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Lions, Tigers and Family Safaris

Lions, Tigers and Family Safaris

Most of us are pretty anxious about our investment sand jobs and homes in this economy gone very wrong.

Of course Travel is taking a hit, down about 14 %. But bouncing back.

And it never goes away.

For many families, travel is a necessity not a luxury.

Because travel is fungible. If the family can’t take one kind of trip, they’ll take another, swapping a week somewhere for a long weekend somewhere else.

Travel seems to be in our DNA.

One new Family Travel product, however high-end, is getting a lot of attention: Family Safaris.

With a price tag of $ 1,242 per adult for a three-night package at the famous Shamwari Game Reserve, the Kids on South African Safaris program is pricey…even though the cost includes all meals, game drives and accommodations at the rather luxurious Riverdale Lodge.

Children (4-11) pay half the adult rate. Kids three and under stay for free in their parents’ room…but are one year too young to join the game drives.

Still, I think the product is a good one because of its unique and powerful educational opportunities.

Imagine the chance (probably of a lifetime) to get up close and personal with the Big Five: lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and Cape buffalo.

Imagine visiting  the Big Cat Rescue Center,a healing place for lions and leopards rescued from abusive or overcrowded zoos.

Families also get to experience the Shamwari Wildlife Hospital and watch staff treat the animals, cautiously releasing them into the wild.

The company really does stress conservation…and luxury.

But I think Shamwari Game Reserve, will have to lower the price or take the product off the market until economic conditions improve.

Still, staying at a game reserve in South Africa with all those animals and African activities and learning about how it all works has to be pretty special.

We just heard from James and Roxy Rawbone-Viljoenwho have taken the Shamwari Safari seven years running with their four kids ages 15, 12, 8 and 6.

They say that it’s their childrens’ best holiday time, and are especially touched by visits to the animal hospital where this year they helped with an orphaned elephant and an abandoned giraffe.

They talked to me about the deep bonding experience with the animals and with other families, times around the fire listening to a lion’s roar in the distance.

Since the family lives in South Africa, it was an easy trip for them. How about for those of us living much farther away? The family acknowledged that made it a longer more expensive trip, but Roxy said, “We know we’re fortunate in living so close. But if it’s possible for a family to experience this just once, it’s so very worth it.”

Family Safaris in South Africa may be costly, but this new kind of adventure travel is worth it. Very authentic.

About Kaleel

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