Need advice for family safari w/teenagers

Old Mar 7th, 2007, 06:24 AM
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Need advice for family safari w/teenagers

correction to my last posting--I need to plan a 2-2/2 fun and comfortable family safari--where in Africa is best? least diseases? best lodges or tour operators? flying safari? adventure things to do that teens and I would enjoy. Is there anything to be gained by using an auction site? I don't need to plan too far in advance and am flexible. Best time of year?
lily15 is offline  
Old Mar 7th, 2007, 07:58 AM
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"I'd like to go to Africa with my 2 teenagers, 15 yr old girl and 17 yr old boy. I am 42 yr old mother...possibly may take my 70 yr old mother. I want luxury but doesn't have to be the ultimate. Mostly I don't want to hear complaining from my kids. There are so many tours to choose from, it is overwhelming. I hear August and September are best times to go?? I can take 2 weeks or so. I have lots of air miles. Need suggestions for my first time trip. We are all active...we want very good food, comfortable lodging, great guide, exciting experiences, and flying between camps...all with a within reason price for Africa. I don't know where to start...hope you all can help."

I put your two posts together because keeping everything in one place makes answering easier.

atravelynn is offline  
Old Mar 7th, 2007, 08:21 AM
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hi, lily,

don't know of i've replied to u before - apologies of this is repetition.

We faced the same dilemma - ended up with SA, for us and our kids aged 19 & 16. Mainly their choice [i would have preferred Kenya/Tanzania] - they and DH liked the idea of CPT, table mountain, the cape, penguins, whale watching [and Aug/Sept is the right time of year for that] and finally, malaria-free safari on the eastern cape.

One bonus, even with pretty high end accommodation, it's quite a bit cheaper than east africa.

Good luck!

regards, ann
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Old Mar 7th, 2007, 08:34 AM
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Tell kids that if you go now, you will pay for their trip but they have to shut up. Or, you can wait until they are both 18 years old then they can pay for their own trip (or not go). Their choice.
regards - tom
ps - you can tell I've never raised teenagers
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Old Mar 7th, 2007, 08:59 AM
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I think Tom is auditioning for "Trip Bouncer" and will enforce a strict No Whining-No Complaints policy.

A great family trip and your kids are old enough to really appreciate it and your mother is young enough to handle the travel.

2-2/2? I don’t know what that means.

August is ideal and would not interfere with school schedules, even earlier is good too. I think your kids will be awe inspired, as will you, and forget about complaining. Their big complaint will likely be, “Why can’t we go back at Christmas?”

Maybe YOU don’t need to plan too far in advance, but since others do and space is limited, a trip for this August should be investigated promptly and booked fairly soon.

Here is a link on best times in the various parks. Best means best wildlife viewing and correlates closely with high season costs.

Here is a good questionnaire to narrow where to go

Where to start—Your budget.
Botswana is one of the most expensive options but fills your requests of flying and luxury lodging. You would not need 6-paw accommodations since “the ultimate” is not a requirement. However most Botswana camps are filled or filling up for this summer. You’d need 2 tents, so availability becomes even tougher.

Any reputable agency would provide lodging that was sufficiently luxurious for you, whether Botswana or elsewhere.

The best places to show your kids why they have nothing in the world to complain about would be those with the most cultural interactions. In my experience that would be Zambia, Kenya, and Tanzania. I think South Africa also, though I’ve not been yet.

You mentioned you are active. Zambia has outstanding walking and canoeing safaris. Both safe. I’ve visited camps where in the morning the mom and kids did walking and the 70ish mom/grandma did a game drive and everyone met up midday then went on a game drive together in the late afternoon and evening. I’ve also frequently done game walks with people in their 70s, as that is a very common age for people to go on safari.

August is an excellent time in the Maasai Mara for the migration, so Kenya would be a fine choice. With 2 weeks, I would spend the entire time or the great bulk of the time in Kenya, rather than Tanzania.

The Sabi Sands of South Africa has legendary game viewing year round. Nearby is Phinda, where I’ll be going for the first time in June, with enough activities to do something different each week—rhino tracking, village visits, boat ride, aerial safaris looking for marine life, horseback riding, etc. Phinda is also a cheetah conservation area, but it is fenced so it lacks the wide open wilderness of other places. You could also take in some history in Cape Town (many roundtrip flights from Johannesburg each day) with Robben Island where Mandela was held. Plus there are easily viewed penguins, Great White Shark trips, etc.

Many good choices in August/Sept—availability for 2007 is the key.

Some agents that have been used successfully by Fodorites:

Africa Adventure (for East & Southern Africa, US based) Check out the book by the owner Mark Nolting, Africa’s Top Wildlife Countries, regardless of what agent you choose
Africa Serendipty (fo East Africa, US based)
Eastern & Southern Safaris (for East Africa, Kenya based)
Eyes on Africa (for Southern Africa, US based)
Go2Africa (for East & Southern Africa, South Africa based)
Good Earth (for East Africa, Kenya & US based)
Micato (for East Africa, US contact, operated by Kenyan family)

All of the above are Africa specialists that do custom trips. There are many more good agents besides these.

Read many trip reports on the East Africa Travel Index, prepared by Lynda, who had such a fantastic time she is planning her second trip.

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Old Mar 7th, 2007, 09:11 AM
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We took our 14yr old son to Botswana, VFalls and Cape Town-no complaints from him other than the LONG flt to get there. Not only was the safari portion exciting everyday, but Robben Island and the penguins, Table Mountain were very interesting-the only thing that would've made it perfect was a friend along but your kids have each other at least. It was expensive but no long drives between camps, just very scenic small plane rides and a great helicopter tour over the Falls.

Tom-you have a wicked sense of humor!
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Old Mar 7th, 2007, 10:25 AM
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I just recalled the “least diseases” requirement. You would take malaria protection for most of Africa, but there are a few places that are malaria free and require no preventive measures.

Some of Namibia is malaria free. Madikwe, a managed reserve in South Africa that is probably the best place to see wild dogs and brown hyena, is malaria free. There are luxury lodges there.

For most people, though—even those traveling with young kids—preventive measures are just undertaken for malaria. The itinerary is not altered.
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