I have vivid childhood memories of the wonderful times we had as a family when visiting national parks. Parents are often not well prepared when going into the park for the day with young children. However, with proper planning, such an outing can really be great fun for kids.
Based on past experience and advice from many people over the years, I would like to suggest the following guidelines for family outings.
1) Game drive should not be longer than 3 hrs, especially when the weather is hot
2) Early mornings and late afternoons are best for families
3) Having a light-hearted animal knowledge quiz is very stimulating to increase knowledge
4) Playing games like 20 questions where a person imagines an animal and the others have to guess the species by asking no more than 20 questions, but the person can only answer either YES or NO
5) A colouring-in book of various African animals or birds is a good idea for educating in a fun way
6) Playing CD recordings of various animal and bird sound is wonderful for identification
7) Packing a picnic or having a barbeque (braai) at a picnic site is a great idea. Please ensure that the children do not wander off the site, and check that there are no dangerous animals nearby.
8) If the kids are old enough, then basic lessons in photography are a good idea, starting with a basic “point and shoot” quick-click camera.
A day in the park is a real “soul tonic”, medicine for the inner being, an escape from the fast-paced world around us. So why not spend a family day in the park to make wonderful memories?