Family Safari to Kenya and Tanzania

Old Mar 12th, 2006, 01:58 PM
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Family Safari to Kenya and Tanzania

I am trying to choose between a family safari through Micato that is 15 days and uses either sopa or serena lodges. My other choice is Abercrombie and Kent Family Safari. They essentially visit the same places, but the accomodations are different. A&K uses more tented camps. The price is not much different. Has anyone done either and could you offer advice on which is better? They both visit Masai Mara, the Serengeti, Samburu and the Ngorongoro Crater. A&K uses Mara Intrepids Club, Samburu Intrepids Club, Serengeti Serena Lodge, Mountain Village Lodge, Sweetwaters Tented Camp, and the Ngorongoro Crater A&K tented camp. It will be my husband, myself, and our three children (15, 13, and 11). Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old Mar 12th, 2006, 03:24 PM
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There are any number of threads on this board asking similar questions and whether going with big name safari operators - Micato or A&K is worth it, or using smaller companies in your home country or direct with an in-country outfitter.

Admittedly, no one can tell you where to spend your money, but these operators are very expensive, easily by a third (if not more) over the smaller operators or those in-country.

Also, these safaris are group departures, whereas, with the others you'd get a private safari for you and your children. You'd have your own guide/driver, for all "drive" portions of your itinerary, where you are able to pretty much set your own schedule - how many game drives, how long, what time.

Just took a look at the A&K itinerary and except for a few tent camps, they too use Serena properties or mid-range camps. Nothing special for what they are charging. Even their supplemental airfares are marked-up (a lot)!

I would suggest you do a search on this board - use the box at the top of the page. Input Kenya Tour Operators or Tanzania Tour Operators, click search to the right... the threads containing these names will appear in the left column. Then, submit either of these itineraries to a few of the other operators and see what they can offer and the savings you will get.

For when are you planning this trip? 2006 or 2007? Availability for 2006 is tightening by the day.

Let us know what you decide.

Old Mar 12th, 2006, 04:09 PM
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The trip is for Late July or early August 2007.
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Old Mar 12th, 2006, 08:31 PM
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slsacs -

I can't halp you with safari companies since we did a private tour, but I thought I would pass along some advice about doing safaris with kids! THis is based on my experience and that of several other families I know.

We did a Kenya/Tanzania safari a couple of years ago when our boys were about 10 and 12. SO - here are some thoughts....

1. Meals in the lodges are great, but they don't last long with kids. Bring LOTS of snacks and drinks (stock up whenever possible along the way). Besides, there were several times we got stuck/or were "pursuing" an elusive animal and were late arriving to the lodges for meals - and those snacks came in handy for all of us. At one point, I thought we would be spending New Year's Eve with the wildlife!

2. Be realistic! We live overseas and our kids have travelled the world - but they are still kids (even when they are teeneagers!). Wait a day or so, and then let them bring out the Gameboys, iPods, whatever. Some of the drives get a bit dull, and - to a twelve year old - once you've seen 30 giraffes...number 31 isn't that exciting!

3. In addition to their own binoculars, let them have their own cameras. Even if most of the photos don't turn out great - they may get one you miss!

4. I don't know what the weather will be like (we were there at Christmas time), but zip-off pants/shorts really came in handy.

5. The Masai Village near Olduvai Gorge was quite interesting, but my older son was a bit wary when the chief's oldest son too his hand and led him off into the group of grown men. Great photo!!!! HOWEVER, there was a family there from the US with 3 kids and they were having a real hard time with "culture shock." They walked around the village very quickly and then ran back to their car. We lived in Cairo at the time and I don't think anything would have shocked my boys - but these kids (and even the mom) were a bit spooked at the thought of going into a dung-brick hut!

6. Understand that this is the type of trip that they may enjoy now but not really "appreciate" until they are much older. We try to alternate educational/cultural trips with purely "fun" trips. Of course, a lot of the "fun" trips are educational...they just don't realize it!!!!

7. Take the time at Olduvai Gorge to go down (with a guide) into the gorge and see where the Leakey's found their famous bones! Refer to #6 above, but what a great photo/story for a college anthropology class!

8. Make sure everyone watches the Lion King and Born Free before going. Not completely relevant, but it gets you in the mood - kind of like watching Sound of Music before going to Salzburg!

We stayed at the Serena lodges in Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro, and the Serengeti. And we stayed at the Tortillas Camp in Amboseli.

If I think of anything else, I'll add another post.
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Old Mar 13th, 2006, 07:13 AM
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Hello slsacs,
Have you checked out Thompson safaris out of Boston? They seem to offer a few family trips for less than Micato and A+K - very similar itin.
I haven't used them but did have some dealings with them when planning my trip - they were very helpful.

As others have said, you may want to think about a private safari so that your kids can sprawl out and have some leg room. I saw countless folks squished into those Micato and A+K vehicles and they really did look miserable.
Good luck!
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Old Mar 13th, 2006, 07:55 AM
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You might look at Deeper Africa as well--has safaris with kids in mind. Friends are traveling with them this month with a pre-teen []

With regard to your original question, a mix of tented camps with lodges is a nice variety but you know your children--what do you think about their reaction?

With regard to private vs group, a number of parents who have posted on this board have indicated how helpful it was to be able to control the game drives on a private safari.
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