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Where to Go on a Family Safari

So going on a family safari is easier than you think. You just need to do some planning ahead of time and get things set up the best way for your family. The earlier you plan, the better off things will be. For most families going on safari, it will be when the kids are out of school. So demand for the "family tents" at various safari camps will be high during those periods. Try and plan 9 to 12 months in advance of your trip.
Lion and daughter
Lion and daughter (Jason Maynard)

So you may be constrained by the school calendar, but let's focus on where you should go on safari. There are 54 countries in Africa, though not all are good safari destinations. For families that have not gone on safari before, I generally recommend one of three destinations: South Africa, Kenya, or Tanzania. Let's take a look at each of them with my personal thoughts on each.

I would put this as my top choice for families. One, it is in East Africa so you should be able to get a shorter set of flights to your destination (which is generally Kilimanjaro International Airport). You can go out to the Northern Safari Circuit which includes the Serengeti, the Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire, and Lake Manyara National Parks. Plus, you can visit Olduvai Gorge and the cradle of humankind, experience the Massai or Hadzabe tribes, or experience a typical town by walking through Mto wa Mbu. All of these are in a nice area where you can do a circuitous route. And while you are in the Serengeti, you can see the Great Migration of wildebeests and zebras.
Wildebeest battling
Wildebeest battling (Jason Maynard)

The area is super family-friendly, with camps accustomed to families with children of various ages. And they are also great at multi-generational families, too. If the grandparents or great-aunts come along, we can be sure to find camps that have a few extra comforts for them. And yes, we can get you camps with swimming pools.
East Africa has enclosed safari vehicles with pop tops
East Africa has enclosed safari vehicles with pop tops (Jason Maynard)

The best times to visit Tanzania are June through October, though holiday visits in November can be very nice and much less crowded (and the game viewing is still great). You can also visit over the holidays (Christmas & New Years) for a very memorable holiday. The camps will go the extra mile to make it special and the animal viewing is still very good. And for those who can handle it, late January into February is calving season for the herds of the Great Migration, so there will be scores of baby wildebeest and new-born zebras across the plains.
Riding standing up in the pop-top across the Serengeti
Riding standing up in the pop-top across the Serengeti (Jason Maynard)

Right next to Tanzania, you can actually combine Kenya and Tanzania into one trip. The Masai Mara is close to Nairobi, the capital and most logical place to fly into. The Masai Mara is part of the Serengeti Plains and you can see the Great Migration during August or September there. You can also visit Amboseli National Park with great game drives along with magnificent views of Mount Kilimanjaro just across the border in Tanzania. Lake Nakuru has a huge soda lake and magnificent game viewing.
My kids were very impressed by the hippo pool
My kids were very impressed by the hippo pool (Jason Maynard)

Like Tanzania, Kenya is very used to hosting families on safari. We can discuss some specific things your family likes to see and do and craft an itinerary to match it in Kenya.
Dhows at Stone Town
Dhows at Stone Town (Jason Maynard)

And after either a Tanzania or Kenyan safari, you can take a bit of a break and go to the beach in Zanzibar!
Getting henna tattoos in the market at Stone Town
Getting henna tattoos in the market at Stone Town (Jason Maynard)

South Africa
All the way at the bottom of the continent lies a vast and varied land full of great opportunities to explore. The Greater Kruger Area is the top draw, with a multitude of reserves in the area with a wide range of accommodation options. You can stay in simpler tents near some wonderful wildlife viewing areas, or go upscale and have a private villa so your family is tucked away with everything you could ask for. Again, it is best to have a conversation with one of the Africa specialists so we know not only your budget, but what you'd like to experience in South Africa. There are historical and cultural experiences to match the wildlife.
Elephant in Tarangire National Park
Elephant in Tarangire National Park (Jason Maynard)
Lion cub
Lion cub (Jason Maynard)

So if you want to add surfing out on the ocean, penguins down the Cape, or a visit to Robben Island or Table Mountain around Cape Town, I would heartily agree. We can even get you out to wine country for a vineyard visit if you think the kids will go along with it. Either way, we can make some great suggestions.

And finally, if you don't find any of these too out of the ordinary, give me a ring and let's talk about Namibia. A desert wonderland with great wildlife viewing, fun water activities, and amazing landscapes is a fantastic option for your family.

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