Tanzania with kids in August

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Dec 3rd, 2005, 08:28 AM
  #1
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Tanzania with kids in August

I just discovered this forum and it is really awesome and extremely helpful for first-time travelers to Africa!!!

My husband and I are in the initial stages of planning our first Africa trip. We are thinking of Tanzania in August for a 8-10 day safari. We will be traveling with two children (13 and 8). After going through information on several websites, I think Ngorongoro, Serengeti, Lake Manyara and Tarangire would be interesting for our family. I have contacted Good Earth and ATR for preliminary itineraries. Does anybody have suggestions for safari with children? Are all the places mentioned above worth visiting in August? Are there other places that you would recommend for August? Any input on tour operators/places etc. would be extremely helpful.
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Dec 3rd, 2005, 08:31 AM
  #2
bat
 
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Hi waxwing:

While you are waiting for comments, here are some threads to look at:

books for pre-teens
http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa...hText=jazzdrew

trip report from a family with an 11 year old

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34647066

There is another one that I have in mind that I will have to search for.

Other operators
U. S. based--sandi, a regular poster, has Africa Serendipity

another U.S. based that specifically discusses children on safari www.deeperafrica.com

Re your itinerary, remember that it makes a difference where you are in the serengeti depending on the time of year.

Take a look at this thread for Eben's (climbhighsleeplow)comments about how to hedge your bets re seeing the migration (about 2/3rd down). http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34715232

Eben and sandi are the experts on this but I believe in August you will want to be in the northern serengeti (Sayari has a new Mara seasonal camp, Migration Camp, Kleins).

Have you seen eben's website at which you can compare lodges in any of these areas? www.go-safari.com
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Dec 3rd, 2005, 08:55 AM
  #3
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here is the other thread with travel tips for families
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=34617334
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Dec 3rd, 2005, 12:45 PM
  #4
sandi
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bat - you're amazing, being able to locate all pertinent threads.

waxwing - bat is correct that in August you should be as close to the Kenyan border if visiting the Serengeti. The herds are almost entirely in the Masai Mara in Kenya, but with over a million animals - wildebeests, zebra and Thompson gazelles (Tommies) - there is spill-over.

Depending on your budget, be aware that prices will be high during your travel in August - Klein's can run $600+/adult; Sayari and/or Migration aren't that much lower. Also know that Klein's doesn't allow you to have your own guide/driver - the one who brought you; he has to leave you at the camp, you'll go out on game drives in a vehicle shared with others (though with a family of 4, may luck out with your own vehicle) and you'll have to return fly to Arusha. In fact it's recommended you fly back to Arusha from any of these camps as the drive back without a stop somewhere is almost a 2-day trip.

Klein's Camp is small as is Sayari (6 for the former and the same for the latter, though may be 8 tents); Migration is a bit larger, and you'll require 2-tents at any of these.

The routing of your itinerary is likely going to depend on availability for August as space is booking up very quickly.

If space is available, I'd fly out to the farthest point then work your way back to Central Serengeti (1-nt) to break up trip to Ngorongoro; then Lk. Manyara, Tarangire - back to Arusha.

An alternative, since most of the action is in the Mara in Kenya - would be:
Tarangire (2-nts)
Lk.Manyara (1-nt)
Ngorongoro (2-nts)
Drive to Arusha; fly to Wilson (NBO); connect to fly to the Mara (3-4/nts)
Here there are more choices for accommodations to fit all budgets. And like Tanzania, will depend on availability.

From the Mara you'd fly back to Nairobi.

Age 8 is perfect time for first safari and prices at most lodges/camps will be 50%, however, the 13-yr old will be charged as an adult, though some properties discount up to age 16; believe it's 75%.

Hope this helps.
 
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Dec 4th, 2005, 06:56 AM
  #5
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Thanks bat and sandi for all the information.

I am still waiting to hear from the tour operators.
From your comments, it looks like we may be too late planning for August 2006, but perhaps I can use this information for 2007.

Thanks again
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Dec 4th, 2005, 07:43 AM
  #6
bat
 
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sandi: thanks for the compliment--of ocurse my ability to find the threads is indicative of spending way too much time reading posts--but it is how the last 5 months since booking have sped by.
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Dec 5th, 2005, 12:15 PM
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Dear Waxwing
The combination of National Parks you mention and the length of time intended for the trip suggests that there is a danger that you will travel by road and spend just a couple of nights in each place.

Although there is a temptation to see as much as possible in as little a time as possible I think there is a danger of going everywhere but seeing very little. Travel time in vehicle can be tough, especially with children. And travel time tends to either be at the hottest time of the day or at a time when you are missing game viewing possibilities.

Perhaps think about spending more time in just two areas, making sure that they have good wildlife (or other points of interest), good guides (who understand children), and enough activities to allow you all to be outside the vehicle doing other things.

Some smaller lodges, where they have brought up their own children have a greater understanding of what makes families tick rather than the big hotel style lodges. They also have the flexibility to offer kids' meals at appropriate times (even if those times change on a daily basis) and to alter game viewing to suit you as a family.

I'd try and make sure there is a pool in as many places as possible as this solves the 'what to do in the middle of the day when you're not game viewing' question for the children. And ask the tour operators if they are used to planning trips for families (many aren't) and if they have kids themselves (many don't) as this is likely to give them better knowledge of your situation and to offer more suitable solutions.

Best of luck, Richard
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Dec 6th, 2005, 04:20 PM
  #8
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Here is the itinerary that I received from Good Earth. Does this look reasonable?

Day 1: Arrival Kilimanjaro International airport- (Ilboru Safari Lodge)
Day 2 : Arusha / Tarangire National Park, (Tarangire Tented Safari Lodge)
Day 3: (Tarangire Safari Tented Lodge)
Day 4: Tarangire / Lake Manyara National Park, (Gibbs Farm)
Day 5: Lake Manyara / Serengeti , (Serengeti Sopa Lodge)
Day 6~7: Serengeti National Park (Serengeti Sopa Lodge / Lobo Wildlife Lodge)
Day 8: Serengeti / Ngorongoro, --en route Olduvai Gorge, Masai Village-- (Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge)
Day 9:Ngorongoro / Arusha / Departure

The price they quoted was $1,750/ adult and $1,450 / child
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Dec 7th, 2005, 03:51 AM
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Dear Waxwing

The trip visits some great areas and combines very different styles of lodges and camps. Interesting trip and pretty fair price (from glancing at it only)

My personal view though is that it is too fast paced with your children. You will spend a lot of time packing and unpacking and feel that no sooner have you arrived somewhere that you leave.

I still believe, as my previous post, that you will get more (quality of wildlife and fun) out of two places for longer than lots of places for shorter.

Others may disagree and you know your own family and how they cope with long periods in a vehicle and whether you want a trip which stays a short time in each place.

What was the feedback from the operators regarding whether they are used to planning trips for families and whether they have children themselves?

Yours, Richard
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Dec 7th, 2005, 04:46 AM
  #10
 
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waxwing

It is hard to give advice as children are all so different!

I've seen kids who got bored after day 2 because they saw much on the first two days and by day 3 they had little interest in lions sleeping under trees and gazelles standing around! I've seen kids who wanted to hang out at the pools instead on going on boring game drives. And kids who want to sleep late instead of 7am breakfasts!

Your itinerary is a standard one - no different from the normal safari for adults! Is this what you wanted?

I've seen really interesting child-friendly itineraries from local companies (Kibo Safaris and others).

Normally these are combinations of camping and lodges. During the camping parts the kids get to sea how the chefs bake bread and prepare food using various interesting techniques in the bush kitchens. They arrange bush walks with Maasai askaris and the kids get to throw spears and dress up in Maasai wear during boma visits.

A quick stop at one of the many touristy Maasai bomas is NOT a replacement for a series of planned visits.

Also, on night 1 I would book a room at the Mt Meru Game Lodge instead of Ilboru (which is rather plain and boring). At the Game Lodge they will hear bushbabies the moment they arrive, see monkies in the early morning and all sorts of wildlife while having breakfast the next morning!

As for the rest, I think it can be made a lot more interesting! The problem when dealing with budget companies is that they don't have the expertise or experience to adapt their standard itineraries!
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