Explore Kenya

Kenya – Family holiday guide

Apart from being the land of the Masai Mara, Tsavo and Taita Hills, Kenya’s recognised for a longstanding commitment to conservation. The penalties for poaching here are harsher than anywhere else in Africa. Game parks are well managed and private reserves closely monitored for safety and sustainability. It’s also the country for the Great Rift Valley, stunning views of Kilimanjaro, Mombasa on the Indian Ocean and ancient living cultures of people like the Samburu, Maasai, Turkana, Swahili and Kikuyu.


Why go on holiday in Kenya

  • Flights all year round from London to Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.

     

  • A world-class destination for all-inclusive family safaris.

     

  • One of Africa’s leading big-5 countries and the continent’s leader in game conservation and protection.

     

  • Popular game reserves like Masai Mara and Tsavo are balanced by Laikipia’s smaller, less crowded conservancies and several national parks and reserves.

     

  • Amboseli Elephant Park is in Kenya.

     

  • The country sits on the equator and has fantastic beach resorts in and around Mombasa on the south east coast.

  • Southern and central Kenya are safe to visit with kids and safari accommodation is superb ranging from camps to beautiful, traditional lodges.



Where to go

Tsavo National Park

22,000km² Tsavo is the largest game reserve in Kenya and one of the largest in the world. Divided into east and west by the railway line from Mombasa to Nairobi, Tsavo’s wild residents include black rhinos, lions, leopards, hippos, cape buffalo, giraffes and elephants.

  • Well established Tsavo is family-friendly and accommodation ranges from camps with beautifully designed eco-lodges to luxury hotels – all within viewing range of watering holes.
  • East Tsavo is larger and includes the Galana River, Yatta Plateau and Lugard Falls – it’s also drier and less green, so easier to spot wildlife.
  • West Tsavo is considerably more lush and hilly and best for guaranteed sightings of larger animals.
  • West Tsavo is good for bird watching and contains Jipe Lake and Mzima Springs.
  • Tsavo can be visited year-round but the long, dry season from July to October is best: animals in search of water congregate in smaller, more concentrated areas – particularly in West Tsavo and round the Galana River.

Amboseli National Park

One of Kenya’s most breathtaking parks, Amboseli is famous for huge herds of African elephants and the magnificent view of Kilimanjaro on the Tanzanian border.

  • Often simply called, Amboseli Elephant park, other wild residents include: leopard, cheetah, cape buffalo, zebra, giraffe, lion, wild dogs, antelope and over 600 species of birds.
  • Places to stay in Amboseli range from traditional thatched cottages and luxury tents to guesthouses and stunning lodges.
  • Visit Amboseli with kids between July and October. The mosquito count is low, it’s easier to see wildlife and treks with local guides are a phenomenal experience in the dry season.

Laikipia

This high plain region to the north west of Mount Kenya is one of the country’s greatest conservation success stories and an outstanding safari experience for families. Over half of Kenya’s black rhino population are found here as well as vast herds of migrating elephants and packs of rare African wild dogs. It’s also one of the few places to see Grevy’s Zebra along with the big-5 and more endangered species than anywhere else in the country. Community conservancy is practiced across Laikipia too and local Samburu, Ilaikipiak and Mokogodo Maasai communities are involved in and directly benefit from the region’s safari tourism.

  • Superb region for family safaris with a focus on conservation and adventure.
  • Outstanding game spotting and close involvement with traditional Kenyan communities.
  • A wide range of very high quality family-friendly lodges, camps and game-ranches across the region.
  • Considerably less touristy and crowded than better known safari regions to the south of Kenya.

Masai Mara

Kenya’s ultimate safari destination is most famous of all for the Great Migration, normally between July and August. For this and a million other reasons including a huge density of wildlife and the Masai people themselves, this is one of the busiest safari destinations in the country. So if you’re looking for a low-key, unhurried and peaceful relationship with a unique environment, a summer holiday here could disappoint.

  • Very popular and the country’s leading area for exceptional lodges and camps – booking well in advance for Masai Mara is essential.
  • Top destination for plain’s game including: giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and antelope.
  • Good for spotting elephants, large prides of lion, cheetahs and leopards.

The sensational Great Migration happens in late summer when herds of wildebeest stream across the Tanzanian border into Kenya.


What to do

  • Ol Pejeta Chimpanzee Sanctuary, Laikipia
    Over 40 ‘pet’ chimpanzees rescued from other African countries now live in complete freedom in this remarkable sanctuary.
  • Masai Mara Game Reserve
    The world’s most famous safari destination, home to the Masai people and location of the Great Migration – designated a Wonder of the Natural World.
  • Amboseli National Park
    Amboseli AKA Land of the Giants is known for its thousands of free roaming African elephants.
  • Endangered Species Enclosure, Ol Pejeta
    Drive through this amazing 700 acres conservation area where three of the world’s remaining seven white rhinos live along with other critically endangered animals.
  • Tsavo National Park
    Kenya’s largest national park, home to the big-5 and far beyond and where kids can see red-elephants.
  • Aruba Dam, Tsavo East
    A dam that attracts huge numbers of wildlife during the dry season and is one of the best places to game spot in enormous Tsavo.
  • Mombasa Marine National Park & Reserve
    The warm and beautiful sea is water sport perfect here and it’s also the best place to observe many of the Indian Ocean’s extraordinary inhabitants.
  • Mount Kenya National Park
    Snow capped Mount Kenya is Africa’s second tallest peak after Kilimanjaro. The national park is an exciting safari destination with older kids.
  • Kisumu Impala Sanctuary
    Lake Victoria is the largest freshwater lake in Africa and an interesting alternative safari destination.


Educational value for kids

  • Find out about the remarkable Amboseli Elephant Trust and their work in the National Park and beyond.
  • The Kenyan Wildlife Service is a good place to begin thinking about where to safari with kids.
  • Conservation in practice is a learning experience every minute across the Laikipia region.
  • Choose to safari with kids where traditional communities are naturally involved, integrated and benefitting from tourism.
  • There’s a fairly high chance kids will see nature at its rawest on safari in Kenya so it’s a good idea to prepare them a little for the possibility of seeing kills or wild feeding.
  • Many safaris include skill-building fun for kids where they can learn about everything from animal migration to bird spotting, local crafts to regional cooking.

 


 

Getting around with kids in Kenya

All-inclusive family holidays are the best and easiest way to safari in Kenya. If you’re driving remember, it’s a wild and rugged country, subject to extremes of weather and mostly sparsely populated. Avoid the northern regions and in particular the Somalian border. If you’re visiting one of the major cities, don’t drive if you can avoid it, use taxis or have your hotel organise transport.



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