A Tanzania safari is a delight for all ages, and as such is an ideal family holiday. The excitement of the adventure is truly shared, allowing parents, grandparents and children to treasure memories for ever after. Every Tanzania safari is so different; each wildlife moment is so distinct, that even old timers cannot claim to have seen it all before. We've created many fabulous Tanzania family holidays - however, careful consideration and planning is required on many fronts when putting together an ideal family itinerary. The option of family suites (or extra beds), child-friendly activities and special child rates vary enormously from lodge to lodge. From a family perspective, it is also worth emphasizing that Tanzania is a largely safe country where violent crime against foreigners is incredibly rare.
Tanzania’s northern safari circuit is prime wildlife-viewing country. Although not renowned for its affordability, kids will love seeing the well-habituated animals, as well as the vibrant Maasai culture. A good selection of child-friendly lodges, camps, hotels and restaurants ensures that there is plenty of choice. The southern safari circuit is definitely a more adventurous option and should probably be restricted to families with older children who will better appreciate longer and wilder safaris in open-top game viewing vehicles.
The mellow beaches of Zanzibar and the other Spice Islands are reason enough to recommend the Indian Ocean islands as ideally suited to families and children. Many Zanzibari hotels also have swimming pools (ideal for swimming with kids in a controlled environment when seas are rough or while the tide is out) as well as spacious hotel grounds where kids can run wild and burn off energy in a safe place. Because many families visit Zanzibar, there is also a wide choice of child-friendly cuisine on almost every menu.
Families travelling with small kids and tighter budgets might find it easier to base themselves in major centres like Arusha (where there are shops, medical facilities and other support services) and do shorter excursions from that base. An example of an easy and rewarding daytrip would be to nearby Arusha National Park where there is plenty of wildlife, but for the full experience a trip further afield to Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire or Lake Manyara would be more impressive.
Ngorongoro Crater with its nearby family-friendly accommodation is especially well-suited to families and young children, while the extremely relaxed and abundant wildlife should keep even the most restless children engaged and excited. Furthermore, children under eighteen also get sizeable discounts on daily park fees and permits to climb Kilimanjaro.
It would be unfair – almost cruel – to bring your children to Tanzania and not finish off with at least some time to explore the Spice Islands and enjoy the surrounding warm-water and white-sand beaches. Zanzibar Island has an abundance of lovely east-coast beaches with soft sand and calm seas, while most resorts also have a swimming pool. For families with more of a sense of adventure, or looking to get away from the crowds, Mafia Island with its little beaches, exciting dhow rides and top quality snorkelling is the place to head with your children.
Tanzania may initially seem daunting for travel with children: prices for accommodation and park entry fees can add up, road travel distances can be long, and vehicle rental is rather costly. But for families with a sense of adventure, it’s a destination brimming with wonderful attractions, including wildlife, beaches, friendly people and great weather. Having a real sense of adventure (and humour) is invaluable as you explore the wilds of Tanzania, but proper planning for family travel is equally important. The following are some pre-trip considerations and travel tips to help you get started:
For any family travelling in Tanzania, it is the allure of the country’s productive wildlife areas and high quality safari experiences that are the main attraction with legendary parks like Serengeti, Tarangire and Ngorongoro Crater boasting high quality animal sightings and often at extremely close range. The fact that all parks offer substantially reduced children’s entry fees is a bonus. If staying inside the park, it’s a good idea to opt for a lodge or safari camp with a pool where the kids can expend their energy between game drives. Alternatively, base yourself outside the park at a hotel with a pool and large grounds for kids to run around, and only venture into the park on well-timed animal-spotting forays, while also enjoying cultural interactions and other activities (such as night drives) that take place outside of the national parks.