As baby boomers age and their children have children, it’s no surprise that this adventurous generation of “young oldies” wants to travel with their inter-generational family, and share memories with their children and grandchildren together. Perhaps that is why we here at Commendable Travel™ find ourselves organizing and planning the travel for other families more often than we can possibly do for our own!
Do the needs of extended family trips differ from those of the traditional travelers, couples, and singles? Of course! Family groups are looking for a number of distinctive aspects, and we see South Africa as the perfect family travel destination. Read on to see if you agree with our top three must-haves for a perfect family travel experience:
1) An Educational Experience for all Ages
Commendable Travel™ has always considered that good trips offer educational experiences. It has always been a requirement that guests on our guided tours have exposure to interesting and knowledgeable people, as well as to fascinating places. It is the same for family groups.
Blending experiences that are fascinating for children as well as adults into our program is not difficult in South Africa. Wildlife and Nature are universal interests, and there is no better place than Africa, the source of mankind, to explore these. Who will forget the thrill of seeing their first young bull elephant trumpeting and flapping its ears to warn that you may be too close, lions stiffening into a crouch before a chase, or a mother cheetah licking its three cubs one after the other. Our resident Nature Expert, Marco Tonelli, is available to accompany guests and to explain the weird and wonderful ways of “the bush”.
The geographic diversity and ecological variety of southern Africa never fails to impress our traveling guests. Geography and history lessons blend effortlessly, and sometimes surprisingly, into a trip. How many potential visitors were unaware that London and Paris were closer to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, than Johannesburg and Cape Town? Probably almost as many who did not know that Mahatma Gandhi was a stretcher-bearer for the British forces in Natal during the Anglo-Boer War! These are just small pieces of fascinating knowledge that we’re eager to share.
2) A Degree of Privacy
We specialize in finding small lodges and boutique hotels where personal attention, from friendly staff, the spirit of the African bush, and the privacy of a private or almost private small lodge makes you feel like you are just “Into Africa”. Our knowledge of a number of places where a family may have exclusive occupancy provides our guests with personal lodging and dedicated services appropriate to their needs without sacrificing any of the charm or comfort. These places are where families can feel the privilege of an exceptional situation, as if it was created just for them.
3) A Cultural Awakening
With a world rendered smaller by technology every day, there is a growing need to experience the cultures of others firsthand. Often, this comes more naturally to younger people, exposed almost unthinkingly to a globalized world. Africa is a continent not often well taught in many countries. South Africa is not called the “Rainbow Nation” for nothing – the diversity of its peoples, languages (there are 12 official languages!), and cultures provide a remarkable exposure for people accustomed to thinking in binary, black and white terms. The extraordinary political changes of some 20-25 years ago represent a lesson in human relationships that the world desperately needs to learn and understand if mankind is to make progress. It should not be a surprise that South Africa has produced four recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Southern Africa is truly a place where grandparents, parents, and children will all benefit from the experience and be wiser and more learned as well.