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 “When I was young, it was more important, Pain more painful, the laughter much louder, yeah, When I was young…” – The Animals

Many people question the point behind taking young ones with on holidays abroad. They doubt how much of their time skiing in the Alps or dancing with lemurs they will actually remember. If I look back at my childhood, I certainly can’t recall those holidays. But only because we never went to Europe or Madagascar.

We did, however, go all over South Africa – which I call home. The camp-outs in the Cederberg, the cricket matches beside the Breede River, reading by candlelight – and losing my hair (temporarily) to the flames, making beer bread from scratch in our country hut with no electricity, gorging on peaches in faraway farms, kayaking down solitary river streams with the first family dog… They’re there, those memories, behind every thought and decision that forms my existence. They gave me my love for the outdoors and for nature, for Africa. And gratitude for hair growing back.

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Family holidays (of some sort) are as important as an education. They are an education. They’re important not merely for the well-rounded children they help to build, but for the shared moments, the quality family time, they create.

And in the words of The Animals… “Life meant so much more / When I was young”. Your young ones will never see and feel the world as enthusiastically as they do now. Let them free on the world while they still have their childlike wonder.

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The Children’s Club at Royal Chundu keeps kids enthralled with a daily itinerary that includes adventures such as fishing on the great Zambezi River to frog safaris.

For a better look at family holidays through the eyes of a child, we asked two of our young guests for their thoughts… Meet Zoe, 4, and Emma, 6.5 from Johannesburg, South Africa.

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Kids at Royal Chundu

1. Favourite part of the lodge?
We loved splashing in the swimming pool at River Lodge with the hippo’s grunting below us!
2. Favourite treat from the kitchen?

Flapjacks for breakfast! The lovely warm bread fresh out of the oven that the chefs made for us. It was also such fun to eat in the Boma and watch the dancers!

3. Best way to spend a sunny day at Royal Chundu?
Swimming in the big pool! It was also such fun going on a walk to see the big trees and interesting plants at Island Lodge that the local people use for medicine. And fishing for tiger fish!

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4. Favourite holiday memory from the Zambezi?
The sunset cruise and watching the sun go down into the river. We loved our Royal Chundu Kids Club back packs – we still use them every time we go on a plane or on holiday to put all our stuff in. We also found it interesting to see the village people and learn how to crush nuts with a big stick in a wooden bowl.

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5. Favourite animals that you saw?
Hippos and crocodiles in the river and the naughty monkeys who tried to steal food off the breakfast table
6. Favourite guide?
We loved Aggie – she was always so kind to us and always so much fun to be with.

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Kids Club 1

7. What do you always make sure to pack for your Zambezi safari?
My camera to take photos of the sunset!

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8. Must do activity before heading home?
Visit the Victoria Falls! We loved running around under the spray with our umbrellas!

Exploring the Vic Falls