This post concludes my 12 part series on taking your kids on safari. If you are considering a safari but worry about your kids being too little or getting bored, stop worrying! My kids were 2 years 8 months and 5 years 4 months when we went. Our friends took their daughter who was 1 year 10 months at the same time on a very similar safari (we even overlapped at one camp one night!) and they had a blast as well. Don’t listen to the naysayers who claim safaris are unsafe or boring for little kids or that it’s a waste of money until they’re older as they won’t remember it.
We’re just over a month past our safari and my 2 year old is still talking about it daily. He remembers the country’s name (Tanzania) and talks about the jeep in Tanzania, seeing lions and baboons (his two favorite animals there), and asks about our guide, Elmi. Will he remember the details when he is older? Maybe. Maybe not. But it made an impression on him and opened his eyes to another part of the world. And of course, with photos and videos the trip will stay vivid even if he doesn’t remember the actual event.
For general posts about safaris with kids, read these:
If you are doing Tanzania, my suggested itinerary would be as below. This is a little bit different than we did and moves Tarangire to the start, adds at night in the Serengeti, shifts Uldvai Gorge to the way to the Serengeti rather than on departure, and does Ngorongoro Crater on the way to Gibb’s Farm rather than having to backtrack the next day. This assumes 8 nights in country, plus travel time. For a shorter trip, cut back a day from the Serengeti or eliminate Tarangire.
An overview of our specific trip: Kids on Safari: 8 Nights in Tanzania, An Overview
My suggestion for an itinerary:
Day 1: Arusha to recover from air travel. We stayed at Arusha Rivertrees Country Inn.
Day 2: Tarangire National Park–lots of your basic safari animals, plus many elephants. We stayed at Kichuguu Camp.
Day 3: Lake Manyara National Park–many hippos and a chance to spot tree climbing lions (we saw them!). We stayed at Kirurumu Manyara Lodge.
Days 4-7: Serengeti National Park–amazing animal viewing of all kinds, plus good lion, cheetah and leopard spotting. We stayed at Siringit Serengeti Lodge. Stop at Ulduvai Gorge on way to Serengeti to see Louis and Mary Leakey’s very important early human discoveries. There is a nice museum, bathrooms, and a spot for a picnic lunch.
Day 8: Do Ngorongoro Crater on the way from the Serengeti to Gibb’s Farm. This avoids having to backtrack on that horrible road! The crater is your best bet for rhinos and to check off the final of the big 5 (lions, rhinos, buffalo, leopards, elephants)
Want a more relaxing end? Spend nights 4-6 in Serengeti and do nights 7-8 at Gibb’s Farm with the last full day a relaxing, no-game-drive day.
Day 9/Departure Day: On way to airport, stop at the Cultural Heritage Center for shopping and a boxed lunch. It is large, so allow plenty of time! Plan on a flight departure of 5:30 pm or later. It is about 2.25 hrs from Gibb’s Farm to the Cultural Heritage Center and about 1.5 hours to the airport from the center.