Tanzania, a walking dream: practical guide

16/12/2019

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    With its idyllic coastline and wide and open spaces will lots of wild animal species, Tanzania is a mosaic of colours and landscapes. Mount Kilimanjaro and its eternal snows; Zanzibar, the Indian Ocean’s island jewel or the Serengeti National Park are names that will quickly entice you into travelling. A land of discovery wherein time seems to stand still, Tanzania is an incredible destination for family getaways and for reconnecting with nature in its purest form.

    Mount Kilimanjaro

     

    1. Tanzania in a nutshell
    2. Postcard
    3. The musts
    4. Our luxury addresses for families
    5. Gastronomy
    6. Family activities
    7. Our secrets for a successful family safari

     

    Tanzania in a nutshell

      • State: United Republic of Tanzania
      • Capital city: Dodoma
      • Political system: presidential, parliamentary and multi-party
      • Languages: Kiswahili, English
      • Currency: Tanzanian shilling

     

    Postcard

    The land of the Maasai warriors is also the largest of the East African countries, thus making it a mixed-race destination wherein influences blissfully blend. They are well-rooted in its culture and even resonate in its name: for the record, « Tanzania » was derived from the combination of Tanganyika and Zanzibar during the unification of these two countries in 1964. From then on, Tanzania has become a two-faced destination: the sea and its long sandy beaches, on the one hand, the mountains and the savannah on the other.

     

    The North

    With her high volcanoes dotted with eternal snow, the north of the country is undoubtedly the most mountainous part of the land (Kilimanjaro, Ngorongoro, Mount Méru). In the folds of its magnificent landscapes, you will be able to find the famous « Big Five »: lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and African buffalo. The region is punctuated by large national parks with mythical names (Serengeti, Tarangire…). With the villages of the Maasai warriors, the bush fauna and the yellow ochre palette of the region’s lands, this is the perfect place for a safari away from the built tracks

     

    The Large Central Plateau

    With the Maasai steppe and the African savannah strewn with baobabs and acacias, the central highlands have an undeniable power of attraction. Without spoiling anything, the landscape is dotted by the famous great lakes (Lake Malawi, Lake Tanganyika …) The western part, meanwhile, is crossed by the Great Rift Valley which extends majestically from the North to the South of the country.

     

    The Tanzanian Coast and Zanzibar

    The sea coast and the river deltas are covered with rich mangrove swamps and mangroves. Opposite Dar-es-Salaam, the seaside landscapes of the Zanzibar archipelago, bathed by the Indian Ocean, has been an extremely sought-after destination since the dawn of time.

     

    The musts

    Safari in the Ngorongoro park

    Spot the majestic elephants and adorable zebras in the heart of the Ngorongoro Crater 

     

    The north of the country and the large natural parks

    • Letting yourself be carried away by the beauty of Ngorongoro at sunrise. This ancient volcano which is now only a crater is undoubtedly the 8th wonder of the world. In the unique and unspoiled space of its caldera, wild animals abound and enjoy the halcyon days. With a little luck, you might come across the king of the savannah and its lion cubs.
    • Giving a shout out at the star of the country: Mount Kilimanjaro, proud of its 5895m and its famous eternal snow. This dormant volcano, which is also the roof of Africa, is nicknamed the old white man by the inhabitants of the region. Its incredible silhouette will likely stay encrusted in your memory forever!
    • Living an out-of-time interlude and getting acquainted with the Maasai, a clan of nomadic warrior nomads and herders. Being in contact with their ancestral culture and their craftworks, both the young and old will be able to take a real whiff of exoticism and humility. Be sure to admire their ancestral costumes and their beautiful pearl ornaments.
    • Exploring Lake Natron and its splendid pinkish reflections…! Being 54 km long and 23 km wide, this extraordinary lake is coloured by algae which gives it a colour that ranges from carmine to pinkish. A true sanctuary for the pink flamingos, it welcomes them every year during their breeding period. When seen from the sky, it looks magical!
    • Scaling up and confronting the world’s greats in the baobab forest of Tarangire Park. Between these trees with impressive trunks, elephants, no less imposing, roam. What an amazing experience it will be for children!

     

    Zanzibar and the coast

    • Strolling through Stone Town, the fabulous capital and cultural heiress of the archipelago. Its ancestral architecture, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, will leave no one unmoved. At the turn of its charming alleys, the city’s famous carved wooden doors are real works of art. For the record, here it is the door that is built first and then… the house is built around it!
    • Getting a closer look at the wonders of the nearby coral reef, with a simple mask and snorkel. Seabed-loving families will be able to enthral themselves at the 5-star Gabi Beach One Ocean PADI dive centre. For a change of scenery, they should not miss out on exploring the Mnemba Island and its surroundings: this idyllic lagoon encapsulates the best diving spots in the entirety of Zanzibar.
    • However, if your tribe gets excited by the green of the forest, rather than the blue of the sea, then you should be heading for the Jozani National Park instead. In the first light of the morning, you will be able to observe the rare monkeys, including the impressive red colobus. This endemic animal is very endearing, with its dishevelled face and its tricolour coat. A tropical adventure that will appeal to the whole family!

     

    Our luxury addresses for families

    Singita with Little Guest Hotels Collection

    Singita Serengeti House is a 100% kids-friendly address in Africa’s second-largest animal park

     

    The north of the country and the large natural parks

    Located on Sasakwa Hill, the Singita Serengeti House is a splendid house that can be entirely privatized, and which is situated in the heart of Africa’s second-largest wildlife park, the Serengeti. This magical place lives in balance with the surrounding landscapes and, at dusk, there will be a great possibility of you seeing some wild animals from the windows of its luxurious suites. Of course, a little feeling of “Out of Africa” permeates this location! Far from the turpitudes of this world, travellers will here be able to enjoy the most complete relaxation in a refined setting that highlights natural materials. From the establishment, safaris will enable you to be able to observe the wildebeest, zebras, giraffes, but also the famous « Big Five » on a daily basis. To go on a family safari, this place is magical: numerous activities have been thought of for the families and to occupy the youngest travellers (especially if they are too young to go on safari)!

     

    Zanzibar

    The Meliá Zanzibar hotel is ideally located on the east coast of the main island in the archipelago of the same name. Nestled between the palm trees of the Kiwengwa Pongwe Forest and a 300-meter-long sandy beach, this luxurious address gives travelling families the opportunity of getting away carefreely. Several pavilions brilliantly integrate certain features of Swahili architecture, while winking at the magnificent palaces of the island’s capital, Stone Town. Surrounded by greenery, they hostcomfortable rooms and luxurious family suites. For even more privacy, the exclusive villas with a garden and a private pool never lose sight of the sea. Toddlers love the kids-club’s activities, while the parents love the fact that it is free of charge! Without a shred of doubt, all conditions have been put together to enable you to live an all-inclusive 5-star experience, full of pleasant surprises and relaxation.

     

    Gastronomy

    African food at the Singita Explore

    Children will definitely love the African gastronomy which is known to be diverse and varied

     

    The north of the country and the large natural parks

    With its name inspired by the African tradition, Boma Grill could only highlight local products. In the centre of the main room, an open fireplace gives the room a very pleasant warm atmosphere after a day outdoors. On the menu, some original dishes will surprise curious palates, such as the tasty banana soup and its diced roast beef, the masala shrimp accompanied by crispy sweet potatoes or the typical Kachumbari salad. Emblem of East Africa, this spicy rawness highlights finely cut tomatoes and onions. Central Serengeti, Serengeti National Park, 14321. Itinerary

    Do you wish to savour the local cuisine, in a secret place that is surrounded by greenery, while partaking in an ethical approach? Themi Living Garden will meet all your expectations. This friendly, rustic and above all eco-friendly Tanzanian restaurant is managed by a community of women. Here, everything is grown in organic, association gardens. Thus, for a healthy and vegetarian lunch, Themi Living is the ideal place. In all simplicity, you will be served eggplant patties or spinach frittata with lentils and sweet potatoes enhanced by chilli sauce. The spicy tea is a delight! Old Moshi Road, Southeast Side of Themi Bridge, Arusha National Park, Tanzania. Itinerary

     

    Zanzibar

    Imagine a little lonely island covered with vegetation, a few small houses with braided roofs and a host of terraces overlooking the blue waves of the ocean. In short, a soothing away from the built track! With the sea stretching as far as the eye can see, The Island – Pongwe Lodge Restaurant, offers iodized gastronomy: lobsters, shrimps, squid and octopus, not leaving out the sea urchin dishes which make the reputation of this locations. While « the grown-ups » will be sipping a cocktail, the toddlers will be feasting on the banana chips guacamole that accompanies them. Bonus: after the treat, you will be able to seize the opportunity on taking a dip in the establishment’s private cove! Pongwe Island, Zanzibar, Tanzania. Itinerary

    The Silk Route, a whole program in itself! Zanzibar is strongly influenced by neighbouring India, so it should be no surprise to see that the Hindu cuisine and its spicy flavours are being highlighted here! In a modern setting, The Silk Route showcases the country’s great classics with a contemporary twist. Children love the vegetarian samosas and the Makmali Boti Kebab where tender lamb cubes are spiced up with a touch of mint-flavoured cashew puree. A large selection of tandoori and tikka masala chickens will delight its lovers… Shangani Street, Stone Town, Zanzibar. Itinerary

     

    Family activities

    Turtles and spices

    Tanzania aroses children’s curiosity

     

    Zanzibar

    • Although in Tanzania, the inland is dedicated to safaris in Zanzibar, everything revolves around the sea. So, for a change, why not embark on a blue safari, in the footsteps of the turtles of the Nungwi sanctuary? Located in the fishing village that bears the same name, this natural aquarium preserves and protects these superb reptiles and gives the lucky ones the chance of swimming in their company. For you to have a special time, little guest recommends that you come early in the morning! After swimming, the whole family can enjoy the trendy atmosphere of the village. Practical information
    • It’s not for nothing that Zanzibar bears the pretty name of spice island. Its fertile soil and mild climate favour the growth of crops, and numerous Spices Farms offer spicy getaways. From a historical or botanical point of view, the whole family will have something to learn: did you know that cinnamon is a piece of bark that rolls upon itself? That vanilla is a liana? And that the colourful fruits of the incredible « Lipstick plant » are used as lipstick for the women of the island? The Zanzibar Spices Heritage Center guarantees a guided tour, as well as spices harvested from organic farms. You will be leaving with your pockets full of colours and flavours! Practical information
    • Are you more of a sea than land enthusiast? No problem at all! At the Seaweed Center, with feet in the water, globetrotting families will be able to discover the cultivation of seaweed and their metamorphosis, under the benevolent gaze of the women artisans (craftswomen). From the harvesting to the processing into natural cosmetics, these marine microorganisms have more than one trick up their sleeve! An interlude as exciting as it is ethical since the craftswomen are well paid and the products in the shop are natural and eco-responsible. Practical information

     

    The large parks, adventure and safari

    • A safari, multiple possibilities… In broad daylight or surrounded by the mysteries of the night, on land or in the air, on foot or comfortably seated in a jeep: in Tanzania, you will be spoilt for choice! For a change, why not embark on a water safari in the Selous Reserve? There, you will be able to observe hippos, elephants, crocodiles and a multitude of birds … and all the savannah people who come to drink on the banks of the river.
    • Our favourite national reserves and parks: the Ngorongoro (simply splendid), the Manyara (for its lake and its tropical forest), the Tarangire (for the authenticity of this little less visited park), the Serengeti (one of the largest parks, wherein you will have the feeling of being alone in the world…)
    • At Little Guest, our ultimate best pick goes to the hot air balloon safaris. To gain height in the silence of the vast outdoor spaces and to explore the Serengeti from the sky. In weightlessness over the savannah, it is a new, soothing and poetic way of capturing the panorama. To be able to observe the animals from above, without disturbing them! Practical information

     

    Our secrets for a successful family safari

    Safari with children in Tanzania

    Lights, camera, action! Watch the remake of the Lion King live.

     

    Going on a family safari is not a sure bet… and in order to win, it is better to anticipate and speak to professionals. Obviously, the impressive rangers’ green 4X4s, with their panoramic flat roof, are well-loved by the children, but… after a day, the bump, the dust on the way and the heat can become very stressful. If your little ones loved watching the Lion King on a loop, that’s a good sign, but don’t forget that although their capacity for amazement is infinite, they, however, lack the patience we have. So, what can be done?

    It’s very simple, you need to ask yourself the right questions before setting off for the trip: can my child remain calm and sit for several hours? Can he/she respect the basic rules of a safari (do not shout, do not make sudden movements…). The travel time to go from one reserve to another, in addition to the time spent on site (three to four hours in the bush) is it convenient to my child’s age…? The answer will obviously depend on the personality of your little darlings. Note that there is also a minimum age, variable, imposed by the regulations and by the organizers of the safari. Most safaris require children to be at least 7 years of age. This makes sense indeed, but with children below the age of 12, you can’t go everywhere or do everything…

     

    Our advice

    • A safari is magical. However, the time frame between the appearance of a gazelle and a zebra could be approximately an hour. Parents must, therefore, be able to preoccupy their children during this long wait, lest they might declare loud and clear « I’m bored!” Or worse “When are going back?”. Books (why not an image of animals from the savannah or African tales), a notebook to draw, or small games will help you manage these moments waiting.
    • Teach your children how to calmly observe animals and teach them to be patient. And you don’t have to go to Africa before teaching them this. In the park, during the observation of the birds in the garden or the neighbour’s dog, put your toddlers in good condition before jetting off for your family trip. It could become their favourite game!
    • Properly plan the excursions, for everyone’s comfort. The safaris start very early in the morning (the best time to be able to see the animals) until late at night. Take breaks so that the little ones can safely stretch their legs, have fun and rest. With children, three or four days of safari in a row is already very good. Also, avoid changing accommodation too often so as not to exhaust them unnecessarily.

     

    Visit Tanzania With Your Family

    Sweet break and relaxation in Tanzania

     

    Our secret…

    It can be summed up in one sentence: properly choose your lodge. A family-friendly establishment, with a swimming pool for relaxation, play areas and children-dedicated activities. The presence of a babysitting service is an added advantage, as you will be able to entrust your little ones in their care, while you explore the bush in peace. The prestigious Singita Game Reserve group is recognized worldwide for the quality of its facilities and for the bespoke safaris it organizes. Aside from the Family Safaris in the rentable jeeps that are convenient for the younger ones, what makes Singita Serengeti House and Singita Explore stand apart are their “kids” offers and their Mini-Ranger program. Thanks to this unique concept, your children will be able to learn how to follow animals, observe the stars, hunt frogs and spot birds. At the end of the stay, they will be given a nature quiz. If they succeed, they will be awarded an official certificate to prove their new knowledge of the African wild world!

     

    Practical information

    Weather and climate

    In Tanzania it’s quite simple, the further we go southwards and towards the Indian Ocean, the hotter it gets! In the North, in the region of large parks, January, February and March are the hottest months of the year (around 14 °C at night and 28 °C during the day). April and May are the rainy season months, so they are the wettest. On the other hand, July-August are the driest months. East Africa is subject to an equatorial climate, generally constant throughout the year, which is rather good news!

     

    Safari njema!

     

    Mylene Mylène

     

    Mylène, 28 years old, art and travel lover, from Strasbourg, France

     

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