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mid Sept/mid Oct Safari

Silicon Valley, CA
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mid Sept/mid Oct Safari

I am back again, hunting for a good opportunity for a Tanzanian Safari. Here are the constraints: we are a family of 3 (2 adults, one 5-year old), and a relatively short trip (6 nights, excluding an overnight in Arusha).

First, how does Kenya compare against Tanzania for this time of the year (cost, "migration calendar", crowds, etc). We are debating this mainly because the distances (from one park to another) look shorter in Kenya... at least on the map. The three parks in Kenya, based on cursory reading, were Maasai Mara, Amboseli and Lake Nakuru.

Assuming the experts here vote for Tanzania :), here is what my prelim itinerary looks like:

Day 0: Arusha

Day 1,2: Tarangire

Day 3,4,5: Serengeti

Day 6: Ngorogoro Crater.

It's pretty standard, but it is still very confusing :).

First, what part in Serengeti is best for mid Sept (central vs. northern)? For mid Oct?

Second, is it advisable to break the Tarangire-Serengeti trip by staying overnight in Karatu? Even if we are going to central Serengeti?

I have emailed 4-5 operators, and the price range is generally about $2500-$3000 per adult and $1500 for the child (total is approx $6500)... mid-range accommodations everywhere.



Ottawa, Canada
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1. Re: mid Sept/mid Oct Safari

With a five year old and migration, I would consider Kenya. I love Tanzania, but your itinerary will have you travelling between parks much of the time. Otherwise, consider the following.

Day 1 leave Arusha, do Tarangire NP

Day 2 Tarangire NP overnight Ngoro Crater rim

Day 3 Crater could consider overnighting at Ndutu Safari Lodge to break up some of the travel.

Day 4-5 full days Serengeti

Day 6 morning game drive and fly back to Arusha.

You won't get river crossings or mass of migrtion but millions of anjmals stay behind in the Serengeti.

Tarangire will be experiencing a mini elephant and antilope migration at this time.

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2. Re: mid Sept/mid Oct Safari

Both trips whether Kenya or Tanzania will involve a lot of travelling.

If doing Amboseli, Lake Nakuru and then the Masai Mara that will probably involve starting in Nairobi and then having to go back through Nairobi later in the trip. Just driving through Nairobi can take hours!! The drives themselves between locations will be over 4 hours often on poor roads. We visited these parks in a 7 day trip 18 months ago and some of the adults found it hard going.

Distances in Tanzania are even longer. The trip from Tarangire to the Serengeti will take all day, a lot of it on poor roads. To see the migration at this time of year you will need to be in the North of the Serengeti at this time of year which will virtually be impossible within your timescales.

Also remember the weather will be hot. We visited TZ the beginning of October last year and it was very hot. We spent 7 days on safari and didn't attempt to include the Serengeti as I didn't want to spend all my time travelling between places. I actually wanted to spend some time enjoying the places.

Personally I would not consider either of these trips as described with a 5 year old.

When we were in Moshi this April we met a family where we stayed who had a 4 and a 6 year old. They did a 2 night safari, 1 night Tarangire And 1 night at the crater. They did enjoy the trip but all returned exhausted, including the adults. And this family had lived in Tanzania for the last 2 years so were used to the weather, roads,food etc.

So if you really want to do this with a 5 year old and a short timescale I would be far less ambitious. If doing TZ I personally would forget the Serengeti. Game viewing in Tarangire is great at that time of year. There are some good lodges centrally located with great views. Tarangire Safari Lodge is child friendly and has a pool. You could include the crater if you wanted and also maybe Arusha NP for say a canoe trip or a walk.

Just my thoughts and observations

Edited: 16 July 2013, 08:20
Destination Expert
for Tanzania
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3. Re: mid Sept/mid Oct Safari

I think the trip is easy and doable. Not everybody has the luxury of a time to do a 10-14 day safari.

Many do a 6 night 7 day safari...in fact it is one of the most popular options on the Northern circuit.

Many also do it with children. I wouldn't hesistate to travel with a 5 year old or any child any age for that matter.

The best way to do it is to fly one way...if you can't because of budget it still should not be a deal breaker.

I would fly into the Serengeti on the first day and spend the first night at Seronera..no need to go North who knows where the large herds of wildebeest will be.

Spend 3 night here and that leave 3.

Drive to Ngorongoro not far do it slowly and stay on the Rim then after a crater tour the next morning drive to Tarangire and spend the last 2 nights there.

The last day off.The above can be done in reverse of course.

This is a simple 6 night /7 day safari which any company can book. It will be great with a child and you as a parent will have so much fun with memories to match.

If you can't fly then drive out and back Tarangire 2 nights. Serengeti 3 or 1 at Olduvai ( to break up the trip as QM mentioned) but wouldnt go all the way to Ndutu....then Ngorongoro 1

last night.

Shouldn't be a problem

Edited: 16 July 2013, 08:49
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4. Re: mid Sept/mid Oct Safari

I think it depends on whether the OP just wants to travel and "tick off" the parks and the animals or whether they actually want to enjoy the trip. As NE says obviously these itineraries are doable. My comments are based on trying to make the trip enjoyable for all of you. I don't know your 5 year old so only you can decide what he will actually enjoy (and let's face it, he needs to be happy if YOU are going to have an enjoyable trip). My comments are based on travelling with my own children at this age and knowing what they would enjoy and on talking to others who have attempted a safari with young children.

I'm not sure that I agree with NE comment that "Many also do it with children" ... I certainly haven't seen "many" people doing this sort of trip with a 5 year old.

But really at the end of the day it's up to you to do what your family will enjoy. I just add some words of caution as I would hope others would do for me if I was suggesting something like this. It's best to think carefully about doing a trip like this.

Edited: 16 July 2013, 09:14
Isle of Man, United...
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5. Re: mid Sept/mid Oct Safari

I agree. I can think of happier places to be with a small child than in a bumpy dusty truck for hours. and it does take hours sometimes. Flying would be an option of course but that bumps up the cost.

And that flight from Ca with a 5 yr old, even one of the better ones, which of course they all are!!! Not for me. I would forget Africa for a few years yet.

Mix in the fact that some camps have a minimum age limit, sometimes 6 and sometimes even as high as 10, because of the environment and I think your plans may not work out.

Even in Kenya the drive from Maasai Mara to Nakuru will take several dusty hours and from there to Amboseli the best part of a day.

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6. Re: mid Sept/mid Oct Safari

Also meant to add that I have visited the central Serengeti in mid September and it was far less spectacular than Tarangire or the Crater as far as game viewing was concerned. I found that the concentration of animals was far greater in Tarangire at that time of year which is again what I would think would be important when travelling with a 5 year old, hence my comments about skipping the Serengeti. In September in the Central Serengeti we often drove around for quite a long time covering quite large diatances between seeing anything the I would think would interest a 5 year old. As an adult the scenery is fantastic as is the vastness of the Serengeti but will your 5 year appreciate this.

Edited: 16 July 2013, 09:27
Honolulu, Hawaii
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7. Re: mid Sept/mid Oct Safari

I for one agree with noexpert , but think it depends strictly on what kind of family you have, and only the OP can decide that themselves.

When my children were young we literarily drag them all over the world. Nothin fancy, camping often cooking on the tailgate. Later we did the same with my oldest daughters 4 kids practically from the time they were babies. We had a blast and talk about the memories every time the family gets together.

Edited: 16 July 2013, 10:12
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for Zambia, Selous Game Reserve, Ruaha National Park
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8. Re: mid Sept/mid Oct Safari

I'm another one dubious about whether taking a 5 year old on safari is a great idea at all- any safari will involve long days in a vehicle, whether it's getting from park to park or just doing the game drives.

On top of that, you are going to have very long flights to get to Africa, plus jetlag to contend with just for a 6 day trip. I think it's all a bit much.

However, if you do decide to go ahead I think you need to plan very carefully, and you might have to pay more to take out some of the driving. Don't try and do too much in 6 days- I think 3 parks is too much. If in Kenya, I would split the time 3-3 between the Mara and another park. Don't just look at the national parks- there are a lot of great private conservancies around. The Laikipia region is great for kids, with activities like tubing and rafting in the rivers, fishing etc. I would fly between parks not drive. In general, in Kenya there are quite a few family friendly safari camps around, and some even have special children's programmes.

However, be aware that any fly in camp is likely to charge extra for a private vehicle as they won't put young children with other guests (and as another guest, I entirely agree with this policy!). Having said that, I've seen offers where a child sharing with two adults stays for free, so this might balance out the costs.

Stockholm, Sweden
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9. Re: mid Sept/mid Oct Safari

We just did a short safari in Ruaha with a 7 and a 10 year old. They were really tired after a full day game drive and the younger one even fell asleep. So many new impressions all the time. They loved it and they loved the camp with the small swimming pool and tents but they were quite satisfied with just the one day game drive. We went on a lot of bumpy roads and long road trips and at times we had a five year old cousin in the car, so of course its doable but it should also be enjoyable. Make sure you have a camp with a pool and other things to enjoy for the child and maybe combine it with some other activities where you are not restricted to stay in the car all the time.

Arusha, Tanzania
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10. Re: mid Sept/mid Oct Safari

Your Plan is better as there is no Long drive, Kenya there is long distance from one Park to another.

My suggestion you stick on your Tanzania Plan. But am not sure with price but you can compare and don't go for cheap as it will cost you at the end. Make your holiday life time by pay good price.

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