Maasai Tribe in Kenya

Tips for Family Safaris in Kenya

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Niarra Travel

If you are planning a family safari in Africa, it can be overwhelming when trying to decide on the best destination – each country has such a unique offering with unique wildlife, landscapes and culture. However, if you are looking for a good all-rounder, a country that offers a bit of everything, you can’t go wrong with a Kenyan family safari.

Easily accessible with great connectivity between the different safari locations spread throughout the country, Kenya ticks all the boxes and more, with many properties offering robust programmes aimed specifically at children, from toddlers to teenagers. Here are a few reasons why we love sending families to Kenya.

Maasai Tribe in Northern Kenya

Where to see wildlife

While many people automatically think of the endless grassy plains of the Maasai Mara when thinking of Kenya, and with good reason as the Mara never disappoints, there is much more to the country when it comes to wildlife. Up north you will find an array of fantastic properties, wonderfully suited to families.

For example, you could choose to visit Lewa Conservancy, a safe refuge for critically endangered black rhinos along with many other species, such as lions, giraffes, wild dogs and elephants. Or head even further north to Samburu, where you can see the Samburu Special Five: gerenuk, reticulated giraffe, Grevy’s zebra, Somali ostrich and beisa oryx.

Another wonderful area to visit is Amboseli, home to iconic elephant herds often numbering in their hundreds and the last remaining Super Tuskers, along with other plains game. What makes this part of Kenya particularly good for families – especially those with younger children – is you have the option of going on much shorter game drives, or ‘bumbles’, great for short attention spans but with the benefit of still seeing some wonderful wildlife along the way.

And then of course, there is the Maasai Mara, a place of abundance with more animals and birds than you could ever imagine. The perfect start or finish to a family safari in Kenya. If you are visiting during the Great Migration and you have young children, it could be worth exploring the park away from the river crossing sites. While a river crossing is a remarkable spectacle, it can take hours for the wildebeests and zebras to cross, with a lot of sitting and waiting, while the rest of the park is gloriously quiet and teeming with resident wildlife.

Zebra spotted on safari in Samara

Incorporating culture into your Kenyan safari

There are at least 42 different ethnic groups in Kenya, making it an incredibly culturally diverse destination, with each group having distinct traditions and practices. From the Maasai, to Samburu, Turkana and Kikuyu, on a Kenyan family safari, your children will have the opportunity to meet and spend time with people from cultures that are radically different from their own, opening their minds to new ways of looking at the world.

If you are looking to include a cultural element in your safari, then you may want to stay in a lodge where the team comes from the local community. This provides the opportunity for unforced and natural cultural exchanges, where you can really get to know the people around you, and what their tribe looks like in the 21st century.

Elderly Member of the Maasai Tribe

The best activities for families

What makes Kenya particularly well-suited to families is the opportunity to spend time off the safari vehicle, with an impressive selection of experiences that the whole family can get involved in. Below are just a few examples of the creative ways Kenya lodges keep children busy on safari.

In the private Olderkesi Conservancy, bordering the Maasai Mara National Reserve, you will find Cottar’s 1920s Camp where the safaris are designed to be a learning experience for the family. On offer is The Budding Conservationist programme, where children can join female conservation rangers on daily patrolling, as well as a Kids Entomology Safari focused entirely on learning about the insect kingdom.

Also in the Maasai Mara, Angama Mara has a line-up of activities for children, including walks with a Maasai warrior, spending time with the chefs in the kitchen baking biscuits, photography and beading lessons and vegetable picking in the organic garden. Another unique offering is their Maasai Mitzvah experience, where children around the ages of 12 or 13 can enjoy a coming-of-age experience, learning about rites of passage from a Maasai maiden or warrior.

For something completely different, the family can set off on a Karisia Walking Safari in Laikipia, North Kenya, where each day you will sleep in a different camp site, perfectly set up for you as you walk between the various spots, led by a procession of camels. The route can be customised to all ages, with shorter distances for shorter legs.

Lion at Solio Lodge in Laikipia, Kenya

Our top Kenya family safari tips

Once you’ve settled on Kenya as the destination for your family safari, there are a few details to keep in mind, which will take your trip to the next level, ensuring you create incredible family memories at every step.

Timing is everything


Deciding when to go on a family safari is very important for several reasons. Due to lodges often being booked to capacity during the peak season, for example during the Great Migration, they only allow younger travellers, especially those under the age of six years, to stay during the standard season.

There are other benefits to travelling at quieter times – less crowded wildlife sightings, great rates and more choice when it comes to where to stay. Another factor to consider when choosing when to travel is malaria risk, which is lower in the winter months in destinations like Amboseli and the Maasai Mara, where malaria can occur.

Ask about the experiences on offer


While many lodges in Kenya welcome children, there are a few stand-out properties that have put a huge amount of thought and preparation into keeping children happy on safari. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions when pinning down a lodge – or better yet, rely on the expertise on one of Niarra’s Travel Researchers, who have experienced the properties first hand and know exactly which will be the best fit for your family.

Add a private vehicle


When travelling as a family, it is always advisable to book a private vehicle – which some lodges may insist on. This will give you total flexibility for your drives to be as long or as short as you prefer, adjusting for waning attention spans, or hungry stomachs.

Get the whole family involved


Many of the activities devised for children on safari are just as much fun for the parents – especially if your primary goal is to spend as much time all together. Don’t hesitate to get involved, joining your children on their bush walks, conservation lessons and other experiences. Of course, if you’re looking for some downtime in between, you can select a lodge that offers childminding services.

Combine bush and beach


It’s hard to believe, but while incredibly exciting and life-changing, safaris can also be rather tiring and the perfect antidote is a couple days of doing nothing on a beautiful beach. The Kenyan coast is wonderful for families – Diani Beach and Kilifi in particular – with warm Indian Ocean waters and soft sandy beaches.

Afrochic Diani Beach

Get help from a specialist

Perhaps the best tip of all is to make use of a safari specialist like Niarra Travel, with in-depth destination knowledge that will help you make all the right decisions. By getting to know you better, we can tailor the perfect trip for you and your loved ones. If you are ready to start planning an unforgettable family safari in Kenya and creating lifelong memories, then get in touch with our team on +44 (0) 20 3821 5994 (UK), +1 (833) 215 9353 (US), or at explore@niarratravel.com.

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