There are 30 million people who travel to the African continent for tourism every year.
Of all the wonderful places to visit on the second biggest continent in the world, Tanzania is ranked in the top 25. While Tanzania offers an abundance of things to see and do, a lot of visitors come for a Tanzania family safari.
Home to the Serengeti, Africa’s highest peak, and a diversity of flora and fauna that can’t be found in the same numbers anywhere else in the world, Tanzania is an ideal place for a family vacation. If you’re planning a Tanzania family safari, you need to know all the ins and outs of making this the best family vacation yet.
Keep reading to find out everything that really matters on a Tanzania family safari.
If you’re planning a Tanzania family safari, the thing that matters most is getting into the Serengeti.
Known as the mecca of national parks the world over, the Serengeti is one of the largest wildlife sanctuaries in the world. It’s also one of the last wildlife sanctuaries of its kind still in existence, so time is of the essence in getting to see it.
The Serengeti fall along Tanzania’s border with Kenya. It’s both an ecosystem and a geographic location. But it’s importance goes much deeper than that.
The Serengeti is intricately tied to the heritage and culture of the people who have historically lived in the geographic region in which it sits. Along with the Nile River, the Sahara Dest, and the Okavango Delta, it’s one of the seven natural wonders of Africa. It’s teeming with natural beauty, wildlife, and unique wild plants and flowers.
What follows are 3 of the most important experience you need to have while traveling the Serengeti to make your vacation really count.
Experience the Serengeti Ecosystem
You don’t go on a Tanzania family safari without experiencing the wonderful ecosystem that is the housed by the Serengeti.
This vast ecosystem spans 12,000 square miles or 30,000 square kilometers. It’s one of the largest and most important ecosystems on the planet. Scientists believe that the ecosystem has existed relatively unchanged for more than 1 million years.
The Serengeti ecosystem flora is divided into woodland and grassland. Woodlands are grassy swaths of land that contain trees whereas the grasslands are made up of riverine, planes, and stretches of grasslands that are created as a result of fires. Any good safari will give you a chance to see the diversity of both.
Kids, teens, and adults alike will be amazed by the extent of wildlife viewing in the Serengeti. You’ll have a chance to view wildebeests, gazelles, zebras and buffalos, lions and spotted hyenas.
For one of the most spectacular sights you’ll see on your trip, and probably in your lifetime, plan our trip around the Great Migration. Beginning in November, over 2 million blue wildebeest migrate across the Serengeti.
You may also spot zebras, eland, and gazelles among the migrating flocks.
Experience the Culture
The Serengeti isn’t only home to a wide array of animals and plants, it’s also the ancestral homeland of ancient peoples. Make sure your Tanzania family safari includes a chance to immerse yourself in these ancient cultures.
This African tribe consists of the Maa people who practice many of their ancient traditions to this day.
Although they now live outside of the Serengeti, an excellent Tanzania family safari should include a trip out of the Serengeti national park to a Maasai tribe.
Here, you can learn more about the way the tribes live and co-exist with the land. You can also an opportunity to hike with the Maa warriors.
You may have to make a small donation to visit with a Maasai tribe, but it’s well worth the small expense.
The Swahili people are an ethnic and cultural group that live throughout Eastern Africa. Take the opportunity during your Tanzania family safari to taste local Swahili cuisine and experience Swahili culture.
Experience the Serengeti at Night
As a rule, driving within the Serengeti at nighttime is not permitted. However, that rule only applies to the national park itself. There are opportunities to drive on the lands surrounding the park, which is not bordered by fences.
At night time, you and your kids will be able to view animals that aren’t often seen during the day. It also gives you a glimpse of how different animals behave at night.
You may see civets, bush babies, aardvarks, and predatory animals hunting or devouring their latest catch.
Experience Activites Besides Safari
Look for a safari that offers opportunities to hike, bike, and camp out among the stars.
Biking and hiking are great ways to traverse the landscape and experience local villages just outside the park.
Things of Note For Your Trip
There are other things you should consider when planning a family trip to Tanzania. Knowing about these items will help make your safari adventure all the more enjoyable.
Staying in Tanzania can be as simple as tenting or as luxurious as staying in bush lodged.
Most Tanzania family safaris will offer family-style accommodations but, to be sure, ask that your family is roomed together.
When to Travel
Avoiding the rainy season between April and May is a good idea for families. This ensures optimal wildlife viewing and decreases the likelihood that any planned activities will be canceled due to weather.
Typically, the best time to travel to Tanzania is between June and October. To experience the Great Migration, you’ll have to plan your trip accordingly. The wildebeest arrive around late November and stay until March.
What Does a Safari Cost?
Tanzania family safaris range in price. Depending on how long you want to stay and what activities you want to be included, you’ll find varying costs.
Typically, a 7-day trip costs between $2,300 and $5,500 USD. An 11-day trip can be upwards of $10,000.
Some safaris will include internal airfare to travel to the Serengeti, all the park fees, as well as the VAT. Covering the VAT is important since the 18% tax on tourists services was implemented.
What isn’t included in the cost? Your round-trip airfare to Tanzania, your entry visa fee, departure taxes, airport transfers outside of scheduled time, travel insurance, alcohol, personal expenditures, and gratuities.
Ensuring You’re Comfortable
Dressing properly for the weather is of utmost importance for enjoying your trip. Although rain is unlikely from July to October, it’s always a possibility and you should be prepared.
From March to November, daytime temperatures average 70-80?F. At nighttime, the weather will cool to between 50-60?F. From December to February you can expect daytime temperatures to be about 10 degrees higher.
Plan to layer your clothes to be comfortable no matter what activity you’re doing. Layering will help you stay insulated when it’s needed and to remove articles of clothing when it’s warm. Most safari companies will offer a gear list that you can follow to ensure you’re packing the right clothes.
Ensuring You’re Safe
Your family physician can suggest what vaccinations you and your family need before traveling to Tanzania.
Malaria is a very real possibility and you need to protect yourself against possible infection. Mosquito nets are highly recommended for sleeping at night. At dusk and in the evening, wearing clothing that covers your skin’s surface as well as mosquito repellant is a good idea.
If you plan on traveling to any of Tanzania’s beautiful beaches, hookworm infestation is a possibility. Bilharzia infection can happen in lakes.
Thorns and other minor injuries can be easily treated by carrying a child-oriented first aid kit.
Don’t allow your children to eat street food. Carry healthy snacks like dried and fresh fruit purchased in populated areas before heading out for the bush. You’re unlikely to find them elsewhere.
When taking a wild animal safari, keep in mind that Tanzania’s parks are unfenced. Ensuring that your children are always closely supervised is important to their safety. It’s also not uncommon for animals to enter public areas and camps.
Other Important Considerations
Make sure that your safari costs include your entrance fees to the parks.
To enter the Serengeti, non-residents over the age of 16 pay $60 USD. Children between 5 and 15 pay $20 USD each as to students. Only children under 5 are allowed to enter for free.
The Serengeti gets a lot of tourism these days. It can sometimes be overcrowded.
However, some tour operators will provide lodging and safari on the outskirts of the park to avoid mass tourism with all the same opportunities for wildlife and culture.
Other Points of Interest on Your Tanzania Family Safari
Below are some of the other notable sites in Tanzania. These may be included in your family safari, but if not, you should make a point to see these while you’re close.
This is Africa’s highest peak and is known as a walk-up mountain suitable for all ages.
Ngorongoro Crater basin
This volcanic crater basin is rich in game and wildlife. It’s over 7,500-feet high with cool morning and evenings.
Stone Town on Zanzibar Island
The Stone Town is listed by UNESCO. Zanzibar Island has beaches that are the perfect family destination to unwind after time spent driving, hiking and biking around.
Although the main beach, Matema, can have big waves from March to May, it’s a great beach for families looking to relax.
Meserani Snake Park
You’re not as likely to see snakes among the wildlife on your safari. But this park offers education on snakes native to the region as well as other reptiles.
Planning Your Next Family Vacation?
Among all the wonderful destinations in Africa, a Tanzania family safari tops the list in the diversity of wildlife, culture, and opportunities.
Are you planning a family trip to Tanzania? Check out all of our Tanzania safari information for tips, trips, and other ideas.