In a nutshell, we generally advise against traveling to Africa with babies or staying in the more temperate regions of South Africa, such as the Western Cape and Eastern Cape, and possibly adding a safari in the non-malarial areas of Madikwe, the Waterberg Mountains, and Tswalu in the north of the country. Despite this, Africa is still a safe and welcoming place, but some areas are off-limits even to the most daring travelers. Be sure to read the State Department's updated travel warnings and warnings for each potential destination. When it comes to traveling with children to Africa, it is important to be aware of the potential risks and take necessary precautions.
While some African countries are stable and peaceful, others may be dangerous or have health risks such as malaria. It is essential to consult a travel clinic for up-to-date advice on malaria and necessary travel vaccines before planning any trips. Additionally, it is important to respect wildlife space and stay on marked roads when visiting national parks. For those traveling from the United States, Namibia is closer than many people think.
Direct flights from Europe to Namibia take only 10 hours. English is also the official language of Namibia, although it is only spoken by less than 1% of the population. However, it is still used everywhere. For family holidays, the large national parks of South Africa, Kenya, and Tanzania are popular for safaris; for cultural and natural attractions, Ghana in the west and Uganda in the east offer plenty of entertainment; and the kid-friendly beaches on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa are just a short distance from southern Europe.
If you're traveling from the United Kingdom or Ireland, jet lag won't be too much of an issue as most of Africa is less than four hours away from Greenwich Meridian time zone. Before booking any trips be sure to check both the NHS Fit for Travel or WHO website to determine what diseases are present at your destination then visit your GP for advice on whether or not it's feasible to travel there with an infant or toddler. Most practical considerations about traveling in Africa that are common sense for adults (drinking bottled water, avoiding ice cubes, washing hands frequently, leaving bugs and other creatures alone) should also be taught to children. If your children don't like long road trips at home or tend to get dizzy while traveling, consider taking domestic planes or trains instead of road transport as it's likely to be uncomfortable, bumpy, and slow.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that travelers who intend to visit Africa consult a medical professional up to six months in advance and schedule vaccines at least six weeks prior. The experience of traveling with children in Africa will vary depending on the destination, activities you want to do, and attitudes and desires of each family member. With proper planning and precautions taken beforehand, however, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience for everyone involved.