My Weekend Activities: Preparing for Kruger
This weekend we spent some time preparing for our Kruger National Park trip, watching rugby and entertaining friends. Congratulations to the Lions for making South Africa proud- by the way!
I started compiling a list on what to take and ideas on how to best prepare the kids for this safari. I will share our full list with you DV on the 12th of August- So watch our blog page www.thingstodowithkids.co.za/blogs for an update!
How to prepare the kids for Kruger National Park
Though there are a few lists on what to pack for this trip I wasn’t able to find a comprehensive list for families with children under 12. We were fortunate to visit the Kruger National park two months after my first child was born. My sister joined us with a one and a four-year-old. They loved the excitement, I could learn from our trip and thought I would share a few pointers with you on preparing their minds for this getaway.
Prepare their minds and eyes to spot wild animals:
Going to the Kruger National park without preparing yourself is like going to a rock concert without knowing any of the songs. The vibe is great and people are excited, but if you can’t sing along, it is just not the same.
So,I have started prepping the kids on what they will hopefully see on safari. There is this thing called the “reticular activating system” or RAS. You would have noticed before, for example, when you are pregnant- all of a sudden you see pregnant woman everywhere. How the reticular activating system works is that once you have seen a shape or pattern (or a Lion!) your conscious and subconscious mind is programmed to recognise this shape and once your brain is programmed for this you will soon learn to distinguish it from its environment faster and more effective. It will eventually pop up everywhere- like the pregnant woman example.
So I started educating them, activating their RAS. I gently started exposing them to books about wild animals, their behaviour, sounds and habitat. So our normal reading time would include this once or twice per week. I was surprised to see how quickly my two year old grasped the concepts and started mimicking the animals.
Then I bought them each age appropriate puzzles of safari and dessert animals.
I found this lovely "Child safe" video on YouTube regarding the Kruger National Park- without any hunting scenes in it. I am probably being a tipical mom about this, but I don't really feel like zooming in on a hunt. If we do encounter one on our trip , we will deal with it then.
And here are the two apps we use with a wild animal and insects theme. The "Animal Sounds" animals are not all South African, but still an awesome app to download for free.
Cleverkiddo: (This app is available in English and Afrikaans and practices visual and auditory memory) http://www.thingstodowithkids.co.za/blog/ollie-onthou-deur-cleverkiddos
Safety in the Kruger National Park:
We booked a night in the Bushfeld Terrace to top and tail our trip in style!
You can read up on the health and safety guidelines and staying safe in the KNP on their website.
Here are a few pointers:
Gates are closed at night and camps are fenced off with electrical wiring (There have been slip-ups this year- so still be safe)
Stay in your car and don’t open windows when you approach wild animals.
Most campsites have pools- so remember water safety.
Do not wonder off at picnic sites and scan your surroundings when you do get out to at the designated areas
Take a water spray bottle to protect yourself against starlings - they have become quite a hazard.
I am looking forward to sharing our adventure- if you have some pointers or pics to share- please do so!