Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Africa & the Middle East
Reload this Page > how safe is tanzanian camping safari with an 8 year old?

how safe is tanzanian camping safari with an 8 year old?

Reply

Nov 1st, 2012, 12:08 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 79
how safe is tanzanian camping safari with an 8 year old?

Hi I have not done this before and the prices are so high that we are entertaining the idea of camping but we are taking our son who is 8 years old.
Does anyone who may have done this have any idea if this is a good idea or not please?
cheers
hup234 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 1st, 2012, 07:08 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,085
My DH and I have self-driven and camped our way through Tanzania twice - most recently in July/August 2012 and first in 2009. We rent a fully equipped Land Rover with a roof-top tent. The campsites offered by TANAPA are beautiful - always in lovely locations and wonderfully isolated.

We have never felt in any danger when camping, with the exception of one incident in 2009 when we were chased off our campsite by poachers - this was in the Western Corridor of the Serengeti. We have had many nocturnal visitors to the campsites - lions, hyenas, elephants - but they have never bothered us. The hyenas are the most aggressive - in Seronera (the central area of the Serengeti), while cooking dinner, it was necessary to scare them off by banging pots together. We take a powerful floodlight and, after dark, constantly scan the area surrounding the campsite for eyes. Many campsites are in the trees, so it is difficult to see approaching predators. If it is windy, you can't hear them either. At one campsite, we had so many lions in the area that we ended up retiring earlier than planned - we felt safer in the tent. During the day, there have been many occasions when we have had to sit in the vehicle when elephants have been feeding on the trees on the periphery of the campsite. The elephants have often brushed past the vehicle - would this frighten your son? There will be many close encounters on the campsites - will he be able to handle this without panicking?

Much will depend on your son and how active and mature he is. I certainly wouldn't want him running around the campsites. He will need to stay near the vehicle, particularly after dark. As the smallest member of the group, he will be the likely target of lurking predators. I would not even consider camping with him unless he is in the same tent as the adults. Getting out of the tent during the night is very risky, so you need to consider if he is likely to need to get up in the night to go to the "bathroom". Will he be OK with a bush bathroom? - there are absolutely no facilities on the campsites.

We have certainly seen many families camping - although more in Botswana than Tanzania. Just know that you are going to have to supervise your son very closely and that his movements will have to be severely restricted on the campsites. As long as he is prepared to accept that, you should be fine.

Here is the link to our 2009 trip report and photos. It might help you with your decision. Feel free to ask questions! CR

http://bert-and-bin.smugmug.com/Trav...9504315_zcbkVx
canadian_robin is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 1st, 2012, 08:50 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 32,129
I don't know what the 8 year old thinks but Canadian Robin has talked me out of camping.
colduphere is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 1st, 2012, 01:45 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,085
Oh dear colduphere - why/how have I talked you out of camping in Tanzania? We love to camp in Kenya and Tanzania, and hope to return in a couple of years. I would not explore Tanzania any other way (than self-driving and camping). I did not mean my reply to sound negative or frightening. It certainly is necessary to be cautious, prepared and sensible, but camping is safe - and a great adventure! When on the Tanzanian campsites, it is as though your have the African bush/wilderness to yourself - a real privilege! CR
If I may ask, given that we are buried in snow at the moment, where is "up here"?
canadian_robin is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 1st, 2012, 02:23 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 32,129
Canadian Robin - Ottawa. And I am playing golf tomorrow . You must be near Calgary.

I camp too. Even though there are bears out there. I just found your answer confirmed my views of camping in Africa. Lots of animals nearby. Bears tend not to hang around if they know you are there. Unless they are rogue. Sounds like safari animals want to be there. I wouldn't sleep for a second. But I am a wussie.
colduphere is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 1st, 2012, 04:38 PM
  #6
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 79
Wow thanks Canadian robin afraid I am with cold up here. But I so appreciate your opinion. It,s not my son I am worried about now, I think it is me. i can deal with snakes and spiders but wild animals, big ones at that, are way out of my league. I was looking at camping as the lodge option is working out to be so prohibitvely
expensive but I think I will just cough up. Cheers
hup234 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 1st, 2012, 05:16 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
There are group budget camping trips that offer savings, but I don't know what the age limits are. Eight might be too young to join one.

Big animals in camp is common. On a group camping trip, at a permanent camp, or at a lodge, there would be staff to alert you or direct you when animals enter the camp or the grounds.

If you travel off season, you can save. Mid-March or April-May, for example, or November. Depending where you are in Serengeti, it's always high or low season someplace.
atravelynn is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 1st, 2012, 07:27 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,085
colduphere:
Golf??? Must be nice! I am getting tired of shoveling and it is just the first day of November. It is going to be a long winter. Quite right - I am in snowy southern Alberta, although I was born in Ottawa.

Yes, lots of animals on the campsites. They do like to visit - especially the elephants and hyenas. I do not sleep either - not because I am fearful, but because I do not wish to miss anything. I lie awake hoping to hear elephants, jackals or lions, and am constantly peering out of the tent with our flashlight, hoping to spot a nocturnal visitor. I remember on one occasion, in Botswana, when I discovered an enormous hippo at the foot of our ladder. Great fun! We have been surrounded by elephants on many occasions - the roof-top tent allows us to be at eye level with them - very special!

hup234:
Camping in Tanzania is not especially cheap either - in the Serengeti, for example, we paid: US$50 per person per night for the campsite, US$50 pp/pn for the (people) entry permits and US$40/pn for our vehicle. So, for the two of us (non-Tanzanians driving a foreign-registered vehicle) we paid US$240/night. The fees are slightly cheaper in some of the smaller Tanzanian parks, such as Lake Manyara and Tarangire.

Atravelynn has some great suggestions on how to reduce the cost. CR
canadian_robin is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:26 AM.