It has the largest mountain in Africa (Mt Kilimanjaro). It’s home to one of the greatest concentrations of wildlife on the planet and has 22 national parks. It has highlands for amazing views, sweeping plains, and a stunning coastline. It also has some of the most gorgeous, palm-fringed tropical islands – like the spice island of Zanzibar – on which to rest, reset and relax. No wonder Tanzania is a bucket list destination for families in search of adventure!

If you’re looking for the perfect blend of tribal culture, jaw-dropping landscapes, and up-close wildlife viewing (emphasis on wild!), this incredible destination does it all. Read on to find out why there’s so much on offer on a Tanzania with kids adventure holiday, including some of the best safari game-viewing in the world.

Family summer holiday destinations - lion cubs in Tanzania's Serengeti

The wildlife in Tanzania is phenomenal in all the major national parks, with the world-renowned Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater the most prolific

Holidaying in Tanzania with kids – our Top 10 activities

1 – Go on the ultimate safari in the Serengeti

Teenager on family safari - Tanzania with kids itinerary

A safari in Africa is one of the most exciting family holidays, especially popular with teens

The jewel in the crown of Tanzania’s game parks, the Serengeti, arguably offers the very best wilderness game viewing in all of Africa. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the savannah grasslands stretch for as far as the eye can see, dotted with the occasional acacia tree and termite mound. This is the best place to see the Big 5 as all are plentiful here. Prides of lion rule, their hungry gaze sweeping the savannah for unsuspecting herds of eland, impala and gazelle. Cheetah and solitary leopard are much in evidence too, as are herds of elephant and zebra.

The Serengeti is also home to huge numbers of wildebeest that migrate in their thousands northwards each year in search of fresh new shoots as the grasslands turn dry and golden. The stuff of documentaries, their eventful journey takes them across the vast plains and through crocodile-infested rivers towards Kenya’s Masai Mara and back again. There is excellent game-viewing all year-round here and our sample Tanzania Safari and Beach holiday will take you to the Serengeti as well as to all the country’s most renowned hot spots.

2 – Canoe or walk in Arusha National Park

Family canoeing in Arusha Park on Tanzania with kids itinerary

A canoe trip in Arusha is the perfect way for the kids to spot wildlife and use up some energy

After a long-ish flight, what better introduction to Tanzania and its wildlife than Arusha National Park? Rather than heading straight for the huge national parks out west, we recommend this gem of a wildlife park, just half an hour from Arusha. Here, you’ll spend a morning on a walking safari across the plains, with giraffe just metres away. After a picnic lunch, you’ll love exploring the lake in search of hippo and abundant birdlife by canoe. You’ll also spot antelope resting in the shade and warthogs scuttling by! Feeling even more adventurous? Consider our Kilimanjaro Family Climb!

3 – Learn bush survival skills with indigenous bushmen

Learning bush skills, Tanzania

The kids will love learning how to survive in the bush with the Hadzabe

In the remote area around Lake Eyasi, there are still a number of bushmen living here who will teach you and your family skills which have been passed down for centuries. Learn how to make fire with a stick and some dried grass. Practice firing a bow and arrow. You may even be invited to join the bushmen on a hunt in the bush for small wild animals such as squirrels, rabbits, or birds.

4 – Camp under the stars in a tented safari camp

Tanzania tented camp - family dining

A stay in a tented camp in the African bush is an unforgettable family experience

For the ultimate Out of Africa experience with the family, don’t miss the many joys of a tented camp. Nothing beats feeling immersed in the sights, sounds, and smells of the bush. Our luxury and mid-range camps have proper beds and en suite facilities, and many have pools. After a morning or afternoon game drive, what better way to relax than a swim, as ostrich, wildebeest, warthogs, and zebra wander past? Enjoy sundowners from the raised deck, have dinner at the camp restaurant then sit by the campfire under the stars. A truly unforgettable, quintessential safari experience! Find out where else you could be staying on a Tanzania with kids holiday.

5 – Cycle through the banana plantations in Mto Wa Mbu

Kids on Tanzania holiday, cycling through banana plantations

A fun cycling excursion for all the family

Spend a wonderful morning cycling along quiet tracks through the lush green banana plantations near Mto Wa Mbu. Situated on the edge of the Rift Valley Escarpment, the countryside here is very picturesque. You can stop along the way to have a go at traditional Masai painting or learn to cook a typical Tanzanian meal.

6 – Eat snacks with sundowners around the campfire 

Kids sitting around a campfire in the Serengeti

What can beat sitting around a campfire with nibbles and pre-dinner drinks… take me there now!

The sun has set, leaving a red glow above the distant horizon. Silhouetted against this you can see zebra wandering past and warthog scampering through the bush. You are tired but exhilarated after a full-day game drive. The fire is lit and you relax in the flickering light as the stars come out in the skies overhead. This is the Africa that you will have dreamed of, where you spend your days out on safari and your nights in a tented camp under the African skies. This is one of the highlights of any trip to Tanzania with kids and will be an experience you will remember for a lifetime.

7 – Spot the Big 5 in the Ngorongoro Crater 

Family on safari in the Ngorongoro Crater

All the family will love spotting the Big 5 in the world-famous Ngorongoro Crater

The Ngorongoro Crater has one of the richest and most fertile grazing grounds in Africa which makes it a magnet for game and wildlife. Here, in the picturesque highlands of Tanzania you’ll spot the Big 5 – lion, leopard, black rhino, elephant and buffalo and much more besides. During the game drive you’ll also see giraffe and wildebeest trundling past in huge herds across the plains. Which of your family will spot the most? To find out more about Tanzania’s National Parks, take a look at our places to visit in Tanzania page.

8 – Paint a Masai masterpiece

Painting with the Masai in Tanzania

Get creative with the Masai

What better souvenir to bring home than a Masai masterpiece? At a local painting co-operative, resident artists will show you different styles of Tanzanian art before you try your hand. It’s an engaging, fun and memorable experience for the whole family, whether you’re artistic or not!

9 – Enjoy Zanzibar’s picture-perfect Indian Ocean

Child jumping from boat into blue ocean - Zanzibar with kids blog post

Zanzibar is both a stand-alone beach destination and the perfect accompaniment to a safari

If you’re looking for the ultimate in R&R at the beginning or end of your Tanzania with kids adventure, then the tropical, picture-perfect beaches of Zanzibar take some beating. Here, endless sweeps of powder-white sands are lapped by the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean, and you’ll be able to enjoy the best of them from your hotel or guest house. Also popular with families is an excursion to Mnemba Island. This is just a short hop from Zanzibar’s northeast coast, and home to some of the best snorkelling in East Africa. Zanzibar makes for the perfect end to a holiday in Tanzania with the kids. For more ideas on what to do and see here, check out our blog on the Top ten family activities in Zanzibar and see our sample Tanzania Safari and Beach itinerary.

10 – Explore historic Stone Town

View of Stone Town from the water

Exploring old Stone Town is fun, with much to learn about its history

If you can bear to tear yourselves away from the picture-perfect beaches, there are masses of excursions in Zanzibar. See the unique Red Colobus monkeys at the Jozani Forest Reserve, visit a spice farm, or spend a day in Stone Town, exploring the narrow alleyways that thread through the old quarter. Older children will also find it fascinating to visit the old slave market and learn about its dark history. There is a superb museum here, which tells the harrowing story of the slave trade using evocative pictures and stories about individual slaves and slave traders.

Tanzania with kids next step

For advice on how to incorporate any (or all) of these activities into a holiday in Tanzania with kids, contact us and we will be very happy to help. Visit our Tanzania family safari section for a comprehensive country overview or go straight to an example itinerary, Tanzania Safari and Beach. For inspiration from other families who have travelled to Tanzania with their kids see our customer feedback pages.

I’m always interested to hear about your travels so do email me with your feedback and experiences of holidaying in Tanzania with kids.

Liddy Pleasants, MD Stubborn Mule Travel [email protected].

Picture perfect beach in Zanzibar - Tanzania with kids itinerary

Zanzibar’s beaches are out of this world (photo thanks to Barney Worfolk Smith)