Traveling Internationally with Kids to Africa

Learn how to make the most of your international family trip with kids. Get tips on when is the best time to go, what documents are needed, and how to plan ahead.

Traveling Internationally with Kids to Africa

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on traveling internationally with kids to Africa. If you're planning a family vacation to the stunning continent of Africa, this article will provide you with essential tips, advice, and recommendations to ensure a memorable and enjoyable trip for both you and your children. From choosing the right destination to navigating transportation options and engaging activities, we've got you covered. Let's dive in!

Planning Your Trip to Africa with Kids

2.1 Choosing the Right Destination

Africa offers a diverse range of destinations suitable for family travel. From the thrilling wildlife encounters in Kenya's Maasai Mara to the beautiful beaches of Zanzibar, it's important to choose a destination that aligns with your family's interests and preferences. Consider factors such as safety, accessibility, and the availability of kid-friendly attractions.

2.2 Researching Visa Requirements

Before embarking on your journey, it's crucial to research and understand the visa requirements for your chosen African destination. Each country may have different visa policies, so make sure to check the official government websites or consult with a reliable travel agent to ensure you have the necessary documentation.

2.3 Vaccinations and Health Considerations

Prior to traveling to Africa, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional or a specialized travel clinic to determine the required vaccinations and necessary health precautions for your family. Diseases such as malaria and yellow fever are prevalent in certain regions, and appropriate measures should be taken to protect your children's health.

2.4 Packing Essentials for Kids

When packing for your trip, be sure to include essential items for your kids' comfort and safety. This may include clothing suitable for various weather conditions, insect repellent, sun protection, medication, and any specific items your child may require, such as a favorite toy or blanket.

Finding Kid-Friendly Accommodations in Africa

3.1 Resorts and Hotels with Children's Facilities

Many resorts and hotels in Africa cater specifically to families, offering a wide range of amenities and activities designed to keep children entertained. Look for accommodations with kids' clubs, pools, playgrounds, and babysitting services to ensure a comfortable and enjoyable stay.

3.2 Family-Friendly Safari Lodges

If you're planning a safari adventure with your kids, consider staying at family-friendly safari lodges. These lodges provide a safe and immersive experience for children, with knowledgeable guides who can educate and engage them in the wonders of the African wildlife.

3.3 Renting Vacation Homes or Apartments

Another option for families traveling to Africa is renting vacation homes or apartments. This provides the flexibility of having a private space with separate bedrooms, a kitchen, and other amenities that can make your family feel at home while exploring a new destination.

Best Activities and Attractions for Kids in Africa

4.1 Wildlife Safaris and Game Drives

One of the highlights of traveling to Africa with kids is the opportunity to witness the incredible wildlife up close. Safaris and game drives offer thrilling experiences for children, where they can spot majestic animals like lions, elephants, giraffes, and zebras in their natural habitats.

4.2 Exploring National Parks and Reserves

In addition to safaris, national parks and reserves provide excellent opportunities for kids to learn about and appreciate Africa's rich biodiversity. Take your family on guided nature walks, visit educational centers, and embark on adventurous hikes to create lasting memories.

4.3 Visiting Cultural Villages and Museums

Immersing your children in the local cultures and traditions of Africa is a fantastic way to broaden their horizons and foster a sense of curiosity and understanding. Visit cultural villages and museums where they can interact with local communities, learn about traditional practices, and participate in hands-on activities.

4.4 Beach and Water Activities

If you're visiting coastal regions of Africa, don't miss out on the beautiful beaches and exciting water activities. From building sandcastles and swimming to snorkeling and boat trips, there's something for every member of the family to enjoy.

Safety Tips for Traveling with Kids in Africa

5.1 Precautions in Wildlife Areas

When exploring wildlife areas, it's crucial to prioritize safety for both you and your children. Follow the instructions of experienced guides, maintain a safe distance from wild animals, and teach your kids about the importance of respecting wildlife and their habitats.

5.2 Transportation Safety

Whether you're traveling by air, road, or other means of transportation within Africa, it's important to prioritize safety. Ensure that you and your children are properly restrained in vehicles, follow all safety guidelines, and choose reputable transportation providers.

5.3 Health and Hygiene Practices

Maintaining good health and hygiene practices during your trip is essential for the well-being of your family. Encourage frequent handwashing, use hand sanitizers when necessary, and be mindful of food and water safety to prevent any potential illnesses.

Tips for Keeping Kids Entertained During the Journey

6.1 Packing Travel Entertainment Essentials

Long journeys can be challenging for kids, so it's important to pack entertainment essentials to keep them engaged and entertained. This may include coloring books, puzzles, travel-friendly board games, electronic devices, and headphones.

6.2 Engaging Activities for Long Flights or Road Trips

For long flights or road trips, consider engaging your kids in fun activities that will make the journey more enjoyable. This can include storytelling, singing songs, playing interactive games, or even organizing a scavenger hunt.

6.3 Interactive Learning Experiences

Traveling to Africa provides numerous opportunities for interactive learning experiences. Encourage your children to learn about the local wildlife, cultures, and history through educational apps, books, or even by interacting with local experts and guides.

Dealing with Jet Lag and Adjusting to New Time Zones

7.1 Preparing for Jet Lag

Traveling to Africa may involve crossing multiple time zones, which can result in jet lag. Help your children adjust to the new time zone by gradually shifting their sleep schedule a few days before the trip and ensuring they get plenty of rest during the journey.

7.2 Strategies for Adjusting Sleep Schedules

To aid in adjusting sleep schedules, expose your children to natural light during the day and create a calming bedtime routine to promote better sleep. Be patient as their bodies adapt to the new time zone and provide support during the transition.

7.3 Maximizing Daylight Hours for Activities

Make the most of daylight hours in Africa by planning outdoor activities and excursions. Sunlight helps regulate the body's internal clock and can aid in adjusting to the new time zone more quickly.

Cultural Sensitivity and Teaching Kids about Africa

8.1 Learning about Local Customs and Traditions

Teaching your kids about the local customs and traditions of Africa promotes cultural sensitivity and understanding. Research and discuss cultural norms, greetings, and etiquette, and encourage your children to ask questions and interact respectfully with locals.

8.2 Exploring African Cuisine

One of the delights of traveling is exploring the local cuisine. Introduce your children to diverse African dishes and flavors, and encourage them to try new foods. This can be an exciting and educational experience for the whole family.

8.3 Interacting with Local Communities

Engaging with local communities can enrich your children's travel experience. Encourage them to interact with local children, participate in community activities, and learn about the daily lives of people in different African cultures.

Practical Tips for Dining with Kids in Africa

9.1 Kid-Friendly Restaurants and Menus

Finding kid-friendly restaurants with suitable menus is essential for enjoyable family dining experiences. Look for establishments that offer a variety of options, including familiar dishes, and cater to children's dietary preferences and restrictions.

9.2 Managing Dietary Restrictions

If your child has specific dietary restrictions or allergies, it's important to communicate this to restaurant staff and accommodation providers in advance. Carry necessary medications or food alternatives to ensure your child's dietary needs are met during your trip.

9.3 Snack and Meal Planning on the Go

Pack a variety of snacks and meals for your kids, especially when embarking on day trips or excursions. This ensures that they have access to familiar and nutritious options, even in remote areas where food availability may be limited.

Navigating Transportation Options with Kids in Africa

10.1 Choosing Family-Friendly Transportation Modes

Consider family-friendly transportation options such as domestic flights, trains, or guided tours that cater to the needs of families traveling with kids. These options often provide comfort, convenience, and additional services for a smoother travel experience.

10.2 Renting Vehicles or Hiring Drivers

If you prefer the flexibility of self-driving, consider renting a vehicle or hiring a driver who is experienced in navigating African roads. Ensure that the vehicle is suitable for your family's needs and meets safety requirements.

10.3 Using Public Transportation Safely

When using public transportation in Africa, exercise caution and ensure the safety of your children. Research the local transportation systems, follow any guidelines or regulations, and be aware of your surroundings to ensure a secure journey.

Managing Expectations and Embracing Flexibility

11.1 Setting Realistic Itineraries and Pace

When planning your itinerary, be mindful of your children's energy levels and attention spans. Allow for ample time to rest, explore at a comfortable pace, and balance sightseeing with relaxation. Setting realistic expectations can help avoid unnecessary stress.

11.2 Allowing for Spontaneous Adventures

While it's important to have a rough itinerary, leave room for spontaneous adventures and unexpected discoveries. Children thrive on new experiences, so embrace opportunities that may arise during your trip and create lasting memories together.

11.3 Embracing Unforeseen Challenges

Traveling with kids can sometimes present challenges, but it's important to approach them with patience and flexibility. Embrace the unexpected and use it as an opportunity to teach your children resilience and adaptability.


When it comes to taking a family trip abroad, there are a few key factors to consider. Maureen Wheeler, co-founder of Lonely Planet, recommends waiting until children are 3 years old, when they have outgrown diapers, can eat solid food, and can communicate. If you plan to take a once-in-a-lifetime trip, you may want to wait until your children are between 7 and 10 years old. Bruce Kirkby and Christine Pitkanen, hosts of Travel Channel's Big Crazy Family Adventure, suggest some unexpected destinations for kids.

Before you go, make sure you have a consent to travel form for each child. This is a legal document that allows a minor to travel without the presence of both parents or legal guardians. Traveling anywhere with kids can be overwhelming, let alone traveling across the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean. You'll need to be prepared for time zone changes, different cuisines, currencies, and languages.

Trips With Tykes is a family travel blog that can help simplify the logistics of traveling with young children. When it comes to international travel with kids, proper documentation is essential for safety. Make sure you have all the necessary documents and insurance coverage before you go. Bruce and Christine offer tips on how to travel abroad with children safely and (in a way) stress-free. To make the most of your international family trip, it's important to plan ahead. Research the destination and create an itinerary that includes activities for all ages.

Consider booking a tour guide who can provide insight into the local culture and attractions. And don't forget to bring along plenty of snacks! Traveling internationally with kids can be an amazing experience for the whole family. With proper planning and preparation, you can make sure your trip is safe and enjoyable for everyone.

12.1 Is Africa safe for kids?

Yes, Africa can be safe for kids if appropriate precautions are taken. Research your destination, follow safety guidelines, and stay informed about any potential risks.

12.2 What are the best countries to visit in Africa with kids?

Some popular countries for family travel in Africa include South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Morocco, and Namibia. Each offers unique experiences and attractions suitable for children.

12.3 Do children need special vaccinations for Africa?

Yes, some vaccinations may be required or recommended for travel to Africa. Consult with a healthcare professional or a specialized travel clinic to determine the necessary vaccinations for your children.

12.4 What should I pack when traveling to Africa with kids?

When traveling to Africa with kids, pack essentials such as appropriate clothing, sun protection, insect repellent, medications, and any specific items your child may require. It's also advisable to carry a first aid kit.

12.5 Are there child-friendly safari options in Africa?

Yes, many safari lodges and tour operators in Africa offer child-friendly safari experiences. These include shorter game drives, kid-friendly activities, and guides who specialize in engaging children during wildlife encounters.

12.6 How can I involve my kids in learning about African cultures?

Involve your kids in learning about African cultures by visiting cultural villages, museums, and interacting with local communities. Encourage them to ask questions, try local foods, and participate in cultural activities.

12.7 What are some kid-friendly activities in Africa?

Some kid-friendly activities in Africa include wildlife safaris, visiting national parks and reserves, beach and water activities, and exploring interactive museums or educational centers.

12.8 How can I manage jet lag when traveling with kids to Africa?

To manage jet lag, gradually shift your child's sleep schedule a few days before the trip, ensure they get plenty of rest during the journey, and expose them to natural light to aid in adjusting to the new time zone.

12.9 Are there kid-friendly accommodations in Africa?

Yes, there are numerous kid-friendly accommodations in Africa, including resorts with children's facilities, family-friendly safari lodges, and vacation homes or apartments that offer the flexibility and comfort of a home-away-from-home.

12.10 How can I keep my kids entertained during long journeys?

To keep your kids entertained during long journeys, pack travel entertainment essentials such as coloring books, puzzles, games, and electronic devices. Engage them in interactive activities and encourage them to learn about the destinations you're visiting.


Traveling internationally with kids to Africa can be a rewarding and enriching experience for the whole family. By planning ahead, prioritizing safety, and considering the interests of your children, you can create unforgettable memories in this captivating continent. Embrace the diversity, engage with local cultures, and allow for flexibility to make the most of your journey. Africa awaits with its breathtaking landscapes, remarkable wildlife, and warm hospitality.

Tia Szymansky
Tia Szymansky

Having Spent 8 Years Travelling, I have decided to Live in Africa for the past 2 years. Love every moment of it and sharing my best guides and tips if you plan on travelling here. Africa is always oversighted due to media and I believe with my blog, I can help revive the African Travel and Tourism Industry and invite you all here for a fantastic time :)

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