Guide to a Kenya Safari with Kids
Kenya is home to some of the world’s majestic animals, including the Big 5, spread across vast savannah’s, with spectacular mountain backdrops, acacia trees and traditional Maasai villages. It’s because of these factors that an East African safari is considered by many to be the trip of a lifetime, but what if you are going on a Kenya safari with kids?
We are often asked if spending time on a safari is suitable for children. If so, which age range, is it safe, and how long is too long on a game drive? In our guide to a Kenya safari with kids below, we answer these questions and more.
How to plan a Kenya Family Safari
A major key to a successful family safari in Kenya is to research before you go. Booking with a reputable tour operator, or one that has a base in Kenya is advisable. They can help you navigate local cultures, will have knowledge of suitable safari lodges, camps, and hotels (some of which only take children over a certain age), and they can help to prepare you for what a safari entails, giving you information and advice on the best trips to experience as a family.
Are Kenya Safari’s Appropriate for Kids?
If you are travelling to Kenya with young kids, consider the type of safari you wish to book. A private tour with customised, open-sided vehicles allows children to view the animals easily, while out on a game drive. Another tip is to keep the safari drives short.
Full-day safari’s which aren’t broken up with other activities, may render young children restless. Realistically, children between the ages of 6-8 or higher are the ideal ages to take on a safari. Not only will they appreciate the animals and landscapes they see, but they will also remember the experience for years to come.
Is it Safe to Travel to Kenya with Kids?
Kenya is a great country to travel to with kids, especially if you have booked with a tour operator that specialises in family safari travel. They can make life so much easier for you, by advising on family-friendly lodges with swimming pools and activities, located in safe surroundings, organising airport collections, and booking excursions and suitable game drives.
Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge is the first safari lodge ever built in a Kenya National Park and is superbly situated in the largest national park in Kenya - Tsavo West National Park. Strategically located midway between the Kenyan capital city Nairobi and its coastal town of Mombasa, only about 3 hours’ drive from each.
Sweetwaters Serena Camp is located inside Ol Pejeta Conservancy. It offers a tranquil respite in the wild, with en-suite bathrooms, free WiFi and a private balcony or veranda. Begin or end your day with a delicious meal and superb views at our light-filled restaurant, enjoy a guided game drive on the conservancy, indulge in a massage in our treatment room or simply relax by the pool.
Ashnil Mara Camp is located in the Masai Mara National Reserve and close to the Mara River, famous for the wildebeest migration.Our luxury Masai Mara Camp is arguably in one of the very best positions in the Masai Mara for game viewing and also provides the perfect setting to sit and relax at the end of an exciting day of game drives. The Ashnil Mara Camp is a 4 – 5 hour drive from Nairobi or there are daily scheduled flights from Nairobi to the Masai Mara which take just 45 mins. You may also fly from the Mombasa Coast to our luxury tented camp in just 2 hrs.
Best Time to go on a Family Safari
Any time of the year is a good time to travel to Kenya for a family safari. However, most visitors prefer to travel during dry season which is typically from late December to early March or late June to October. The scarcity of rain during these months sees animals flock to the watering holes in National Parks, meaning kids won’t have to wait long before they come into view on a game drive.
Travelling during wet season between March and May or during November until late December is also rewarding. Newborn animals can be seen during these months, scenery is lush and green and rates for lodges and flight prices are lower.
How Long is too Long on a Safari with Kids?
Most safari game drives take place in the early hours of the morning or late afternoon/evening. These are the best times to observe wildlife seeking out food and water. A game drive will usually last 3-4 hours, and this is just enough time for kids before they begin to get restless.
If you are travelling with young children, plan just one game drive a day, then the rest of the day can be spent enjoying other activities. If your lodge/camp/hotel has a swimming pool for example, it gives everyone in the family a chance to relax and unwind. Another alternative is to choose accommodations located next to a watering hole, then you can view the animals at any time, without spending hours in a vehicle.
What Activities are There for Kids on a Kenya Safari?
Where to begin! There are so many activities for kids to enjoy on a Kenya safari and beyond. We have listed a few below for inspiration, so you can begin to plan your itinerary.
Price From $1520 USD
On this exciting 6-day safari you will first head north into the foothills of Mount Kenya and the celebrated Ol Pejeta Conservancy. One of the most successful privately-run conservancies in Kenya and
Price From $1480 USD
Taking in the icons of safari in Africa, this tour will show the wonders of the Masai Mara National Reserve, explore the lakes of the Rift Valley, and show you the wonders of Amboseli National Park. T
Price From $1920 USD
Perfect for families and groups of friends, this Kenya family safari winds its way through the great parks and past the great lakes of Kenya. All the animals of your dreams are roaming wild through th
Safari Game Drives
Kids will enjoy observing and learning about the Big Five – lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and buffalos. There are also giraffes, zebras, cheetahs, flamingos, and lots of exotic birdlife to see on a game drive. If you travel to Kenya with kids during the annual wildebeest migration, you will see tens of thousands of them crossing the river, to and from the Masai Mara – a natural spectacle you won’t see anywhere else on earth.
Guided Nature and Bird Watching with Kids
Some tour operators and lodges can organise guided bush walks, along walking trails with experts who can point out birdlife, wildlife and plants and flowers of Kenya.
Visit the Local Homesteads with Children on a Kenya Safari
Older children may be interested in learning about other cultures, and the perfect introduction is to visit a Masai homestead. They can learn how the Masai tribespeople live, how to track animals, discover what they eat, a little about the crafts they make and more.
Tree Planting with the Children on Safari at Amboseli, Kenya
All journey’s leave a carbon footprint, and to offset yours, you can become an eco-conscious ambassador for the wildlife by helping locals and other tourists plant trees in Amboseli National Park. The saplings planted are all indigenous species, helping to continuously provide food for the animals.
Kenya Horse-Back Safaris with Your Children
A peaceful way to see wild animals on safari as a family, is on a horseback riding trip in the Masai Mara or around Mount Kenya. Some tour operators and lodges offer riding excursions, some of which are suitable for older children with riding skills.
Masai Mara Hot Air Balloon Ride with Children
At sunrise, soar high above the savannah on a thrilling hot air balloon ride. See the animals as they frequent the watering holes, giraffes feeding from trees and elephants as they navigate the huge expanse of land. These trips may only be suitable for older children, therefore it’s wise to check before you book.
Kids Watching Dolphins at Kisite Marine National Park
If you plan to combine your Kenya safari with a few days at the beach, head to Kisite Marine National Park for dolphin watching. You can sail on a traditional dhow boat through waters to see dolphins playing in their natural ocean habitat.
Let Your Kids Visit Orphaned Elephants as You Adopt One
In Nairobi National Park, there’s a shelter for orphaned elephants called the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. Kids will adore spending a few hours here, learning about the elephants, the work they do at the centre, and you can even adopt an elephant or two, helping staff feed and care for them throughout the year.
Feed the Rothschild Giraffes with Your Kids
Learn all about Rothschild Giraffes at the Giraffe Centre in Nairobi. Educators will talk to you about the endangered species, you can walk along the nature trail or even head to the feeding platform to hand over food to these majestic creatures and see them up close.
Stargazing on Safari in Kenya
There’s no better place to stargaze than in the Masai Mara or Amboseli National Park in Kenya. The night skies are unpolluted and clear, as the region is populated mainly by animals, with fewer humans. You can have a front row seat of the Milky Way and abundant constellations, almost to yourselves.
These are only a few of the activities to enjoy on a family safari in Kenya, there are many more. Feel free to contact us for further information or to book a trip today.