Looking for a family safari? We’ve put this suggested itinerary together to accommodate those traveling with children and/or older relatives. It’s got a slower pace and family-friending lodges. This itinerary is tailored for those traveling between July and October, but it can easily be altered for other times of year.
Welcome to Tanzania! You will land at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). One of our team will be waiting for you at the airport. They will take you to your nearby lodging. Family rooms are available at many of the lodges in the Arusha Area.
After breakfast our team member will take you to the Arusha airstrip to catch an internal flight into northern Serengeti. The relatively short flight is in a small chartered plane. Your guide will be waiting for you at the airstrip on the other end to take you on your first game drive.
A full day of game drives in Northern Serengeti. In the north of Serengeti National Park the area consists of rolling hills, rivers, grassland and acacia woodlands. Open grasslands are dominated with umbrella thorn trees and desert dates Ballanites aeyptiaca. The annual wildebeest migration is arguably Africa’s most spectacular wildlife event. It is known as the greatest show on earth, and with good reason! What could be more spectacular than thousands upon thousands of wildebeest and zebra thundering their way across the plains of the Serengeti? The migration is in Northern Serengeti July through October and this is where the major river crossings occur. Dramatic events unfold as huge Nile crocodiles wait and the herds have to make enormous leaps of faith into the water to cross to better grazing.
Another full day in northern Serengeti. Today you’ll spend a full day of game driving in northern Serengeti. You will be able to get right up on the Kenyan border and do some fantastic drives today. This is where the action is, and you might also have the chance of spotting a chase and kill.
Today you start the day early. Before breakfast you will head out for an early morning bush drive. As the sun rises you get a new perspective of the resident wildlife as they awaken for their day. You’ll arrive back at camp in time for a relaxing breakfast. After you pack your things, we’ll pack a lunch to head slightly south and explore some of the central regions of the Serengeti. You’ll notice how the topography changes as you move south. The central region has adequate water year round, with the main trees being: fig trees, sausage trees and yellow fever acacia trees. At the heart of the Serengeti is the lovely Seronera Valley. A crisscross of rivers can be found in the grassy plains of the Seronera and there will most certainly be ample herbivores about. Central Serengeti offers tremendous wildlife viewing year round. Here long and short grass plains and beautiful rock kopjes transition to the rolling hills and woodlands of the west and north. Kopjes are granite mounds that afford the resident wildlife excellent views over the vast Serengeti Plains. It is not uncommon to see one of the big cats atop a kopje, surveying the land. Kopje is a Dutch word meaning ‘little head’, from kop, which means head.
Breakfast this morning is a special family breakfast that can be arranged out in the bush, if you wish. You will then set off for a full day in central Serengeti. The Seronera River and surrounding valley provide a permanent water source, attracting resident lions and leopards as well as elephant, impala, giraffe, buffalo, warthogs, hartebeest, hippos and topi. Regardless of the time of year, visitors may spot all four big carnivores (lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas) in a day in central Serengeti.
After you exit the Serengeti, you will head to Olduvai Gorge for a short stop. Here your family can get out and explore “The Cradle of Mankind.” It is a steep-sided ravine in the Great Rift Valley, which stretches along eastern Africa. Olduvai is in the eastern Serengeti Plains in northern Tanzania and is about 30 miles long. The gorge is named after the Masai word for the wild sisal plant Sansevieria ehrenbergii, commonly called Oldupai. It is one of the most important prehistoric sites in the world and has been instrumental in furthering understanding of early human evolution. You will then continue on to Ngorongoro Crater. You will arrive in time for a short family walk along the rim and then sundowners overlooking the crater. Many of the lodges at Ngorongoro Crater have more services than you find in the Serengeti. Here you may have the opportunity to take advantage of babysitting offered at the lodge so mom and dad can enjoy an evening out.
An early start today so you’re one of the first vehicles in the crater. There are more than 25,000 big mammals that live in the crater—the black mane lions and long-tusked elephants are only found here. There are black rhinos too, but this animal is very close to extinction. Ngorongoro Crater is the largest of nine volcanoes in this conservation area, Oldonyo Lengai being the only one still active. The crater covers an area of 102 sq. miles and has an average depth of 2000 ft. The crater plays host to almost every individual species of wildlife in East Africa. You will spend a full day in Ngorongoro Crater before heading to Lake Eyasi.
A very early start today so you can walk and hunt with the local Bushmen. The Hadzabe Bushmen live in this region, as do the Datoga and Mbulu tribes. A visit with the Bushmen is worthwhile and they will graciously show you and the kids where and how they live and hunt. They subsist entirely off the bush and by bow hunting. Everything they use is made from local materials, including their bows which are strung with giraffe tendon and their arrows which are coated in lethal poison. You’ll be back to your lodge around 10:30, where you can enjoy a hearty brunch. After brunch, you will do some walking near the camp. This region is particularly suited for exploring on foot, and the kids will enjoy getting out and about a bit after spending a great deal of time driving. After noon you will continue on your journey as you head to the Karatu region.
The Karatu Region, in the northern highlands, is located between Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Manyara. Karatu offers lovely views of the northern highlands. Overnight you will stay at family-friendly, Rhotia Valley Tented Lodge. Rhotia Valley’s 15 en-suite tented houses, offer intimate charm and personal service. Each of the comfortable tents has its own verandah and bathroom with hot and cold running water, shower and flush toilets. Meals are produced with fresh produce, most of the vegetables and herbs grown in their own gardens. By staying at Rhotia Valley Tented Lodge, you directly contribute to the well-being of the children of the adjacent Children’s Home.
The Rhotia Valley Tented Lodge is part of the ‘Rhotia Valley Project’ – which aims to support the people of the Rhotia area, in particular the children. Their motto is ‘two hills, one goal’: the lodge sits on one hill, directly opposite on another is the Rhotia Valley Children’s Home. At present the home houses 36 children aged between six and 16, and a further 12 children from the local village are helped with school fees and uniform. At the end of the day you are welcome to visit the Children’s Home. The staff will be happy to show you the grounds and you can meet their wonderful children, join in their soccer match or maybe help them with their homework.
After breakfast you’ll explore Lake Manyara National Park. Lake Manyara is a small reserve, but it has a higher density of plant and animal species than the far larger Serengeti National Park. You will spend a second night at Rhotia Valley. This will be a wonderful opportunity for your family to get to learn about the children of Tanzania and experience their culture.
After lunch you will pass through the Lake Manyara region on your way to Tarangire National Park—home to the mighty baobab tree. Along the way you can make a stop. This is an excellent area for a walking safari, including a relaxing walk around a famous Tanzanian village called Mto wa Mbu, which means ‘mosquito creek village’. Here you can encounter more than 120 different Tanzanian tribes. In Tarangire National Park you will have an opportun
A leisurely morning in Tarangire before heading to Arusha. Depending on your flight times, you can do some shopping in Arusha that afternoon. A Zanzibar add-on for this safari is recommended for those with the time.