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Help! Tanzania safari w/teens - 7 or 10 days in country?

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Apr 6th, 2005, 02:46 PM
  #1
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Help! Tanzania safari w/teens - 7 or 10 days in country?

Looking at travelling to Tanzania with 14 and 16yo's December of 2005. Choosing between 7 night and 10 night itineraries (assume same total cost/night), excl travel days. Seven day itinerary:

1 Arusha (Masai village)
1 Tarangire
2 Ngorongoro
3 Serengeti

10 day itinerary:

2 Tarangire
1 Lake Manyara
2 Ngorongoro
5 Serengeti

Attention span of teens? Is 7 nights enough, or will we need 10 to see it properly?

Any advice welcome.
safarimom is offline  
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Apr 6th, 2005, 05:03 PM
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Safarimom,

The question is are they "safarikids"? If they are into it then 10 days would be great. It helps justify and the plane cost of getting there. Plus who knows when you'll ever return? I'd always pick 7 over 10 if the $ and available time are there.

The attention span may become more of an issue on a daily basis rather than the week vs. 10 day issue. You will spend hours on end in the vehicle looking at lots of similar animals. The drives between parks can be several hours.

But 14 and 16 year olds (I work with kids that age) have enough maturity to appreciate what is going on and be blown away by the experience. It is nice they'll have each other to converse with, tell jokes, and maybe give a few nudges and pokes during the moments when National Geographic is not occuring within your view.

These seem like two set itineraries. If you are going on a family trip, it is very easy for most Africa agents to cutomize an itinerary that would include exactly what you want. You may want to include more than one camp/lodge in the Serengeti on the 5 night trip. I've not been to the Serengeti at this time of year but I would think you would want central to southern Serengeti. Another great option that teens would love would be mobile camping in the Serengeti. Again, on a custom trip, you could choose that.

I do think some Masai visits would be especially important with youngsters. Those are very easy to do and opportunities abound so you would not have to include Arusha just to do a Masai visit.

Here are a few more reasons for 10-day:
Tarangire is a beatiful park and 2 days there is nice. Dec is not its optimal time, but it should still be good.

Now Manyara is a great location in Dec, so that is worth a stay at that time of year. Though I've not done it, I've read about doing forest walks in Manyara--a nice option to get those teens moving around.

Binocular suggestion--do not have the kids sharing. They should each have their own to prevent problems.

One other hint--I have seen children with gameboy type devices in safari vehicles. Personally, I think it is a shame, but if you are concerned about short attention spans ruining the trip for those who can remain focused, then it is an option.

This is a great experience for a couple of lucky kids. Have fun and I'd love to read THEIR trip reports of Kenya.


atravelynn is offline  
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Apr 6th, 2005, 05:59 PM
  #3
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Thank you for such a detailed and thoughtful response. Great point on the binoculars!

And believe me, for this kind of $$? Those gameboys are staying at home!
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Apr 7th, 2005, 02:10 AM
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You should try to get a variety of activities in there. Game walks, or maybe schedule walks with a game scout or maasai to nowhere that are instructional, balloon -maybe, but anything extra that might help being confined to a vehicle and camp/lodge all day. They have a lot more energy to burn. If you can find a game identification book that they use prior to arriving so that when they see the game they can appreciate it more. Learn their characteristics and what differentiate them from others and why they have evolved into the animals they are. Why an ecosystem like the Serengeti can support millions of animals. I managed a remote bush camp, and I scheduled walks for kids midday dispite the heat, while others napped or socialized. Even afternoon trips to a local village outside the park for fresh fruit and veggies. That was problem because everyone wanted to go.
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Apr 8th, 2005, 02:36 AM
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We took our boys for 2 weeks when they were a little younger and we were fine. The oldest one had a book he read sometimes in the vehicle, both had 2 nd hand cameras and discovered photography (before cheap digitals). Go for longer trip if possible (ie 10 day).
pezzhull is offline  
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Apr 8th, 2005, 06:00 AM
  #6
 
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When I was 14-16, I would have given anything to go on safari! Lucky kids!
I would go for the 10 days. I don't know where you're coming from, but if it's far, jetlag can make the first day or two less than optimal...so I say the more time the better. Also, I don't know what kind of accommodations you're looking at, but at many of the larger hotels (Serena, Sopa) they can always opt to spend an afternoon by the pool if they're not up for another game drive one day. I agree that binocs, camera, and wildlife identification book/checklist may add a lot to their enjoyment. Also consider watching/renting some wildlife shows (Netflix has lots of good ones on dvd).
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