Hooray for Game Reserves! Today my friend Amelia from Suddenly A Mom shares the best take to take your wild things to see wild things 🙂
Summer holidays are just around the corner! “Yahoo!” I hear you shrill. “I can’t wait for six weeks of bored kids! My favourite!” Nope? Just me? No matter, I’ll still share some of my favourite kid-friendly game reserves in the Eastern Cape with you; because game reserves are amazing fun for the whole family. There isn’t a person with a pulse that doesn’t get a thrill out of seeing a lion or elephant in the wild. So, visiting a game reserve is how hours are passed and memories are made in the best possible way. And the Eastern Cape is just brimming with options:
ADDO NATIONAL ELEPHANT PARK
Addo is a favourite amongst EC locals because it is close to PE, affordable to explore, and great for all ages. Because it’s less than an hour from the Friendly City, it’s also ideal as a day trip. The self-driven game drives allow you to get close to these gentle giants, while little ones can stay strapped in to their car seats. Back at the base, there is a curio shop, restaurant, interactive centre (where you can surround yourself with the calls of some of Africa’s favourite wildlife), and plenty of space to run around and burn energy.
SHAMWARI GAME RESERVE
Known for its luxurious approach to African safaris, Shamwari may not be the first choice for parents. But, it caters to children too. Parents booking into family suites can take advantage of the Kids on Safari programme. This includes bespoke game drives, lessons on how to identify calls and track the animals making them, storytelling, bush walks, night drives and a visit to the local breeding projects. They also get a nifty gift pack and free stuff never hurt anyone.
KARIEGA PRIVATE GAME RESERVE
At Kariega, little ones can join their parents on any of the game drives and the river cruise. But, there’s also a children’s programme between about 11h00 and 14h00, which is about educating and inspiring children to care for the land and its residents. This programme includes making moulds of animals, a guided trail through the bush, identifying insects and animal tracks, fishing, canoeing and baking; amongst others. Still, Kariega is home to the Big Five, so the game rangers will need to advise whether children under the age of five can go to close-up sightings. For parents that want a little alone time, babysitting services are on offer here. There is a play area with books, puzzles, wildlife DVDs and other activities.
LALIBELA GAME RESERVE
With game drives and activities specifically designed for kids, Lalibela is a family favourite. Children over the age of two are able to make African masks, wind mobiles, and photo frames; or go on shorter game drives in a game-viewing vehicle just for kids. On these drives, birds and smaller animals are pointed out to them and they learn how to use their senses to get the most out of the African bush. Children under eight years old even enjoy an earlier meal time with kid-friendly meals.
PUMBA PRIVATE GAME RESERVE
Pumba has a special Kids on Safari package for families visiting here. This includes a one-hour game drive, species book, learning how to identify certain plants and insects, making a plaster-cast of what they find, an insect box to collect creepy crawlies, a lesson on how to make a fire, a marshmallow braai and a story. There is also an area for them to play soccer or rugby, and they can go fishing. Wildlife chocolate moulding is always a hit.
The Eastern Cape is a wonderland for families wanting a quiet getaway from the hubbub of city life. And its game reserves combine the thrill of exploring the wild with the tranquillity of endless landscapes and exciting species.