Twenty feet from you, lions roar. Towering elephants take down trees for breakfast. And sundown silhouettes a Peaceable Kingdom panorama of giraffes, zebra, and antelope. Going on safari means getting as close to nature at its most spectacular as is safely possible. It’s a visceral experience, from hearing birdsong at sunrise to feeling the gathering warmth spreading across the veld and holding your breath while you stalk a prey animal from your Land Rover. South Africa’s southern region offers all this, plus the added family-friendly feature of being malaria-free. The Africa Adventure Company (africaadventure.com) tours it and picturesque Cape Town in 14 days. - BY ELAINE GLUSAC
TAKE AWAY: Where the wild things are is awesome. And worth preserving.
TIPS: Game drives are best for ages 5 and up.
• Prepare kids to shush, lest they scare Simba.
STAY: In the untrammeled Eastern Cape, Kwandwe Private Game Reserve sprawls over 54,000 acres, home to the Big Five and innumerable lesser creatures. Deluxe cottages feature indoor and outdoor showers, plunge pools, and walls of windows through which to spy kudu. Lodging from $450 per person, all-inclusive.