By Kevin Murphy
It’s the dream of many a child to go on an exciting adventure in a far off distant land, where they’ll encounter wild animals roaming free and perhaps even meet up with the exotic, colorful natives. Well now, thanks to one enterprising company, that dream can become a reality. Maniago Safaris, one of Africa’s leading travel destination management companies, has created kid-friendly safaris that will enable the whole family to enjoy the holiday of a lifetime.
Recognizing that often what children want to do can be quite different from what their parents enjoy, Maniago has developed lots of activities and specialized trips designed specifically to appeal to the younger crowd. One such excursion is to Stanley’s Camp, a 260,000-acre expanse of untamed bush in Botswana. The visit includes getting to know the camp’s herd of semi-habituated elephants. Visitors can walk with the herd on their daily foraging trips and enjoy the sort of close, personal encounter that will remain a lasting memory. A visit to the renowned Masai Mara game reserve, with its rich and varied wildlife, will be highlighted by meeting with members of the tribe of fabled Masai warriors. These magnificent people have a long history steeped in storytelling. Now they enjoy passing on their wondrous tales to the spellbound children who visit. Kids love camping and the chance to stay in a tent with hippos wallowing in a nearby river, while a Masai warrior keeps watch outside is one most would relish.
At Giraffe Manor outside Nairobi, youngsters have the opportunity to feed, and even share a breakfast table with, these majestic, not to mention rather tall, animals. The Manor, with its tower of endangered Rothschild’s giraffes, also features an education center where kids can take guided walks through the surrounding primeval forest and learn about the rich local flora and fauna.
The Kenyan-based Maniago organize various children’s activities with Heritage Hotels, who run their celebrated Adventurers’ Club from their facilities at Mara Intrepids and Siana Springs Intrepids. Available to children aged between four and twelve, the Club offers lots of exciting activities, including traditional cultural and sporting events.
Under the guidance of the Club’s experienced staff, kids will learn how to build a Masai home using sticks, mud and cowdung. They can participate in Bush Treasure Hunts, discovering the local environment and seeing how camouflage plays a vital part in nature, as well as have fun hunting for hidden objects in the bush. Another favorite excursion involves tracking animals. Youngsters are taught to identify the various spoors around the campsite, learning what the tracks indicate. They can make a plaster cast of the markings to take home as a souvenir. A cast of a lion’s print is a wonderful reminder of their great adventure, but it’s the memories and experiences they take with them of their African safari that will prove more precious.
For more information please visit Maniago Safaris website atwww.maniagosafaris.com or call their USA office at 1-800-9africa.