When we think of going on safari, it’s easy to gravitate towards an African adventure. But if Africa seems a little too far (or too intense for your little ones!), a blood-pumping safari in South America is perfect for all ages. No matter where you go, however, there are certain precautions families need to take they’re bringing children on safari, too.
Whether you’re exploring the Amazon rainforest, in the Galapagos, or trekking around the Andes in Peru, here are some tried-and-true tips to follow to make sure any kids coming along have a safe, fun safari in South America.
Depending on the age of your children and how interested they are in a safari, you might not want to “go big or go home” on this trip. Instead of going on a full-blow Galapagos adventure, start small and consider touring the Amazon in Ecuador, where you and your young ones can spot armadillos, sloths, monkeys, tapirs, ocelots, butterflies, frogs, lizards, tropical fish and more.
Give your children a disposable camera or a mini video recorder, so they can record their own adventure. Not only will this keep them occupied when they’re bored, but it will likely also make for some good laughs later.
They’re kids. They’re going to get tired! Safaris tend to start early and last into the hot afternoon, so chances are, your children might want to nap somewhere in between. Let them! That’s what long car rides are for anway, right?
Don’t let them wander with the animals alone. Don’t let them walk towards the water on their own to see the fish. Don’t let them go off to feed the monkeys. When in the wildest corners of Mother Nature, it’s always good to air on the side of caution.
While adventurous families may want to sleep in different campsites, or on a boat, during their safari—making it easier to “be on the go” as you see all South America has to offer—when you travel with children, it’s always better to have more semi-permanent lodging. Unpacking and repacking with kids is not easy, and even if it’s just a campsite, going back to the same place every night makes it easier for kids to adjust as they have some “routine” to stick to.
When kids are bored, games are the answer. Bring coloring books, crayons, a deck of cards, or even book of crossword puzzles. Along the same line? Kids will get hungry, so bring snacks, too.
While it’s great to have games on the journey, try to leave the electronics at home. Safaris are unique experiences that take kids away from the luxuries of daily life and put them right in the heart of authentic Mother Nature. Even if you have to distract them, try to keep that authenticity alive and well as much as possible by keeping electronics (like iPads, iPhones, gaming tablets, Gameboys, etc.) out of the picture.