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Rosie Millard on the Longleat Family African Safari

After five days on the Longleat African Safari, my four children can tell the difference between a leopard’s pawprint and a hyena’s. They know what a Carmine Bee-eater looks like. They have found out what sort of animals visit a waterhole at night, thanks to an infra-red camera trap. They also understand that when Charlie the big bull elephant is pawing the ground, flapping his ears and trotting towards us trumpeting, it’s not really very dangerous. Really? “He looked pretty nasty to me,” murmurs my husband, who is not Bear Grylls and who last encountered elephant at Whipsnade several years ago. “Charlie is fine. The one you have to watch out for is Colossus,” says our guide David Guthrie. “When he starts walking purposefully towards you, you simply have to retreat. Immediately.” Our guide should know; he runs a conservation project which has been collaring and tracking elephant in Sadaani via GPS for three years, and he knows the characters of all the bulls. Elephant poaching is rampant in Tanzania, where poachers have begun to service a new, illicit ivory market in China. David explained how he is trying to install safe elephant ‘corridors’ through the country, so the giant beasts can move safely around the game reserves. This is a trip where learning takes place alongside looking, and we all loved it; out in the bush, the whole thing seemed so much more immediate. We stayed in an incredibly comfortable family sized lodge on stilts beside the Indian Ocean; but each family was given one night in a four-storey wood and thatch fully staffed Watch Tower constructed on the edge of the National Park. After a three course meal, you go to sleep in fully netted beds (this is a malarial zone) under the African stars, surrounded by croaking, chattering, and a rather spooky knocking sound. We woke at dawn to see waterbuck, giraffe and lines of guinea fowl blearily wandering around, almost as if they were deliberating whether they should pop down to the waterhole to make a cup of tea. It was magical. Almost as magical as the football match our guide Abraham arranged for us when we arrived in Zanzibar. Twenty local kids; a proper sized pitch and heaps of enthusiasm. The tourists played alongside the locals, not against them, for a fast-paced game which after a penalty shoot-out,  was declared a draw. Handshakes all round and big smiles. The shared language of football came up trumps, and our children were able to integrate, just a little bit, into the life of local children in Zanzibar.

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Elephant tracking in Saadani National Park
Elephant tracking
Elephant
Millards in the sea
Safari jeep in Saadani
Millards in football kits
From £1,790pp exc flights
4.5
(average rating, based on 4 reviews)
Trip type: 
Family - Wildlife
Adventure level: 
2. Gentle
Max group size: 
16
Minimum age: 
7

Longleat Family African Safari

Africa, Tanzania | 10 days
Trip code: 
YTFL
Families only
Elephant conservation - Tanzania
Spot amazing wildlife, get a ‘hands on’ insight into elephant and turtle conservation and explore exotic Zanzibar. You'll stay in comfortable accommodation throughout.

Departs in:

  • J
  • F
  • M
  • A
  • M
  • J
  • J
  • A
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