A Kenyan family holiday might just be the ideal safari.
Classic savanna, dramatic extremes, and exciting contrasts, from deserts to alpine snow, forests and open plains, freshwater lakes and coral reefs, colorful tribal cultures and excellent guides… a Kenyan family safari delivers everything East Africa is famous for (and some wonders that remain less well-known), in microcosm.
Image © nattanan726 – stock.adobe.com
Your first safari is always an incredible experience. So good, you may think you can never recapture the magic. Africa always has something new to teach you and when you bring your children on safari you can experience every wonder, from coming toe to toe with an elephant to learning how to identify poop again — through the eyes of your children.
If you are planning the trip of a lifetime with your family to discover Africa together, Kenya is the ideal destination.
Image © Martin – stock.adobe.com
Why Vacation in Kenya
The wildlife is legendary but the country offers so much more.
- Picture trekking Mount Keyna, ballooning over the Masai Mara and snorkeling the Indian Ocean.
- Imagine words like Masai Mara, Tsavo, Samburu, and Maasai becoming part of your shared language as a family.
Kenya is also:
🇰🇪 A leading Big 5 destination.
🇰🇪 At the forefront of conservation. It is here that anti-poaching was pioneered.
🇰🇪 A country where all the game parks and private reserves are very closely monitored for safety and sustainability.
🇰🇪 Relatively easy to reach with year-round flights to Nairobi from New York and other destinations around the world.
🇰🇪 A world-class safari experience with a choice of popular game reserves like Masai Mara and Tsavo or less crowded conservancies in Laikipia (Prince William’s favorite) and other national parks and reserves.
🇰🇪 An incredible beach resort destination as the country hugs the equator.
🇰🇪 Particularly well suited to taking a safari with children.
A quick overview of what you need to know about holidays in Kenya:
Why choose a Kenyan vacation for your safari holiday?
There is no-where else on earth where you can show informed young eyes and movie buffs the real Pride Rock – which was, of course, only the original inspiration for the Lion King’s animators.
Kenya has many camps that cater specifically for adults – and a great selection of camps that are splendidly set up to ensure every member of the family has an extraordinary experience. Many of the camps we use for family safaris are owner-run, with children living on the property. This often results in in-built friendships with the African kids and everyone can be found cooking together in the kitchen or watching tv etc.
From camels to horses and big walking safaris there is plenty to do that does not require sitting still in a game drive car.
The excellent conservation reputation of Kenya has some added benefits for children. They can see how patrol dogs keep rhino populations safe and learn about the more intricate aspects of conservation and protecting our heritage.
The Laikipia Plateau lies at an average elevation of 6594 feet (2,010 meters) and this makes the chances of encountering malaria mosquitoes here very rare… which means that Laikipia offers the .
Image © Loisaba Starbeds (Laikipia, Kenya)
Read more about visiting Kenya here.
Our Favorite Kenya Family Safari Highlights
Cultural immersion and learning
Kenya is home to many storied tribes and spending time with these unique peoples and learning more about their distinctive way of life is a privilege and a joyful experience.
Image © Leora Rothschild
Spending a little time with chimpanzees
The Ol Pejeta Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Laikipia features chimpanzees rescued from a life in captivity to enjoy their freedom in this careful conservation sanctuary.
Image gerritbril pixabay.com
Meeting (more!) endangered species
Seven hundred acres of Ol Pejeta is dedicated to two of the world’s last remaining northern white rhinos and is a sanctuary for over 110 critically endangered black rhinos. You may also meet some of the earth’s other vulnerable or endangered species that live here include elephant, African wild dog, cheetah, lion, leopard, hippo, Grevy’s zebra and the locally threatened Jackson’s hartebeest.
Image © Sarara Camp – Wetu
Becoming an elephant aficionado
Amboseli is also known as the Land of the Giants. Thousands of elephants roam freely thought the park. In Tsavo National Park you can spot red elephants and participate in an elephant release.
image via © Somalisa Acacia
Ticking one of the Wonders of the Natural World on your list
The Masai Mara is home to the Great Migration – if you like the pace fast and furious (and are REALLY good at counting) then a Masai Mara safari is the perfect place to come to see wildebeest and zebra!
Image © Jordi Fernandez – unsplash.com
Take a splash on the wild side
Mombasa Marine National Park & Reserve
The warm ocean of the Mombasa Marine National Park and Reserve is one of the best places to spot the Indian Ocean’s most extraordinary inhabitants.
Image © Wendy Brooks – unsplash.com
The best safaris in Kenya for your family
Welcome to a ranch managed exclusively for wildlife in the wilder part of Laikipia County in Northern Kenya. Here, walking with the dromedaries is the perfect activity for children – who may tire of traditional game drives more easily. Taking a walk that is chock full of cultural, geological and ecological stories is right up the children’s street and whenever they fancy a different point of view they can jump onto camelback for game-spotting from their lofty position. Camels also happen to be great at approaching Reticulated Giraffe and Grevy’s Zebras quietly.
Olonana (Masai Mara, Kenya)
A private stretch of the Mara River in the heart of the Masai Mara features 14 glass-sided suites. The breath-taking wonder of Africa and its wildlife is everywhere. During the migration, the action comes home, right to the doorstep of this Eco camp.
Image © Olonana
A pioneer of transformational Mara safaris since 1972, Governor’s Camp was the first permanent operator in this world-famous destination. The camps are unfenced within an utterly magical setting along the winding banks of the Mara River. The area teems with wildlife, birds, hippos, and crocodiles.
Everything in camp is under canvas – this is a deliciously classic take on an adventure in the bush… with every luxury you could dream of and a very high sustainability rating. (And yes, if the children would like to know – Governor camp does have wifi!)
Can’t wait for your safari?
Click HERE for a list of books to give children who would love to read about Africa.
Image © Annie Spratt – unsplash.com
Safety on your Holiday in Kenya
Do book with an experienced and knowledgeable Travel Designer and do consider an all-inclusive, guided safari to reduce the risk of surprise.
English is an official language in the fastest developing country in East Africa. Street crimes are common in Kenya, especially in the cities of Nairobi and Mombasa, where criminals commonly carry weapons and cooperation is recommended. It is quite possible to enjoy your visit when your advice and travel tips for Kenya come from a trusted travel expert. You may have heard of kidnappings in Kenya, but these usually only occur near the border with Somalia.
Travel advice for Kenya must include the fact that self-drive holidays or using public road transport is not advised.
Flooding can be a concern during the rainy season, and transportation and communication may be disrupted.
Image © Galyna Andrushko– stock.adobe.com
Getting Around on Your Kenyan Family Safari
That incredible video clip from National Geographic, where the camera pans across the African horizon and you can’t help but wonder could it be real? Get ready to star in your very wildlife film during the regular light aircraft commute between camps!
Other rather fabulous forms of transport include:
Some would say “Why walk, when you can balloon?” We say “What is life without a little adventure?”
Children over 8 years of age and taller than 3 foot 11” (1.2 m) can fly in a balloon.
Image © Sutirta Budman – unsplash.com
This is walking country and youngsters love discovering the bush on foot. As Aisha and Jenny began their walk there was a lot of chatting and laughter and it was fascinating to watch as their voices gradually became more muted. It was clear the girls were in tune with their surroundings.
Image © Leora Rothschild
Where camps cater for camel rides the camels wear custom-made saddles with a comfortable blanket, sturdy seatback, and pouches for your water bottle.