A wonderful beach and safari destination or just head to Zanzibar for the beach
Tanzania has a lovely tropical climate. As it is near the equator there is little temperature difference between summer and winter, with temperatures ranging from about 25C to 30C year round. The coastal belt is hotter and more humid then the dryer and cooler inland areas and the mountains can be chilly at night.
The rains in Tanzania come twice a year, the short rains (November and December) and long rains (February to early May). During the short rains downpours tend to be quick before the sun comes out again. And in dry years you can find the short rains don’t come at all. During the long rains downpours can last for hours or even days and we do not recommend travel during this time.
Tanzania is a malaria area so won’t suit very young children. For older children Tanzania is a delight and, like Kenya, the ability to combine a safari with the beach all in the same country is a huge bonus. In Tanzania, if you head to the southern park of the Selous National Reserve you are even closer to the beach then in Kenya (just a 1 hour flight). As with most safari destinations in East Africa the flights between camps is in small planes so it is worth finding out how nervous your children are about flying before choosing your camp. Most children love being able to see elephants out of the window and adore flying in these planes.
The camps in the northern parks are accessed by long road journeys or flights. Again it depends on how well your children travel as to which camp we would recommend. Some camps on the far side of the Serengeti can take quite a bit of getting to.
The food in Tanzania tends to be quite simple and very western in style which normally suits children extremely well. As with all safaris we would recommend selecting camps which have their own swimming pools. The long wait between the morning and evening game drives means they will need something to do all day in camp and a pool is often essential.
From mainland Tanzania it is a quite 15 minute hop across to Zanzibar. Here the beach lodges and small hotels are perfectly suited to children. The beaches are a great place to explore and the hotels are very used to catering for families. As the hotels tend to be quite small in size they rarely have Kids Clubs. Most children entertain themselves playing in, on, over or under the sea.
The food on Zanzibar tends to be more fished based due to its location.
Flights: British Airways direct overnight flight to Dar Es Salaam and a return day flight. Virgin (night flight out, day flight return) or BA (day flight out and night flight return) direct to Nairobi and onward flights with Kenyan Airways to Dar Es Salaam or Zanzibar. Or overnight out and return flights with Kenyan Airways to Dar Es Salaam or Zanzibar via Nairobi. As the BA day flight from Dar Es Salaam leaves at 08.40 am many of our clients fly outbound to Dar Es Salaam direct with BA and back via Nairobi to pick up the overnight Nairobi – London flight.
In the north, two million wildebeest and zebra flood across the Serengeti plains every year in the spectacular Great Migration. There are tree-climbing lions, magnificent rhino and clouds of pink flamingos on glittering lakes. n the far flung parks of the south, vast lakes are home to thousands of hippo and crocodiles. Elephant swim to lush islands, buffalo herds graze on open plains and chimpanzees play amongst the rainforests.
Tanzania is divided into two main safari regions or ‘circuits’. The circuits are defined by ease of travel between parks be it by plane or car. Most safari transfers are done by small 12 seater planes. These work like buses – heading out around the circuit dropping down to different parks where they collect or drop off passengers before heading on to the next park. In this way one plane manages to service a number of camps in different areas and you as the passengers get cheaper flights as you don’t have to hire a private plane for just your family. The ‘Northern Circuit’ starts out from the town of Arusha in northern Tanzania. Arusha is best accessed with international flights through Nairobi. From here you can drive to Lake Manyara, Mount Kilimanjaro and Tarangire and the Ngorongoro Crater. Further than this, like to the Serengeti, it is recommended you fly due to the distance. All these parks are combined by scheduled charter flights for faster access.
The ‘Southern Circuit’ is accessed by plane only from Dar Es Salaam. This includes the wonderful Selous Reserve, Ruaha, Katavi and ends with Mahale in the far west.
The Selous Game Reserve
The Selous Game Reserve is Africa’s largest game reserve, yet visited by few and is without doubt our favourite park in Tanzania. Through the middle runs the mighty Rufiji river which gives and added dimension to any safari. Not only can you game view by Landrover but here you can also game view by boat. As well as abundant game, no tourists and wonderful camps it is also only a one hour flight from Dar Es Salaam.
Ruaha National Park
Ruaha National Park has a hot, dry climate and dramatic scenery. Game is prolific with large prides of lion and buffalo. As well as game drives safari walks are also possible and fly camping are also available. The Ruaha makes a great combination with the Selous.
Katavi National Park
Katavi National Park is untamed and extremely wild. Access is by aircraft from the Ruaha and Dar Es Salaam and there are only two camps. It's a place to visit for old African hands wanting to explore somewhere new.
The Mahale Mountains National Park
The Mahale Mountains are the best place in Africa to track and observe wild chimpanzees; you can watch them grooming, drinking and playing. Mahale camp is based on the gin clear Lake Tanganyika which is another highlight to visiting this area. However it is also the most difficult part of Tanzania to access. Flights in and out are on Mondays and Thursdays only and leave from Arusha via the northern parks. Private charters can fly you back out to Dar Es Salaam if you need. Visiting the chimps is probably the most amazing thing you can do in Africa but equally is very expensive – and if you have a cold when you get there they wont let you up the hill in case you hand it on to the famous inhabitants.
If you have every wanted to see flamingos in the wild then this is the place to go. Lake Natron is also the only known breeding ground for East Africa's millions of lesser flamingos which cover the lake between August and October and from a distance turn the lake pink.
Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara is home to huge flocks of pelicans and flamingos. The park surrounding the lake has excellent game densities and is perhaps best known for its tree-climbing lions. It is also within easy driving distance of Arusha
Standing at 5,895 metres tall, Kilimanjaro towers over the plains of Kenya and Tanzania. With knowledgeable guides it is possible to climb it over the course of several days.
Ngorongoro Crater is the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera and certainly one of the wonders of the world. Wildlife in the crater is prolific and photographic opportunities are superb. However as it is within driving distance of Arusha it can attracted herds of tourists in minibuses!
Subject of countless documentaries, the Serengeti is perhaps most famous for the Great Migration, which each year sees up to two million wildebeest cross the plains in search of good grazing. The Serengeti is the southern park of Kenya’s Masai Mara. This huge park has it share of wonderful boutique camps but beware of the mass market hotel style safari camps which gather in the centre. We can advise you where to go to find truly unspoilt wildernesses in the Serengeti.
Islands and Beaches
Finally, Tanzania’s islands are unbeatable. Strung out in the Indian Ocean, the Zanzibar and Mafia archipelagos are tropical and idyllic. Dhows laden with spices sail over turquoise waters, whilst white sandy beaches are lapped by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean For keen fishermen the Pemba Channel off Zanzibar is widely regarded to be the best deep sea fishing in the world. Or for truly hidden gems try some of the stunning beach lodges of the main land Tanzanian coast.
The biggest of the African islands and still the most popular. Stunning beaches and fantastic diving draw families from around the world. The island does have its own share of bad hotels but luckily there are some truly lovely beach lodges and hotels to suit most tastes. The small beach lodges tend to have minimal facilities and be all about the beach but some of the smaller hotels and larger beach lodges have plenty of things to entertain children. Families heading to beaches in Zanzibar are really coming for the beach as there aren’t the ‘all singing all dancing’ resort style hotels you find in the Seychelles or Mauritius. Zanzibar makes a great location to end a safari and beach family holiday to Tanzania or just as a straight forward beach holiday.
Please find below a range of activities available in Tanzania.
We know it is often difficult, with the huge number of hotels out there, to know which one to go for, which combines with which and what sort of costs they are going to be. Here we have put together a few of our favourite options to give you a starting point. Any of these options can be changed, tweeked or added to so please do ask. The prices are per person and include international flights and private transfers. As the rates at all hotels change a great deal from their High Seasons (i.e the most popular times of the year to be there) to their Low Seasons (they often have great discounts at this time) we have based the 'From' costs on a good time of year to be in the country, the dates are included in the text at the bottom. Please do call us for a quote based on your dates.