One of the most rewarding aspects of travel is the chance to broaden your horizons and learn about different cultures, customs, traditions, history and lifestyles – and making an adventure out of the experience is a fantastic opportunity to broaden the minds of your children and instil a love of learning.
Whether you take the more traditional route of exploring the world’s great museums and art galleries, or go even further back in time to explore our ancient ancestral roots in Africa, cultural holidays are an important reminder of the lessons of the past.
It’s a big world out there – so where is the inquisitive family traveller to begin? Here are our suggestions!
What child wouldn’t like the opportunity to boast to their friends that they have been on a tour to visit The Great Pyramids of Giza? The Egyptian Museum in Cairo is a great starting point to tickle the imagination and awaken the inner archaeologist in children of all ages.
From the Valley of the Kings, Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple, the Colossi of Memnon in Luxor and the Temple of Horus just to name a few historical attractions, Egypt also offers adventure in the form of desert journeys and oasis tours – whether by luxury 4X4 or the more traditional camel! And if the idea of blazing desert heat doesn’t float your boat, there are fantastic Nile cruises that certainly will!
A journey into Africa is one back into our very origins – exploring the roots of our hunter-gatherer forebears. Although finding communities which are truly untouched by ‘modern’ life is sadly becoming more and more difficult, there are places in Africa where we can still experience what our ancestor’s daily lives might have been like. Learning to track game and discovering new plants and animals are just some of the treats on offer for the little ones.
Namibia, one of the world’s least populated countries, is home to Twyfelfontein, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which has one of Africa’s largest concentrations of ancient rock art. The Etosha National Park is also a fantastic spot to visit, famous for its enormous flocks of flamingos and big game viewing opportunities.
KwaZulu Natal in South Africa is the home of the proud Zulu race, descendants of Iron Age farmers who left the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa hundreds of years ago. Today, it is possible to learn about their rich culture, and indulge in the full African safari experience all at the same time at reserves such as Thanda and PheZulu.
While some of the more formal European museums – full of priceless artefacts and artworks – can be a bit intimidating for parents with younger kids, there are some which are designed just for them! At The Nemo Science Museum in Amsterdam for example, the golden rule is ‘you must touch everything!’ Even the impressive ship-like architecture invites you to come aboard for a journey of discovery…
Exhibits such as Smart Technology, Science throughout the Ages, World of Shapes, and opportunities to blow things up, make your own water and even an exhibition just for teenagers, this is the perfect opportunity to teach kids to appreciate the wonders of science and have a cultural experience without even realizing it!
And it goes almost without saying of course, that the justly famous Natural History Museum in London is always a smash hit with children and parents alike. Where else could you see a full-size blue whale, Diplodocus and T-Rex skeleton for free? General admissions to the public are at no charge, so there’s really no excuse for not making a stop here if you’re ever near London!
Have you discovered any cultural experiences that your kids enjoyed? Please let us know in the comments!