Tanzania Active Safari for Families with Teens

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Our new itinerary is an active family’s dream come true! Begin your adventure at Arusha National Park, with a trek up Mount Meru and one night of camping in a mountain hut. Continue on to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti National Park, where each day wildlife viewing drives open up remarkable landscapes, and the diversity of wildlife will astound you. Enjoy three nights at Gibb's Farm, a beautiful old coffee farm, as you explore the Ngorongoro Crater and Conservation Area. Finish your exploration free from park regulations in an exclusive private nature refuge, part of the Serengeti ecosystem. Here you have the special opportunity to explore the wilderness on night wildlife drives and by foot, and discover the African wilderness at its most untouched. Throughout your trip there will be opportunities to meet local Tanzanians – including Maasai – as well as the chance to do an activity with the community in a local town. With only two departures a year, space is sure to disappear fast!

2014 Dates
Dates Adult Price Teen Price (12-15)
12/18 - 12/30 $7,890 $7,590
2015 Dates
Dates Adult Price Teen Price (12-15)
06/07 - 06/20 $6,990 $6,690
07/26 - 08/08 $8,390 $8,090
08/05 - 08/18 $8,390 $8,090
12/19 - 01/01 $8,390 $8,090
2016 Dates
Dates Adult Price Teen Price (12-15)
03/15 - 03/28 $6,990 $6,690

Alumni Discount: if you are a returning Thomson guest, please subtract $500 per family from these prices

Price includes: All entrance and game park fees, accommodations based on two to a room, sleeping bag on Mt. Meru; land transportation; private bi-lingual guide throughout, area specialists, all meals, bottled water & snacks in the vehicle, Comprehensive Travel Insurance.

Prices are based on the number of people in your party.

Don't see your travel dates?

Call us, we can personalize any trip to meet your travel needs! 

Days 1-2 – Depart U.S. / Arrive Arusha

Upon arrival at the airport, you will be met and transferred to your lodge.

Days 3-5 – Arusha

Arusha’s beginnings as a “city” stretch back to the 1880s, when German colonists established a settlement, later to be replaced by the British. As Tanzania’s tourism capital, Arusha abounds today with practically every culture in the country and many more from around the world. Historically, the Meru and Il Larusa have lived and farmed within the fertile rain forests and highlands surrounding Mount Meru. A now dormant volcano, Mount Meru stands as a striking backdrop beside downtown Arusha. Dense villages and farms cover Meru’s verdant foothills, whose volcanic soil provides fertile grounds for scores of banana trees, coffee fields, flower plantations, vegetable gardens, and other farms. At 14,980 feet, Meru also happens to be Tanzania’s second tallest mountain and the fifth tallest in all of Africa.

 

  • Village visit to Ilkinding’a 
  • Trek Mount Meru
Days 6-8 – Ngorongoro Highlands, Crater, and Conservation Area

Head from Arusha to the Ngorongoro Highlands, where the rich volcanic soil makes for some of the most fertile land in Tanzania. For families, the highlands have it all; culture, nature, wonderful people, natural beauty and pleasantly cool climate, and plenty of opportunities to stretch your legs and be active. Established in the late 1950s, Ngorongoro Conservation Area balances wildlife preservation alongside human settlements. Resident wildlife populations in the Crater and seasonal migratory populations around the Serengeti make this an integral part of Tanzania's ecology.  In addition, the abundance of Maasai settlements makes it a cultural epicenter within northern Tanzania.

 

  • Gibb’s Farm tour
  • Gibb’s Farm optional activities 
  • Visit to the floor of Ngorongoro Crater
  • Cultural exchange for teens at Ganako
  • Gibb's Farm Guided Mountain Biking
Days 9-10 – Serengeti National Park

Depart the Ngorongoro Highlands and head to the great Serengeti plains for a different, but just as spectacular wildlife viewing experience. The Serengeti, Tanzania's second largest national park, covers nearly 6,000 square miles of grassland plains, savannah, kopjes, hills, woodlands, and riverine forests, all excellent sites for wildlife viewing. Beyond the heralded migration of wildebeest and zebra, the Serengeti is best known for its big predators, including cheetah and leopard, as well as large prides of lions and clans of hyenas.

 

  • Visit Olduvai Gorge
  • Wildlife safari in the Serengeti
  • Optional balloon safari
  • Relax at the Nyumba campsite 
Days 11-12 – Private Nature Refuge

Head east from the Serengeti to the peaceful wilderness of a private nature refuge. The terrain will get more rugged as you depart the park and head across scrubland covered in candelabra trees and whistling acacias. The scenic 12,000 acre refuge spans the wide-open plains between two prominent ridge lines.

 

  • Nature hikes in the Eastern Serengeti Ecosystem
  • Enyuata Women’s Group visit
  • Maasai storyteller
  • Night wildlife viewing drive
Days 13-14 – Depart Arusha / Arrive U.S.

Leave the nature refuge for Arusha, where you will eventually catch your departing flight. As you bid farewell to Tanzania, think of all the fabulous stories from and photos of your adventure, which you will share with friends and family for years to come.

 

  • Flight from the Eastern Serengeti to Arusha
  • Day room in Arusha
Rivertrees Country Inn
Rivertrees Country Inn is comfortably situated outside of Arusha, between Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru along the Usa River. With just eight guestrooms, the lodge is known for its privacy, personal attention, and welcoming service. Each room is uinquely furnished and has its own individual style. The grounds contain extensive lush gardens, perfect for a last walk before your long flight home. And cuisine is freshly prepared using local fuit, herbs, freshly baked breads, and locally grown produce. Located a short drive from Kilimanjaro International Airport, Rivertrees is the perfect last stop on your family’s adventure.
Miriakamba Huts

Located on Mount Meru along the crater rim wall, the Miriakamba Huts are at an altitude of approximately 8,400 feet. There are several sleeping huts here, and the accommodations are basic wooden structures with tin roofs. Each hut has several rooms with bunk beds (including mattresses), and a sleeping bag will be provided for you. Most rooms have four beds, but some have eight, and while private rooms are often available, they cannot be guaranteed. Each hut has a small dining area in front furnished with picnic tables. Toilets and sinks are in a separate building, and have cold running water and flush toilets.

Gibb's Farm

Gibb’s Farm is a small and intimate lodge nestled on the outer slopes of the Ngorongoro Highlands, four kilometers from the small town of Karatu.  Surrounded by coffee plantations and a vegetable farm, it offers expansive views over lush and verdant agricultural country.  The main facilities—a lounge, dining room, and shop—are situated in the old farmhouse, graced with locally crafted furniture and African hospitality. The sleeping accommodations are cozy bungalows set amidst the colorful gardens. The cuisine is among the best you'll have on safari, prepared from produce from their own organic garden. 

Nyumba Camps (Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Serengeti National Park, Eastern Serengeti Ecosystem Private Nature Reserve)

Swahili for “home,” the Nyumbas are eco-friendly, mobile, tented camps, well-located for the best wildlife viewing in northern Tanzania.  These seasonal camps allow you direct access to the wildlife while keeping your family comfortable during your safari. Private, en suite bathroom facilities include self-contained, pump-flush toilets that do not require fixed plumbing. You will have all you need with plenty of washing water at any time, safari-style hot showers, a private dressing area, water basins, soft bath towels and hand-made soaps. These eco-friendly camps feature superior service, delicious gourmet and kid-friendly cuisine, fine bedding, and the luxury of peaceful and sustainable co-existence with the surrounding landscape and wildlife.  

Mount Meru Hotel

An Arusha mainstay near the busy downtown area, the Mount Meru Hotel sits on a 15-acre garden and provides comfortable, modern  accommodations.  Amenities include cable TV in all rooms, internet access, currency exchange facilities, concierge, massage services, babysitting on request, playground for children, outdoor swimming pool, sun bed, a volleyball court, and a nearby golf course. The Themi Grill serves both international and African cuisine. 

Why Tanzania?

Unbelievable wildlife viewing
There is no greater wildlife experience in the world than Tanzania — a nation that devotes 33% of its land to conservation and boasts the highest concentration of animals anywhere on the planet. From the vast Serengeti to the lust rain forests of the Mahale Mountains, Tanzania is home to wildebeest, chimpanzee, zebra, hippopotamus, giraffe, hyena and cheetah — just to name of few! Imagine seeing a hundred Thomson gazelle springing across a dirt road or majestic elephants leading their babies to a watering hole. Tanzania is the only place on earth where the “big five” — buffalo, elephant, leopard, the black-maned lion and the endangered, rare black rhinoceros — all live in one place.
Peaceful, safe and stable
Tanzania is a peaceful, safe country. A democracy since gaining independence in 1961, Tanzania is led by a president and national assembly elected by popular vote. While not a wealthy country, Tanzania is quite stable, and its people are committed to preserving its natural and cultural resources. Tanzania is referred to as the “Switzerland of Africa,” peacefully sustaining more than 120 different ethnic groups and free of the political upheaval present in some other African countries.
Serengeti National Park
Protected since 1921, the Serengeti became Tanzania’s first National Park 30 years later. The Serengeti is almost as large as the US state of Connecticut, and features grassland plains and savanna as well as riverine forest and woodlands. Wooded knolls mark the official entrance, called Naabi Hill Gate, which then drops into the park’s signature wide-open expansive plains. Like no other, this stretch embodies the meaning of the word “Serengeti,” which derives from the Maasai word Siringet, and has been translated as “the land that flows on forever.” Covering over 6,000 square miles of pristine land, the Serengeti offers not only sprawling landscapes but the largest migration of mammals on earth, including 1.5 million wildebeest.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Designated a World Heritage Site in 1979, Ngorongoro Crater is part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a wildlife and cultural preserve covering 3,200 square miles. Ten miles in diameter, the crater is the largest unbroken caldera, or ancient colapsed volcano, in the world. All of the Big Five can be found here: buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and the endangered, rare black rhinoceros. Members of the Maasai tribe, the only people permitted to live within the preserve’s boundaries, are quite visible in their bright red and royal blue cloths as they tend to their goat and cattle herds.
Maasai
You’ll be warmly welcomed by the Maasai, a semi-nomadic people who live in northern Tanzania. The Maasai, who speak Maa, originated from the lower Nile valley and began migrating south around the fifteenth century, arriving in central Tanzania between the seventeenth and late eighteenth century. Your family will visit a Maasai boma (traditional village), where you will gain a glimpse into traditional Maasai culture and arts.

Why Tanzania with Thomson?

Friends Across Borders
School visits and pen pal meetings are two of this trip’s greatest highlights. You and your kids will meet teachers and students at a school near the town of Karatu and learn more about education in Tanzania. Children who have signed up for our Friends Across Borders Pen Pal program will enjoy meeting their pen pal and sharing with one another. Teen trips feature age-appropriate cultural immersion experiences in place of pen pals.
Tanzania-based for over 30 years
Thomson is the first US tour company licensed to operate safaris in Tanzania. Through 30+ years of experience, Thomson has created a one-of-kind experience for families. Nearly 70 staff are employed in Thomson's Arusha operation year-round, driving and maintaining safari vehicles, cooking, serving as expert guides, etc. Thomson's personal attention to detail and first-hand knowledge of Tanzania’s culture and natural resources ensure your family will have an unforgettable adventure. Your family will encounter new surprises ever y day traveling the back roads in custom four-wheel drive Land Rover safari vehicles. You’ll discover vast, ruggedly beautiful landscapes, stretching from the volcanic cone of Mount Meru to the Great Rift Valley, from the dramatic, tree-strewn landscape of Tarangire to the endless plains of the Serengeti. You'll meet local villagers, school children, artisans, the Maasai and your Tanzanian guides – who share their thoughts, traditions, language and everyday lives with you.
Private, custom-designed accommodations
Swahili for “home,” the Nyumbas are the culmination of over 30 years of safari expertise and are Thomson’s signature style of accommodation. Nyumbas are canvas structures luxuriously appointed with handcrafted furnishings, sisal rugs, Maasai beading, fine linens and antique textiles. The spacious layout offers plenty of room and each Thomson Nyumba includes a spacious private verandah with comfortable seating and a writing table. Oversized, fine-mesh windows look out over beautiful African vistas while allowing the fresh breeze in off the savannah. Private and comfortable en-suite bathrooms feature flush toilets and safari showers with plenty of hot water day or night. While at Thomson's Nyumbas, your family will enjoy unparalleled yet unobtrusive access to the wildlife. Unlike conventional lodges, the Nyumbas put you in the wild, up close to the animals. Imagine unhindered views of the star-filled night sky, gourmet meals prepared from fresh local ingredients in coal-fired ovens, and a sincere welcome from friendly, reliable staff at each camp. In short, it is the perfect balance of luxury, sustainability and immersion, a world away from civilization.
Tanzanian-born guides
The guide is the key to a great safari! A guide's knowledge, sensitivity, and good humor are some of the most essential elements of a great safari. And quite simply, Thomson guides are the best. We don't say so. Thomson's guests do! They rave about every one of them, from Abraham to Charles to Willie. Thomson's guides were born and raised in Tanzania, and love to introduce visitors to the natural beauty and wildlife of their country. Most of them have been with Thomson for years, often starting as drivers or mechanics, and working their way up to senior safari guide. The guides all take naturalist courses or have degrees in natural history and wildlife. They maintain mental maps of Tanzania's back roads and hiding places and keep up-to-date on animal migrations — and they have super-sharp wildlife spotting abilities! The bottom line is, Thomson's guides are happy with their jobs, love to interact with people from different cultures, and work hard to make sure each guest is satisfied. You’ll appreciate their passion and enthusiasm as you experience Tanzania through their insightful eyes.
Small groups and personal attention
Small group size gives Thomson the ability to respond to each guest as an individual, with unique needs, wants and desires. When you call, any member of our staff will answer your questions with authority and patience. After you book a trip, we'll stay in contact, providing you with thorough information about your trip. This level of personal interaction continues in Tanzania, where Thomson's staff is as curious about you as you are about them. To thank the Tanzanian staff, we bring each employee who has been with us five years or more (mechanics, cooks, drivers, guides) to the US to enjoy a cultural adventure of their own.
Unlimited exploration
Most safari operators restrict the number of miles their drivers can drive per day. Thomson wants you to have the most rewarding wildlife experience so there is no mileage restriction for guides and drivers.
There is something for everyone
Since our knowledge of Tanzania is so intimate and thorough, we really know how to cater to every type of traveler. We get it – not everyone has the same time availability, the same budget, or the same interests. Some people have more physical limitations than others, and some people like to live on the edge for a full-fledged family adventure. Whether you’re looking to spot lions and wildebeest in the Serengeti, leave the tropical temperatures behind on a trek to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, learn from members of the Maasai tribe and connect with local Tanzanians, or unwind on the beach in Zanzibar, Thomson has something for you.
a map of Tanzania Active Safari for Families with Teens