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Top 10 Family Safari Destinations in Africa to Visit in 2021



Planning a family safari can be quite a tricky affair. Sitting at home and churning out action-packed yarns about the wilderness is very much different than trying to harness the pent-up energy of the kids on an actual long game drive under the hot African sun.

That said, even though traveling with the young ones may occasionally feel like hard work, a  safari in a country like Africa has so much to offer that the rewards far outnumber the efforts.

Here are some unique wild destinations for the forthcoming year, designed to keep the family welfare in mind.

10 Family Safari Destinations in Africa

South Africa

Being malaria-free, there is no other country best suited for children of all ages than South Africa. Additionally, self-drive is permitted in most parks and they have excellent infrastructure which provides a solid ground for choosing this destination for your family safari holidays in Africa. The premier attraction of the country – Kruger National Park, apart from being home to the Big Five, has a wide range of stay options, like family suites, where guests can stay together and where kid-friendly activities, like animal tracking, etc are conducted on a regular basis.


If your kids are a bit older, above 8 years, then simply head to Kenya with your eyes shut. Exceptional wildlife experiences (like The Great Migration), rich cultural traditions and supreme beach spots means you can hit the surf and rejuvenate, as soon as you are through with the exciting, but strenuous, game drives. Activities include identifying bird calls and animal tracks, fishing, interaction with local Maasai, and discovering new cultures. The kids will have a ball at the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage and interaction with giraffes at the Langata Giraffe Sanctuary in Nairobi.


Tanzania is also a great country for a safari, because, in addition to the usual guided walks and open vehicle forays in the bush, one can ride on horseback to see wild animals from an entirely different perspective. Moreover, Tanzania is exceptionally safe, the wildlife reserves are some of the best in the world, as are the bush picnics, all of which go into making Tanzania a mega draw for children of all ages.



Home of the Okavango delta and the world-famous Chobe National Park, Botswana is a haven for family safaris, albeit with slightly grown-up children. This is primarily because the nature of the terrain is geared to activities like canoeing and bush walks, which are not ideal for younger children. Having said that, there is an abundance of wildlife that can be witnessed from close quarters, including massive herds of elephants, if you happen to be an elephant fan.


A visit to one of the world’s largest waterfalls, Victoria Falls on the mighty Zambezi river, is not only an awe inspiring spectacle but comes with tons of activities perfect for the whole family. If you make a reservation for the dry season of 2021, your family will be able to experience life in Devil’s Pool, on the waterfalls edge. Other activities include helicopter rides, white water rafting, bungee jumping, zip-lining, cultural visits and of course, wildlife safaris.


The Etosha National Park in Namibia is perfect for families and independent travelers. A large variety of tented and built up accommodation is available for overnight visitors. Children, especially, will love this safari destination, as besides the game drives which can provide sightings of lions, elephants, springbok and others, the children can frolic in swimming pools. Some lodges even feature a jungle gym, a kiddies section and sand pits. Another plus point for families is that self drive is permitted in a majority of the parks. With a good road system, traveling between parks is affordable and reduces the cost of a family trip.(The far north of Namibia is the malaria belt of Africa, as such children under six should not travel in this part of the country.)


A safari holiday with the whole family at the iconic Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda is a revelation. Apart from being the country’s most popular destination, the diverse ecosystem of the park harbors a classic amount of big game, ten primates and over 600 species of birds. Children will just be overawed by the lions lying under the fig trees, baboons frolicking in the grasslands and seeing the large concentration of hippos and Nile crocodiles in the 32 km long Kazinga water channel.The lodges have spacious rooms where the entire families can stay together, and plenty of kid-friendly activities.


When it comes to a raw and truly authentic family safari experience, do not look beyond Zimbabwe. Here families have a distinct advantage of going on private guided safari tours, ideal for a small group of four to six persons.These highly professional guides, stay with you for the entire duration of a safari, in a one of a kind remote area, which are bound to become popular in the next few years. The Manas Pools National Park and the adjacent Sepi Concession, are two such regions where the everyone can really enjoy and take part in the excitement of tracking and exploring some of the most pristine wilderness tracts of Africa.


A safari in Madagascar is a combination which portrays two different facets of the island nation, the richness of wildlife and the beautiful coastline of Anjajavy. Families will get enthralled with the thick forests, azure waters, and the untouched beauty of Madagascar. Some of the rarest animals on earth can be found in Analamazaotra Special Reserve, with distinct possibility of seeing the ring-tailed, common and wife ruffed lemurs along with the golden-colored Diademed Sifaka.


An Ethiopian safari is a sweet mix of ancient history and religion set amidst dramatic mountains and dizzy ravines. The trip begins at the Simien Mountains National Park, where the kids will love to explore the vast network of trails and meet wildlife species found nowhere else in the world, from the endangered Ethiopian Wolf to the shy gelada baboons. Keep an eye for the wild goats and the very rare Abyssinian wolf. Your next destination will be the famous Bale Mountain National Park, the last abode of the enigmatic Ethiopian wolf, in the south-central highlands of the country. The lodges are family-friendly, comfortable, warm, and serve home-cooked meals.

A family vacation, these days, is no longer packing the kids in the back of the car and heading to the nearest beach. These holidays have since grown in stature and viewing wild animals in their habitat has become the fascination of families all over the world.

The post Top 10 Family Safari Destinations in Africa to Visit in 2021 appeared first on Travel Experta – Family Travel Blog.

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Would you dare baptism in the Devil’s Bathtub?




Close my eyes and count to three as I anticipate to dive into the deep, ice cold pool of water – The Devil’s Bathtub, located in Southwest Virginia. Jumping in is not recommended for the faint of heart. I stare into the aquamarine abyss and question the life choices that led me to this.

Deciding if I have the courage to jump into the Devil’s Bathtub. Photo by Maddie Luchsinger.

The Devil’s Bathtub is a place that no person can stay for very long – it is wicked in the way its cold can take the breath away of the people who dare to jump in. It is the type of cold that sucks the breath right out of your lungs and frightens every skin cell of your body. It is a bathtub-sized pool that is, perhaps, 25 feet deep, full of the fresh spring water falling off the mountains. You’ve hiked 2.5 miles up a mountains, crossing a river 17 times. Your muscles are sore. So jump into the Devil’s Bathtub and find out what happens when you dunk them in ice.

After I was baptized by the Devil in southwest Virginia, I felt cold for days. It was a deeply guttural coldness, like I was thawing slowly from the inside out.

Swimming in the Devil's BathtubPhoto by Maddie Luchsinger

In all the time I’ve spent exploring the world, there are only one of a handful of times I can remember being this cold – in the middle of the night, camping in the desert in North Central Mexico. I was there on a church trip, to build houses in the slums of Tijuana. This was something the church of my youth did a lot in the 1990s/2000s – took groups to do manual labor rural parts of Mexico. That year, in the desert of Baja California, El Nino brought on exceptional rains that flooded our campsite and soaked my belongings. The temperatures at night would reach just above freezing, and the lumber that kept our campfires roaring was wet and ineffective. I have this memory of huddling around the dwindling embers of a dying campfire, desperate to get warm, under a deep sea of stars. I remember feeling like I would never feel warm again.

The second time I’ve felt that cold was whitewater rafting the Upper Youghegheny River in Upper Pennsylvania in the early spring. My group spent the entire weekend camping in a pouring rainstorm, on 50 degree days, and then rafted a flood-stage river of class IV-V rapids. I fell out twice, and swam down a class IV+ rapid called the Meat Cleaver. I remember feeling cold for days after, and vowing to never go whitewater rafting again.

When I jumped into the Devil’s Bathtub, these were the memories that came flooding in. This was a uniquely painful kind of cold. And the thing that was so devilish about it – it was an enjoyable pain.

Maybe I’ve cursed myself, jumping into the Devil’s Bathtub. but in 2020, who can tell the difference?


Devil's Bathtub Trailhead Duffield VAPhoto by Maddie Luchsinger

How to find the Devil’s Bathtub

At the end of Highway 619 just outside of Duffield, Virginia. Duffield is located less than 2 hours from Knoxville, about an hour North of Kingston, Tennessee.

This is a popular hike with an established parking lot at the trailhead. Hikers can choose to go left when the trailhead splits for a 4 mile roundtrip journey to the Devil’s Bathtub, or take a right for a 7-mile loop through the mountains. The trail is clearly marked with a yellow square tag.

Plan for the trail to take an hour per mile, and wear shoes that can get wet. You have to hike across a river 17 times, and you are almost certain to get wet. There are a few areas of treacherous terrain and sharp drops, so keep an eye on young children and dogs at all times.

The hike can be found near Duffield, Virginia, about an hour north of Kingston, TN. I recommend camping at Natural Tunnel State Park, less than an hour away. NTSP has a well maintained and safe campground, good for car campers or RV tows.

Natural Tunnel is a rock formation that has naturally formed in the mountains, created a naturally carved train tunnel. The park offers a fun chairlift to the bottom, a fun activity for families or tired hikers.

Title: Would you dare baptism in the Devil’s Bathtub?
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Published Date: Wed, 23 Sep 2020 16:15:00 +0000

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Rediscover the San Juan Islands: Adventure-seekers will love this Northwest destination.




The journey starts with either a ferry or a floatplane—there are no bridges to the San Juans Islands. Leave stress behind as you board in Anacortes and set sail on the marine segment of the San Juan Islands Scenic Byway. You can relax, you’re on island time now.

The San Juan archipelago in Washington State is nestled between three great cities for visitors – Seattle, Vancouver B.C., and Victoria B.C., surrounded by the Salish Sea. Of the 172 named islands in the San Juans, three of them – Lopez, Orcas, and San Juan – have accommodations, attractions, and amenities for visitors.

The archipelago is blessed with a temperate marine climate and life in the “rain shadow” of the Olympic Mountains means an average of 247 days with sunshine annually and about half the rainfall of the Seattle area. San Juan County has more than 400 miles of shoreline punctuated by rocks, bluffs and beaches.

The arts, historic preservation and environmental stewardship flourish in the Islands. San Juan County is considered an “Arts Hot Spot” by the Washington State Arts Commission for the number of artists and galleries in the islands. It is also the first county in the USA to be designated a voluntary “Leave No Trace” area. Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, the archipelago’s only incorporated town, was named a Destination of Distinction by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

No matter your style of vacation, you’re bound to find it in the San Juan Islands. For nature enthusiasts, there’s world-class wildlife watching including orcas, humpback whales, bald eagles, Steller sea lions, and red foxes. And there’s a variety of ways to see it: along a network of waterfront hiking trails, from shoreline parks, from tour boats and private vessels.

For adventure seekers, beautiful landscapes and a calm inland sea make the San Juans a prime sea kayaking spot. Paddle your own kayak or set out with one of the many knowledgeable kayaking outfitters on San Juan, Orcas, or Lopez Island for three-hour to three-day tours.

For foodies, find quality local products, and experience the sense of community shared by island chefs, growers, winemakers, distillers, brewers, and other agricultural artisans. Some local farms even offer stays for guests who want to get up close and personal to the islands’ bounty.

If art’s your thing, you’ll find a gem in the San Juan Islands Museum of Art, with three to four first class exhibitions a year. The San Juan Islands Sculpture Park at 20-acres is one of the largest outdoor sculpture parks in the Pacific Northwest.

Humpback calf ‘Slate’ breaching by Jeff Friedman

Find variety, beauty, serenity … day after amazing day.

As we navigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, we are following the guidelines set by the Washington State Department of Health and Governor Inslee’s office. San Juan County is currently in a modified Phase 2 of Inslee’s “Safe Start” plan. Accommodations are open at 100%, and restaurants vary between curbside pickup, delivery, and limited indoor and outdoor seating. Face coverings are required to enter all businesses and public spaces.

Editor’s Note: we are working with local tourism boards to highlight destinations that are ready for tourists. Given the ever-evolving situation on COVID-19, please make sure you check the tourism website for the most up-to-date planning information.

From Nature to Nurture the San Juan Islands provide inspiration for the senses (

Title: Rediscover the San Juan Islands: Adventure-seekers will love this Northwest destination.
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Published Date: Tue, 22 Sep 2020 15:18:00 +0000

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This interactive map shows where you can (or can’t) travel in the US




In an effort to make traveling easier, United Airlines has developed an interactive map tool that allows customers to filter and view destinations’ COVID-19-related travel restrictions in the US. The Destination Travel Guide provides a color-coded map to highlight if a destination is closed, partially open or fully open for travel, and notes if tests or self-quarantining are required for travel.

The guide currently highlights travel restrictions and leisure offerings in the US by state, and will expand to include all international destinations the airline serves in the coming weeks. Users can click on each state to view local regulations and travel guidances, and there is also the option to filter the map by state to view specific information on each destination. This information includes the medical certificate needed, such as a negative COVID-19 test, physical distancing measures and whether wearing a mask in public is required. It also outlines the visitor accommodation, restaurants, bars and cafés, museum and heritage sites and non-essential shops that are open.

The interactive map tool that allows customers to filter and view destinations © United Airlines

“We know it’s a challenge to keep up with the ever-changing list of travel restrictions, policies and regulations so we are offering a simple, easy tool that helps customers decide where to travel next,” said Linda Jojo, executive vice president for technology and chief digital officer. “By providing the most up-to-date information on the destinations we serve, customers can compare and shop for travel with greater confidence and help them find the destinations that best fit their preferences.

Check out the new interactive map tool on here or on the United mobile app.

Lockdowns are easing globally as the planet adjusts to a new normal. Find out how COVID-19 is changing travel.

Title: This interactive map shows where you can (or can’t) travel in the US
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Published Date: Thu, 10 Sep 2020 15:36:58 +0000

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