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Grandparents and other pack animals…

Travelling in packs is something that only animals do, right?

Wild dogs, with their unique social structure, high degree of co-operation and clearly defined roles are a formidable force in a pack.

And elephants, another example of strong social “pack” structure… completely matriarchal, elephant societies are led by the oldest and largest mother in the family, and the entire herd is made up of other mothers, daughters, sisters and aunts. Watching these closely-knit elephant families play, work, feed and care for each other is truly incredible.

And, although human families don’t operate in quite the same way, exploring and discovering new territories together can be just as successful in other ways!

An African safari is the ultimate “pack” journey. It’s wonderful to see that families are travelling together more - certainly to broaden their worldview, to experience more adventure and less hedonism, to meet and interact with other cultures but, ultimately, to form special bonds and lasting memories.

the Zambezi Elephant Fund and help save the elephants of Mana Pools from poaching.

Grandparents often initiate these trips because they want to re-connect with their families, without all the distractions of everyday life. The desire to leave a legacy, an inheritance of experiences and lasting memories to their children and grandchildren is a strong motivation.

Travelling in an environment that is utterly foreign, exotic and enthralling is the ultimate escape and no connection could be made in a more spectacular setting or special way than on an African safari.

The Ultimate Family Safari

We specialise in planning and leading private family safaris – it’s our favourite kind because we know that a family is never the same again after a shared African safari experience. It’s always better for it!

Popular destinations for these special “pack” expeditions are Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa.

Safari camps and lodges are geared up these days to ensure that every member of the family is happily occupied and enjoying a healthy balance of both time together and apart.

“It’s important that a family safari is active and varied - Africa must come alive and be fun for everyone! But for children the experience can also be a learning one - in the most subtle and exciting way, of course!” John Stevens

Galloping Grandparents and Kinetic Kids

Walking is a wonderful activity for children, allowing them time to let off some of their boundless energy – and places like Zambia’s South Luangwa and Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools are excellent walking territory, either from camp to camp or tracking lions until lunchtime…

Meeting locals, volunteering time and energy for community projects, learning about anti-poaching projects or visiting animal orphanages, running with Maasai warriors or playing soccer with rangers – there are many ways you can let loose a little positive energy and leave a mark.

At the end of the day…

Mealtimes on safari are always a great time to discuss the plans for the day ahead with your guide – or to chat about the exciting experiences that everyone has shared. Everyone talks at once, animated and excited. There’s raucous laughter, lively chatter, whispered anticipation, shrieks of joy… all the sounds of the wild!

“During the ceremony many different kinds of sounds can be heard including whines, whimpers, squeals, and high-pitched bird-like sounds called "twitters."” (Description of a wild dog ‘greeting ceremony’ before a hunt…)

Art by Lin Barrie - Click here to view more of Lin's work

The Ultimate Family Safari

The Mana to Malilangwe Memory-Maker!

Gather your clan and take them on the adventure of a lifetime! This itinerary has been inspired by the journeys recently enjoyed by safari friends in Zimbabwe and can be combined with an extension before or after in adventure capital Victoria Falls and/or cosmopolitan Cape Town, South Africa.

The authentic earthiness of the Mana Pools Safari Company’s comfortable tented camp in Mana Pools National Park, a World Heritage site on the Zambezi River, is the perfect introduction to the wild in every sense. Set up for your exclusive use, this family run camp is perfect for your family. Walk with an armed guide in the bush, enjoy fishing on the river, eat al fresco and go to sleep with the sounds of the night echoing close by… this is ‘classic’ safari at its best, a contemporary twist on Out of Africa style.

Mana has the reputation of being the best wildlife destination in Africa. Its unspoilt wilderness will take you back to a primal time… Here, it’s more of a challenge to spot wildlife. Elephants are always close by, as are hippo, waterbuck, zebra, impala, baboons, buffalo and hyena, but cheetah, leopard, lion and wild dogs are more elusive, seen occasionally or rarely, which makes their appearance all the more exciting.

From Mana, it’s on to Malilangwe in south-eastern Zimbabwe and Singita Pamushana Lodge, which offers an opulent safari experience. Perched high on a rocky cliff overlooking Lake Malilangwe, your accommodation is luxurious, (there’s a family villa for exclusive use) and you’re guaranteed to see abundant wildlife on your excursions. But your guides will ensure that it’s less about crossing off a checklist and more about the experiences and interactions you have.

There’s a special story that comes from Malilangwe, which you and your children or grandchildren may be especially interested in…

Alternatively, if you wanted to match the authentic bush experience that Mana offers with something similar in the south-east, we would recommend Chilo Lodge, which is situated on the edge of Gonerazhou National Park, another wonderfully wild part of Zimbabwe. Clive Stockil, winner of the TUSK Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013 (Prince William Award for Conservation in Africa), is one of the original team who founded the Lodge; Clive is a pioneer of Zimbabwean conservation and his work with wildlife and with the local Shangaan community is inspiring. Read more about Chilo Lodge here.



The elephants of Mana Pools are under extreme threat from poachers. John and Nicci Stevens ask you to please help support the work of the Zambezi Elephant Fund. Elephants form extremely close family units and these amazing relationships are evident to anyone who observes them in the bush. Poachers are not only killing the elephants for their ivory, a tragedy in itself, but they are destroying close family units and leaving orphans vulnerable and threatened.

Please help us protect the elephants. Your support will make a difference and is so appreciated.

Best wishes from John and Nicci Stevens

Contact us if you would like further information.


Family pics by Annie Anderson and Emmy King
Wild dogs photograph by Gregg Robinson
Elephant pic (mother and baby) by Annie Anderson

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