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Written by: AK on 14 March 2018

The best lodges for families in Tanzania: where to stay on a family safari

Going on safari as a family is a very special experience. Spending time in nature offers a break from daily schedules and an opportunity to bond and make family memories together.

You and your children will see and experience so many new sights, sounds and smells on a family safari in Tanzania that you will most likely fall asleep instantly once you rest your head at your lodge for the night. However, these new surroundings can also be a potentially intimidating setting for younger children. You will not want to stagger across the grounds in the middle of the night to tuck in the little ones when they get a fright from a friendly gecko sitting on the wall, looking for a mosquito-meal.

That’s why we compiled a list of what we think are some of the best lodges for families in Tanzania.

Rivertrees Country Inn

Depending on your time of arrival in Tanzania, you can spend the first night of your trip in Arusha, before heading to the national parks the next morning. The Rivertrees Country Inn is a peaceful oasis surrounded by lush green trees, a small river flowing by. Children can move freely on the extensive grounds, hop into the swimming pool and watch monkeys climbing through the trees. The first signs of an exciting safari to come. Families can stay in adjoining rooms or even their own cottage. The Farm House has retained its homely atmosphere from the days when it was used as family home and heart of the former coffee estate. It offers room for up to ten people.

Have we mentioned the wood-fired pizzas? They are not only a favourite for children, but locals coming for dinner to Rivertrees, just to enjoy the best pizza around.

Location: Usa River, 40 minutes from Kilimanjaro International Airport
Age restrictions: none
Rooms: adjoining rooms under one roof, free-standing cottages

Serengeti Kati Kati Tented Camp

This tented camp in the middle of the Serengeti will get you as close to nature as only few others. On special private campsite – essentially just a designated patch of land – ten safari tents and one mess tent are pitched for the season. In this mobile bush camp, your family will have an authentic safari experience, going back to basics by immersing yourselves in nature. Being a mobile and unfenced camp, animals may pass by your tent at night. Staying at Kati Kati is like a never-ending game drive for the whole family. While you’re literally in the middle of nature, this camp is a little less adventurous than our Mobile Explorer Camp, as you have a spacious family tent with en-suite bathroom and toilet. You can stay behind closed zippers when using the bathroom at night.

Kati Kati’s educational philosophy of having minimum impact on the environment shines through in everything they do and it’s a great way to teach children about the sensitive ecosystem of the Serengeti.

Imagine sitting at a campfire, the only “bush TV” around, making out constellations of twinkling stars in the night sky and listening to the call of a hyena close by. A balloon safari the next morning will go down in family history.

Location: Serengeti, Seronera area
Age restrictions: none
Rooms: family tents available

Acacia Farm Lodge

At Acacia Farm Lodge your family has the opportunity to experience farm life first-hand. Offering great views across the Karatu farmlands, you and your children can join a vegetable and fruit farm tour to learn about rural Tanzania and life on a working farm. On nature walks, you learn about birds and butterflies and will even get a certificate as proof of your newly-acquired knowledge.

Shooting with bow and arrow in the lodge’s extensive garden will surely be a highlight for adventurous little ones. And for those who prefer to relax, there is always the swimming pool.

Located in Karatu with the Serengeti and Crater on the one side and the Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Parks on the other, it’s a great spot for stopping over and enjoying the activities after long hours in the car.

Location: Karatu
Age restrictions: none
Rooms: adjoining double rooms in one unit

Sangaiwe Tented Lodge

This tented lodge is a wonderful starting point for your safari in Tarangire National Park. You will sleep in a spacious safari tent, which is set on a wooden structure and has a solid-structured bath. This mix of tented camp and lodge – if you’re not sure what the difference is find out here – means you get the sense of security of a lodge and the sense of adventure and closeness to nature of a tented camp. The best of both worlds really.

The designer of the family tents must have had a family themselves and known that families need space – you won’t feel cramped here and will have space to breathe.

Kick-start your day with a short sunrise walk up the hill from where you can enjoy the view across Tarangire, go on a longer guided nature walk or jump in the pool after a dusty game drive. The food is served family-style.

Location: just outside Tarangire National Park
Age restrictions: none
Rooms: two-bedroom family cottage

Asilia The Highlands

At Asilia’s The Highlands, the tents themselves will cause excitement amongst the children – who else gets to stay in a UFO-style dome suite overlooking a mountain forest which is home to buffaloes and elephants?

This off the grid camp in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area gives your family the opportunity to get a better understanding of the traditional life of the local Maasai: join a staff member on an afternoon visit to their community and learn about cattle-herding practices around a traditional Maasai boma.

For young adults, 16 years and older, the descent into the Empakaai Crater and the hike to Olmoti Crater are an exciting opportunity to stretch your legs and go on a nature walk off the beaten track. While you get so much more than the classic Crater game drive at Asilia’s The Highlands, it goes without saying that scouting for rhinos and lions in the close-by Ngorongoro Crater will be a family activity to remember.

Location: 40km from Ngorongoro Crater, being the “highest-altitude property” in the region
Age restrictions: 5 years and older, Olmoti and Empakaai hikes: 16 years and older
Rooms: family unit dome tent

If your family is up for an adventure of a lifetime, join us on a family safari with one of our experienced safari guides who know that children always ask the most interesting questions. Let’s go!

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