If your kids are sick and tired of summer holidays spent at their grandparents’ cottage in the countryside, this year is a good time to surprise them by organizing a trip to a remote exotic destination. If the idea sounds cool but you are still uncertain as to where exactly your family could spend the vacation, look no further than Tanzania. A true African jewel still undiscovered by mass tourist, try Tanzania: this marvelous African region offers families a unique opportunity to see wild creatures up close during a guided safari and spend afternoons sunbathing and snorkeling at some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. In addition to that, Tanzania is also a great place to try different herbs on a spice tour, explore Zanzibar’s untamed national parks, climb up the Ngorongoro Crater and tour the colorful local food markets.
Here are some of the best pastime activities to include in your Tanzania-borne family holiday.
An exciting and informative Tanzanian safari
Most kids will go ecstatic at the mere thought of a wild African safari and the chance to see lions, leopards and moneys in their natural habitat. Depending on your travel budget, you can opt for a short safari tour and explore some of Tanzania’s wildlife areas such as the Serengeti, Tarangire and Tanganyika. Or, if finances allow it, treat your little explorer(s) with an amazing 12-day safari during which kids get a unique chance to learn interesting details about local culture, history, people, eco-system and see some of Tanzania’s landmark sites such as the slave market, cave prisons and House of Wonders in Cape Town, as well as various species found in National Parks Serengeti and Tarangire, Ngorongoro Crater and much more.
Long days on sunny beaches
With white, silky beaches and clear azure waters, Tanzanian beaches are a perfect spot to spend a long summer day relaxing and having fun. Small kids can play in the sand, gather seashells and explore the area under the watchful eye of their parents, while older children have a chance to snorkel, dive and ride on dhows, traditional handmade boats extremely popular among tourists. If you are concerned about safety of your children at the beach, you can always opt for a trip to one of the swimming pools at a local resort instead. Or, if your family is adventurous, you can take a boat ride to the Zanzibar Archipelago and explore the island landscape either on your own or with a local guide onboard.
Try all the flavors of Tanzania
Spice tours are an excellent family activity for tourists visiting Tanzania and Zanzibar. Spice tours are very popular in Zanzibar because the island’s history is characterized by strong trade relations with Asia and Europe dating back to the 16th century. Tanzania’s trade used to be mostly centered on spices and herbs which where highly valued in Europe, and the country still ranks high on the world’s list of spice exporters. During the tour, your kids will get to see how different herbs are grown and harvested, how they are used, and even try out some refreshing new flavors.
An island adventure in Zanzibar
If you prefer island resorts to mainland holidays, head off to Zanzibar and experience tropical paradise at its finest. With marvelous palm-fringed beaches, turquoise waters and lots of small neighboring islands for your family to explore, Zanzibar is a dream-come-true destination for lovers of hot summer days. With a moderate climate marked by average annual temperature of maximal 28°C in February, the Zanzibar Archipelago gathers four main islands and a few smaller ones, most of them still untouched by mass tourism. Brave little explorers can go bird watching or seashell hunting, while older kids can explore Zanzibar’s powdery beaches, go snorkeling in the coves and learn how to spearfish like true locals.
Witness the Great Migration in Serengeti
Often described at the ‘Greatest Show on Earth’, the Great Migration in Serengeti is an excellent chance for your kids to learn more about wildlife, Africa’s animal species and importance of movement for survival. Although the animals in the park are on the move during much of the year, the best months to go watching wildebeest and zebras migrate from Serengeti to Masai Mara are May-July. If you want to catch the animals on their return to Serengeti, plan your visit in October or November. As far as accommodation in Serengeti goes, there are numerous lodgings in the park itself, but make sure you book them on time as best deals are the first ones to go well before the peak season even begins. Let your kid watch zebras, antelopes and wildebeest in action through binoculars or give them a camera to make their own memories of the adventure.
Dhow rides, or a different type of safari
Families staying in Zanzibar should definitely try dhow safaris. The hand-crafted long boats with lateen sails date back to the period 600 B.C.E. to 600 C.E., the time of intense trade relations between Africa, Europe and Middle East when they were used to transport fruit, fresh water and merchandise. Dhows range in size from the smaller ones accommodating crews of up to 12 people, to the large ones manned by as many as 30 sailors. There is no better place than a dhow for your child to learn how to make different types of knots, tie a bowline, fit a rudder or hoist a sail. (A word of advice: be careful when letting your child play with electronics such as cameras and smartphones during a boat ride, as the local waters have seen many a phone slip-and-splash. In case your kid does manage to lose a valuable device during a dhow safari, ask a local about where you can shop for gadgets at reasonable prices or browse kupatana.com for best deals.)
With its fascinating national parks, untamed wildlife, scenic beaches, intoxicating spice tours and enchanting dhow rides, Tanzania is the closest it gets to Eden on Earth. If you want to add a dash of tropical beauty and summertime adventure to your next holiday, this African pearl is the best place to go after relaxation, explorations and family fun.