"especially if this means we have a chance at seeing the migration" You have 2 weeks in July, I'd push it as late as you can in July for either Kenya or Tanzania.
"Obviously some of the big 5 is a must" Then do consider Lewa Downs in Kenya because it is one of the best places in Africa to see rhino--both black and white. Rhino can be one of the more difficult of the Big 5. Sosian, mentioned above, is in the same general area as Lewa Downs, with similar activities.
At Lewa Downs I've enjoyed camel rides, walks, sitting in a blind, cultural visits, and you could go horseback riding, which I did not.
Having a private vehicle makes perfect sense in either Kenya or Tanzania and would be standard for a party of 4. It easily solves the problem of mixing kids with other unrelated adult safari-ers.
If choosing Kenya, a few days up front in Nairobi would allow you to do some cool stuff for kids (adults too) such as
The Giraffe Center where you can feed giraffes or stay at Giraffe Manor (an expensive option for NBO) and those same giraffe stick their heads into your rooms when you feed them.
There is the snake park that is next to the National Museum.
The Carnivore restaurant is festive and a spectacle. It is by its nature a very touristy place but with lots of showmanship by the waiters and a chance to try game meat. Probably not a good choice if you are all vegetarians, but if you just have some vegetarians in the group there are options. I know from personal experience.
Kazuri Bead factory--not your typical factory stop on a tour.
Sheldrick Elephant Orphange--at noon you can see them get their bath. If you adopt an ele calf in advance, you can also go at 5 pm for a visit with just "adopters."
Plus a day up front upon arrival helps lost luggage catch up with you, if needed, and helps overcome jet lag issues.
Advice on operators...
There are lots and lots of good ones.
For my first safari, and quite a few additional I have used The Africa Adventure Co in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. They have special family safaris all over Africa. I have a huge list of ways they were helpful over the years when things did not go quite right due in no way to their fault. They always came through and righted the situation. I have that list if you'd like it.
Adventure Travel Desk (ATD) in Massachusetts also came through for me on my one trip with them when things spun out of control and a cancellation was needed.
I've been using The Wild Source in Colorado and Arusha, Tanz lately. Bill, the owner, has 4 (I believe) kids that he takes on safari. My next East Africa trip is with The Wild Source.
For Kenya, I would seriously consider a Nairobi-based company, Lion Trails Safaris because of a guide I really like (Ben Gitari -sp?) who now works there. I have never used Lion Trails Safari. Others on this board like Ben too. He is especially good at birding.*
Ben's nephew Ben (same name) has an NBO-based company Ben's Ecological Safaris and there was a tremendous report recently about a trip with Ben's Ecol. Saf. This is a birding* company but does any kind of safari.
Sorry I have no Australian agents.
*Just because a guide is an expert in birding does not mean you will just look at birds. A birding expert has especially keen eyes (though all the qualified guides of reputable companies are good spotter) and is especially adept in the bush because birding is harder than finding mammals. It's kind of like an extra certification.
Many of the above posters have their own fav guides/companies and some are safari providers themselves. Fortunately there are many, many great options.
You have a wonderful family trip awaiting you.
Edited by Atravelynn, 20 September 2016 - 04:28 AM.