe or hunt animals in their natural habitat) just that much easier.

There are a few things you need to remember when going on Safari and here are some of the most important ones.

Make sure that you pack the right clothes and footwear for your children and yourself. Remember, just as it gets very cold in the park this season and it can also get hot, be sure to bring along a jumper as well as your light clothes. Shoes are very important, if your children are very active and would like to get out into the bush pack them some closed, strong walking shoes.

One of the great things to do with the children is climbing trees in the bush, closed shoes are definitely a must then. A good pair of trainers should do the trick; we do not want them getting thorns right through their sandals.

And of course, do not forget to pack your swimming costume. Most of the afternoons with the children are spent by the main camp pool, a great place for you to spend time with your family and keep cool at the same time.

Now, you are all packed and ready to go: it might be a long journey so have a few things to make the trip easier.

Keep them entertained
It’s always a good idea to bring something to keep the children entertained while you travel. Books, cards and travel size board games are just a few of the things you can use to keep their minds off the long time spent in the airports and planes.

But trust me, the journey is definitely worth it. If this is the children’s first time on Safari, try to prepare them for where they are about to be. Remember that you are coming into a place with wild animals, it’s not the same as a zoo, explain to them that they need to listen to their rangers and be patient at time when on game drive.

Involve children in helping read the signposts
Children love being a part of the process and it also teaches them responsibility. It also helps keep them occupied so they do not get bored.
When you are really starting to lose their attention, you play a “secret agent game.” The whole idea is to stay together as a group.

When you arrive
Get the children settled and used to their surroundings, explain to them that they shouldn’t walk around alone especially if they are very young and your room is away from the main area.

Try some fun ways of helping your children remember the experience, make a list of all the animals they want to see and tick them off as you go.
Photographs are also a great way of remembering the safari, let your children take photographs as well so they feel part of making the memories.

If there is a morning drive and an afternoon drive, this will most likely be similar at other game lodges as this is the best time to see animals. It means that afternoon rests are always a great idea, tired children do not make for very good safari companions.
It does not have to be a sleep, just some quiet time in your rooms to regain their strength and patience.