FAMILY TRAVEL

 “The biggest lesson from Africa was that life’s joys come mostly from relationships and friendships, not from material things. I saw time and again how much fun Africans had with their families and friends and on the sports fields; they laughed all the time.”Andrew Shue (American actor)

What more could you ask for in a destination like Southern Africa, than to enjoy some family time with your children. 

  • It brings us back to a life we knew growing up
  • 100% natural settings with trees, stars and endless savannas
  •  Install’s an appreciation of the Africa’s natural beauty
  • Educational  
  • Takes away the rush of our daily lives
  • It teach children to respect our wildlife
  • Memories lasting a lifetime , and stories for generations to come
  • Hardly any time to get bored

Southern Africa has many places that accommodate families however there are some hotels and lodges that cater perfectly for families.  Below are just 3 choices that come to mind

Images courtesy of Imvelo Safaris, preferred partners of Personal Collection by Thompsons Africa , experts in Southern Africa

African Bush Camps

The Best Part About Memories is Making Them –  Travel can be a wonderful time for a family to bond and a safari is a great way to connect through disconnecting from the normal routine. Everything is new and exciting; seeing an elephant for the first time, making pizza out in nature, or learning the call of an eagle. Watch  African Bush Camps Family Adventure Safari video to see why their family-friendly camps are the best on offer.

You can see how families become a part of their family, hosts entertain children with games and activities while guides ignite a sense of wonder and curiosity in the kids they teach. Their guides are experts in explaining, in fun and interactive ways, how everything in the ecosystem is interconnected, making it an enriching educational experience. 

“Travelling in the company of those we love is home in motion.”

Leigh Hunt

Samara

“We did not inherit the land from our forefathers. We have simply borrowed it from our children.” – NATIVE AMERICAN PROVERB

Samara offers an adventure for all ages. Family-owned and family-run, they are passionate about educating the next generation of conservationists and opening their eyes to the wonders of the wild. Inspiring educational activities combined with a breathtaking malaria-free setting make Samara the epitome of a child friendly safari.

Kids Programme & Babysitting

The Samara Kids Programme, part of our child friendly safari activities, caters to children up to 12 years old.

Experienced staff will engage your children in a variety of age-appropriate, fun and educational activities whilst you relax and unwind.

Activities include:

  • ‘Outdoor classroom’ bush excursions in the lodge grounds
  • Track identification
  • Rock painting like the Khoi-San
  • African crafts
  • T-shirt making
  • Orienteering & navigating
  • Storytelling
  • Colouring-in
  • Board games

When parents are away from the lodge, babies and toddlers younger than 2 years old must be placed under the care of the experienced childminders available. This babysitting is available during game drives and over dinner. A dedicated children’s menu is available at both lodges, and special requests can be accommodated.

Activities for teenagers

Unlikely to take kindly to being grouped in with the ‘kids’, we have a host of activities ideally suited to teens and young adults.

These activities cater to those already into the Big Outdoors as well as those who simply want to get that perfect ‘Insta-worthy’ picture to show friends back home.

These include:

  • Air rifle target practice
  • Bush walks (minimum age 16 years)
  • Sleep-outs (weather dependent)
  • Conservation activities
  • Overnight trail (minimum age 16 years; subject to ranger availability)

The activities described above can also include parents, allowing you to reconnect as a family on an exciting wilderness adventures.

Sabi Sabi

ELEFUN CENTRE AT SABI SABI BUSH LODGE

Families with children are always welcomed at Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge, and children are afforded a bush and nature experience, from the youngest to the eldest members of the family. The EleFun Centre is a fully-fledged children’s facility within the lodge environs, which fosters awareness and an appreciation of nature.The EleFun Centre offer hands-on, interactive activities designed for children between the ages of 4 and 12 years. Age-appropriate bushveld themed activities are guided, and supervised, by qualified staff, and include bushcraft subjects such as bush survival, bugs & birds, tracks & signs of wildlife – all environmentally sensitive subjects that every child will find fascinating.  

There is time for creative hobbies, while the afternoon sessions are fun-filled with games. Selected rangers lead bush walks and talks, and the childcare professionals provide specially planned midday child-friendly game drives, based on the topics covered in the rangers course, at the time of your visit.

The beautifully designed centre also includes a wonderful, secure outdoor play area. While set itineraries will take place every morning and afternoon, children are welcome to enjoy the facility between formal sessions.  Parents and/or guardians can relax and enjoy the incredible safaris, have a pamper session in the Amani Spa or just kick back and enjoy some private time, knowing that their children are reveling in their own special bushveld experience.

JUNIOR RANGER PROGRAMME

10:00 – INTRODUCTION TO JUNIOR RANGER PROGRAMME (AGES 4- 12)

Childcare professionals will introduce the variety of activities that are required in order to qualify as a Junior Ranger. These will of course be based according to their ages.

11:00 – 12:00 – ADVENTURES WITH NATURE 

This is the time for interactive bush activity. Weather permitting, a Ranger – or the EleFun co-ordinator – will lead the children in and around the lodge grounds on a walk, and for the older children there are additional midday educational drives out into the bush. The young Junior Ranger group will learn interesting facts about the Sabi Sabi bushveld and the animals, e.g. bugs & birds, bush survival or tracks & signs of nature.

12:00 – 13:00 – HOBBIES AND CRAFTS

In cases of inclement weather, children will enjoy an arts and crafts session, where boys and girls can enjoy hands-on projects, all relating to nature and the natural world – this could get messy but they definitely won’t be bored.

13:00 – 14:00 – CLOSED FOR LUNCH WITH PARENTS OR GUARDIANS

14:00 – 15:30 – GAME TIME

We encourage all the children to join us for our indoor and outdoor afternoon games which are really fun as well as educational. There is a spacious outdoor area with an obstacle course, a maze, open field to play soccer or enjoy some water sports and jungle gyms. There are also general knowledge quizzes based on African animals and they learn different animal sounds too. 


Images courtesy of Imvelo Safaris

CELEBRATING DIAN FOSSEY 87TH BIRTHDAY TODAY

Today would have been Dian Fossey’s 87th birthday, and though she was killed before she could realize the full value of her important work, we think she would be proud – and maybe a little surprised – that her vision lives on.

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Mountain gorillas still exist today because of Dian’s courage and persistence. She NEVER wavered in her commitment to the gorillas – even in the face of significant challenges. But Dian’s legacy isn’t just the mountain gorillas…she proved that one person can truly change the world.

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Dian and her legacy has given us more time with the gorillas.

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THE DIAN FOSSEY GORILLA FUND INTERNATIONAL 

Ellen DeGeneres, a much loved American comedian, television host, actress, writer, producer, and LGBT activist, turned 60!  Her beautiful wife Portia gave her and Africa a very special gift. Watch and read this.

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We would like to celebrate Dian’s birthday today by showing you how you can make a difference and showing you how to get to see these wonderful endangered gorillas in Rwanda and DRC.

Click here to donate to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International or visit the Ellen’s passion and read how she is making a difference.

And when you are ready to book Gorilla Trekking with us, let us know as we are happy to assist you with this once in a life time adventure, a memory that will stay with you forever.

Here are some striking images taken by Nelis Wolmarans of the exceptional Gorillas.

 

WORLD GORILLA DAY

World Gorilla Day 24th September 2018 creates the opportunity for people all over the world to come together in celebrating the gorilla, and more importantly, taking action to protect gorillas in the wild.

2017 was the inaugural year for World Gorilla Day and it also marked the fiftieth anniversary of Karisoke Research Center, operated by The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International (DFGFI). Established by Dian Fossey, Karisoke is the longest running gorilla field study site dedicated to the conservation, protection, and study of gorillas and their habitats in Africa.

There are many great organizations and individuals dedicated to fighting for their survival, but greater awareness and investment are essential to gaining ground for gorillas. World Gorilla Day strives to be a rallying point for bolstering appreciation and action for these great apes.

For 2018, an added focus of World Gorilla Day will be on taking action for gorillas locally through electronics recycling, with proceeds from recycling efforts going to Gorilla SAFE, a conservation initiative which brings together scientists and stakeholders to identify the threats, develop action plans, raise new resources and engage the public in protecting gorillas in the wild. Funds will support on the ground protection efforts for Grauer’s and Cross River gorillas, the two subspecies of gorilla in most need of help right now.

Zoos, conservation stakeholders, and other interested organizations are invited to join the celebration on September 24 2018, and help give a voice to one of our closest relatives.

Please go and help and donate to our Gorillas.

World Gorilla Day

GORILLAS IN RWANDA

VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK/ VIRUNGA CONSERVATION

Found in the Northwest of Rwanda, a visit to the Volcanoes National Park is a must and, in many cases, the very reason one visits Rwanda. The park is home to around 10 Gorilla families (8 permits are given per family so a total of 80 permits per day).

It is an area of thickly vegetated rain forest and bamboo. It is where the legendary Dian Fossey, made her home for over 18 years. She spent the years studying the life of Africa’s gorillas and their habitual ways and becoming a force against the poachers seeking out gorillas for meat and trade. She left a legacy behind and began the process of conserving our Gorillas. 

The Volcanoes National park is a part of the Virunga Conservation area. The Virunga Conservation area traverses over 3 countries, (Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Rwanda), covers 2 national parks (Virunga NP in DRC, Volcanoes NP in Rwanda and Mgahinga in Uganda) and houses eight volcanoes (5 of which sit in Rwanda) and forms the borders – these are Mount Karismibi, Mount Sabinyo, Mount Muhabura, Mount Bisoke and Mount Gahinga).  Mount Nyiragongo and Mount Nyamulagira, which sit in DRC, are the only active volcanoes. This incredible formation is all part of the Albertine Rift.

This is the terrain; the endangered gorillas call home. The eco-system and fertile volcanic soil is what makes the region so attractive for the gorillas. The eco-system is divided into 4 vegetation zones and also provides habitat for the golden monkeys, as well as many bird species.

Thanks, so all conservation efforts and rules, gorillas have increased in numbers and continue to contribute hugely to the economy of Rwanda which in turn finances the anti-poaching team and creates jobs for the locals, which minimises the need for poaching and black-market gorilla sales.

Further to gorilla trekking in the Volcanoes National Park, hiking tours are a must.  There is no better way to appreciate the parks rich flora and fauna.

Gorilla tracking in Rwanda is often described as “life changing” and with good reason. With only an estimated 880 Gorillas left in the world, to see these gentle creatures in their natural habitat is a truly unique moment.

Gorillas make their homes in and amongst the bamboo-covered slopes of the Virunga Mountains in the Volcanoes National Park in northern Rwanda. Trek to see them and you’ll be introduced by your expert trackers and guides to one of the fully-habituated families of mountain gorillas and you can stay with them for an awe-inspiring hour, often crouching just a few feet away, whilst the gorillas go about their daily lives.

Hikes in the mountains can last anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours + depending on the family allocated to your group and their location. The journey back can take just as long, but you are often carried along by the euphoria you feel at seeing the gorillas!

Expert guides give a pre-trek briefing on specific protocols and rules for visiting the gorillas that live within an altitude of 2500 and 4000m. Porters are available to help carry backpacks and cameras, as well as helping you with your footing along your hike which can be hard work, but well worth it.

If you are ready for a “life changing” experience and an adventure of a lifetime, contact us so we can make your dream come true.

Our preferred guide for Gorilla Trekking is Nelis Wolmarans, his pictures captures the profoundly amazing adventure.

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DIAN FOSSEY GORILLA NAMING CEREMONY

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Rwanda’s annual gorilla-naming ceremony, called “Kwita Izina,” took place on Sept. 1, and in addition to the infant gorilla named by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, 18 other gorillas received names during this event.

Most of them were infants born in the past year, but a few were actually adult gorillas who joined the monitored gorilla groups during the same time period, arriving from groups that have not been monitored, sometimes from over the border in Congo.

Here are the new names of all the gorillas from the ceremony:

Mitimbili’s infant: A male, born on April 24, 2017, now called Uruyange, meaning “shiny.” He lives in Pablo’s gorilla group, which is the largest monitored by the Fossey Fund.

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Kurudi’s infant: A female, born in Aug. 4, 2016, now called Macibiri, after Dian Fossey’s Rwandan nickname, Nyiramacibiri.

Tamu’s infant: Gender still undetermined, born on Sept. 8, 2016, now named Ubudasa, meaning “remarkable,” in reference to the young silverback who leads this group.

Ukuri’s infant: Gender still undetermined, born on Aug. 7, 2016, now named Umutware, meaning “leader” and honoring the leadership of Rwandan president Paul Kagame.

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Mahirwe’s infant: A female born approximately April 1, 2016, now named Arakaza, meaning “welcome” because she was born while the group was in the Democratic Republic of Congo, outside of our tracking area.

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Tegereza’s infant: A male, first seen on March 7, 2017, now named Iyamarere, meaning “enthusiastic.”

Rugira’s infant: Gender still undetermined, born on June 21, 2017, now named Urugano, meaning “generation,” to highlight investment in Rwanda’s youth.

Adult female in Ntambara’s group: First seen on March 8, 2017, now named Nsanganira, meaning “well accepted.” This previously unknown female was first seen in the group when they returned from ranging in Congo and is now well established in her group.

Other gorillas getting names include those in groups that are monitored by the Rwandan park authorities (Rwanda Development Board):

INFANTS :

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Ikoranabuhanga, meaning “information technology” to highlight this development in Rwanda.

Inyange, meaning “handsome and smart.”

Isuku, meaning “cleanliness,” recognizing how clean Rwanda is.

Inkingi, meaning “pillar” because gorillas are a pillar for the Rwandan economy.

TemberoRwanda, meaning “visit Rwanda,” to invite people to come to Rwanda.

Inkesha, meaning “star,” because the mountain gorillas are such important figures

Imirasire, meaning “ray of sun” to highlight Rwanda’s efforts in solar power.

NEW ADULTS :

Mudahinyuka, meaning “truthful and reliable.”

Ubwiza, meaning “beautiful.”

Iriba, meaning “water source.”

Also named was a new group that formed and is now called Muhoza, meaning “consolation.”

The annual Kwita Izina ceremony and associated events are organized each year by the Rwanda Development Board, which oversees management of Volcanoes National Park, home to the mountain gorillas.

Support the Fossey Fund’s gorilla protection and monitoring efforts by clicking here.

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If you are ready to book your Gorilla trekking in Rwanda, Click Here and get ready for your life to change. We support Dian Fossey Fund and are very grateful for all her amazing profound work.  Dian lives with us everyday.