What Every Parent Should Know Before Travelling to Tanzania with Kids

giraffes in tanzania

Traveling to Tanzania with kids does not have to be a difficult or boring trip. As-seen-on-TV wildlife, pristine beaches, happy and friendly locals, massive game parks and reserves like the Serengeti, and the Ngorongoro, the majestic Mt Kilimanjaro, and the breathtaking Zanzibar Archipelago; these are just some of the things that Tanzania has to offer visitors from around the world. 

This post is part of our Discover Africa series

The Serengeti National Park, for example, is a fantastic opportunity to view possibly one of the most awesome spectacles of the planet – the great wildebeest migration, not to mention the myriad of other wildlife one would ever otherwise have the chance to see up close. 

The historic Stone Town Zanzibar is picturesque and exotic. Mt Kilimanjaro, the iconic African peak, has more to offer than just stunning views after a climb. Children are particularly likely to enjoy the Chimpanzee Tracking adventures. A trip to meet the chimps can be combined with a Katavi National Park safari or a visit to Lake Tanganyika for an unforgettable experience.

But Tanzania is not just all forests and animals; there are also stunning beaches and water sports. Visit exotic archipelagos or explore the massive Indian Ocean shoreline for pristine white sand, swaying palms, and fantastic opportunities for diving. For history buffs, there are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Rock-Art, and more. 

It can seem complicated and expensive to plan a trip to Tanzania with children at first, as there is so much to consider.

There are several factors, from high prices for accommodation to expensive park fees, long distances to travel, and vehicle rental costs, not to mention health concerns. But, with a bit of planning and forethought, it can become the family adventure of your lives. 

Here are some things to keep in mind before travelling to Tanzania with kids:

  • Apply for an e Visa to Tanzania: you don’t have to waste your time visiting the nearest embassy; obtain an electronic visa for you and all family members travelling to Tanzania with you. Remember that applications for children should be submitted by their parents/guardians.
  • Choose either a 30-day one-entry e Visa or multiple-entry e Visa (if you are a US citizen) valid for one year and allowing a 90-day stay each time. Submit your application for the Tanzania e Visa at least 10 days in advance!
  • Plan how long you’ll need: Are you limited by school holidays or planning to slow travel through Tanzania? Want to balance your time between wildlife experiences and island life? This three-week itinerary for Tanzania gives a great overview of how to combine the best of mainland Tanzania with Zanzibar. With younger kids, you can cut down the time spent in Killiminjaro and fit the highlights into a 2-week school break.
  • Choose the season with care: the best time to visit Tanzania with kids is probably the cooler, dry season that runs from June to September – ideal for European & North American families on summer break. It’s best to avoid visiting from March till May since this is the time of the rainy season in Tanzania. Moreover, the dry season offers the best possibility to experience the Great Migration, which is something that most definitely should not be missed when in Tanzania! Another great option would be to visit in the early months of the year, particularly January and February, if you need to cut costs. This is not peak season, so the prices will be a little bit more friendly!
  • Health first: check what vaccinations are needed, and make sure to carry malarial prophylactics, mosquito nets for sleeping, and long-sleeved shirts. Moreover, it’s best to keep insect repellent with you at all times. Avoid shorts, though it might be hot, and always have you and your kids wear socks and put on mosquito repellent.
  • Watch the food: avoid street food for children, and carry fresh and dried fruit and bottled juices that you can replenish in the cities. 
  • For infants: carry a small blanket or your changing pad, baby foods, powdered milk, disposable nappies, baby wipes, etc. You won’t get them anywhere except in the bigger towns and cities, so keep tabs on when you are running low – you can check out our guide to the best backpack style of diaper bags, ideal for active adventures with small kids.
  • Check age restrictions: most wildlife lodges and safari camps will not accommodate children below 8 or 12 years of age, so check before booking.
  • Prepare for feeling sick: carry motion sickness pills, the bumpy rides around game parks, and children’s Imodium for cases of travellers’ diarrhea – never leave home without a good first aid kit!
  • Plan for the boring bits: pack some stuff to entertain your kids during the long but not exciting stretches, like books, board games, colouring games, etc – you’ll find our advice on travel toys for every age group here.
  • Pack natural clothing: the best type of clothing to have in Tanzania or in any country with similar weather conditions is the natural one. Natural, breathable materials, such as cotton or linen, are the best to choose. Moreover, ensure that your clothes are in earth-toned colours so that you can avoid attracting the bugs! 

Tanzania is a fairly safe destination to explore with kids. You should always follow advice from the guide or activity host to make sure you are well-prepared for any surprises. 

There are numerous fun things to do in Tanzania, so you don’t have to worry that your children will get bored easily. Take your family and get ready for a fantastic experience! 

Don’t forget to get Tanzania e-Visa before your trip, both for you and all your young travel companions!

Want more from Africa with kids?

The continent of Africa can offer family travellers inspiring trips of a lifetime. If you’d love to create your own African family adventure, you may also be interested to read about:

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