Why These Changes in Policy?
I reached out to Lyn Mulder and asked her some questions about their decision to change the Child Policy. Below is our communication on the Change in Child Policy.
Amy: Thank you Lyn for answering my questions about your changes to Hamilton Parks Lodge’s Child Policy. I appreciate your taking the time to help educate us on what I am sure was a decision you did not make lightly.
Could you tell us about how you went about making the decision to change your Child Policy?
As I have shared with you, I have personally had two experiences, one of which could have been fatal to the children, where young, neglected children have been placed in situations which were inappropriate. Is there some advice you would give to parents considering taking young children on Safari?
This was not a decision taken lightly but we have already seen the benefits to a different group of visitors, to our lodge, we have maturer, travelers that seek the Bushveld tranquility
Amy , but to give 1 example, we have had 2 serious situations that could have gone terribly wrong if it was not for our staff members being there, twice we have had parents sitting around the pool and not taking notice of their children in the pool we have had to dive in twice to safe young children (aged 4 and 8 years old) we have also have had to safe a adult who could not swim J, this is purely a parent with no responsive attitude to children safety and etiquette (unacceptable to us as our swimming pool is not child proof and we always advise (and have sign boards) that under aged children are to be strictly looked after with parents in full attendance (not reading or playing on cell phones) the responsibility of a child is taken very seriously by Hamilton Parks and therefore we decided that it was not conducive to the lodge anymore, When it comes to safaris, we tell all parents with smaller children to do self drives’ in the park, as children fidget, shout and are generally full of energy and this distracts other guests (that also pay top dollar for the activity) and can potentially be dangerous with wild animals around open vehicles or even bush walks. Private game lodges mostly have the same policies in place (age limits etc) for the above same issues. But again this all depends on the children’s behavior and the parent’s accountability for their behavior :-) Breakages are also a small part of the child policy change :-)
Do you think this is a trend, toward setting age limits, that is going to take hold in the Tourism Industry in Africa?
1. Yes, I do think that there will be a trend, it will be a slow one, but I think parents will start looking more at resorts as a package tour when it comes to children as we know most European countries (which is SA [South African] most market) come to South Africa to visit with anything from 2 to 6 children (so cost effective is essential)
2. It is also a tough sell when you book children into rooms with parents, rates wise s all agents/parents expect children to wither be FREE of charge of to pay a very small sum
3. This was not a decision taken lightly but we have already seen the benefits to a different group of visitors, to our lodge, we have Maturer, travelers that seek the Bushveld tranquility without the