‘’Take care of my children!’’

This was the first thing I thought and consequently exclaimed as I watched my seven and nine-year-old walk hand in trunk away from me with a group of powerful adult elephants.

This sort of parental helplessness is not that new to me, it had happened when I first let go of their bicycle or their hand on the first day of school. However, this was different. There was great potential for critical danger. A drastic change of circumstances.

Being that close to an elephant humbled me greatly, and putting my children between us brought a strange realisation to me. Maybe this is what the elephants feel when their young come between us when we encounter them in their environment. There is palpable helplessness in the air – a responsibility. Immediately I wanted to champion the cause of wildlife.

A general acknowledgement of the fragility of us and them was apparent throughout the holiday where I introduced my children to animals in the wild. As fragile as the children are, so too is the environment. However, as resilient they are, so too is the environment and hence it is important to encourage children first hand to find out about the world in which they live.

But it’s not always easy to introduce children to the African wildlife of documentary fame. The practicalities don’t always seem so easy, unless of course, you let someone who knows the pitfalls, someone who has been there, do it for you.

I definitely feel that by taking my children there, I can help others take their children into Africa. Not everywhere on the continent is suitable of course so the malaria-free Eastern Cape of South Africa definitely lends itself to this introduction. With family-friendly accommodation, child-orientated mealtimes and endlessly patient rangers, each child can have a chance to find a place amongst the wildlife of Africa.

It is easier than you think – ask us – we can show you how.

Thanks for reading

Illona Cross, Tanzania

Author: Illona Cross