Recently, our founder, Leora Rothschild and Business Development Director, Sarah Fazendin, spent a few weeks exploring Kenya along with their daughters. While the girls, ages 9 and 10, had many highlights over the course of the safari, including beading with Maasai ladies, spotting Lion cubs in the Mara and flying a small plane, both girls agree that the walking safari was a favorite experience.
Why does the walking safari remain one of the best memories, even after two weeks packed with amazing adventures in Kenya? Here are a few reasons.
No sitting in cars!
As any parent knows, kids + long car rides = no fun for anyone. Traditional game-viewing safaris are done from a vehicle, and depending on the location of your camp and the objective of the day (what you want to see) game drives can last several hours. While of course any good safari guide will have snacks, drinks and stop for a bush breakfast along the way, that doesn’t change the fact that there can be long periods of time spent in the car.
The best thing about a walking safari with kids is, well, the walking!! You’ll spend the entire day on foot, pausing to look at wildlife tracks, spoor, plants and yes, even big game. Before the walking safari begins every receives a thorough safety briefing. Kids learn the importance of things like staying quiet, walking in single file, and “always stay behind the gun.” Then, every sets off in a quiet line to explore the bush.
Especially when travelling with children, a few nights on a walking safari is a most wonderful way to split up a game-drive-based safari in Africa.
Then of course, little legs will get tired from all the walking. When that happens, they can hop up onto a camel, which is not only a great chance to rest the legs, but offers a fun new vantage point looking out high over the African bush.
The camels wear custom-made saddles, that include a comfortable blanket, sturdy seat back and even leather pouches to hold a bottle of water. The expert camel guide ensures the safety of the children and leads the camel train.
Plenty of free time for exploration.
A typical day on a walking safari will begin after breakfast in camp. The group will set off slowly, walking for anywhere from 4-6 hours. Of course, plenty of stops are accounted for. The group will usually arrive at the new camp area in time for a late lunch followed by a siesta. These lazy late afternoon hours are great fun for children, during which time they can explore the area. They hang out, invent games and just be kids!!
Of course, there are plenty of guides and camp staff around, keeping a watchful eye and making sure they don’t wander too far. This unstructured free time out in nature is not only fun, but something that is so important for kids to experience.
Fun showers and tents.
Now, the whole point of a walking safari is to move, covering a set amount of ground and distance. Given that the camp packs up and moves every single day, tents, showers and the rest of the camp kit are all extremely lightweight. The tents are tall enough to stand in, and the beds are actually custom-made bed rolls, complete with sheets, duvet and hot water bottles at night to keep everyone cozy. Outside the tent, you’ll find a wash basin and small table with things like a mirror and flashlight for use.
These tents are of course much more basic than a traditional safari tent, making the experience novel and fun for the kids. And the showers always elicit a giggle or two as well! These are true safari showers, consisting of a bucket filled with hot water, produced when you are ready to get cleaned up for the night. Kids love the adventure of this lightweight camping!
Do you think your family would enjoy a walking safari in Africa? Contact us today to learn more and get started planning!