On Tanzania Safari with Kids
Tanzania is a great destination for a family holiday, offering a wide variety of activities to please the oldest to the youngest, and the teens in between! All that is needed is a bit of pre-planning to make sure that everyone’s needs are met! Below, you will find some advice that we have put together from previous families’ travel experiences, but don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions!
- Unless you are on a tight budget, avoid traveling during the heavy rainy season from March through May.
- Break up time inside the safari vehicle with time outside the safari vehicle. For young children, try to minimize game drives to a maximum of 3 hours at a time (you can stretch the length of game drives depending on the age of the children). Here are some suggested activities to get you out of your vehicle:
- Visit Arusha National Park, where you can do a guided walking safari and take a canoe out on the Momella Lakes.
- Discover a local market with a guide.
- Enjoy a cultural visit of the colorful town of Mto wa Mbu (near Lake Manyara), where you can take a guided walk, bike ride, or “tuk-tuk” ride through the village to see how how the locals live; a home-made Swahili lunch is also possible.
- Visit Olduvai Gorge – often called the Cradle of Mankind – and its museum. This can be done on the way to or from the Serengeti, or before or after a visit to the Ngorongoro Crater. The gorge was made famous by Louis and Mary Leakey’s archaeological discoveries and is a very important prehistoric site for the study of human evolution.
- Get acquainted with some of Tanzania’s most famous tribes, such as the Maasai, the Iraqw, and the Hadzabe bushmen of Lake Eyasi.
- Enjoy some days in Zanzibar, where, in addition to spending time at the beach, you can take a guided tour of historic Stone Town, with its narrow and windy streets (including a visit to the former slave market) and/or visit one of the island’s many spice farms for a guided walk, during which you will have the chance to touch, smell and taste different spices and tropical fruits that Zanzibar is famous for.
- Bring a tablet with pre-downloaded movies or cartoons for days when there might be a lot of driving to get from point A to point B.
- While on game drives, ask your safari guide to point out the detail in everything; if on a walking safari, look for animal droppings; this leads to LOTS of discussions about where the animals could be and what they’ve eaten.
- Ask us ahead of time for a checklist of the most likely animals that can be seen while on safari in Tanzania, and during your game drives, ask the children to check off each animal seen, as well as the number (if possible).
- Stay in accommodations (whether campsites, tented camps, or lodges) that have a swimming pool; some playtime in the water is always a good afternoon activity!
If you are traveling with young children, make sure to keep them close by at all times, especially when staying in campsites or tented camps.
If camping inside the national parks, stay only at campsites that are guarded or fenced.
Never leave your tent at night without an escort.
Keep your distance from the wildlife, especially if there are mothers with babies around. If you are near lions or leopards (or at the Norongoro Crater’s Loduare Gate, where there are lots of baboons), keep the vehicle windows shut. Only get out of your car at designated rest stops or in areas deemed to be safe by your driver-guide.
Make sure you and your children are taking anti-malaria medication; consult a travel clinic (not your family doctor) about the different medications available and their possible side effects.
To minimize mosquito bites, cover up with long sleeves and trousers in the early morning and evening hours, sleep under a mosquito net (unless you are in higher altitudes – such as the Ngorongoro Highlands – where there are no mosquitos), and be liberal with mosquito repellent.
Bring a family medical kit including any personal medication that you or your children are currently taking, as well as an anti-diarrheal, and, just in case, a general antibiotic advised by your family doctor (such as Ciprofloxacin, Amoxicillin, or Doxycycline).
See our general packing list for more advice about what to pack.