Young Explorers Safari

4 Days


Discovering the African wilderness as a family is one of the most special trips you’ll ever take. Seeing their faces light up as they see an elephant or lion for the first time becomes a cherished memory. It’s the kind of trip you might worry about, especially if your kids are still young. Is it safe? Will there be things for them to do? What about malaria?

We work with suppliers who design safaris especially for families. They are safe, many are held in malaria-free game reserves and they specialise in activity programmes for kids, giving you time together as a family as well as relaxation time for you while the kids enjoy their own fun.

The Young Explorers safari in Botswana is perfect for your first safari as a family. One of the key attractions is its exclusivity, featuring sole use of the Footsteps Camp, a 6 bedded camp within the Shinde private concession. The camp comes with a professional ranger guide, personal chef, waiter, housekeeper and specialised guides who will paddle you down the Okavango Delta in a mokoro (dugout canoe). You can explore the bush at your own pace, deciding on the length and frequency of your bush excursions.

Footsteps Camp has three twin-bedded Meru tents complete with sewn-in floors. One of the tents can be converted into a family unit that sleeps five. Each tent has an en-suite bathroom with flushing toilet and bush shower. The bush kitchen is run by the camp chef who understands picky eaters and will happily cater for all dietary requirements and appetites.

There is a wide selection of activities planned with the whole family in mind – some are for everyone and some are just for the kids, leaving you to get some peace and quiet while they are educated and inspired by specially trained Young Explorer guides. Your children will learn how to track game on foot and in safari vehicles, how to make small animal traps and how to start a fire from nothing but two sticks. They’ll have tracking lessons where they’ll learn to recognise different spoor (tracks), and they’ll spend time in the bush spotting birds and learning their names. There are also options to pole a mokoro, drive a game vehicle and shoot an air rifle at tin cans. At the end of the safari, kids get a Young Explorers certificate, t-shirt and cap to remind them of their achievements.

Young Explorer safaris can be tailored to any length, depending on the ages of the kids, preferences of the family and other added itineraries. This is what a 4-day Young Explorers safari looks like.

On arrival in Maun you will be met and transferred by light aircraft transfer to the Shinde private concession. During your 25 minute flight, you’ll see the arid Kalahari Desert transform into the lush blue and green waterways that make up the Okavango Delta. Your personal guide will meet you at the airstrip and drive you in an open safari vehicle to Footsteps Camp. Your safari adventure starts straight away, as during the drive your guide will give you tips on how to spot animals and birds. On arrival in your private tented camp, you’ll be treated to a refreshing cold drink and light lunch. Over lunch your guide will brief you on safety, and then you’ll have time to settle into camp and plan the next few days with your guide.

As temperatures cool later that afternoon, you’ll enjoy an introduction to bush craft and learn some basic rules about animal behaviour. You’ll take a short walk through the bush surrounding camp that will familiarise you with the sights, sounds and smells that make up the language of the African bush. On return to camp a piping hot bucket shower under the stars awaits you, followed by a tasty dinner. After dinner it is customary to gather around the campfire where you’ll talk about the lessons of the day and learn more about the history and people of Botswana. Those who are still awake can settle back to gaze at the stars and learn how to identify particular constellations.

The day begins before sunrise with a wakeup call at your tent followed by piping hot coffee and light breakfast round the fire, before you head out on foot for your first real bush walk. Where you go and what type of activity you do along the walk is entirely up to you – your guide will present you with options and recommendations and you can pick whatever sounds the most exciting! You can follow the call of a jackal, the sight of a vultures circling in the sky or simply skirt the water’s edge looking for tracks left overnight. By the end of the walk you should be able to recognise many animal tracks and know plenty about the animals who made them.

Following lunch prepared on a camp fire, parents will enjoy a lazy afternoon of reading or napping while the kids enjoy a selection of activities with their guides. They’ll learn how to create jewellery and tools from natural products – baskets woven from palm leaves and necklaces carved from palm seed specially for Mom! In the afternoon, the whole family will head out into the channels of the Delta in a traditional dugout canoe (mokoro). You’ll identify unusual animals like the sitatunga, a secretive antelope that has adapted to hide underwater leaving only their nostrils above water to breathe. You’ll learn how the local people have adapted to survive in this very unique landscape.

After your mokoro experience, you’ll head to the bush kitchen to find out how the chef prepares the amazing camp food with no electricity at all. Everything is prepared on the campfire, from fresh bread to cakes to dessert! You’ll spend time with the staff learning how you can live comfortably in the wilderness without electricity and modern gadgets, a refreshing contrast the busy lives our children are growing up with.

This morning your early start begins with a lesson about working in the African bush. Important questions are answered, like how to drive 4×4 across a river or through thick sand. While you’re out and about, you’re sure to bump into some of the large mammals that inhabit the Okavango Delta including wild dogs, elephants, lion, buffalo, cheetah, wildebeest and impala. As you spend time quietly observing them, your guide will teach you how to understand their body language and give insight into the structure of their societies.

Back at camp that afternoon, you’ll learn how to handle a rifle safely and put your new found skills to the test with a pellet gun on the bush range. Other activities on offer include fishing along the banks of lagoons and channels or even from the mokoro! You’ll learn how to catch, handle and release a fish without harming it, although the chef might decide to keep some for dinner, in which case you’ll learn how to clean and prepare it.

Your final dinner is a celebration of your time in the bush and an opportunity to share your favourite stories. Mom and Dad might want to relax by the fire with a drink, but the kids will be thrilled to head out on a night bush walk with your guide, spotlights in hand, to identify some species that wake up as the sun sets.

It’s time for the kids to show Mom and Dad what they’ve learnt, as your guide will ask them to identify tracks, birds and animals and to explain some of the skills they’ll need to survive in the bush. Each young explorer gets an Okavango Delta certificate and t-shirt for successful completion of their African safari. After fond farewells, you’ll be transferred by light aircraft to Maun or onto your next destination.


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