10 Family Safari Activities Your Kids Will Love

Written by Thomson Safaris
family and giraffes on walking safari in tanzania

A family safari in Tanzania? Absolutely! It’s the kind of trip that will get everyone interested in African wildlife and culture in meaningful ways. A family safari also highlights what travel does best: create shared memories that last a lifetime.

Our Perfect Family Safari comes loaded with immersive activities, games and experiences to help keep families engaged for the duration of the trip, no matter the age range.

Here are 10 family safari activities we include on every Perfect Family Safari.

Family Safari Wildlife viewing

It wouldn’t be a safari without romping wildebeest, lazy cheetahs, wandering giraffes, lions, rhinos…you get the idea. The wildlife and scenery in Tanzania are incredible. Timeless family memories practically make themselves on the plains.

wildlife viewing in tanzania on family safari

lion next to thomson landrover on family safari

Enhancing the experience for families are the guides that accompany you out into the bush. They are experts in their field and have decades of experience in keeping everyone engaged. On family safaris, their experience and enthusiasm shines through; the kids become immersed in the wild world around them.

 

Meet Your Tanzanian Pen Pal

Travel is all about connection. This is especially true for children, because every new person they meet can create lasting changes on the way they view the world. That’s why, when its possible, we strive to match your younger children with a Tanzanian pen pal before your safari.

Conditions permitting, your children will be able to meet their pen pal during your safari, too. Games, crafts, jump-rope and more are possible.

famliy safari guests meet tanzania penpals

meet tanzania penpal for first time

Some kids can by shy at first. That’s okay! Your safari guides are always there to help everyone feel comfortable with cultural and linguistic differences.

When Thomson guest Steven Friedlander and his daughter visited a school in Tanzania, they overcame these barriers with juggling.

“I had brought my juggling balls for fun, and I brought them out onto the soccer field and started juggling,” Steven said. “In seconds, we were surrounded by scores of kids all watching with mouths agape, asking to try. We spent probably 30 minutes connecting by playing.”

 

Tracker Training with Your Guide

maasai guide with kids

How do you tell the difference between the footprint of a dik-dik and a Thomson’s gazelle? A leopard and a lion? When you’re in camp, your guide will be able to show you!

The great part about Thomson’s Nyumba camps is that they are located right where the wildlife is. Sometimes, you’ll hear animals passing through your camp! This provides a special opportunity for your children to identify footprints, scat and unique plant species with your guide. Afterward, you’ll be able to tell what animals have been wandering around–there are always a few surprises!

 

Archery Adventures

After a day on safari, head back to camp for some archery! An askari (watchman) will demonstrate how to shoot the traditional, hand-made bow and arrow of the Ikoma people, who are known for their hunting prowess.

archery at camp on family safari

For the demonstration, your kids will use safe, point-free arrows. They can compete to see who has the best aim, and adults are encouraged to give it a try, too!

 

Optional Balloon Excursion

What makes a hot air balloon safari so beautiful? The exceptional quiet as you hover over the Serengeti plains? The bird’s eye view of galloping wildebeest at sunrise?

hot air balloon flight at dawn over serengeti

family on hot air balloon safari in tanzania

Intrepid children love flight, and the optional balloon excursion makes for an unforgettable family safari moment. Glide over the plains and acacia treetops, taking in spectacular views of the Seronera River Valley and beyond. After your descent, settle down for a champagne breakfast in the Serengeti wilderness–for the kids, a juice breakfast!

 

Cosmic Family Safari (Stargazing)

Your guides know a lot about safari, but they also know a lot about the stars. Pull up a seat by the campfire and ask about the constellations. Tanzania is in the southern hemisphere, so for many guests, this is a new perspective on stargazing!

night sky over eastern serengeti camp

Feel free to ask how to identify the constellations and the legends behind them. Keep in mind, no astronomical clarification or mythical story can convey the essential, beautiful beyondness of the night sky in Tanzania–the shining stars are a conversation stopper.

Family Safari with a Rafiki

Swahili for “friend,” a rafiki serves as a cultural liaison for kids on any family safari with eight or more guests. Consider them the “fun person” working alongside your guide to provide opportunities for recreational bonding activities.

thomson family safari rafiki frank

A rafiki:

  • Provides kid-friendly enrichment activities during your safari (games, puzzles and insider information about Tanzania’s nature, culture and scenery)
  • Provides organized fun for kids to help them bond during their adventure (such as icebreakers and other low-stress activities)
  • Keeps kids occupied during delays and flights
  • Gives parents a chance to relax and enjoy a stress-free safari, because their kids are engaged in activities that help them appreciate new cultures and ignite their sense of curiosity and adventure

“While our entire team of guides was beyond stupendous, I wanted to single out our children’s Rafiki, Frank, as someone who I believe truly changed my children’s lives with his insights into Tanzania.” –Elizabeth Larsen

 

Family Safari Activities at Gibb’s Farm

gibbs farm swimming pool

Gibb’s Farm is a luxury eco-resort in the Ngorongoro Highlands, and something of a family’s paradise. Rolling green hills, verdant pasturelands and a wide array of sweet smells, foods and experiences captivate the senses of everyone who visits. Travel + Leisure has named Gibb’s fifth among the Top 100 Hotels in the World, and one of the Best Safari Lodges in Africa for good reason.

girl painting with artist in residence at gibbs farm
Painting with the artist-in-residence at Gibb’s Farm

Families rave about Gibb’s farm for more than its personalized service, farm-to-table organic meals and elegant accommodations. Here are the family safari activities available at Gibb’s:

  • Collect eggs, milk cows and play with the friendly farm animals
  • Splash around in the pool, or catch some sun on the deck
  • Visit the Gibb’s artist in residence, and possibly try your hand at art as a family
  • Hike one of the several easy paths through Gibb’s, whether through the coffee fields or to the elephant caves

Here’s what time on the farm looks like for family guests:

 

Say it in Swahili

Casual, fun and interactive Swahili lessons with your guide help break the ice and get everyone talking. Pick up a couple words on your drive into the bush or ask how to say “Thank you” at dinnertime. Wherever you are, your guide is ready to share the language with you!

best guides in tanzania

Get a head start with 23 safari words and phrases you should know.

Crafts, Sports, Games

Need a touch of home on your family safari? Want to keep the kids entertained back at camp? Beading supplies, Frisbee, cards and Jenga are on hand at every campsite, and the crew is always happy to play an impromptu game of soccer.

camp staff playing soccer with family guests

Here’s What Our Family Safari Guests Say…

“Our safari was breathtaking and emotional, especially seeing my children’s eyes as they took in the scenery, people and wildlife. There are no words to capture the feelings of our experience!

Feeling safe and trusting the company you choose is so important. It was nice to relax with our family, sit back and enjoy the amazing adventure. My husband and I had the best time, but seeing our children go through these experiences was even better. Knowing that Thomson took care of everything made us feel special and great! Every detail was taken care of.”
–Jennifer Zaltman

family on safari with thomson

“I had the trip of a lifetime, and I will be forever grateful to my parents for taking me, and to all the Thomson staff who provided me with memories I will NEVER forget. From the wildlife to the culture, there was never a dull moment!”
–Alyssa Clifford, teen guest on a family safari

 

Learn more about Thomson’s family safaris