Planning a family African safari for a special occasion is a great idea. I’ve helped plan weddings, birthdays, graduation gifts, honeymoons and anniversaries. I recently helped plan a 50-year wedding anniversary. I was honored to be tasked with such a request and I immediately asked if it was just the lovely couple attending or if others were going. It turns out the couple’s children were organizing it and were going to join them. In this instance, I set up two vehicles for them. One for the younger crowd who may wish to do more driving and who may want to get some hikes in, and one for the couple. At first they were reticent about the need for two vehicles, but when I explained the freedom this gave them, they understood. Turns out the two vehicles came in more useful than even I had originally anticipated. On days where some folks wanted to get out early and be in the bush all day, it came in very handy to have the second vehicle, as older and younger folks can tire out more easily. Those who wished to head back during the day for a siesta would go back in one vehicle while the others stayed out.
In another instance, I had a large group of folks in the 60s and up. They only had a few days to spend in northern Tanzania and had quite an aggressive agenda in mind. I recommended they take internal flights to cut back on the amount of driving. Internal flights will add to the price of a safari, but they also free up several hours of time. This is time that could be spent on a game drive or relaxing at camp. The group was divided, with one group adamant that they wanted to drive. So they ended up doing two separate safaris, with one group driving in and out and the other flying. The group that drove said it really did make their journey long and that they wished they’d done internal flights. Not only did the internal flight group look more relaxed, but they were able to spend more time in the bush.
An African safari is definitely possible for senior citizens or those with mobility issues, but it is advisable that more time is allotted so that they are not rushed. It is also advisable that driving between parks or lodges be kept to a minimum or that the drive be replaced by an internal flight. Drives between parks on dirt roads can be rough and bumpy, and this may be hard to handle for elderly. Internal flights eliminate much of this and free up time that can be spent relaxing or game viewing.