Where to Travel in Kenya with Your Family

Where to Travel in Kenya with Your Family

Vacation consideration for the whole family is a delicate balance. It is essential to factor in moody teenagers, energetic children and tired parents looking for an escape, not forgetting the young-at-heart grandparents with empty nests! All this complicates the search for a unifying destination. Exotic beach destinations tend to top the list, yet a safari to Kenya can be a great option. Let your family come and see the wildlife of the African bush and immerse them in the Maasai or Samburu cultural flare. A fly-in safari is particularly encouraged since it saves your already jet-lagged family members the agony of the long and tiring driving distance, time that you could otherwise use to create more family memories at the destination. Besides, the astounding aerial view of your destination adds on to the thrill.

With that in mind, here are our top picks of Airkenya’s memorable fly-in safari experiences for the whole family:

1. Amboseli National Park

A view of Mt. Kilimanjaro on the lefty and a herd of elephants crossing a road on the right at Amboseli National Park, KenyaA view of Mt. Kilimanjaro on the lefty and a herd of elephants crossing a road on the right at Amboseli National Park, Kenya

The awe-inspiring distant view of the magnificent Mt. Kilimanjaro greets you as you approach Amboseli National Park to land. In the morning, clouds float around the snow-capped peak to form a mystical whirlpool. A glimpse of the scintillating lakes full of flamingos and pelicans amongst other birds crowns the experience. Once grounded, en route to your hotel, you cross paths with large herds of elephants on their way to the grazing field close to the watering hole. Through the mirage, you can spot herbivores like gazelles, zebras, and gnus grazing. Masai giraffes strut in the bushes in search of food. Somewhere in the vast plains lays lions, carefully scouting the place for unsuspecting prey. Hyenas, however, are more daring. They venture deep into Park to the watering hole where they lie down side by side with the herbivores. Skulls and other skeletal bones protruding menacingly from the earth are a clear indication of the cycle of life.

Ol Tukai Lodge

A view of Ol Tukai Lodge on the top left, children playing at the lodge on top right and a family watching a Maasai dance at the bottom - Where to travel with your family in KenyaA view of Ol Tukai Lodge on the top left, children playing at the lodge on top right and a family watching a Maasai dance at the bottom - Where to travel with your family in Kenya

Ol Tukai Lodge is located within the National Park, adjacent to an oasis by the same name – Ol Tukai. There are two comfortable family chalets comprised of an interconnecting double room and a twin room. With a full-fledged children-oriented program, the EleFun Club, the lodge can keep children of all ages busy throughout their stay. There are plenty of board games available. Rigorous activities such as races, swimming competitions, ball games, musical chairs and other sporting activities will challenge their tiny bodies. They will gain artistic skills as they learn simple beadwork, painting as well as modelling. With the guidance of the resident naturalist, they will master the flora and fauna composition of Amboseli. They will then be immersed in the Masai culture, partaking in their battle songs and dances. The day culminates with an evening session of African folklores.

Book an Amboseli Safari Package for Your Family

 

2. Meru National Park

Reticulated giraffes grazing at Meru National Park, KenyaReticulated giraffes grazing at Meru National Park, Kenya

Meru National Park is a picturesque canvas of untamed wilderness. Elsa, the famous lioness, was nurtured by conservationists, George and his wife, Joy Adamson, here. The aerial view of the lush riverine forests does little to reveal what lies beneath their canopy. The dense terrestrial vegetation is casually broken by 13 meandering rivers perhaps to allow human exploration yonder. Bushbucks, zebras, reticulated giraffes, elephants and other herbivores thrive in the shrubland of this haven. The Big Cats frolic in the abundance of prey. Meanwhile, hippos guard the waters in conjunction with crocodiles. Somali ostriches and the more than 427 recorded species of birds complete the picture.

Elsa’s Kopje

A family viewing the expansive Meru National Park from Elewana's Elsa Kopje and atop a kopje while a child eats his picnic lunch - Where to travel with your family in KenyaA family viewing the expansive Meru National Park from Elewana's Elsa Kopje and atop a kopje while a child eats his picnic lunch - Where to travel with your family in Kenya

Elsa’s Kopje exudes an in-the-middle-of-nowhere vibe – sits atop a cliff overlooking the swathing plains of the Park. While they do not necessarily have a specialised program for children, family travel is in the DNA. Family rooms ensure adults are not far from their young ones. An age-appropriate menu is available with a wide variety of delicacies for children, complete with complementing timings. The children will truly feel like little explorers during one of the bushwalks around the camp with an accomplished guide. They will also enjoy the equally engaging fishing expeditions and swimming sessions. Most of all, they will frolic in a philanthropic visit to a local school where they can share educational material with other children. It certainly does not exempt them from joining adults on a safari game drive or two. Teenagers can explore further afield up Mughwango Hill.

Book a Meru Safari Package for Your Family

 

3. Ol Pejeta Conservancy

Two elephants and several antelopes grazing at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, KenyaTwo elephants and several antelopes grazing at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya

The Ol Pejeta Conservancy is sprawled between the Aberdare ranges to the left and Mt Kenya to the right. The powdery snow remnants on the cascading peaks of the rugged mountain sparkle at sunrise, a clear reminder of the forgone glory of the once-revered mountain. On a good day, this vivid view lingers for the rest of the day. Straddling the equator, it is not your typical savanna wilderness. It is a refuge for Northern White rhinos, which are at the brink of extinction – the last two remaining females, guarded day and night, offer a glimmer of hope after the death of the world-renowned male, Sudan, in 2018 - the last of its kind. Chimpanzees, rescued mainly from West and Central Africa, find a home here at Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary, the only of its kind in Kenya. It is not a pity party, though. Elephants, black rhinos, Southern white rhinos, bushbucks, reticulated giraffes, and a host of other wildlife roam freely in this 90,000 acreages private reserve.

Sweetwaters Serena Camp

The view of Ol Pejeta Conservancy from one of the rooms at Sweetwaters Serena Camp - Where to travel with your family in KenyaThe view of Ol Pejeta Conservancy from one of the rooms at Sweetwaters Serena Camp - Where to travel with your family in Kenya

Sweetwaters Serena Camp lies on a gentle hill with a clear view of Mount Kenya on one side; the other overlooks the expansive Ol pejeta plains. Their interconnecting family-friendly tents provide parents with a peace of mind – you can easily keep an eye on the little ones. It is undoubtedly one of the best destinations. Exploration starts right from your doorstep – watch wildlife at the watering hole within the camp at your leisure. For a more exhilarating experience, head out for a game safari to spectate wildlife as they go about their business. Slot in a session with the cheeky chimps at the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary – the children will love interacting with and learning about these apes. Finally, do not miss a visit to watch the two Northern White rhinos. Be sure to pass by Baraka's home to snap a few photos while the children feed him. Baraka is a black rhino who went blind after sustaining an injury on one eye while defending his territory and later his other eye developed a crystallised cataract. For a more relaxed pace, opt for a camel ride. Take a break from your adventure every so often with a series of engaging activities like archery, watercolour painting, swimming (children can swim on their own supervised by a resident lifeguard) or playing board games.

Book an Ol Pejeta Safari Package for Your Family

 

4. The Lewa-Borana Landscape

A lone black rhino grazing at the Borana Conservancy © Shaun MousleyA lone black rhino grazing at the Borana Conservancy © Shaun Mousley
Lewa and Borana Conservancies are award-winning conservation areas famous for their black rhino conservation. Get a panoramic aerial view of its endless golden plains spread over undulating hills with a backdrop of Mt. Kenya. It abounds with endangered wildlife such as black rhinos, grevy’s zebra, and wild dogs as well as other common wildlife like elephants, lions, reticulated giraffes and other iconic wildlife species in Kenya. Besides, it hosts more than 400 species of birds.

Borana Lodge

A stunning view of the Borana Lodge from where you get a panoramic view of the Conservancy © Stevie MannA stunning view of the Borana Lodge from where you get a panoramic view of the Conservancy © Stevie Mann

The Borana Lodge is a boutique eco-lodge perched on a hillside above a dam – a daylong wildlife magnet – with a scenic view of the conservancy. Their two family cottages are designed to accommodate and entertain families yet provide plenty of privacy. The kitchen is always happy to cater to the gentler palettes and earlier hours that tend to suit younger guests. For those who need to be in bed before their parents, a listening service is always on hand. They will enjoy a stay at the lodge, as they engage in various activities under a watchful eye of a guide. The chef is more than happy to employ their tiny hands as he imparts some culinary knowledge on them. There are docile horses ready for a leisurely ride across the plains of the conservancy. They can also explore the river or splash around in the swimming pool. A game drive for the whole family will quench their intrepid curiosity, crowned with an excursion to the nearby Ngare Ndare Forest to marvel at its scenic aquatic blue natural pools served by crystal-clear waterfalls. All well as having sustainability at heart, Borana Lodge invests all retained earnings into the running of Borana Conservancy, meaning that you and your family are having a positive impact when you travel.

Book a Borana Family Safari Package for Your Family

 

5. Masai Mara National Reserve

A large herd of wildebeests crossing a river during the Great Migration at the Masai Mara National Reserve, KenyaA large herd of wildebeests crossing a river during the Great Migration at the Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

The Masai Mara is a hotbed of ethereal beauty. Its sheer breadth, especially from above, is simply breathtaking. Verdant gentle hills flank the extensive plains in the horizon. Distinctively shaped flat-topped acacia trees sparsely cover the vast grasslands. It is not hard to imagine that it harbours millions of wildlife. But this is not its main attraction. It is the highly anticipated and welcomed invasion of millions of wildebeests and a smaller number of other types of herbivores that happens every year. The theatrical occurrence, dubbed the 8th Wonder of the World, is not to be missed. The sun bows out at dusk in a colourful set of bright reds and blues setting the stage for award-winning silhouettes of wildlife as they trudge back home. The night unveils a clear view of the galaxy even without stargazing binoculars.

Basecamp Masai Mara

Night view of Basecamp Explorer Masai MaraNight view of Basecamp Explorer Masai Mara

Basecamp Masai Mara is a family-owned camp that is centred on family hospitality. Their family tents have a double and two rooms, all en suite, and a family lounge to allow families to socialise or dine privately.
Move aside, National Geographic. There is a new sheriff in town. Their Young Explorers Club is designed to impart in-depth knowledge. Children will learn firsthand how to track birds and wildlife using their sound, droppings, bone formation, and footprints. That's just for fauna. What about the flora, you ask? Under the guidance of an experienced naturalist, they will learn a wide array of plants and trees in their vicinity and their uses within the community. For instance, did you know that the Maasai use camphor tree (commonly known as Leleshwa tree in Kenya) as cologne? Also, they will learn the bush survival tactics employed by the Maasai. They will learn how to throw the Masai club (rungu in Swahili) as well as use a bow and an arrow that they will craft from scratch. It will not be all hard work, no play. They learn to bead beautiful bracelets, necklaces and other accessories which they can gift their family and friends back home. The exploration does not stop there. There will be plenty of time to paint each other’s face using Masai cultural materials. The very young will enjoy piecing together puzzles to reveal wildlife images in addition to wildlife-themed board games. The night sessions aren't dull, either. They will have an opportunity to view the constellation that covers the Mara skies all night long. Besides, they will be entertained with African myths and folklores or watch as the Maasai do their signature dance around the campfire.

Book a Masai Mara Safari Package for Your Family

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