Writer: Mindy Roberts

Photography: Time + Tide

Sharing extraordinary travel experiences with your family is sometimes difficult. Photos and even video don’t do the moments justice. When trying to explain these events to your nearest and dearest, you sometimes get glazed looks.

I had been living in Zambia for some time before my family first visited. When I shared photos, I felt they never really ‘got it’. They made all the right noises as I showed them yet another lion or elephant photo, but I could see from their eyes that they weren’t really lighting up with understanding and enthusiasm.

A guest sharing her son’s first view of hippos, in the Luangwa River

I had this very conversation with a first-time safari couple last week, who said they had to bring their teenaged children out next year as they weren’t sure how to explain their recent experiences to their family. Spurring this decision was watching another family also staying at Chinzombo, who were all enjoying their first safari together.  The kids were 20, 17, 16 and eight.

Safari is one of the easiest holidays to share with family. Today, Zambia offers fabulous accommodation specifically with families in mind—from parents with young, teenage and grown children to multi-generational travel. Family villas provide shared communal space for meals, but separate bedrooms and private spaces to relax in—it’s the best of both worlds! Private pools distract the kids during siesta time while parents and grandparents can relax over a good book or simply watch the wildlife wander past the deck.

Enjoying breakfast together in the middle of the bush creates lasting memories

Key to family travel is the Zambian guides and staff; they love kids. The guides are happy to teach the next generation of safari enthusiasts and wildlife conservationists, taking them on ‘poo walks’, identifying tracks and scratch marks, and imparting interesting information about animal behaviour.

There are also financial incentives to travel with family. Travellers under 18 have special children’s rates on Proflight – kids travel at 50% of full rate, plus taxes (www.flyzambia.com).

After having seven of my closest family visit from Melbourne over the years and seeing them bitten by the safari bug, with many of them returning to Zambia three or four times, it’s certainly brought us closer together over shared memories and close encounters.

Time is precious, as is family, and I’m glad I’ve been able to share such special moments on safari with mine. 

Norman Carr Safaris’ Chinzombo has a family villa perfect for kids sharing with parents