Smiling Kids and Parents? How Our Family Safari Mentors Make it Happen

Written by Thomson Safaris

a group enjoying their family safari Smiling faces all around for three generations on a family safari

How will you spend family time together this year? Will it be hurried and frantic in between soccer practice and work deadlines, or will it be an enriching, storied experience to be recounted for generations? A family safari provides just the right environment for meaningful time together. There are few spots left on earth where everyone can come together as a family, enjoy a meal without multiple devices buzzing, and wake up in the African Bush to the sounds of hooves and paws and a chorus of birds, just as it was hundreds and thousands of years ago.

To make the adventure even more immersive and enjoyable for children, many of our family safaris* include a mentor, otherwise known as ‘rafiki’ (Swahili for ‘friend’), to serve as the cultural liaison for the kids in the group. The mentors are knowledgeable and passionate about their home, and impart wisdom and a good dose of humor on the kids – and adults!

family safari mentor in Serengeti

Soaking in every safari detail with Maasai mentor Emmanuel

[br]With a mentor in the group, it helps ensure that the trip is just as memorable for the kids as it is for adults, and that the whole family comes away with rich experiences that will have a lifelong impact. Mentors are like the best camp counselor, history teacher, sports enthusiast, and adventure partner rolled into one. One moment they may be teaching the kids (and adults) a little Swahili, and the next it’s a game of soccer in the African Bush before dinner.

Family safari mentor teaches guests about TanzaniaEmmanuel instructs bow and arrow on safari[br]

Out on a game viewing drive while you have your cameras ready to capture the moment, the kids will have a chance to ask all those questions that naturally arise when immersed in new surroundings, such as:

  • • Is it true elephants have a long memory?
  • • How old are those baobab trees?
  • • Do only male lions have manes?
  • • What’s the Swahili word for rhinoceros?

mentor with thomson guest on family safari in tanzaniaThis is mentor Frank. The kids think he rocks.

[br]What is it like to travel with a Tanzanian mentor? Some of our previous guests weigh in on how having a mentor enhanced their safari and left them with even more magical memories of their time in Tanzania.

“Frank was the perfect mentor for the kids. He taught them about Tanzania, and was patient with a group of 6 kids of various ages 9 -16 years. The kids and adults connected and learned quite a bit from him – politics, history and games!” – The McQuistion family

“Our trip mentor Frank was top notch! He was part of an indefatigable team with the guides, dedicated to making our trip as amazing as possible. Our daughter loved hanging out with Frank and her new safari friends to learn traditional songs and games, write in her journal, and just talk about what she’d experienced during the day.” – The Korchak family

“Our trip mentor was wonderful. He planned an awesome itinerary, and was just as amazing as all of the guides. They were also very good with our children. They played soccer and our kids had a lot of fun with them.” – The Rusnak family

* Mentors join the Thomson Family Safaris itineraries when there are more than 8 travelers.