The truth is most of us enjoy spending time with our families, and for good reason. Unfortunately, as the years go by, the kids get busy, families scatter far and wide, and we spend less time these days with the people who count the most. So when you have the chance to vacation with your entire crew, you’ll want to make the most of every second.
Your family will want to choose an extraordinary vacation destination to do justice to this rare event. So why not think outside the box? Why not plan a vacation that includes some fantastic bucket-list events for everyone?
Well, for nature-loving families, spending time outdoors in a beautiful, unspoiled setting is one of the only ways for the entire family to enjoy quality time together. So why not leverage an African family safari, a truly extraordinary experience for you and your loved ones? Imagine how it could strengthen your family ties, educate your kids, and offer fun and exciting activities for all ages, all while revealing the wonders of the natural world!
Breathtaking landscapes and astounding concentrations of wildlife spread across vast plains, animal, and plant life found only in Africa. Trek the tallest free-standing mountain in the world, or enjoy the watersports offshore of the spectacular beaches of Zanzibar. Explore pristine wildernesses or venture into ancient sites of geologic and paleoanthropological significance; a Tanzanian safari can be everything you wish it to be.
Experience the Magic of Tanzania
Tanzania is a land of unparalleled natural beauty, diverse terrain, abundant wildlife, and ancient sites of historical and cultural importance. Did you know that Tanzania is home to seven World Heritage Sites, “sites of outstanding universal value”?
Interested in visiting the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera? The Ngorongoro Crater in northern Tanzania, just east of southern Serengeti, is the very image of ancient Africa. With forested rimmed walls towering 2000 feet above 100 square miles of diverse terrain and its ecosystem supporting abundant wildlife (including the Big Five), the Ngorongoro Crater will delight the entire family.
And, of course, there’s the Serengeti National Park and its annual Great Wildebeest Migration. The spectacle of almost two million animals on the move is truly mesmerizing and of epic proportions.
And while you and your crew enjoy your Tanzania family safari activities, be sure to include a tour of the Olduvai Gorge, the Kondoa Rock Art Cave Sites, and Laetoli, the site of the earliest human footprints preserved in volcanic ash dating 3.5 million years. These fascinating (and educational) sites are a must-visit; the kids will love this exploration of the origins of humanity.
Or discover Tanzania’s magnificent untouched wildernesses like the Ruaha, Selous, and Katavi national parks in central and southern Tanzania. These parks are far less traveled and home to large herds of diverse carnivores, African wild dogs, and thousands of elephants and bovines. And then there’s the stunning beauty of Lake Tanganyika along Tanzania’s western border.
And the iconic Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. Kilimanjaro is beautiful to behold from afar, its snow-capped peak rising above a ring of white, wispy clouds. It has a variety of routes to the top, several family-friendly, winding through wooded areas with wildlife and views of the mountaintop. If you’re fit enough, you can trek beyond its glaciers to reach its highest point at Uhuru Peak, 19,340 feet up!
Or Ol Doinyo Lengai, also known as the Mountain of God, is an active volcano you and your family can trek–if you’re looking for a trail that goes straight up! It is near Lake Natron, along the Kenyan border, and the family will enjoy visiting the magma pits.
Last to be mentioned here, but certainly not least, is a visit to Stone Town in Zanzibar. Tour this historical, multicultural hub of old, and you’ll find much to appreciate in its beautiful Swahili architecture.
Stone Town was one of the world’s largest hubs in the spice trade and the slave trade under the Sultan of Zanzibar until the abolition of slavery in the late 1800s. Here you can appreciate multicultural influences through the centuries, enjoy local delicacies, and thoroughly enjoy the gorgeous, white-sand beaches and clear ocean waters of the island archipelago.
Go Off the Beaten Path
Of course, depending on the time of year you’re able to travel, you may be sharing the “safari road” with visitors from all around the globe. Each year, over two million tourists travel to Tanzania, heading across the country to as many of its 17 national parks as time and itinerary permit.
And Tanzania is so much more than the Big Five game animals. Along its western border, on the eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika, you’ll find the home of some of the world’s largest chimp populations. Although in remote locations, a family safari in the Mahale Mountains National Park or the Gombe Stream National Park to the north will be a delight for all ages.
For some time now, geneticists have told us that we share an astonishing 98% of our genetic material with the chimpanzee. So it’s always a fascinating experience to meet this species in its natural habitat. And when you do, the scientific tidbit won’t seem like such a stretch!
Adults and kids alike will stand in awed fascination observing the chimp communities. The chimps laugh, play, and protectively and tenderly hold their babies. You can watch them use tools and interact with each other–and not always with kindness and respect–just like humans. Chimp communities, too, must endure the occasional power play.
The Gombe Stream and Mahale Mountains national parks offer guided tours along trails through densely wooded lakeshore forests on steep mountainsides. The trails are fairly easy to navigate, and the hikes usually take around 2-3 hours.
The Mahale Mountains National Park has some of the oldest chimp populations under study, some of which are comfortable with humans and easier to find and watch. Also, the chimps often know the guides, and the family will enjoy watching their interaction from a respectful distance.
So while the parks are very remote and can only be accessed by boat after a flight to a regional airport, it’s easy to understand the value of these measures and other tight guidelines in protecting the primates. As always recommended, consult an experienced tour operator to help you navigate the necessary travel arrangements and other planning points.
The experience may be challenging for the group and expensive, but if you can manage this one-of-a-kind experience, it’s worth the trouble.
Relax in the Tranquility of Tanzania
Nature is full of high drama, some of it in visceral, life-or-death struggles on a staggeringly large scale. Or the drama of high contrast, torrential downpours, and parched land.
But there is also a calm and peaceful tranquility to the endless stretch of savanna or the quiet stillness of high-altitude hiking or walks along densely wooded trails. Tanzania’s pristine wilderness areas offer your family one of the most profound escapes from the stressors of modern life.
The Serengeti’s wide plains and vast skies are a perfect destination as you and your family can marvel at the wildlife tableau stretching as far as the eyes can see. Or the Tarangire National Park with its luxurious and personalized experience for visitors, a look right out of the movies. Or you may want to escape on a camping trip to the remote Katavi and Ruaha national parks, where you can wonder at the sense of space and privacy so at odds with our crowded planet.
Or have you wanted to visit the people of the Maasai tribe in the area surrounding the Ngorongoro Crater? Many of us recognize their bright-colored clothing, vivid reds, and yellows, but many may not know how warm and welcoming they are. Your family will enjoy the chance to join in singing, and dancing and learn more about the culture of the communities in this land of astonishing beauty.
And, of course, for some, there is nothing like a gorgeous beach for relaxing. Sun and swim, snorkel, go boating, or just hang out by the pool. The beaches of Zanzibar promise a tranquil serenity that will soothe the stress away.
So whether your family likes to unwind in the lap of exotic luxury or you all prefer to sleep outside your tents and under the stars, a Tanzanian safari promises an enriching and impactful vacation destination.
From solo travelers to families of nature lovers, all appreciate the fantastic range of Tanzanian safari options–each option is a fine example of sustainable tourism in a nation of unmatched natural beauty.