Tanzania with kids
Marloes Pronk spent part of her childhood in Tanzania, a period she looks back on with great love for the country and Tanzanians. When she became a mother, she looked forward to the moment to let her children see and experience her second ‘homeland’. Marloes and her husband choose the summer of 2023 to do that. Son Robin and daughter Eva are 9 and 7 years old.
After booking the flights in September 2022, the anticipation and preparation begins. Marloes: ‘Every family is different and every child is different. Everyone has their own wishes and expectations. During our trip to Tanzania, Robin was looking forward to going on safari, Eva wanted to be able to swim everywhere. These wishes were not difficult to organize. When putting together our trip, it was important to me that we took our time, did not have to rush and that the travel time between destinations was not too long. Some activities I had booked in advance. The rest we left to our own devices, because with young children, unexpected things can happen such as being sick for a day, or not feeling like going out for a day. You also want to give them time to process the impressions in between. It’s nice when something like that doesn’t mess up your vacation planning.
Wild animals Robin and Eva knew from Wild, their favorite magazine by Freek Vonk and from stories by Marloes. That in Tanzania they would see with their own eyes not only more than a hundred elephants, but also so many other animals, and often so close, the children had not expected. An elephant right next to the safari jeep was one of the highlights of the vacation for Eva. She found the elephants close to the tent exciting. But with the guides always around you never have to feel unsafe, she knew from her mother. For Robin, the discovery of a leopard was one of the highlights. Robin: “Our guide spotted a sleeping leopard in a tree in the distance. Very clever, he saw it without binoculars. Guides know very well what to look for. When you see animals you have to tell the others very gently, you don’t want to disturb them. Eva: ‘I sat in the back of the jeep looking around and up and discovered many birds, very large and with beautiful colors.’
Marloes: ‘With their friendliness and caring, Tanzanians are very close to you very quickly and you feel at ease with each other. The guides can speak English and the children already have English in school. So they were able to have whole conversations together. They loved teaching the guides the Dutch word for the animals we saw. The crew at the camp went to play soccer with them after dinner. With the Maasai they played volleyball.’ Robin: “Everyone there is cheerful and very nice and they take very good care of you. The people are happy even though they don’t have much stuff at all.’ Marloes: ‘The children realized how good they have it at home. They said, we’re not going to grumble immediately anymore when toys are broken or lost, because many children in Tanzania can’t just buy something new every time. The trip also brought them life lessons.
After almost three weeks in different locations in the middle of nature, with in between a visit to the house where Marloes lived and her nanny, the family concluded the trip with a week on Zanzibar. Relaxing together, going to the beach, swimming, snorkeling and the occasional outing. Robin: “I went snorkeling with a water guide. We saw Dory and Nemo, the moonfish and the anemonefish, and lots of other beautiful fish, as well as starfish and sea urchins.’ Eva: “There was also a boat with a plank from which you could jump into the water. And we drank from a coconut, which I really wanted.’ Marloes: ‘The open mind with which young children experience such a journey and see them enjoying the adventure is worth gold. They surrendered very easily to the flow and tranquility of nature. In one place we had no WiFi and no swimming facilities, and guess what, that became their favorite camp.’