Unbelievable wildlife viewing
There is no greater wildlife experience in the world than Tanzania — a nation that devotes 33% of its land to conservation and boasts the highest concentration of animals anywhere on the planet. From the vast Serengeti to the lust rain forests of the Mahale Mountains, Tanzania is home to wildebeest, chimpanzee, zebra, hippopotamus, giraffe, hyena and cheetah — just to name of few! Imagine seeing a hundred Thomson gazelle springing across a dirt road or majestic elephants leading their babies to a watering hole. Tanzania is the only place on earth where the “big five” — buffalo, elephant, leopard, the black-maned lion and the endangered, rare black rhinoceros — all live in one place.
Peaceful, safe and stable
Tanzania is a peaceful, safe country. A democracy since gaining independence in 1961, Tanzania is led by a president and national assembly elected by popular vote. While not a wealthy country, Tanzania is quite stable, and its people are committed to preserving its natural and cultural resources. Tanzania is referred to as the “Switzerland of Africa,” peacefully sustaining more than 120 different ethnic groups and free of the political upheaval present in some other African countries.
Serengeti National Park
Protected since 1921, the Serengeti became Tanzania’s first National Park 30 years later. The Serengeti is almost as large as the US state of Connecticut, and features grassland plains and savanna as well as riverine forest and woodlands. Wooded knolls mark the official entrance, called Naabi Hill Gate, which then drops into the park’s signature wide-open expansive plains. Like no other, this stretch embodies the meaning of the word “Serengeti,” which derives from the Maasai word Siringet, and has been translated as “the land that flows on forever.” Covering over 6,000 square miles of pristine land, the Serengeti offers not only sprawling landscapes but the largest migration of mammals on earth, including 1.5 million wildebeest.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Designated a World Heritage Site in 1979, Ngorongoro Crater is part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a wildlife and cultural preserve covering 3,200 square miles. Ten miles in diameter, the crater is the largest unbroken caldera, or ancient collapsed volcano, in the world. All of the Big Five can be found here: buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and the endangered, rare black rhinoceros. Members of the Maasai tribe, the only people permitted to live within the preserve’s boundaries, are quite visible in their bright red and royal blue cloths as they tend to their goat and cattle herds.
You’ll be warmly welcomed by the Maasai, a semi-nomadic people who live in northern Tanzania. The Maasai, who speak Maa, originated from the lower Nile valley and began migrating south around the fifteenth century, arriving in central Tanzania between the seventeenth and late eighteenth century. Your family will visit a Maasai boma (traditional village), where you will gain a glimpse into traditional Maasai culture and arts.
Why Tanzania with Thomson?
Friends Across Borders
School visits and pen pal meetings are two of this trip’s greatest highlights. You and your kids will meet teachers and students at a school near the town of Karatu and learn more about education in Tanzania. Children who have signed up for our Friends Across Borders Pen Pal program will enjoy meeting their pen pal and sharing with one another. Teen trips feature age-appropriate cultural immersion experiences in place of pen pals.
Tanzania-based for over 30 years
Thomson is the first US tour company licensed to operate safaris in Tanzania. Through 30+ years of experience, Thomson has created a one-of-kind experience for families. Nearly 70 staff are employed in Thomson's Arusha operation year-round, driving and maintaining safari vehicles, cooking, serving as expert guides, etc. Thomson's personal attention to detail and first-hand knowledge of Tanzania’s culture and natural resources ensure your family will have an unforgettable adventure. Your family will encounter new surprises ever y day traveling the back roads in custom four-wheel drive Land Rover safari vehicles. You’ll discover vast, ruggedly beautiful landscapes, stretching from the volcanic cone of Mount Meru to the Great Rift Valley, from the dramatic, tree-strewn landscape of Tarangire to the endless plains of the Serengeti. You'll meet local villagers, school children, artisans, the Maasai and your Tanzanian guides – who share their thoughts, traditions, language and everyday lives with you.
Private, custom-designed accommodations
Swahili for “home,” the Nyumbas are the culmination of over 30 years of safari expertise and are Thomson’s signature style of accommodation. Nyumbas are canvas structures luxuriously appointed with handcrafted furnishings, sisal rugs, Maasai beading, fine linens and antique textiles. The spacious layout offers plenty of room and each Thomson Nyumba includes a spacious private verandah with comfortable seating and a writing table. Oversized, fine-mesh windows look out over beautiful African vistas while allowing the fresh breeze in off the savannah. Private and comfortable en-suite bathrooms feature flush toilets and safari showers with plenty of hot water day or night. While at Thomson's Nyumbas, your family will enjoy unparalleled yet unobtrusive access to the wildlife. Unlike conventional lodges, the Nyumbas put you in the wild, up close to the animals. Imagine unhindered views of the star-filled night sky, gourmet meals prepared from fresh local ingredients in coal-fired ovens, and a sincere welcome from friendly, reliable staff at each camp. In short, it is the perfect balance of luxury, sustainability and immersion, a world away from civilization.
The guide is the key to a great safari! A guide's knowledge, sensitivity, and good humor are some of the most essential elements of a great safari. And quite simply, Thomson guides are the best. We don't say so. Thomson's guests do! They rave about every one of them, from Abraham to Charles to Willie. Thomson's guides were born and raised in Tanzania, and love to introduce visitors to the natural beauty and wildlife of their country. Most of them have been with Thomson for years, often starting as drivers or mechanics, and working their way up to senior safari guide. The guides all take naturalist courses or have degrees in natural history and wildlife. They maintain mental maps of Tanzania's back roads and hiding places and keep up-to-date on animal migrations — and they have super-sharp wildlife spotting abilities! The bottom line is, Thomson's guides are happy with their jobs, love to interact with people from different cultures, and work hard to make sure each guest is satisfied. You’ll appreciate their passion and enthusiasm as you experience Tanzania through their insightful eyes.
Small groups and personal attention
Small group size gives Thomson the ability to respond to each guest as an individual, with unique needs, wants and desires. When you call, any member of our staff will answer your questions with authority and patience. After you book a trip, we'll stay in contact, providing you with thorough information about your trip. This level of personal interaction continues in Tanzania, where Thomson's staff is as curious about you as you are about them.
Most safari operators restrict the number of miles their drivers can drive per day. Thomson wants you to have the most rewarding wildlife experience so there is no mileage restriction for guides and drivers.
There is something for everyone
Since our knowledge of Tanzania is so intimate and thorough, we really know how to cater to every type of traveler. We get it – not everyone has the same time availability, the same budget, or the same interests. Some people have more physical limitations than others, and some people like to live on the edge for a full-fledged family adventure. Whether you’re looking to spot lions and wildebeest in the Serengeti, leave the tropical temperatures behind on a trek to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, learn from members of the Maasai tribe and connect with local Tanzanians, or unwind on the beach in Zanzibar, Thomson has something for you.