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Safari with children?

San Francisco, CA
2 posts
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Safari with children?

About 6 years ago I made a promise to my 6 year-old son that I'd take him on a safari when he finished 8th grade. A few years ago that plan became a little questionable, when we were surprised and blessed with another son. I'm trying to figure out whether/if I should keep my promise -- which would entail travel in June 2007 with a 14 year-old budding naturalist and a 4 year-old!

In my limited inquiries to safari groups I've received mixed responses. Tamu Safaris was one of the few that responded positively. Noticed that Unique Safaris also organizes individual tours and is receptive to younger children. I'd love to receive advice about whether to attempt this (I'd love to if it's not an insane proposition); whether the itinerary of Arusha National Park, Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara, Serengeti, Ngorongo Crater is a good one; whether it is recommended to use mobile luxury tent cabins or larger lodges; and anything else that you'd like to add.

Findlay, Ohio
Destination Expert
for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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12,484 posts
8 reviews
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1. Re: Safari with children?

A 4 year old may be a problem on safari. He probably won't enjoy it at all (riding over long distances on sometimes rough terrain, for quite a few days) and many adults don't do well with the transportation available there. I raised 4 children and wouldn't think of doing this when they were that age. They would have made it miserable for the others who are enjoying it. The biggest problem that I could foresee is that you get out on safari and the 4 year old gets very bored and ruins it for the other youngster; and you would have limited options for revising the safari ad hoc. Another thing to consider is potty breaks - remember this is a wild animal area and you just can't get out (especially a youngster) anywhere you wish when nature calls. Youngsters don't understand this, or especially the danger in this.

Perhaps you could get someone in Arusha (very reputable) to watch the youngest one while you and the other son are out on safari. If you would want to do this, I could make some people suggestions to you. The cost would probably be less then taking him on safari with you.

Now for your other questions. The places that you have chosen are good places to visit and the only one which I would question would be Arusha National Park because it's rather small and doesn't have much; but it's close to Arusha and easy to get to. If you have to cut back on one park consider cutting this one out. For places to stay that's a matter of personal interest and convenience. The lodges are good, and may have some things for the younger set to do and enjoy in the evenings.

The 14 year old may be a budding naturalist, but please remember he's still a 14 year old. He won't understand all the dangers inherent with being out in the wild. This is definitely not Frisco. I don't want to scare you; but a while back there was a young boy walking about alone in Tarengire near the lodge, and he was attacked by a lion. Make your son take the proper precautions while you're in the parks.

San Francisco, CA
2 posts
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2. Re: Safari with children?

Thanks Karl. Had read a number of your prior postings regarding other issues. I think the 14 year-old would be fine and a great addition on any trip, he's very cautious, well informed, and aware of the food chain... He's already certified scuba diver with experience diving around sharks and other such critters -- takes quite a bit of restraint and ability to follow direction to do that kind of thing.

Anyone out there with direct experience traveling on safari with young (i.e. 4 year-old) children who could comment on that part of my query?

Charlotte, North...
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17 posts
2 reviews
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3. Re: Safari with children?

What about your Immunozation(sp)shots, you need to check with your MD.You also might think about the nonstop flight from Amsterdam to Kilimanjaro on KLM, just to cut down on your travel time.Think about the combining permanent tents like Ikoma Gorge Camp, with hotels like Sopa.Macon

Arusha Tanzania
Destination Expert
for Tanzania
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1,352 posts
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4. Re: Safari with children?

Hi

I have had clients with small children and generally when take into account that they can and do get bored quickly, it is possible to put together a itinerary around them.

You could do the smaller parks like Arusha, Tarangire and Manyara + Ngorongoro either as day trips or overnight nearby, all of these parks have villages or accomodation near them.

And if Serengeti is a must for the 14 year old then from Karatu village which is just outside the Ngorongoro conservation area a 2-3 day trip into Serengei is easy enough perhaps stay in a lodge so that one person could miss out on a game drive and the other game drive (shifts)