One of my favorite family travel writers, Mara Gorman, has weekly post on her website, The Mother of all Trips, called “Mondays are for dreaming” about those extraordinary travel experiences Mara (and all of us!) dream about.
Today, I’m dreaming of a family safari in Africa.
Over the New Year’s Eve holiday a few of the Ciao Bambino writers got together and brainstormed on a “must go back to” family travel list. From Lucca, Italy to Guilin, China to Cambria, California to Turks and Caicos — the list has something for everyone. While I love revisiting favorite haunts, this year, I’m itching to take our family on an exotic adventure. One of my favorite articles from Dana is on Kids & Critters. That’s exactly what I’m in the mood for — animals! Lots of them. And no, a zoo won’t do the trick.
Now that we live in Europe, Africa is a much easier trip from a flight perspective than starting from the West Coast of the US. Twelve years ago we spent three glorious weeks in South Africa and Zimbabwe, so it seems East Africa may be in order.
I’m starting from square one and after doing an initial Google search on “kids travel Africa”, page one results seemed compelling but after that I’m seeing either dated articles or marketing fluff without real content. On to “family safari vacation.” Bad news, those results look even worse.
Clearly, quality family travel content is needed for this part of the world. Fortunately, in this market there is another option.
Planning trips to places that involve heavy touring are best done through an expert tour operator, meaning a company that specializes in full itineraries including transportation, accommodations, and guides. For Costa Rica, we recommend Classic Journeys out of San Diego. We don’t have anyone to recommend in Africa … yet.
Do you have a favorite Africa Tour Operator or itinerary to share? Please let me know!
I keep a running list of bookmarks for destinations all over the world. This list is torture when I’m not planning a trip, but an absolute joy once the real research begins.
Check out the photos for the Giraffe Manor hotel. What? I must stay here.
CC Africa/&Beyond Africa
We planned our trip through South Africa at the Conservation Corporation Africa lodges and they were quite simply, unforgettable. Extraordinary lodges combined with vital conservation efforts defined this company. I don’t know much about this new brand, but certainly will start my research here.
National Geographic Best Adventure Travel Companies
When you travel to a place like Africa, particularly with kids, there zero room to fool around with unknown resources. National Geographic publishes a Best Adventure Travel Companies (On Earth) List. I put Family Adventures and African Safari into their tool and got 53 results.
Not really a “short list”, but certainly an amazing resource and place to start. I can’t imagine using an operator not on this list. Safety is a concern wherever you go but this issue in Africa is even more complex. Health and transportation safety, well-established practices in the field, and quality accommodations are all critical.
This post is the first in a series on planning this adventure. Stay tuned for insight on what I find …
Need more inspiration? Check out other 2011 travel ideas from the Travel Blog Mob:
BootsnAll – Where to Travel Next: How Do You Decide
Nerds Eye View – Back to Austria in 2011
The Vacation Gals – Zip Lining in a Costa Rica Rainforest
Wandering Educators – Top Ten Travel Destinations for 2011
Traveling with MJ – New Year, New Places, New List
Sharing Travel Experiences – A New Destination for a New Year
Wanderlust and Lipstick – Best Destinations for Solo Women’s Travel
Spot Cool Stuff – Southern Sudan: The World’s Newest Country