Top things to do during your Tanzanian family holidays


National Parks & Animal Viewing

Tanzania is a large country, and over 38% of its surface is dedicated to wildlife protection in its 16 national parks. Yes, 16! It is also home to the Serengeti where thousands of wildebeest make their annual journey to the waters of Lake Victoria. Considered to be the prime wildlife spot in Africa, this is definitely the best way to spend your holiday in Tanzania with the family.

From the Ruaha National Park to the Ngorongoro National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, there is a lot to choose from and it might take some planning, especially if you want to include more than one destination.

In most of the national parks you can spot the African big five: elephant, buffalo, rhino, lion, and leopard. There is also rare game like the black and white rhino, the African wild dog, sable and gerenuks. Among the fauna, Tanzania is home to over 1 000 different species of birds that nest along the shores of the many rivers and lakes, including flamingos in the Ngorongoro National Park where over 70% of the world’s population of flamingos come from.

Most of the national parks are accessible by vehicle and make for great game viewing in the dry season between June and November. During the wet seasons from December to April, you can experience boating safaris for a closer look at the hippos, crocodiles and birds that live on the shores.

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The natural plant growth in Tanzania is also something to behold. With acacia trees, baobabs, palm trees and many smaller shrubs and bushes, the tropical plant growth near the Ngorongoro National Park and Arusha, and the incredible site of “God’s Garden” where hundreds of different flowers bloom during September in the Kitulo National Park, every family member will be satisfied with these natural sites.

Camping

A great family activity is ‘roughing it’ in one of the world-class parks in a tent. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for kids to experience wildlife like never before. There are many wonderful guides that will make sure you are safe and comfortable, and you get to enjoy Africa up close and personal. There is nothing like sitting around a campfire at night, listening to the sounds of the bush with a lion’s roar a few kilometers away.

Hot air balloon rides

If you have done a safari drive, the nature walk, and the camping, another way for the family to see some of the amazing wildlife in Tanzania is to take a hot air balloon ride. Basically, it's like riding on Sorin Around the World at Epcot and going over the savannah, but the real thing, lol. 

In the Serengeti and Tarangire National Parks, you have the opportunity to see Africa from a bird’s eye view. The balloon takes off early in the morning, just as the sun rises and you spend the next hour drifting with the wind over the plains where hundreds of animals do not even realize you are looking at them. After the balloon ride, there is a big breakfast with champagne or fruit juice for the kids.

Beach holiday and water activities

Be sure to include a visit to the coast on your trip to Tanzania. You will love the relaxed atmosphere on the sandy beaches, and the kids will love the warm Indian Ocean with its calm waves and coral reefs. There are many spots along the coast, including places like Bagamoyo and Dar es Salaam, where you can dive or snorkel, or enjoy other water activities like fishing, canoeing, water skiing, and many more. One of the best sites to visit is the famous Zanzibar islands. Though it is accessible by plane, there is also a ferry that travels between the city of Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar.

There are a couple of islands in the Zanzibar Archipelago, some quieter than the rest. The main island, Unguja, is home to the Old Stone Town, large spice plantations, slave trading stations and caves where escaped slaves used to hide. There are also many isolated beaches, coves and lagoons to explore.

Cultural tours

Tanzania is home to over 120 different tribes, some of which have inhabited Tanzania for over 2,000 years including the Hadzabe and Datoga. These tribes still live exactly like they did when Europeans first settled in Tanzania, and they offer you tours of their villages. On these tours, you will learn how they hunt, make weapons, build houses, collect food and hear some of their oral histories.

The Maasai tribe that lives in the Ngorongoro National Park also offers tours of their villages, and the colorful clothing they wear is representative of their colorful culture with art, music, and dance being a central part of it. This is a great opportunity for kids to see how other people live. There are also a couple of ancient sites that show how humankind progressed through evolution, and they are quite educational.

Climbing

If you are a family that enjoys an adventure, consider climbing Mount Meru near Arusha. Or if you seek more of a thrill, dare to climb the highest mountain in Africa, Kilimanjaro. There are a couple of routes to choose from, and it is a big feat to be able to say you climbed the mighty Kilimanjaro in five days.
Lake Tanganyika

If you like tropical weather and hiking, Lake Tanganyika has lots to offer. From Kigoma you can take a boat to the Gombe National Park, well known for the research of Jane Goodall. This park and the Mahale Mountains National Park are some of the only places in Africa where wild chimpanzees and other primates still live undisturbed, protected from predators and poachers by mountains and valleys. Both these parks are only accessible by boat, and there are no roads meaning you get to hike through them to track the chimps.

Lake Tanganyika, the longest lake in the world also offers beautiful beaches, water activities like snorkeling and the cool waters is great to swim and relax in. This lake is home to fish colorful fish species that can be found nowhere else on earth and makes for a great holiday destination.

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Top things to do on a Tanzanian family trip




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