Exploring lands half a world away and searching for creatures you’ve never seen before – can you imagine a better bonding experience? Safaris embody the spirit of adventure and prompt thousands of teachable moments about wildlife, food, culture and more.
Gregg Pokraka, a father of two boys, told us, “there is no greater gift than travel for your children” after his Tanzania family safari. Here are a few other things he shared with us.
How and why did your family decide to travel to Tanzania?
I knew that Tanzania would provide an experience unlike any other and change my kids’ perspectives on the world around us, from the wildlife to the people to the landscape.
Can you share some memories of traveling with your sons on this trip?
It was an incredible adventure, from waking up in Africa and hearing the birds, monkeys, sometimes lions and even elephants, to the Maasai boma visit at Ngorongoro where my boys were able to experience a completely different way of life. From the wide-open space in the Serengeti, to meeting the hundreds of children at the school visit and playing soccer with them. We ate wonderful meals for both the children and adults and stayed in an amazing Nyumba tent in the wilderness with all the conveniences. My son said it was way better than a hotel room!
What was the family’s favorite wildlife sighting?
Our favorite sighting had to be when we were driving to our first camp in the Serengeti, after leaving Ngorongoro and the sun was setting. In the distance we could see what appeared to be smoke. It wasn’t smoke. It was the dust being kicked up by thousands and thousands of thundering hooves from a large herd of wildebeest.
As we got closer to them, the herd split around our vehicle, and there were so many of them, you couldn’t begin to count them. This was an incredible end to the day and welcome to the Serengeti. The sun setting, the dust rising, it was a magical moment.
Throughout the trips, we also saw so many lions, elephant, zebra and tons of other stuff.
Have you ever shared an experience like this together? A similar trip perhaps?
We haven’t been anywhere that has matched Tanzania, but we enjoy traveling to Guatemala and to the Southwest U.S.A, near Sedona, Lake Powell and Zion. We enjoy exploring, hiking and discovering new places together. We have our sights set on Costa Rica and Iceland next.
Was there anything that surprised your family about traveling in Tanzania?
I think for me, it was how comfortable, safe and easy Tanzania was for family travel. We were so well taken care of. I didn’t know how well the kids would enjoy it, but for them and for me, it far exceeded our expectations and before we even returned home, they were asking when they could go back. From beautiful lodges to amazing Nyumba Camps, we enjoyed every moment of our adventure.
In your opinion, why is it important to share adventure travel with your children?
There is no greater gift than travel for your children, especially internationally where they can experience other cultures, food, people and really open their minds to the world around us and gain a greater appreciation and respect, maybe even meeting some local children along the way.
Do you have any advice for fathers traveling with their families?
Just take the time off work and book the trip. It doesn’t matter where, as long as you are experiencing it together. Kids grow up fast and one day they’ll be off on their own. Don’t wait! Have everyone keep a journal and take lots of photos! You will have memories for a lifetime!