Planning a family safari in Tanzania can seem challenging, but with some preparation, it can be the vacation of a lifetime. Tanzania offers unforgettable adventures for families, from encountering the magnificent Big Five animals to immersing themselves in fascinating cultures. In fact, a 2022 safari industry report shows family bookings to Tanzania national parks grew over 40% compared to 2021. This guide covers everything you need to plan an epic family safari in Tanzania.
Choosing the Right Safari Destination in Tanzania
Tanzania is an ideal place for first-time safari-goers, as the country features a large number and variety of animals as well as good infrastructure to support tourists. The Serengeti area includes the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, two of Tanzania’s most famous safari destinations.
The Serengeti spans 5,700 square miles, offering endless opportunities to spot diverse wildlife. It contains the Seronera Valley in Central Serengeti, well-known for its year-round concentrations of big cats like lions, leopards, and cheetahs. The Grumeti River area is full of huge Nile crocodiles and aggressive hippos.
When planning a Tanzania family safari, the Serengeti is a top destination for its abundance and diversity of wildlife. During the Great Migration from July to October, follow the herds of over a million wildebeests, zebras, and Thompson’s gazelles as they travel across the Serengeti looking for greener land. You can watch predators like lions, cheetahs, and hyenas follow the migrating herds for an easier meal. The action-packed river crossings provide picture-perfect photo moments that will delight all ages.
The collapsed volcano of Ngorongoro Crater holds the highest density of wildlife in Africa within its 102 square mile area. Its steep walls act as a natural fence, making wildlife sightings nearly guaranteed during your safari. You can expect frequent encounters with lions, elephants, Cape buffalo, pink flamingos, and endangered black rhinos.
Stop at a scenic overlook for awesome views of the massive caldera overflowing with wildlife below. Go down to the crater floor for guided drives spotting animals in the forest, swamps, and grasslands.
Accommodation: Balancing Comfort and Adventure
Family-friendly safari camps and lodges aim to keep both kids and parents happy with fun additions like:
|Interconnecting rooms or tents for privacy and bonding
|Play centers with games, crafts, puzzles and local activities
|Free babysitting services give parents a couple of times
|Swimming pools provide hours of fun for water-loving kids
|Watch and entertain kids while parents go on guided safaris
Many lodges offer kids-stay-free deals or big discounts for children under 12. When choosing lodging, make sure unfenced areas are secured.
Wildlife Experiences Tailored for Families
Ngorongoro Crater is a safe spot for families. You can see unusual animals up close there. You can stay away from risky run-ins with big predators and check out the crater floor in a vehicle. Go with a guide who knows a lot. They’ll point :
- Lions catching sleeping under trees.
- Giant elephants stirring up dirt clouds as they walk.
- Loud pink flamingos chilling in Lake Magadi’s shallow waters.
Let the kids run around fast on a short nature hike. Have them hunt for animal tracks along the trail.
In the open Serengeti Plains, get up before dawn for a hot air balloon ride floating peacefully over grass rippling with herds of wildebeest and zebra. Marvel at the sunrise lighting up lone acacia trees dotting the landscape. After touching back down, celebrate with a champagne picnic breakfast.
When visiting a Maasai village, you can learn about traditional lion hunting methods and how the warriors coexist with big cats. Back at your lodge, gather around the fire at night and share stories of the amazing wildlife sightings during the day on safari. Let the mysterious sounds of the nighttime bush lull you to sleep after an exciting day.
With free entry for kids under 5 and discounted rates for older children into Tanzania’s spectacular National Parks, embark on memorable wildlife adventures perfectly tailored for your family. Making special memories together and exploring Tanzania’s wilderness will bond you forever.
When planning the ideal time to visit Tanzania for your family safari, it helps to understand the country’s climate patterns over the course of the year. The following bar chart displays the average monthly temperatures across Tanzania by month:
As you can see, temperatures remain warm all year round in Tanzania, averaging between 22°C and 28°C, with cooler temperatures from June to August.
Combining Safari with Cultural Experiences
Introduce children to Tanzania’s rich cultural heritage through real interactions with the Maasai people, famous warriors, and shepherds. Many lodges can arrange guided visits to Maasai villages. Watching lively tribal dances and sing-alongs creates lasting memories. Nature walks with Maasai guides provide insights into their extensive knowledge of plants and animals.
Cultural experiences teach kids to respect and protect wildlife and traditional ways of life. Visiting schools and community projects shows the importance of improving local communities.
Practical Tips for Family Safari Planning
The dry season between July and October is best for seeing wildlife gathered near shrinking water holes. Rains during the wet season from November to June can reduce visibility and access. School schedules mean many families safari during the shoulder months of January and February.
Talk to your doctor early about needed vaccinations and malaria medication. Be sure to pack sunscreen, hats, mosquito spray, hand sanitizer, and medicine for diarrhea. Binoculars, cameras, guidebooks, and journals encourage kids to fully enjoy their surroundings.
Safety Considerations During the Safari
While Tanzania has low crime rates, kids need constant watching in unfenced safari areas with dangerous wildlife. Many camps restrict children under six on game drives. Always follow guide instructions and keep a safe distance from animals.
Use sun protection, hats, and sunglasses to prevent heat sickness. Make sure kids stay hydrated by carrying bottled water. First-aid kits with motion sickness medicine, antiseptics, and bandages help manage scrapes and nausea during bumpy drives.
Food and Dietary Concerns
Tell lodges ahead about any food allergies or restrictions. Pack healthy snacks like dried fruits and nuts for long game drives. While lodges cater to Western tastes, trying new flavors broadens kids’ cultural experience.
Baby food and formula may be limited outside big cities so carry enough or arrange delivery in advance. Traveling off the normal tourist routes means supplies may be unpredictable.
Transportation and Getting Around
Distances between national parks can be very far. Break up long car rides with stops to stretch and prevent motion sickness. Request age-appropriate car seats from your tour company. Choose a reliable 4×4 vehicle that handles rough terrain comfortably.
Short plane rides between parks slash travel times so kids spend less time in cars. The shorter journey keeps kids excited and eager for the next adventure.
Budgeting for a Family Safari
For package deals, expect an average expenditure of around $377 per person per night. Park fees are about $75 per adult per day and $45 for kids per day. Budget extra for flights, activities, food, tips, and transportation.
Managing costs for more families can seem difficult. Choosing budget tent camps over fancy lodges saves money. Traveling during low season and avoiding crowded times helps reduce expenses.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best age for kids to go on a Tanzania safari?
Kids of any age can go on a Tanzania safari but ages 7-12 are best. Younger kids may get antsy on long game drives while teens prefer more adventurous stuff. Around 8 years old, kids are independent but still extremely curious.
How can we keep our children safe during safari activities?
Always closely watch your children and prevent them from wandering off alone. Have older kids partner up. Book with a reputable tour guide company that provides skilled guides. Follow all safety rules and instructions.
Can dietary restrictions be met on a Tanzania family safari?
Tell your travel agent about any dietary issues right away. Bring extra snacks just in case. Lodges can prepare allergen-free and vegetarian meals, but options may be limited in remote areas.
A Tanzania family safari promises lifelong special memories. With good planning, parents can treat kids to a magical trip to one of the world’s best wildlife destinations. Encountering Africa’s exotic animals ignites children’s innate curiosity and wonder about the natural world.
After an unforgettable Tanzania journey, your family will be forever bonded by the stunning beauty of the grassy plains, impressive elephants, sneaky leopards, and stately lions you encounter together.
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