Why You Don’t Need to be a Camper to Love a Safari

Written by Thomson Safaris

mackenzie on a camping safari in tanzania

This week we have the pleasure of speaking with a recent guest, Mackenzie, who recounts the safari adventure she experienced with her family. She shares helpful tips for those of you planning your own Tanzania safari – everything from trip essentials and camping tips, to picture-perfect hair without electricity.


What was it like to go on safari with your family?
My experience with Thomson Safaris was absolutely incredible. We had the best time spotting animals and enjoying the natural surroundings. I loved being able to spend time with my family while also meeting new friends at the Nyumba camps. Our guide was amazing, and well versed about all the wildlife and traditions of Tanzania.

miller family on safari in tanzaniaThe Miller family enjoyed the hot-air balloon ride over the Serengeti 


Any tips you can provide for families who are preparing for a Tanzania safari?
Bring good walking/hiking shoes. Also, bring a warm jacket for night because it can definitely get a little chilly around dinner time. A good camera is definitely a must! I was glad that I brought my camera so I could capture all of the incredible moments we had on our trip. And lastly, enjoy every second of your trip – it goes by so quickly. It really is an incredible opportunity to make memories with your family.


Any memorable moments you’d like to share?
One of my favorite moments on our family safari was seeing a beautiful lioness creeping through the tall grass on the hunt. She chased a crowd of zebras, but ultimately it was an unsuccessful hunting mission for the lion – the zebras got to see another day. I didn’t imagine we would get to see a hunt, especially in broad daylight. I will never forget that exciting moment in the Central Serengeti!

Another incredible experience was taking a hot air balloon ride with my family. I am very scared of heights, and was definitely nervous at first, but it ended up being one of the best things I have ever done. We were able to see so many animals and, appreciated being able to see the Serengeti from above – a completely new and stunning perspective.

lion hunt in the Serengeti

milller family watched a lion hunting on safari in tanzaniaUp close viewing of a lion on the prowl

We saw your incredible wildlife photos, and they are stunning! Did you have any photography training before the safari?
I didn’t have any photography training prior to the safari. However, my family and I had the best time taking pictures of the gorgeous animals of Tanzania. Every night at dinner we would share our ‘slideshow’ of photos from the day!


Did you have a favorite spot or national park on the trip for animal spotting and photos?
My very favorite national park was Tarangire. We saw so many elephants – including herds with baby elephants. They came so close to our Land Rover, so we were able to get some pretty cool pictures, especially of the young calves and their mothers playing in the mud.

elephants in tarangire national park tanzaniaTarangire National Park is well-known for large elephant populations


Let’s talk about camping
I am definitely not a camper. I did backpack across Europe with my dad a few years ago, but in general, I am not usually a very ‘outdoorsy’ person. When I heard that we would be staying in tents during our time in Africa, I have to admit that I was very nervous. However, Thomson made me realize that camping can be really awesome and rewarding.

thomson lounge tent in the SerengetiThomson’s lounge and dining tent in the Serengeti

As a non-camper, what are your thoughts on the tented accommodations?
The Thomson tents were wonderful! I was apprehensive about staying in a tent prior to arriving in Tanzania, but I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the safari accommodations. The tents are beautiful and huge, with a bathroom and shower, and the Maasai decorations made us feel extremely welcome. My favorite part was crawling into bed with a warm water bottle at night.

family camping on safari in the SerengetiMackenzie and her family relaxing at Thomson’s Nyumba camps

Can you share a few safari hair care tips, and ways to keep it looking great without a hairdryer?
Going two weeks without any hair tools is never easy for me, but during the safari I found a manageable way to maintain style without electricity. I suggest bringing sponge rollers for curls (which you can leave in overnight), and a little leave-in conditioner to keep hair soft during the dry season. If all else fails, a ponytail or braid will keep you looking fresh.