Tanzania Packing List

Indagare member Andrea van Beuren traveled to Tanzania with her husband and two daughters, age eight and eleven. They stayed at three different lodges: Lake Manyara Tree Lodge, Grumeti River Tented Camp and Ngorongoro Crater Lodge. Going on safari with kids can be incredibly rewarding. Here is van Beuren’s advice on what to know before going on safari.


I bought a medium size roll-away duffel for each of us. If I had to do it again, I probably would NOT have taken bags with wheels, as the wheels add extra weight and really don’t help the baggage handlers much as most of the runways you’ll be landing on are rock, dirt or sand so your bags will have to be carried anyway. It is definitely worth your while having one bag per person as opposed to trying to fit two people’s things in one larger bag: 1) because of the airline’s weight limits per bag and, 2) because it just makes your bags harder to carry for whatever poor soul has the job.

Dress code

All the camps are very informal. Even one night at the Grumeti River Tented Camp, where we met a well-established film producer, his beautiful French wife was wearing a fresh pair of safari pants (from EMS I think), a white T-shirt and her Havianas. I didn’t get much fancier than a pair of white AG Jeans, a long cozy James Perse sweater and a pair of Tory Burch flat sandals. Heels would have looked ridiculous, and frankly, I felt overdressed in the aforementioned outfit. The point I’m trying to make is to pack light, especially if you are staying in more than one camp and you are moving around a lot.


A detail that I made the mistake of overlooking is that all the &Beyond Resorts that we stayed at offer same-day complimentary laundry service. And when you get your clothes back they don’t feel like stacked pieces of cardboard; rather, they are soft and ironed and clean. I would have packed about a third (literally) of what I packed for my myself and my kids (and my husband agrees) and that leads me to my next note about packing.

Kid’s Clothing

Contrary to popular belief, if you go on safari, at least at the camps that we did, you don’t need hiking boots and neither do your kids. Since you are not allowed to leave the vehicles that you are riding in, the best advice is to make sure you pack clothing that the kids are comfortable in. EMS makes great pants that enable you to zipper off the leg when it gets hot out. My girls lived in these, as did my husband. For shoes, I went with Merrells for my eight-year-old and Salomons for my eleven-year-old. Also, be sure to pack bathing suits.

All the &Beyond resorts stock their rooms with very large glass bottles of some sort of fabulous shampoo and conditioner as well as bottles of thick, fabulous, fragrance-free body cream. Although I had stocked myself with travel size bottles of Frederick Fekkai hair products for me and kid-friendly shampoos for the kids, they remained untouched throughout the entire trip. Along this note, all the rooms also had big, working hair dryers (although I never actually used one).


I brought a MacBook Air, packed with pre-downloaded movies and TV shows for myself and the kids and then each of us had our own iPad. This is key. I could charge the iPads off of the computer and change up the entertainment when I needed to. (MacBook Airs don’t have infinite storage space, but Apple makes a small light external hard-drive called the Passport.) Note: You do not want to be trying to download anything once you are in Africa. There is no wireless internet access at any of the camps, unless you want to bring your computer into their office, plug into the wall and work there (and even then it is VERY slow), but for the most part cell phone service was good. I panicked at the last minute and rented a local cell phone (I had left my two-year-old son at home in the USA with my in-laws), but the reality is that if anyone really needs to reach you they can just call the camp office; since everyone in each camp are in touch with each other via walkie-talkies, you can be reached immediately if you need to be.


Next trip to Africa I am going to come stocked with $5 and $10 dollars bills. American dollars. Although all the tipping at the &Beyond resorts can be added to your bill and paid for at the end by credit card (incredibly helpful), when you are being transported from one resort to another and at the main airports, there are lots of instances where you might need a small amount of cash and the American Dollar seems (at least at this point) to be infinitely more popular than the Tanzanian Shilling or the Euro.


Picking out journals in advance for your children is key. My girls each picked out their own journal and spent the whole trip collecting tickets, leaves, bottle caps and other assorted sundries that they taped in and wrote about. By the end of the trip, the journals were chock-full of their day-to-day travels. (Bring your own scotch tape!)

Cameras are key. Since you end up spending many hours in a Jeep, you will be very happy if you make the investment of buying each child a digital camera with a zoom lens. They will be thrilled to be able to film as well as photograph the animals. Don’t forget the cord to download their images onto your computer at night, or better yet, bring large memory cards.

Published onFebruary 6, 2011

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