Family Safari to Tanzania and/or Kenya

Oct 9th, 2005, 02:39 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 7
Family Safari to Tanzania and/or Kenya

I am a single father who will be traveling on safari with my two (well behaved and good traveling) kids - ages 9 and 11 - in August 2006.

I have safaried in Kenya (years ago, without kids) and initially thought this time I would try Tanzania. I have recently been advised, however, that the game viewing in the areas covered by a classic Tanzanian safari in August is not very good and that I would be better off in Kenya or with a combination trip to Kenya and extreme northern Tanzania.

I would like a private safari from 7 to 12 days with a mix of camping and lodges and preferably no more than one or two days of camping between lodges. In a perfect world, the lodges would have pools.

The primary purpose of the trip will be game viewing but I would also like to include visits to a tribal village and one or more local (urban, rural and tribal) schools. Walking safari, remote areas and night game drives would be great.

Money is definitely an issue but I haven’t yet established a specific budget.

Any information responsive to the following questions would be very much appreciated:

1. Which country – Tanzania or Kenya – would provide the best game viewing in August? Do you agree that the areas covered in a classic Tanzanian safari would not be the best for game viewing at that time of the year?

2. Can you recommend any particular 7 to 12 day itineraries?

3. Can you recommend any particular tour operators? (I am pre-disposed to a smaller operator, which I presume can offer greater flexibility and a more personal touch. The operators that I liked based upon very limited communications and internet surfing for Tanzanian operators include, among others, African Dream Safaris, Africa Serendipity, and Deeper Africa.)

4. Any ideas for cultural opportunities and activities for the kids?

5. Am I crazy for taking a trip like this with children ages 9 and 11?

Any other advice you may have would most welcome. Thanks in advance for your help.
bill_eli_hannah is offline  
Oct 9th, 2005, 03:36 PM
Join Date: May 2004
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Others will be better at giving you a proposed itinerary, although I am pretty sure they will tell you to go to the Mara in Kenya for at least part of your time.

Friends of mine took a trip with Deeper Africa and raved about them. Cultural contact was important to them. If you have read the website then you know they value the educational process of traveling and specifically discuss traveling with children.

The other two companies both receive favorable reviews as well. Sandi, a very knowledgeable and helpul regular poster, has an affiliation with Africa Serendipity.
bat is offline  
Oct 9th, 2005, 03:38 PM
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btw-no, I do not think that you are crazy to take your children. The whole experience will be wonderful for them--nature, wildlife and cultural contact.
bat is offline  
Oct 10th, 2005, 04:57 AM
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While you are waiting on itinerary advice, you might look at these 2 threads. One is a trip report of a family (not traveling at your time though)and the other is advice re books for pre-teens to read for a preview of Africa.
bat is offline  
Oct 10th, 2005, 06:23 AM
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Kenya is a superb destination to travel to particularly with children in tow. Being a father and having travelled with my kids I urge you to consider properties that offer activity after activity for the children to enjoy. Be they good or not, they lack adult attention span and although will have mixed reactions to the safari aspect are likly to bore after the first of of sitting still and being quiet.

With this in mind I would suggest that you travel as follows:

Two nights, Shaba or Samburu. Suggest Intrepids camp Samburu or Shaba Sarova.
Three/four nights Laikipia Wilderness. Loisaba or Sabuk. Both of the above do great things for kids & they will have the opportunity to meet/interact with local Samburu.

Two nights Lake Nakuru. Lion Hill Lodge. Has pool and has evening dance and song entertainment, interactive too.

Then hoof it down to the mara. I'd suggest Sarova Mara here as they access a village and have their own "museum" of Massai culture. Camp has large forested grounds, pool etc.

If you spend anytime in Nairobi, I'd take them down to giraffe manor for the afternoon as they can feed the giraffe etc. For kids that is quite spectacular.

Operatots: Plenty in North America.
Thompsons specialises in family safaris, you might well have a look at what they can offer, although they concentrate on Tanzania.
Premier tours: Their president has similarly aged children and repeatedly takes them to "tthe bush", They sell Kenya and he knows your needs better than most.

Enchanting Africa, great niche operator. Then of course the regulars like A&K, MICATO, African Travel Inc....WSill al;l serve you well.
mkhonzo is offline  
Oct 10th, 2005, 07:09 AM
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I don't know how to include the links, but a poster named philw returned from Kenya in late August. It was a family trip with his wife and two daughters, although the daughters are a bit older than your children. They went to the Mara and Samburu and appeared to have a fantastic time!

And I think you're right, lodges with pools will be of great benefit to you and your children.
Leely is offline  
Oct 10th, 2005, 08:18 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
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I can't help you with a good itinerary for August (we went in December), but I can say that you are NOT crazy for taking your kids. Our boys were about that age when we went. Here's some advice (based on my experience - and the experience of some friends).....

1. Make sure the kids have their Gameboys, Ipods, whatever, for entertainment. THey'll need it on some of the longer drives and when they are tired of seeing giraffes (as my friend said "Once you've seen 30, #31 isn't that exciting to a ten year old!).

2. Make sure you have plenty of snacks and drinks during the day. I brought a bunch with us and then stocked up whenever I could. Juice boxes, fruit, chips, crackers - whatever your kids will eat. In addition to nibbling during the day, there were several evenings when we were quite late getting back to the lodges for dinner and we were all happy to have the extra food!

3. The hotels were great with the kids. - prepraring special dishes, bringing them treats, and even providing my son with wet cloths for his eyes when the smoke in the lounge (entertainment) area started to bother him. Just ask.....

4. As for activities - it was a little too chilly to swim in December, but August should be great and the pools will feel great after a long day. Also, some of the lodges had pool tables, ping-pong tables, chess boards, etc. There was also interesting entertainment provided each evening at most of the lodges.

5. Get binoculars for each child. We had 2 pairs, but my husband and I ended up using our cameras to zoom in on things so that the boys could use the binoculars.

6. Zip-off pants were really handy for the cool mornings and evenings and hot days. Also think about small travel pillows. The boys did want to sleep at times and resting on their backpacks wasn't really comfortable.

7. Be prepared for culure shock. Our kids were okay visiting the Masaii Village near Ngorongoro (we lived in Egypt at the time), but there was another family there from Washington State and the mother and the kids were having a really difficult time. We readily entered the dung-brick hut for a "tour" and a photo, but only the father from the other family went in.

8. Make sure to take advantage of seeing those "once in a lifetime" things. While visiting Olduvai Gorge, I insisted we take a guide down to the spot where the Leakeys found their famous skeleton. My sons weren't sure what the big deal was, but my older son just used the family photo we took for a project he did on Central Africa.

9. Finally, be prepared for them to be lukewarm about the experience afterwards. My boys had a great time, but it doesn't rank in their top 5 vacations. Does that mean I'm sorry we went? Nope! I put this in the "they'll appreciate it when they're older" category. We're also planning to do another safari to Kenya in a year or two.

That's all I can think of for now. If my kids come up with any other ideas, I'll add another post.
Grcxx3 is offline  
Oct 10th, 2005, 08:36 AM
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A note: Re pools at lodges/camps. August is actually the winter in East Africa and unless the pools are heated, it may still be too cold for swimming. So, test the waters!
Oct 10th, 2005, 08:46 AM
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Here is the link to phlw's report.
bat is offline  
Oct 12th, 2005, 04:37 PM
Original Poster
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Thank you all for your responses. Sorry for taking so long to respond.

Based on conversations with others, I have decided to eliminate the Serengeti from our itinerary and focus on the Mara instead. I am still trying to figure out whether I should try to work in Ngorongoro and Lake Manayara or just stay in Kenya. (I read PhilW's post and his idea of just two parks [Mara and Samburu] is appealing. -- Thanks for the heads up Leely and Bat).

Also, I am still trying to choose an operator. There are so many out there and I find it very hard to distinguish them except by price.

The practical tips from Grcxx3 and the book information from Bat is very much appreciated -- lots of good ideas for Christmas presents and stocking stuffers. Thanks also to mkhonzo for the suggested itinerary.

bill_eli_hannah is offline  
Oct 20th, 2005, 07:58 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 2
I am taking my 11 year old on safari with my husband in August and are using African travel resource for a mix of camping and lodges plus beach on Zanzibar.
tthey were v helpful, Try AArdvark too.
hotchilli is offline  
Oct 20th, 2005, 08:55 AM
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We also used Premier Tours and the owner/president is very helpful as to where to take young children since he has 3 of his own. We took our 14yr old to SA, Botswana, VFalls and it was perfectly coordinated and planned so I can't recommend them highly enough! You are definitely NOT crazy to take your children-any travel for them is enlightening but especially Africa!
moremiles is offline  
Oct 21st, 2005, 08:23 AM
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With the children you might consider breaking your trip with 2/3 nights at the coast? You can still see some great wildlife.

I stay North Coast... the Serena is a bit "older" that Whitesands. But there's some great child friendly snorkling... and the Bamburi Nature Reserve is great, even if it's just to come face to face with a giant tortoise or two.

There's also a cultural village I think it's called Bombululu. A lot of fun and activities.

I would avoid Mamba Village, unless you want to see shockingly badly kept crocodiles in appauling conditions.

And for a long, tiring but potentially exhilerating day

Pumbavu is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2005, 07:24 AM
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topping for pascal
bat is offline  

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