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Re: Kids/Babies in Kruger NP info.

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Completely disagree!

Unread post by Familyfun » Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:23 pm

If you have kids 7 years old or older, I completely disagree with much of the advice being given out concerning children.
Why are you taking your child to Kruger National Park?
If you are taking them to experience all Kruger has to offer, get away from the pool and the big camps.
If you want that, go to a fancy resort instead of Kruger.

We went last August with our 4 boys (ages 7, 9, 11, and 12 years old).
None of them had any previous experience with truly being in the wild.
Many people on these forums said, "Keep the drives short."
Thank goodness our guide did not keep the drives short.
The magic of Kruger is sitting and waiting to see what comes out of the WILD!

The #1 piece of advice is get a FANTASTIC guide to drive you through Kruger.
Time and time again at stops in camps, we ran into families who were not "seeing anything" or their kids were getting "Bored" BECAUSE they didn't know what they WERE SEEING (they simply didn't know how to look for it).
If I had drove Kruger ourselves, we would have had a much less satisfying experiencing.
Our guide was spectacular and made the drives fun AND educational for our boys.
For those of you thinking, "I can't afford one." Then, you haven't looked hard enough.
You can get guides for very reasonable prices who will do EVERYTHING for you (including reserving your campsites in Kruger).

How long were our drives?
The shortest would be 3 hours and one day, we went out for the entire day.
The kids did NOT get bored because of how much cool information they were learning and the sights they were seeing.
We made a "GuideBook" before the trip with pictures of animals and assigned points.
The kids would trade who would videotape verses who would take pictures.
You can create lots of variety with "inside the vehicle" activities.
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Re: Completely disagree!

Unread post by christo » Wed Jan 09, 2008 11:31 am

If you use 45 minutes for both breakfast and lunch, you have 9 and a half hours of driving-time available per winters day.
In mid summer this increases to 12 and a half.
This extra 30% driving time may get to the young ones.
Trust me if you are driving every day from 04:30 you do get tired and need a break at some point.

The summer temperatures may be boiling hot and animals might seek shade in the heat, therefor making sightings fewer and further between.
The lushness means that an animal "vanishes" once it is laying down.
The result can be that during nmid-day you sit in a very hot vehicle without the frequency of sightings the winter produces.
A swimming pool comes in very handy for children at that stage.

Few things are as refreshing as a swim and therefor I feel that your statement to rather visit a resort is a bit harsh, or maybe it is just because you are still to experience the summer in Kruger. (This is a lovely and lush time with nature showing its full splendour, really worth a visit.)
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Unread post by Scorpion » Mon Jan 21, 2008 8:59 pm

If you go to the KNP it should be to experience Mother Nature in all her glory!!!
We have 2 kids (4 & 10) and has been to Kruger to many times to mention!
They enjoy the drives and all the different in-car games we play.
And if all else fails we give prizes (eg. icecreams) for the best sightings.
I think the trick is to actually involve the kids in the whole experience and not to try and entertain them or to try and find the animals for them.
Once they see the Elephant, rhino, bird etc. first their drive start to pick up.

And if you are tired of driving there is nothing wrong with staying in for one day to enjoy the sun and take a dip!
Remember that doing everything and anything that feels comfortable for the whole family would be the best family vacation! :wink:
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Unread post by Scipio » Mon Jan 28, 2008 8:07 am

Please don't misunderstand me.
I have my fair share of the naughties. :( We also have to play games etc. to keep them busy, & yes mine is a bit more used to riding for days.
But seeing this is an advice thread....

Very important is liquids, fresh juice or water, not the sugary kind.
That makes for too much activity to handle.
Secondly,, healthy snacks such as fruit, peanuts(With it's own problems :twisted: )
Books, don't have to be animal books, writing pad & crayons. Couloring in is fab.
Dont only take video of the animals outside the car, kids are natural born actors.
Again, the singalong & songs, teaching them new songs. (had a few stares of tourists driving past this mad family :lol: )
& one of the most important - "moeggepraat" :twisted:

A child that is, bored, tired, hot, hungry is going to be an Irritation.
Never expect you car to be clean after a ride & when they climb with their feet on the seat it is not that bad.

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Unread post by wildtuinman » Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:04 am

It all depends on how you wanna raise your child.

I have gone to Northern Kruger all on my own with my daughter (5) and it was an awesome experience. One of my best trips. Although she did fall ill and I had my hands full.

I can't tell parents how to raise their children and will never try to anyways, but I can say that I bring my daughter up with the principle that she always will have an opinion that counts and that she has the opportunity to explore various options but also needs to compromise.

In saying so I will never expect her to do things I know she hates doing or is impossible to achieve. No one likes being pushed into a can. But I also know when she is being selfish and that is where the compromise deal plays a role. Vice versa for me.
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Children in Kruger

Unread post by PhalaRaider » Tue Jan 29, 2008 10:52 am

My two daughters (3 and 5 years old) just love going to Kruger.
Because I live in Phalaborwa, we would often go in as day visitors, even for just a short late afternoon drive.

What I like most is to spend time with them alone and see how they experience nature.
Because I work abroad, I have some quite lengthy holidays while my SO still have to work. :(

Myself and the two daughters will then pack for the day and go to Kruger.
Prepared with a small Weber BBQ (It's THEIR bbq, because dad has a big one), some sausages, rolls, cold drinks and kids snacks we set off once the SO has left for work.

We normally drive to Mooiplaas picknick spot, taking about 2 - 2,5 hours.
This is the time I really enjoy and just listen to the two sisters play, talk and ask about the animals.
If we see something, I will stop and tell them about the animals in a way they will understand.

Once we arrive at Mooiplaas, we will unpack, and then they take over.
They have to make the fire (under supervision) and once ready, they also braai the sausage, because it is THEIR bbq.
They normally run and play all over the area and can't keep away from the small creepies, so there is lots to do.

After we have eaten, it's time to head back, and by then they are normally so tired, that they will sleep the whole way back.
This gives me the time to enjoy some sightings and take photo's, just enjoying some quality time with my kids.

The best of it all, once home and the SO arrives, they have lots of stories to tell and photos to show.

What a privilage to spend time in the KNP with your kids. :D
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Unread post by christo » Tue Jan 29, 2008 3:04 pm

Scipio wrote:they will do 10hrs without a prob. & ask for more. It is not only for gameviewing. Games, birding, story telling, it all is part of it as a family.

My children love the games, birding, storytelling etc., but we enjoy to do that at our chalet/tent more than on the road. When we are on the road we are usually busy trying to spot something, making games in a car an unofficial no-no.

Amazing what birds (And other animals) you can see from the camp sometimes and it gives children the oppertunity to touch a knobthorn, feel a marula (Even taste it), have a look at a mopanie worm, skink, wasp or just explore nature up close with more senses involved than just sight. Stories we like best around a campfire at night.

So yes, we do all you guys do, we've just changed the setting for some of the activities. It works for us, but most importantly everybody should follow their own rythms and do as they enjoy.
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Daytrip suggestions to KNP

Unread post by Niki » Tue Feb 12, 2008 1:23 am

I haven't been to KNP since my school years :( , and now having kids of my own, I want to show them the magic and wonder of the bushveld and big 5 :dance:

I'm planning on camping :roll: from 21-31 March outside KNP (cheaper on a single moms' budget :hmz:) and have a daytrip or 2 in mind to KNP. The nearest entrance/exit would be the Phalaborwa and Orpen gates.

Any advice on what is a must see, what camps to stop at, etc for 5yr old twins, as it can be a mission :wall: to keep them occupied in the car once boredom sets in? (Keeping in mind that a 11mnth old baby will also be travelling in the car :pray: ) I have never been south of Mopani (15-odd yrs ago), so I really don't know what to expect there.

And is there any other parents that can give me some advice, do's & don'ts, take this-leave that, etc. as this would be the first time I'm attempting to do something like this (camping alone with kids). Advice from non-parents :wink: would also be appreciated.

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Unread post by wildtuinman » Tue Feb 12, 2008 6:41 am

Hi Niki,

I have a 5yr old little madam myself. And I must say that you are very brave in undertaking this with two of them plus an 11 month old baby. :lol: But I promise you that at the end of the day it is going to be an experience you will never ever forget. My trip last year with my daughter up in Punda and Pafuri was one of my best.

You could easily take a round trip from Phalaborwa gate to Orpen gate and/or vice versa in the two day planned day trips.

The elephant museum in Letaba is a must stop for the 5yr olds.

As a general rule I never try to drive for too far and too long with kids in the car. They can get extremely bored and busy in a car. I always make sure that there is enough room inside the car to make them move around freely. Plenty of pillows and padding in the car is always of great help.

Stopping at one of the camps or picnic spots for a picnic with the little ones is a winner. Olifants and Satara have pleasant day visitors areas. Make them help you pack a nice picnic blanket and basket and let them help you set it all up once you are there. The anticipation of the picnic is a nice negotiable carrot to hold in front of their noses once they start getting busy in the car. :twisted:

I also make sure that there are enough toys, colouring books/crayons and maybe even a kiddies cd/tape in the car to keep them busy when sightings are scarce. Some folks also have invented awesome games with regards to sightings. Also read this topicfor a whole lot more of info with regards to going to Kruger with kids.

Remember sunscreen and Satara has a day visitors pool if you guys wanna go have a dip.

If they are interested in birds then I suggest that you get either one of these books. The Kruger one probably being the best suited for your trip.

Birds of the Kruger for kids[/url]
My first book of Southern African birds

Most important piece of advice I can give you is: Enjoy every moment of it!! :D

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Unread post by Senyetse » Tue Feb 12, 2008 8:43 am

Hello Niki and welcome.

Excellent advice from oom wildtuin :D! I also have a 5 year old "madam" :roll:. The trick is to keep drives short, about 1-2 hours with breaks inbetween. Plan your route so that you will pass picnic sites and other places where you are allowed to get out. You get wildlife activity books for kids at the shops in KNP (also at CNA etc). The kids can colour in while they learn about the animals they see, they sometimes have tick lists and fun maps so the kids can tick off as they see the animals. Just don't do what we did and forget the crayons in the hot car, on the seat! Melted crayon is not easy to get off a car seat! :roll:

Letaba also has a pool in the day visitors area - it costs R5 per person. Remember those swimming costumes!
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Unread post by Niki » Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:47 pm

Thank you guys, I really appreciate your suggestions. I'm sure it's gonna be of a lot of help. I'm getting really excited about this whole trip :dance: , yet it's nerve-wrecking as well. Being the first time attempting an adventure like this on my own (with kids & all), I have to try to think/remember where to start with everything. I'm even gonna learn this coming weekend how to pitch a tent :dance: , but I can already "see" the reactions on the kids faces :? should a tent pen come out or something happens and the tent collapses on us (Sorry, but I just have a wicked sense of humour... :twisted: )

I am considering cancelling the last 2 nights at the (outside) camp, and then maybe camp at Satara. It's just a thought I'm playing around with in my mind at the moment. Then it wouldn't be a rush in the mornings to get to the gate, try and see as much as possible moving to the other gate, and still be in time at the camp. Just have to play around with my budget and see what comes up from it. :pray:

I also read somewhere on the forum what people say they never leave at home (or try not to :lol: ), but I just can't seem to find the thread. If someone should stumble upon it, can they please post the link here?

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Unread post by wildtuinman » Wed Feb 13, 2008 6:43 am

5yr olds are worth their weight (literally) in gold in helping to pitch a tent. Show them how to anchor a tent pole with their little feet and you will be amazed how easy it is to rig the biggest of tents. :lol:

Anyways here is the topic you were looking for:

Must take items to KNP :wink:

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Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Sun Feb 17, 2008 3:44 pm

Can't help you with the blue plug, but I would like to welcome you and wish you well.

Satara is a great camp for small folks. It's become a lot more child friendly over the years.

In terms of children, keep the rides short, short, short. I would try to make it a game by getting them to count impies, as many as they could, and then buying impie post cards as a reward.
Keep the trips south rather than north.. north is far to boring for little folks.

I am not sure why you have chosen so far north, but I would suggest that the southern camps are far more
child friendly, particularly for such little people.

Skukuza, for instance has the nursery and a child friendly area. There are also more stopping points and more eco diversity..
North of Olifants has Mopani, Mopani and more Mopani, which would drive 5 year olds mad.. and you as well.
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Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Tue Feb 19, 2008 10:09 am

Hi Niki,
I so understand your need to get away.
I am thinking like a mom here and also a mother of twins.

I found that short and exciting for youngsters is essential. It will add to your own sanity.
One of our best experiences was when my, then, 7 year olds, were doing a project for school on wild animals. Each chose an animal and there was great excitement looking out specifically for their animal and then going to buy post cards.

One of my twins had chosen the impie, so there was always something to spot.
I also found that loading the car with "surprises", wrapped up little "somethings", helped when boredom set in. It could be anything from a coloured pencil, to a little nibble.

The other thing that was a great help in the car, was a walkman and tapes of game ranger stories and songs.

My children often recall their fondest memories and its often the little things that I have long forgotten.
My youngest daughter, Sarabi, was about 10 months old on her first trip. I do recall being very grateful to be staying at a camp with a lovely pool and shady trees.

I do really wish you a very happy journey. I hope that we will hear more about your trip in the future.
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Unread post by G@mespotter » Tue Feb 19, 2008 11:11 am

Another nice game for kiddies (when they are bored) is to play the 'reward for sighting game'. You put for exmple R 20 on a leopard, R10 on a lion R5 on a rhino etc.....and tell them who spotted it 'first' will get it....eventhough the are alot of cars at a sighting, the first correct shout will be rewarded. Just an idea you know :wink:
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