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mmangesh Feb 6th, 2010 09:35 AM

Safari to Botswana with kids (ages 9 and 11 at the time of travel)
Firstly a BIG THANK YOU to all those on the forum who diligently take the time to answer questions. Reading various threads I have learnt a lot about the various regions in Botswana and Zimbabwe. My father turned 80 last year and wanted to celebrate this event by taking him on a Safari and on reading the various threads and guide books my heart got set on Botswana/Victoria falls. So I start edlooking for quotes. Africa is a big sticker shock. Fine I got adjusted to it. When I got my first quote which looked okay, I read the fine print 'CHILDREN CAN GO ON GAME DRIVE AT THE DISCRETION OF THE LODGE OWNER' . Felt like the Challenger crashing in front of me.

My kids will be 9 and 11 at the time of travel. I understand the concern for safety and security. If my kids cannot go on a game drive then either me or my husband are going to be stuck on the property. And so I am asking myself why bother to spend so much money.

Many of you have travelled with your kids to Botswana can you please let me know your experience. Do you think perhaps Tanzania might be a better option?

Thanks and Regards,

canadian_robin Feb 6th, 2010 10:25 AM

There are camps in southern Africa that cater specifically to families with children - they run programs for their young guests. There are other camps that welcome children as long as you are willing to hire a private guide/vehicle. Then there are camps that will not take children under 12 years. You need to select your camps carefully. I am certain that members of this forum will guide you to the appropriate camps. Robin

atravelynn Feb 6th, 2010 11:30 AM

If Botswana is where you want to go, then I'd call an Africa specialist and present your dilemma and see what they say.

The age limitation may be due to potential problems with shared activities where young kids could detract (of course not yours!;)) from the experience of other guests. If you were willing to book a private vehicle, then the age limit may not be a factor. Looks like you'll have 5 people going anyway and usually you pay for empty seats in the private vehicle, which would be 1 empty seat in your case because 6 is the usual limit. With 5, maybe the private vehicle surcharge would not even come into effect because logically you'd get your own and not have one outsider join you.

Some agents that have been used successfully for Botswana and that you may wish to contact are:

AndBeyond--they function as both operators and booking agent, but you can book their properties, safaris through other agents too with no price differences (in S. Africa, but toll-free #s)

The Africa Adventure Co in Ft. Lauderdale

Eyes on Africa in Chicago

Kerr & Downey--I mention them specifically because of a Botswana camp geared toward kids
I'm pretty sure K&D run that still, but you could check.

Fish Eagle in Houston

Go2Africa in S. Africa with toll free #s

Premier Tours in Philadelphia

There are many more good agents than these, but these are some that can offer Wilderness properites, which cannot be booked directly, unlike AndBeyond. Though I'm not sure if AndBeyond books its competitor or not, if requested.

I've personally used the services or properties of the first 3 listed and all went well.

When to go? If your kids are on the traditional N. America school calendar, then their summer vacation would work great for optimal wildlife viewing. But pricing is higher then too.

See this chart for best wildlife viewing in all of Africa.

On to Tanzania, where you'd hire your own driver/guide and have no problems with ages. Still I'd double check with the agent so no surprises.

Pricing is generally less in Tanzania too, but if you traded drives for flights (which might be advisable with an 80 year old and kids that don't want to ride on bumpy roads for 4+ hours) the price gap shrinks.

An 80 year old gentleman shared my vehicle, along with his family, in Tanzania for several days of a driving safari and he had no problems.

Here are example "perfect itineraries" for every month of the year in East Africa, and you'll see school holidays work well in TZ too.

Companies you may want to contact for TZ that have been used successfully on this forum are:

The Africa Adventure Co

Good Earth in Tampa and Tanzania

Kiliwarriors in Virginia and Tanzania


Roys in Tanzania

Thomsons in MA

The Af Adv Co, Go2Africa, & Thomsons design itineraries in East Africa that are billed as family trips. Those elements that appeal to kids could be incorporated into any itinerary, though.

If you chose Tanzania, you could include Kenya too and Nairobi (where many people fly in and out of for East Africa) has some great kid activities that adults like too such as Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, and Giraffe Center and Manor, walk at Nairobi National Park. These can be done in a day.

Again, there are many good agents for Tanzania and East Africa beyond what I've listed.

There have been threads that investigated trips with kids and Bots vs TZ. I'll try to find them.

Either Bots or TZ would require malaria prevention. About the only places that do not are parts of South Africa and Namibia, in case that was an issue for you with kids.

Either TZ or Bots or a variety of other Africa destinations would provide a fantastic and memorable family trip. You'll all be hooked for life.

atravelynn Feb 6th, 2010 11:31 AM

You know who else does kid trips in TZ that I forget to list? Kibo Guides in Tanzania

Here is something on taking kids to Africa

atravelynn Feb 6th, 2010 11:34 AM

Tanz vs Botswana discussions, not necessarily from a kid-centered perspective.

For June

For July, 1st trip

In general

This one includes Kenya along with Tanzania vs. Botswana

HariS Feb 6th, 2010 08:15 PM

Here's something that might be of interest to you. My sister has been on safari with her kids, and they had a great time. I don't think they used the family safaris option mentioned above, but, they still had their own private vehicle and had a blast .......

mmangesh Feb 7th, 2010 09:51 AM

Atravelynn, thank you very much for so much insight and details. Greatly appreciate the details. The quote that I got was infact from Andbeyond which looked pretty good.

Hari thank you for your lead. I will try to talk to them tomorrow and see what they have to offer.

HariS Feb 7th, 2010 06:40 PM

Sounds like you are a party of 5. You shouldn't need to pay for a private vehicle. For a group of 5, you will be able to get your own vehicle.......

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