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Digital Subscriptions > Travel Africa > October-December 2019 > IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT THE ANIMALS

IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT THE ANIMALS

What would you rather spot on your African safari – an ant or an antelope? Mary Askew took her children on safari and was surprised by what made it a roaring success

When I ask my children what they enjoyed most on our Kenyan safari they talk over each other in their excitement. “Jumping off that rock, holding a chameleon, seeing the new-born dik-dik, finding the leopard footprints, searching for scorpions, feeding the baby goshawk…”

Eventually one of them mentions the moment they saw elephants for the first time. I remind them that we also saw lions, hippos and herds of giraffe. We even spotted a genet on a night safari. Apparently that was all great, but not great enough to make it onto the list of their top ten favourite moments.

Surprised? I was. It’s a difficult truth about safaris: traditional game drives can be a drag for children. They are pulled out of their bed before dawn for long trips on rough tracks which rarely produce wildlife sightings that top what they have seen on TV. The sweet African air, huge skies and the wonder of seeing the animals with their own eyes is often lost on them when they are tired and really want breakfast. In short, what the kids enjoy and what you enjoy could well be poles apart.

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