Tanzania Family Safari

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Traveling in custom four-wheel drive Land Rover safari vehicles, navigate back roads and dusty tracks to encounter a new surprise every day. Your family will 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.

You never know what you might see: a lion stalking a herd of zebra; a hundred Thomson gazelle springing across a dirt road; a tiny dik-dik antelope hidden in the tall grass; hippos wallowing in a pool; or a family of cheetahs waiting patiently to strike.

People from our US office go back to Tanzania every year to experience the land anew. And each time we feel – as your family will – the thrill of untamed nature and the warmth of some of the kindest, most hospitable people in the world.

2014 Dates
Dates Adult
Price
Teens
(12-15)
Children
(under 12)
12/17 - 12/29 $7,290 $6,990 $6,290
12/21 - 01/02 Sold Out
2015 Dates
Dates Adult
Price
Teens
(12-15)
Children
(under 12)
Special
Features
03/13 - 03/25 $6,990 $6,690 $5,990
03/19 - 03/31 $6,990 $6,690 $5,990
05/28 - 06/09 $6,490 $6,190 $5,490
06/06 - 06/18 Sold Out
06/11 - 06/23 $6,490 $6,190 $5,490
06/13 - 06/25 $6,490 $6,190

Teen Trip

Space is Limited!
06/18 - 06/30 $6,490 $6,190 $5,490
06/21 - 07/03 Sold Out
06/23 - 07/05 $7,690 $7,390 $6,690
06/27 - 07/09 Sold Out
07/02 - 07/14 Sold Out
07/12 - 07/24 $7,690 $7,390 $6,690
07/17 - 07/29 $7,690 $7,390 $6,690
07/24 - 08/05 Sold Out
07/29 - 08/10 $7,690 $7,390 $6,690
08/07 - 08/19 Sold Out
12/18 - 12/30 $7,690 $7,390 $6,690
12/23 - 01/04 $7,690 $7,390 $6,690
2016 Dates
Dates Adult
Price
Teen Price
(12-15)
Children
(under 12)
03/11 - 03/23 $6,490 $6,190 $5,490
03/18 - 03/30 $6,490 $6,190 $5,490

Special Savings On Spring Break family Adventures:  Book your Feb to April 2015 adventure before January 2, 2015 and receive a $1,000 discount per person.

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; 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 Tanzania

Upon arrival at the airport, you will be met and transferred to your lodge, where your Thomson Family Safari begins.

Day 3 – Arusha National Park

The wonders of Arusha National Park often draw comparison to Mount Kilimanjaro and Ngorongoro Crater, its larger counterparts in northern Tanzania. Mount Meru has been called Mount Kilimanjaro’s little cousin, and Ngurdoto Crater, which teems with wildlife, has the nickname “Little Ngorongoro.” Arusha National Park, however, has offerings found nowhere else in the region, including lush mountain forests that are home to the exquisite colobus monkey, and some 575 bird species. The park is truly a hidden gem.

 

  • Wildlife safari
  • Hike to a waterfall in the foothills of Mount Meru 
Days 4-5 – Tarangire National Park

This is Tanzania’s fourth-largest national park. Spend two full days with your family in Tarangire, exploring its rugged landscapes by safari vehicle. This park, often overlooked, astonishes many with its massive herds of elephant and distinctive winding riverine landscapes and swampy floodplains. It is also known for its large numbers of bizarre baobab trees, famous for their enormous trunks and root-like branches.

 

  • Wildlife safari
  • Swimming
  • Learn to play some traditional Tanzanian games
Day 6 – Ngorongoro Highlands

As you travel to the Ngorongoro Highlands en route to the Crater, you and your kids will head up a steep, winding road near the edge of the Great Rift Valley. Make sure to keep your cameras ready on the drive – you will be rewarded with expansive vistas of Lake Manyara and the exquisite surrounding plains. At the top of this slope lie the lush Ngorongoro Highlands, where the region's rich volcanic soil makes for some of the most fertile land in Tanzania.

 

  • Guided tour and lunch at Gibb’s Farm
  • Gibb's Farm nature walk on forest pathways
  • Optional Gibb's Farm afternoon activities
Day 7 – Ngorongoro Crater and Conservation Area

Drive a short distance from the rural highlands to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a wildlife and cultural preserve that covers 3,200 square miles, of which a mere 102 square miles represent the Ngorongoro Crater itself. Only members of the Maasai tribe are permitted to live within the Conservation Area's boundaries, and they can be seen wearing bright red and royal blue cloths and tending to their herds of goats and cattle; although they can't actually live on the crater floor, they often bring their cattle there to drink the mineral-rich water.

 

  • Wildlife safari on the Crater floor
Days 8-9 – Serengeti National Park

Protected since 1921, the Serengeti became Tanzania’s first National Park thirty years later. It is almost the size of the US state of Connecticut, and features grassland plains and savanna as well as riverine forest and woodlands. You will see wooded knolls around 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.” Serengeti National Park covers 6,000 square miles of pristine land, and offers not only sprawling landscapes but the largest migration of mammals on earth, including 1.5 million wildebeest. Your family spends time in two different locations of the park, with a total of four nights in the green and comfortable Nyumba camps.

 

  • Wildlife safari in the Serengeti
  • Brief stop at Olduvai Gorge
  • Optional balloon safari
Days 10-11 – Private Nature Reserve in the Eastern Serengeti Ecosystem

You and your family will head from the Serengeti to a Nature Refuge in the eastern part of that ecosystem. The terrain will get more rugged as you depart the park and head across scrubland covered in candelabra trees and Maasai bomas and villages, finally arriving at the 12,000-acre wildlife preservation area. This is off-the-beaten path travel at it’s best!

Over the next two days you’ll have opportunities for wildlife viewing by Land Rover, on foot, and on a night drive through the bush. You’ll also be able to meet members of the local Maasai community who live in this remote region. There are very few visitors to the area and the connection guests make with local people is extra special as a result. Whether you’re listening to folk tales from a Maasai grandmother or welcoming the warriors as they return home at night, each visit is unique and will add an unparalleled measure of authenticity to your family’s safari experience.

 

  • Wildlife safari
  • Scenic hikes in the Eastern Serengeti Ecosystem
  • Friends Across Borders Meeting (pen pals) 
  • Visit a Maasai boma (village)
  • Hear a traditional Maasai storyteller
Day 12 – Private Nature Reserve / Arusha / Depart

This area is just one example of how Tanzania has been a magnificent inspiration for the world in terms of wildlife and environmental conservation. There is time for one last game viewing drive before returning to Arusha on a short flight. Rest, repack, and shower before your departing KLM flight.

 

  • Stop at Cultural Heritage Center
  • Farewell lunch
Day 13 – Depart Amsterdam / Arrive U.S.
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.
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.  

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. 

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 lush 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 Family Safari