Family fun

Dear friends,

May half term is already upon us and the long summer holidays are just around the corner, meaning there is a whole lot of family fun to be had over the next few weeks/months.  If you want to be as unpredictable as the British Summer and venture further afield for your holidays this year, read on for Sally and Alice Travel Co.’s round up of the top spots for tots in Africa and the Indian Ocean, accompanied by some of our clients’ happy holiday snaps…


FOR THE WATER BABES…

With all the colour and vibrancy of India but with a gentler pace and more manageable distances, Sri Lankais a top family holiday destination with some fabulous accommodation, from fully staffed villas - ensuring complete privacy (and a proper holiday from domestic drudgery!) to family-friendly hotels offering loads of fun activities.

Ambalama is a gorgeous villa that has been tried and tested with great success by Sally and Alice guests, travelling both as couples and families with young kids. It’s in a great position down on the south coast about 20 minutes from Galle, and about 2 hours drive from Colombo International Airport. Ambalama comes fully staffed including a chef  - meals are not included in rates, but food and drink are charged at cost price and are sourced locally, including fresh catch-of-the-day fish and seasonal fruits. There is a lovely big pool and lawn that leads down to the beach – the water is not suitable for swimming right outside the villa (as is often the case in Sri Lanka) but you can walk along the beach to nearby Wijaya which is one of the most popular beaches on the south coast with calm waters and a great relaxed vibe.

Alternatively Why House is a lovely 9 bedroom hotel in Mihiripenna, just a 5 minute drive inland from Talpe and Dalawella beaches, and again a 20 minute drive from Galle. The two suites in the main building have an anteroom with a day bed suitable for sleeping a child (or plenty of space for a cot), whilst the cabanas are fun for independent teens. Larger families can book the whole Garden Villa, sleeping up to 9 people in 3 double rooms, or for a multi-generational family holiday, the whole hotel can be booked exclusively. The hotel is set within 3 walled acres so there’s plenty of space for kids to let off steam and the pool is huge with a generous shallow area and  plenty of pool toys, as well as outside games to play like volleyball and badminton. Other fun activities such as visits from elephants (!) a snake charmer, face painters and magicians can all be arranged. Beyond the hotel the sandy beach is just a 15 minute walk away, there is surfing at Weligama, whale and dolphin-watching boat trips or a visit to the turtle hatchery where you can hold tiny turtles. Kids will also love the resident hotel pet, Nigella the sausage dog.


FOR THE WILD CHILD…

With a population of 2 million in a country the size of the UK and France combined, there is no better place than Namibia to escape the daily grind – you can totally unplug, regroup, immerse yourselves in the wilderness and share an adventure with your children which will create lifelong memories (and a passion for nature).

We have had rave reviews from our family recently returned from Tok Tokkie Trails, a collection of superbly crafted walking safaris which offer a unique insight into the hidden world of the Namib desert, five hours south-west of Windhoek. Their most popular trail is a 3 day walk for a maximum of 8 people. Days are spent walking through some of the world’s most stunning scenery. The desert here is slow to reveal its secrets – travelling on foot you’ll get to see a whole lot more of its hidden life whilst at night you sleep out under some of the clearest night skies in the world.


FOR ALL THE SHELLS AND WHISTLES…

Just 20 degrees south of the equator, the tropical island of Mauritius is a year-round beach destination, and perhaps the most family-friendly destination we have been to yet.  It’s a 12 hour direct flight from London with BA and with a GMT +3/4 hour time difference is a relatively jetlag-free destination.

The east coast of Mauritius is home to the most celebrated hotels and stretches of beautiful white sand beaches gently sloping in to a warm azure sea. Families, couples and honeymooners alike will all be extremely happy at Constance Le Prince Maurice which is set along a sheltered coral sand beach and private lagoon on the north east coast of the island. We particularly love Le Prince Maurice on account of the lovely staff who have worked there for years, notably Akshada from guest relations and Corine who has run the kids club for 10 years. There are dedicated Family Rooms (a second bunk room) and Beach Front Villas, as well as over-water lagoon villas on stilts, unique for Mauritius, for those wanting more privacy. There is plenty for adults to enjoy (babysitting is easy to arrange) including a lovely and secluded garden spa and Barachois, the romantic floating restaurant reached via a lantern-lit walkway through the mangroves, as well as unlimited free green fees for guests on the two 18 hole courses at the Belle Mare Plage just 10 mins away.


FOR YOUR FAMILY AND OTHER ANIMALS…

A safari is unlike any other family holiday – it’s wildly beautiful, inspirational and educational  - an unforgettable adventure the whole family will love.  South Africa is a great place to ease in to your first family safari as it offers a wide range of options in non-malarial areas, such as the Madikwe Game Reserve. Children of all ages are welcome at Madikwe Safari Lodge’s Lelapa Lodge, and at Dithaba Lodge if the lodge is booked exclusively (children between the ages of zero and five years stay free of charge). There are many activities available for children including family safari drives, bush orientation, star gazing, baking in the kitchen, and long hours in the Eco House – an educational (and entertainment) centre built specifically for kids where they can partake in painting, drawing, making location specific models and arts and get to experience some of the live specimens from the reserve.

For a larger group travelling, Leobo Private Reserve in the Waterberg region of South Africa is another fabulous option. Always booked exclusively, the house sleeps six adults and four children, and there are eight overspill chalets on the reserve that can be utilised for larger groups. Activities include game drives, hippo camping, quad biking, horse riding, bass fishing, shooting, helicopter flying, and of course phenomenal astronomy from the research grade telescope. It’s all about the outdoors at Leobo and with no dangerous game or malaria, parents can relax in a beautiful private home while their children are entertained by the rangers learning about bushman’s paintings, how to survive in the wild, and of course about the flora and fauna. There are mini quad bikes for children, a fun triple bunkbed, and activities include hippo camp outs, father / son fishing days, and mother daughter horse riding. And if that’s not enough to brag out back at school, they can don silver space suits (in all sizes) and have a tour of the research grade observatory dome, and even look through a solar scope at the explosions around the surface of the sun.


FOR THE FARM KIDS…

Borana is a working cattle ranch in Laikipia, Kenya, where children of all ages are welcome.  The best way to spend your morning as a family at Borana is on a riding safari through the conservancy before being met by a delicious bush breakfast, set under the Acacia trees.  Aside from riding and game drives families can do amazing mountain biking adventures across the conservancy and can also experience life as a park ranger with head of security Sam Taylor – the guards and Sam will teach your young ones how to track and count Africa’s endangered black and white rhino (there is no fence between Borana and Lewa so game wanders freely and Borana is home to a healthy rhino population).

Borana Lodge has 8 cottages – two sets of cottages share a veranda and are perfect for families as they are right next to each other and within close proximity to the main lodge area. Also on the property is an eight bedroom exclusive use/fully staffed house called Laragai House perfect for larger family groups.


These are just a few of the family-friendly options we have up our sleeve, so to make the most of your next holiday, give us a ring or email to find out more…

+44 (0)778 087 0085
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