Lions, tigers and bears… oh my!
Far-flung wilderness may not be the first thing that springs to mind when planning a family holiday, but for adventurous tribes, little can compare with the thrill of an animal sighting in the bush. Travel experts Mr & Mrs Smith have scoured jungles, savannahs and watering holes for five child-friendly safari stays.
Mr & Mrs Smith gets you the best rates, guaranteed, as well as a little something extra on arrival at every hotel. To book, call toll free at 800 905 326 or visit www.mrandmrssmith.com.
Marataba – Marakele National Park, South Africa
Set at the foot of the Waterberg Mountains, this luxurious lodge looks out over dense bushveld, dramatic mountains and a meandering river. Each airy, open-plan suite has its own viewing deck where guests can look out for the more than 400 bird species nesting within Marakele National Park; children over six are welcome here. Hit the trails with the whole brood: untamed and malaria-free, this corner of South Africa is perfect for Big Five-spotting en famille.
Smith extra: A bottle of wine and romantic evening turn-down service.
Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort – Chiang Rai, Thailand
Big-eared gentle giants are everywhere at this elegantly rustic resort with magical views of the Mekong River. Designed like a traditional hill village, the elephant camp is a draw for the whole family: learn handling tips from the mahouts, go on a riverside trek and join in at pachyderm bathing time. There’s plenty of scope for grown-up downtime, too: book a four-hand massage in a breeze-kissed sala or soak up serene rural views from the curvaceous deep-blue pool.
Smith extra: Airport pick-up by car and one Loi Krathong (floating lights) ceremony per booking; GoldSmiths will also be treated to a regal elephant ride from the arrival pier to the hotel.
Paperbark Camp – Jervis Bay, Australia
Surrounded by soaring eucalyptus and paperbark trees, this canvas-clad eco-retreat is as glam as camping gets in the Australian bush. Blessed with comfy beds, ensuite showers and cool breezes, the resort’s 12 tents happily welcome children over six. Bush trails from the hotel lead through unspoilt forests and mangroves: spot kangaroos and possums in their natural habitat or book a whale and dolphin watching tour in nearby Jervis Bay.
Smith extra: A bottle of Australian sparkling wine on arrival.
Singita Sweni – Kruger National Park, South Africa
Perched on the banks of the Sweni river, this safari lodge is an intimate hideaway with just six secluded rooms where families can make themselves at home. The sumptuous suites don’t compromise on comfort, with game-viewing decks, open-air showers and a well-stocked minibar. Book a private 4×4 for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure: teeming with lions, leopards, elephants, Cape buffalo and black rhino… Kruger National Park awaits.
Smith extra: A South African wine tasting experience for guests staying three nights or more.
Morgan’s Rock Hacienda & Ecolodge – San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua
Home to playful primates, sloths, anteaters and nesting turtles, this remote resort shelters in 4,000 acres of pristine rainforest. Best for over-6s, this sprawling green playground could easily be mistaken for an exotic petting zoo (actual petting is discouraged, of course!), but grown-up pleasures haven’t been neglected: spend days sipping on coconut cocktails, cooling off in the forest-flanked pool or sun-saluting at the open-air yoga studio.
Smith extra: One free on-site experience for two: breakfast on the farm or horseback riding on the beach.