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Entries about family travel

Day 14 - Zanzibar

Diving, beaches, and dhow cruising

sunny 95 °F

We headed out this morning to go scuba diving at Mnemba Island, Zanzibar's premier diving spot. This little island is off the northeast coast of Zanzibar. The hotels at Matemwe are the closest to this dive spot, and there is a very expensive lodge right on Mnemba, but you can access the dive area by boat from the north end of the island or the upper east end of the island.

From Nungwi, it is a 1-1/2 hour boat ride to Mnemba. We used Spanish Dancer Diving and found them very professional. It was $100/person. You can find diving for as little as $85/person, but I couldn't be sure of the quality of personnel or equipment.

We found the diving to be absolutely spectacular -- countless amazing tropical fish, moray eels, sting rays, and cozy warm water.

In the evening, we did a dhow cruise for $15/person for 2-1/2 hours. What a wonderful way to watch the sunset from these gorgeous boats cruising up and down the coastline.

Posted by bolderwork 11:31 Archived in Tanzania Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Day 8 - Lake Manyara

Starting our Tanzania safari!

sunny 95 °F

Moshi and Arusha may not be big cities, but this is where you find business services that you won't find once you are off on safari: ATM, currency exchange, food markets, and Internet cafes. If you haven't done it already, the morning you head off on safari is the time to "take care of business".

It's about 3-4 hours driving from Moshi to Lake Manyara depending on traffic. We stopped at the Snake Park en route, which was a highlight for the 6-year-old boy! For $10/adult and $5/child, they have lots of poisonous snakes and pythons to enjoy. Additionally, they have crocodiles -- babies, mid-sized, and really big -- and turtles. There is even a rufus snake you can hold.

Included in the fee is entrance to the Maasai Cultural Museum next door. A guide takes you through and talks about the Maasai culture. It's a nice introduction without feeling the intense pressure to buy, buy, buy.

On to the village of Mto Wa Mbo (Mosquito River), which also has a few business services, but everything seems to get more expensive the farther you get from Arusha/Moshi.

Some people are not crazy about Lake Manyara, but I have been there 4 times now and loved every visit. I think it is a great first park and well worth at least half a day. The conditions vary from season to season and year to year, but there always seem to be elephants, giraffes, gazelles, dik diks, hippos, baboons, and amazing bird life. If the water is high enough, you can even go canoing.

Posted by bolderwork 08:04 Archived in Tanzania Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Day 5 - Moshi

Tanzania with kids

sunny 90 °F

Moshi is a very walkable town. There are particular "tourist attractions", but I can easily entertain myself in the area for a few days. I love the tailors with his/her sewing machines right on the sidewalks, the produce market with oranges stacked on top of each other in precarious towers, and the outdoor market that sells everything from Kilimanjaro t-shirts to tupperware to dried fish.

Our son mostly liked the mini-market that sold peanut butter, jelly, and bread. Mix the PB&J with ice cream, and you have a winner with the kids!

Posted by bolderwork 05:27 Archived in Tanzania Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Day 1 - Nairobi

What to see and do in Nairobi with kids

sunny 80 °F

Nairobi gets a lot of bad press, but there are a few interesting things to see and do there that even kids will like.

Adventures Within Reach started the day at the elephant orphanage at the Nairobi National Park. It is only open from 11am-12pm every day, so it's important to plan your day around this.

The rest of the day we spent in the Karen region, a quiet area just outside Nairobi. We had a nice lunch at the Karen Coffee Gardens, which has beautiful grounds with a large grassy area to stretch your legs.

Next we headed to the Giraffe Centre, which is a great place to visit for both kids and adults. Here you can see the rare Rothchild giraffes and a whole bunch of warthogs. However, the highlight is feeding the giraffes by hand from the second story deck. Face to face with their long, gooey, sticky tongues makes for some incredible stories and photographs!

The last stop of the day was the Karen Blixen Museum. If you are a fan of Karen Blixen and the movie Out of Africa, this will be a treat. The museum is located in her house, which you will recognize from the movie. Out front is a large grass yard on which our son chased butterflies and dragonflies for a good hour!

If you have a second day in Nairobi, you can easily spend the day at the butterfly park, the Nairobi Museum (reopening in February 2008), and an afternoon at the cultural dance center.

If you are coming from the U.S., be sure to allow some afternoon downtime because of jet lag.

For hotels, I would recommend the Giraffe Manor or Karen Blixen Coffee Gardens in Karen (both quite expensive). In the city center, there is the Silversprings Hotel (unimpressive 3-star, but centrally located and has a great workout facility and spa), the Panafric Hotel (a slightly nicer 3-star), or the Norfolk Hotel (upscale).

Posted by bolderwork 04:14 Archived in Kenya Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

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