Tanzania and Zanzibar

Families looking to truly take in nature and wildlife can skip the zoo and take a trip to Tanzania instead. Though famous for the Serengeti, Tanzania is actually home to Africa’s biggest game reserve, the 22,000-square-mile Selous, with its luxury tented lodges that allow guests to become one with the environment. Safari vacations are best topped off with a stay on the island of Zanzibar, known for its spices, architecture and family-friendly beach resorts.


The Selous Safari Company (www.selous.com) offers two options for families—the Selous Safari Camp, with its nine luxury tents, or the aptly named Private Camp, which has only four tented suites, each with its own butler. The Selous Private Camp is the smallest camp in East Africa and is the very definition of exclusivity, or as Marketing Manager Bobby McKenna ([email protected]) says, “Exselousivity.” All of the suites at Selous Private are located along the banks of Lake Nzerakera, which means that at any given time guests can watch hippos, impalas and other animals right from their room. Guests have to be on the lookout for wild animals during the day and are advised to stay inside their tents at night (armed guards escort guests to a central dining room, built on a tall platform, for dinner).



July through September are the busiest months, and given the camp’s small size, reservations should be made at least nine months in advance. The Selous Safari Company does not take children under the age of 6.

The main building at the Selous Impala Camp (www.adventurecamps.co.tz/selousimpalacamp.htm) serves as the lounge and dining room and has breathtaking views of the Rufiji River below. The camp itself has seven tented suites, all built on a cliff high above the river, and an eighth tent consisting of two adjacent units (both are self-contained), which is popular with families. Tents have teak floors, writing desks with brass lamps and vibrant kikoy-print bedspreads. Tents 1 through 6 have the best sunset view, as they face eastward over the Rufiji River.


Excursion Manager David Liebst arranges daily activities, including driving safaris, boat safaris and fishing. Make sure to book an early-morning walking safari, which allows guests to enjoy the flora and view animals that might be scared off by a vehicle. Walking safaris start with a 5:30 a.m. wakeup call, complete with coffee or tea in your tent, and end with a lakeside breakfast.

Reservations can be made via email ([email protected]), and Camp Manager Micol Farina ([email protected]) is on hand to assist with VIP bookings. Book early, especially for August, September and October reservations. Most agents book 12 months in advance

The Zanzibar Serena Inn (www.serenahotels.com), a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, is in the middle of Stone Town, Zanzibar’s capital. Families should book one of the six prime rooms, which are connected to a twin room for additional sleeping space. Prime rooms are located at the end of the corridors, with large L-shaped balconies and hammocks, and have the best views of the ocean.

Rooms Manager Jonathan Cheres ([email protected]) acts as the liaison for VIP guests.  Agents can also contact General Manager Charles Muia ([email protected]) if necessary. The hotel can arrange for VIP lounge passes at the airport, free transfers to and from the airport, as well as free laundry services. Reservations can be made online and should be made at least three months in advance. The Zanzibar International Film Festival, which takes place in June or July, is held in Stone Town and brings hundreds of visitors to the island. The Serena Inn is busiest from then until September.  

Bringing the kids? Babysitting is available. The Serena Inn is also the only hotel in Zanzibar to offer wireless Internet access. The hotel is ideally situated next to Zanzibar’s main shopping area, museums and other attractions. Guests can also spend a day at the hotel’s private beach, about 30 minutes away, and dine at the Mangapwani Beach Restaurant. Make sure to also book an excursion to nearby Prison Island to see and feed the giant tortoises.





Zamani Zanzibar’s Anantara Spa epitomizes the exclusive spa experience.

Reservations should be made at least three months in advance on the website or by contacting General Manager Emel Atikkan ([email protected]).  High season here is July through August and December and January. The hotel offers limousine pickup service from the airport, which is about one hour away. Note for clients who like to travel with kids: Babysitting is available and the hotel’s kids’ club is in the final stages of development.  

Each villa at Zamani Zanzibar Kempinski (Presidential Villa master bedroom shown) features butler

When it’s time to relax, advise clients to head to the Anantara Spa—it has six treatment suites, one Thai treatment room and two outdoor rooms. Book either the popular aromatherapy massage or the signature treatment, the 145-minute Spice Your Senses, which includes a floral footbath, spice scrubs, herb-and-spice bath and Swedish massage. Treatments can be booked in advance by sending an e-mail to [email protected], though this is only really necessary during the high season.

Zanzibar Serena Inn is in the heart of Stone Town.

Zamani Zanzibar Kempinski (www.kempinski-zanzibar.com) is a new hotel and is the first internationally branded five-star hotel on the island. The one-, two- and three-bedroom villas, each with a butler, swimming pool and kitchenette, provide the best accommodations for families. Also popular are the 10 Zamani suites, each of which has private roof decks and outdoor showers.  

A Selous Safari Camp swimming pool overlooks the bush (above).


Selous Impala Lodge features teak floors and ornate African furnishings and accents.

Prince Charles and his sons, princes William and Harry, have vacationed at the Private Camp. Contact McKenna, who handles all VIP bookings. The camp fee includes all meals, game drives, boat safaris, walking safaris and other activities, as well as the airstrip transfer fee. The camp is a 25-minute flight from Tanzania’s capital city, Dar-es-Salaam. A helicopter service can be arranged to the camp’s private airstrip at Siwandu, a 15-minute drive away. Private planes can also be parked at the Siwandu airstrip, although McKenna warns, “A game warden must be arranged to keep the hyenas away from the tires.”

Selous Safari Camp guests can view elephants and other wildlife up close and personal on various excursions.

Each tented suite has two verandas, one to the front of the bedroom and one to the rear, and a spacious bathroom with a double-vanity, Indian-brass sinks and an open-air shower.

Selous Safari Camp comprises nine luxury tents, all of which feature plush furnishings and stellar views.


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