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Family Travel in the Wilderness

An exhilarating adventure or parental irresponsibility?

by Petra Vandecasteele – family travel planner, reviewer & hospitality consultant

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Who in their right minds would take their children – let alone toddlers – on an adventure into the African wilderness?

I would. In fact, I’ve been doing it since my children were old enough to stand upright on two legs, and were not quite out of nappies yet. I don’t see why I wouldn’t. Spending time in nature is essential to the wellbeing of children (and adults alike), and there is no better way than travelling in nature to literally expand a child’s horizons, so that it not only becomes familiar with the surrounding world, but also boosts its confidence. Yet, all too many parents cringe at the thought of taking their loved-ones into the wilderness. Why is this?

Many parents are afraid to travel into nature with their children. The fear of getting hurt through falling or being attacked by animals, the risk of catching diseases carried by insects and not knowing what to do in case of an emergency prevents many a parent from spending quality time in the wilderness with their children. Safety too, is often a major concern when travelling in Africa, let alone in the bush.
Going on an adventure in nature – as a family – is one of the most effective ways for parents to invest in the wellbeing of their children. This is why nature-based family travel is one of the pillars of Kids of Nature’s lifestyle initiative to help families reconnect with nature, and with themselves. We help parents to create their own adventures in the African wilderness, not only by sharing our very best family experiences, but also by putting a safety net in place for peace of mind.

I’m a single mom and often venture off into the wilderness with my children, so I understand the risks and fears of travelling on your own to remote areas with the people who matter the most to you. I understand what it’s like to feel vulnerable. But, am I going to let fear stop me from living great adventures? I don’t think so. It’s just a perception that nature is a dangerous place. We are nature. Perhaps we are afraid of ourselves, afraid that we will not be able to look after ourselves once we are away from a structure that takes care of our material needs, but which in essence also robs us from our confidence and, as a result, disables us. Let’s face our fears and free ourselves from our mental blocks. Spending more free time in nature is a must, and I cannot stress this enough, do it as a family. Relax, travel, explore, enjoy, reconnect… in nature.

Family travel in the wilderness is a truly exhilarating adventure with long-lasting benefits, as much for the children as for the parents. Ask an expert in nature-based family travel to help you create your next (or first!) adventure in the wilderness. Your family will love it, stress free 🙂

REAL FEAR VERSUS PERCEIVED FEAR

Fear is often caused by the unknown. I find that our day-to-day stresses and anxieties make us more prone to feeling fearful about travelling in nature. Have you ever noticed how everything around you feels less threatening the more you are relaxed? It’s the same with nature. Give yourself a chance to relax – just be and do nothing – and you’ll quickly start to worrying less about the ‘what ifs’ of venturing out into the unknown. Before leaving on a trip, I tend to worry about medical emergencies, but once I’ve hit the road, these worries melt like snow under the sun, because I look at this from a more relaxed perspective instead of a perception distorted by constant stress. I travelled through Africa for four years, overland from Brussels to Cape Town. The only medical emergency I had was when I arrived at destination and crossed the road to drop a postcard in the mailbox… I was knocked over by a car. Unreal, isn’t it?

NATURE IS DANGEROUS

There’s a predator lurking behind every tree. Look at it this way: what are the odds that you will be assaulted in the middle of the desert compared to the centre of the city?

The bottomline is that we have alienated ourselves from nature, our very own ‘terroir’ and place of origin, the very essence of what we are.

SOLUTIONS

Build-in a safety net based on your family’s needs and concerns, such as medical requirements, road assistance taking into account your level of DIY ability, and other ‘What if’s’ that make you feel insecure.
Plan your family holiday in the wilderness with an expert who understand your needs, someone with first-hand experience in nature-based family travel.

Would you love to plan a family holiday in Africa, but you’re not quite sure how to go about it? Chat to us and we’ll gladly share our expertise 🙂

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Why book with Kids of Nature?

“Spending a holiday with my family in South Africa to celebrate this special birthday was so much more rewarding than throwing a big party in a fancy restaurant. It was the best advice you could have given me. Thank you Petra, for making this happen. The choice of accommodation and the recommended activities were a delight for both generations. We had a fabulous time and we will all treasure the memories of a beautiful time spent together.”

Rod Millard, UK, November 2015



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