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Messias Maoneni

Family Travel

Reunions, anniversaries, birthdays, graduations and, of course, weddings. There is no better way to celebrate these milestones than by having a family adventure in one of the most spectacular places on earth. A trip to a theme park, a Caribbean cruise, or a week on the Costa del Sol won't match the eye-opening wonder and sheer fun of this life transforming trip. Your family will have the vacation of a lifetime and return home with enough stories to get you through the next 20 years of family dinners.


You have the dream, but how do you turn it into reality? Where to begin? The websites make everything look good. Who do you trust to plan the adventure? Is it safe for the family? What about the language? What if someone needs a doctor? How do you get from place to place? What about the food? Who do we see to plan a party for Grandpa Tom's 75th birthday? When you get there, who do you rely on for guidance? Who do you call when you have a problem?


Why visit us?

If this is your family's first visit to Africa, you will likely want to spend a couple of days in South Africa's Kruger Nationali Park. Kruger is all about the animals. This is a great experience, but limited. Your day begins before dawn with a three hour safari to view the animals. Why so early? Because this is when the drama happens. The predators are most active, which means everybody is up and running (literally).


After the early morning game drive, you return to your lodge for breakfast and then relax for most of the day. The lodge may offer a nature walk or visit to a local village. Then in the late afternoon you go on a second safari. Again, the animals are more active. You return to the lodge after dark for dinner and then bed. After two or three days of this routine many children under the age of 50 need something different.

That's where we come in. We are Échos d’Afrique (Echoes of Africa), a local family owned and operated travel company based in Livingstone, Zambia with 25 years experience in managing small and large trips. You'll travel with the peace of mind that every aspect of the trip will be planned and managed meticulously with the same care and personalized service we want for our own families when we travel. Échos d’Afrique is about our family taking care of your family. But before you read any further...

Some honest talk about travel in our part of Africa...

If you Google "Why should I visit Africa?" you will get 1.12 billion answers. But, Google "Why shouldn't I visit Africa" and you come up empty. Does this mean Africa is for everyone? No it isn't. No country or region on earth suits everyone's tastes and budget. Before you spend time reading further, we suggest you consider the following caveats:


  • If your family prefers to sit on a beach rather than explore, if your family prefers the disco to daytime activities, or if your family would rather a week long cruise, then our part of Africa is probably not right for you.


  • Kids need to be prepared for long days. Our experience is that kids should probably be at least 10 years old. The long flights are tedious. Travel through Africa by road is rigorous and tiring. Most safaris (or "game drives" – viewing the animals from an open Land Rover type vehicle) last three hours. During most game drives, there is no access to a toilet except the big one the animals use. We have found as a general rule that kids younger than 10 or so tend to have "meltdowns", a word we learned from our U.S. guests. What's more, if a child is behaving like a child and will not participate in an activity, it means that an adult must miss the activity as well. This can certainly disrupt the joy of experiencing Africa as a family. 


  • Our part of Africa is accessible to people with disabilities, but only to a point. Most good hotels and some lodges can accommodate people in wheelchairs. The staff at the lodge will assist wheelchair bound guests with getting into a Land Rover for a safari. But otherwise, activities will be limited. Although some attractions such as Victoria Falls can be seen from a distance, access to the thrilling walks near the falls will not be possible. Boarding boats in some cases will be easy, but in others impossible.


  • Keep in mind that all of the safaris will be in open vehicles and you will be bouncing over dirt roads and often making your own roads. If you have a "bad back", are pregnant or are recovering from surgery, you will not be comfortable.


  • When you are on safari, it is possible that an elephant or a lion or other magnificent animal passes within a meter of your vehicle. For most people this event is the thrill of a lifetime, but for others it is terrifying.


  • Dietary restrictions. We are getting better at catering to those on special diets. Vegan, diabetic and gluten-free diets can be accommodated. Kosher is not available unless you bring your own food.


  • If you have any doubt about whether you are healthy enough for Africa, contact your physician. Outside of the major cities, clinics can be a couple of hours away and most are not modern hospitals. If you take prescription medicine, you must bring your own medication and make sure you have enough to last your entire visit. Never pack prescription medication in your luggage. Plus, depending upon your location, Malaria can be an issue. All hotels and lodges have insect repellent, but if you are allergic to DEET bring your own.


  • Internet is available in major hotels, however, the service may be slow. If you are planning your trip to be a "working vacation" and you require high speed internet, you will likely be disappointed.


  • A trip to Africa is a great value, but it is not cheap. If cheap is important to you then the family should look elsewhere. A group of twenty-year-old campers can travel relatively cheaply, but a family cannot. To travel from one destination to another you will often have the choice of a 50-minute flight or a 10-hour drive. Yes, a 10-hour drive. You can save money by taking the drive, but everyone in the family will want to feed you to the lions. And here they can do it. At Échos d’Afrique we pride ourselves in providing our guests with the best value for money spent, but we do not suggest services that we know to be inferior just to get your business. As we wrote: safety and comfort come first. Now, if we have not frightened you...


Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe offer a much wider array of African experiences in a compact area. Consider...


  • Travel to Livingstone Airport, Zambia is easy on commercial airlines. Flight time from Johannesburg or Kruger Airport is less than 2 hours.


  • Your first couple of nights can be spent in one of two real hotels (not small lodges) on the shore of the Zambezi river on the Zambia side of Victoria Falls, a "Natural Wonder of the World", a World Heritage Site, and the largest waterfall (by volume) on earth. The Royal Livingstone, or the Avani Victoria Falls Resort are both within easy walking distance of Victoria Falls. For a bit more seclusion and a golf course, there's the classic Victoria Falls Hotel built in 1904 on the Zimbabwe side of the falls (a 10-minute walk to the falls). The resorts have ample function space for family receptions, dinners and parties. In addition, both have a number of restaurants for individual dining. Refer to these websites for additional Victoria Falls and hotel information:


Victoria Falls 

Royal Livingstone

Avani Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls Hotel

  • Yes, we have plenty of animals and game drives that equal or exceed Kruger. In fact, at the Royal Livingstone and the Avani Victoria Falls Resort you'll find zebra and giraffe roaming the grounds of the hotels. But we

      have lots more family friendly activities than anywhere else in Africa.


  • As we mentioned, Victoria Falls is within easy walking distance. We strongly suggest you take a guided walking tour of both the Zambia and Zimbabwe sides of the falls, but you can return on your own to the falls anytime during daylight hours.


  • In addition we have a canoe safari where you paddle yourself down the Zambezi, boat cruises - both relaxing riverboats and thrilling jet boats. During these trips you can expect to see elephant, zebra, baboons, crocodiles, hippo and antelope along the shore. Plus there are helicopter flights, game walks, quad biking, fishing safaris (catch and release), and traditional game drives in open Land Rover type safari cruisers. For your daring relatives, there's bungee jumping, white water rafting and swimming on the edge of Victoria Falls. All are just a few minutes from the hotel. Another life-altering event is to take the family to a Zambian village to see how 95% of our people live. We can also arrange for you to participate in a project that helps improve the living condition of the local people. If you want a change from dinner at the hotel, we have dinner cruises and you can dine on a elegantly restored Belle Époque style steam train – The Royal Victoria Express.


  • A full day trip to Chobe National Park in Botswana is a must. The Botswana border is just an hour from Victoria Falls. Yes, you have been on safari in Kruger, but this is different. Among other things, Chobe contains the largest concentration of elephant on earth. But the highlight for many is a guided safari cruise in family-size boats on the Chobe River along the coasts of Botswana and Namibia. The game viewing and bird watching is spectacular and viewing the animals in the river and on the shores is magic. This is an experience you cannot have in South Africa. We can also arrange for a night or two at one of the lodges in Chobe National Park.


Cresta Mowana Resort & Spa

Chobe Bakwena Lodge

  • En route to Botswana and other activities, your family will see true rural Africa. This is not something they will see in Johannesburg or in and around the game reserves. This experience is not often talked about, but it is a life changing event for many.


  • We understand that the family also needs some time to relax and enjoy each other's company. When not participating in tours or other activities, you can unwind and swim in the hotel pool (with bar service), relax in a hammock, have a spa treatment, play golf and enjoy snacks and beverages on a quiet deck overlooking the river.


  • In just three or four days with us, your family will have a variety of adventures and visit the countries of Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and be within meters of Namibia.


  • Finally, and perhaps most important. Virtually everyone who comes to our part of Africa does so to see Victoria Falls, other natural attractions and most of all, the wildlife. However, when you return home, it is likely that your first stories and most lasting memories will be of the welcoming, gracious and kind people of our land. We assure you that your family will be treated as welcomed and honored guests.

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