Though travel might not be on the cards in immediate future, we can’t wait for some normalcy. This time, when we get to travel, it will e even more special, it will be an exhale, a release, and the ideal way to indulge would be with family. So, those looking at family travel in 2022 and beyond should start planning now! But if the pandemic has taught us one thing, it is the importance of sustainable choices that are better for the overall well being of people and the planet. That is why understanding the effects of climate change and biodiversity loss shouldn’t be limited to adults-only – we’re seeing an increasing number of travel brands who taking on the responsibility of educating the next generation on how they can care for the environment. 

Through hands-on experiences and engaging activities, brands like Singita and Patina are highlighting the importance of sustainability and conservation to young explorers. Parents can add these educational trips to their bucket list for when the time comes to travel again. 

Singita’s family safaris are once in a lifetime opportunities

Singita’s family safaris offer children the chance to be truly immersed in the African bush, and tailormade programmes like the Mini Game Rangers’ Course not only stimulate young minds but also ignite inner adventurers as they learn and explore.

With the past year seeing many missed celebrations and important milestones, an itinerary that marks a cherished occasion – whether it be a honeymoon, birthday or Bar Mitzvah – will be all the more special now that travellers are able to journey to exclusive and iconic destinations. A Singita safari encompasses a multigenerational family holiday filled with exhilarating activities, shared adventure and opportunities to connect with nature and different cultures.

Singita offers a variety of activities for young explorers, from board games, arts and crafts to an innovative “Mini-game Rangers’ Course. The course (available in South Africa and Zimbabwe) covers animal tracking, bird watching, learning bush survival, frogging, butterfly capture and release, astronomy and a fun guide’s test. Children are welcomed with an age-appropriate survival kit that includes a small satchel, water bottle and sunscreen. Upon completion, the mini rangers are quizzed on their new-found knowledge in an entertaining test and awarded with a certificate to recognise their accomplishments. Teens are challenged in different ways – getting their hands dirty helping to plant trees at nearby community schools and learning basic survival skills, including how to make a fire, find a water source and identify edible and medicinal plants.

Five Singita lodges in South Africa offer different accommodation options for family groups. Ebony, Boulders and Lebombo Lodges offer spacious two-bedroom family suites, and the multigenerational groups wanting the greatest privacy and flexibility can reserve one of three exclusive private villas from the Singita Private Villa Collection. Singita Castleton (Sabi Sand), Ebony Villa (Sabi Sand) or Lebombo Villa (Kruger National Park), come with a pool, private chef, safari vehicle and Field Guide, and can accommodate up to eight guests. Babysitting facilities are available at each of Singita’s lodges and private villas, so parents can enjoy time in the fitness centre, spa or the seclusion of their suites.

Patina: An ideal getaway for families with kids

Patina Hotels & Resorts’ interpretation of perpetuality is rooted in its belief in effecting and empowering lasting change – starting with nurturing sustainable values in tomorrow’s travellers. Embodying this future-thinking approach, Patina Maldives’ pioneering kids centre, Footprints, is a place of discovery and inspiration, engaging programming and exceptional facilities – all powered entirely by Swimsol, a company specialising in marine offshore solar panels in the Maldives. 

At Footprints’ Fab Lab, kids can turn recycled ocean plastic into models using 3D printing and laser cutting technology – echoing the energy-saving prefabrication techniques used in the modular construction of the resort’s villas; while in its culinary studio, hungry minds can discover the benefits of local, organic sourcing and enjoy the best of sustainable plant-based cuisine. Shark spotters and budding marine biologists can sign up for free diving lessons, while free PADI dive certifications are also offered for local Maldivian children – helping to raise next-generation awareness of the local ocean environment. 

In terms of activities on property, Patina Maldives offers a Little Surf Camp and introductory snorkelling lessons for kids, designed to raise awareness for ocean conservation. Kids aged 5+ are also welcome to join Ocean Conservancy sessions, where guests are invited to join the Patina Marine Biologist on a short boat ride around the island, with the group reducing marine pollution by collecting litter along the way. 

Footprints also encourage personal wellbeing, with experiences such as Cooking Creations – where tine travellers will learn the benefits of a plant-based diet and explore their personal relationship with food – and the Kids Spa Workshop – where children are taught Head and Hand Massage techniques and invited to try out yoga.

By Surabhi Pandey

Surabhi Pandey, a former Delhi Doordarshan presenter, is a journalist currently based in Singapore. She is the author of ‘Nascent Wings’ and ‘Saturated Agitation’ and has contributed to over 15 anthologies in English and Hindi in India and Singapore. She writes on topics related to lifestyle and travel and is an active reporter on the tech startup ecosystem in Southeast Asia. She is the editor and founder of The Vent Machine.

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