The idea of an idyllic safari excursion is not often associated with the concept of a kid friendly holiday. Despite the fact that tracking and spotting animals in their natural habitat is educational for the kids, safaris seldom cater for children specifically. More often than not they are left bored and fidgety as their parents attempt to enjoy the more languid pursuits of the bush holiday.
However, my husband and I recently had occasion to bring our six year old son with us on safari to Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge, where the needs of the (very young) tourist have been well taken into account, making it the ideal family safari destination. And this proved to be not only a singularly enjoyable experience for him, but also left us free of the usual irritation of having an uninterested and fractious child in tow. Sabi Bush Lodge has child friendly attractions that include an elephant centre open to children younger than 12 years old – excluding during game drive times.
But the child friendly impetus doesn’t end there. We were mindful of the attention that both the ranger and the tracker paid to our son throughout the experience. He was able to sit up front on the open- top 4 x 4 vehicle with the ranger and they went out of their way to make game drives stimulating and special to him.
There is even a kids table specially designed for their height and food that is the stuff of a child’s dream. They were able to tuck into waffles, pastry, boiled eggs and all manner of dishes that they are probably not allowed to savour when at home.
Kid friendliness aside, the lodge has plenty to indulge the accompanying adults. The rooms are large and can sleep two adults with two children in the lounge section who sleep on day couches that fold out into proper beds. Our room, which overlooked the waterhole, was tastefully decorated in an old world safari style and we were spoilt with an enormous bath and both an inside and an outside shower. For larger groups, Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge also has rather luxurious family sized rooms, each with their own swimming pool, which would be particularly suitable for those with older children.
The buffet dinners at the Boma are sumptuous to say the least. Seated around tables that surround a huge fire, we were treated to no small amount of choice; beef, ostrich, chicken, eland, fish and mountains of vegetables. Plus, of course, we had offerings of unmentionably delicious deserts whilst the kids roasted their marshmallows over the fire.
The Sabi Sabi Reserve is exclusive to the four lodges at Sabi Sabi as well as one other lodge. This translates into strictly controlled game drives and sightings, improving the chances of spotting some of the lesser seen animals. The game drives are twice daily (in the morning and afternoon) and are accompanied by both a ranger and a tracker.
We were lucky enough to happen upon two male leopards engaged in some rather ferocious fighting. Quite what the quarrel was over we were of course never to know, but this spectacle, both fearsome and fascinating, is rather a rarity in the wild. I am happy to report that, despite the fierceness of the exchange, there we no casualties except for the pride of the younger male who was taught a stern lesson and retreated to restore what dignity he could. Our son, transfixed and not a little terrified, came away with a story he will regale for many years.
In my time I have been fortunate enough to visit many safari lodges, most of them luxurious and opulent with our every need met. But our time at Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge was made all the more enjoyable because our son was kept entertained and enthralled, leaving us adults with the breathing room to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the beautiful African bush.
Watch the Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge Video