Family Friendly Kenyan Safari: Bush, Beach & City

A 13 day trip to Kenya 
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Specially designed for families with kids under 10 years old in mind, this tour takes you on a magical African safari, showing young children the wonders of the bush on this family-friendly Kenya vacation and safari.  From Nairobi conservation centers to the secluded plains of Laikipia, your family will learn of the wonders of this environment, and the importance of conservation. Moving on to the famed Masai Mara, you will receive the quintessential safari experience before unwinding along the calm turquoise shores of the Indian Ocean. Over two weeks, this comprehensive tour will inspire a true passion for Africa in every member of your family.  

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General Information

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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Nairobi, Laikipia, Masai Mara National Park, Mara North Game Reserve, Indian Ocean, Galu Beach, Kisite Marine Park

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Welcome to Kenya! Fly Into Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and Transfer to Ole Sereni in Nairobi

After a long day of flying, today you and your family will finally touch down on Kenyan soil in the capital city of Nairobi. Here, a representative will meet you in the arrivals hall to transfer you in a private vehicle to the beautiful Ole Sereni Lodge, only 12 kilometers away. ‘Ole Sereni’ translates to mean ‘the place of tranquility’ and sits between the Nairobi National Park and the thriving city. The large complex, complete with a rooftop swimming pool overlooking the plains below, will be the perfect place for your tired family to unwind, relax and adjust to the African landscape.

Tonight you will have the choice of two restaurants that give incredible views of the National Park and the city center. Restaurants serve a variety of Grill, Indian, Italian and Oriental cuisine, giving plenty of choice for children. Full and tired, you will then return to your air-conditioned suites for a well-deserved sleep before the adventure begins!

Day 2: Drive Into Nairobi’s Leafy Suburbs, Visiting an Elephant Orphanage and Giraffe Sanctuary

This morning you will be met by your private driver who will carry you away into the lush Nairobi suburb of Karen. Here, you will check into the iconic Giraffe Manor. This spectacular 1930s building has been converted into a conservation center and lodge for the endangered Rothschild giraffe. Arriving in time for lunch, it will be important to keep an eye on your meal since the resident giraffes have a tendency to pop their heads through the window for a bite. Afterwards, stroll next door to the AFEW Giraffe Center, where you and your children will be able to learn more about this endangered species and the associated conservation efforts. Guides will happily take you on a guided tour around the sanctuary.

In the late afternoon, you will head over to the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage where your newly adopted elephant awaits you at this nursery and rehabilitation center.  Upon arrival, the caregivers will lead a parade of baby elephants across the grounds for a late afternoon romp. The babies play and tease each other and their caregivers, putting on an adorable display for you and your family.  There will be an opportunity to learn more about conservation initiatives here, in addition to the rehabilitation process that these calves will eventually undergo. You will return to the Giraffe Manor in time for dinner, before returning to your family suite for the evening.

Day 3: Fly From Nairobi to the Laikipia Plateau

This morning you will board your flight from Nairobi to the Lewa Airstrip in the Laikipia region of the Great Rift Valley. A representative will meet you upon landing, transferring you to the family run Borana Ranch and Safari Lodge. Positioned strategically atop a hill overlooking a large watering hole in the Samangua Valley, this property has wildlife quite literally on the doorstep. Guests have had the pleasure of watching elephants swim in the lake from the privacy of their cottage porch.

The Dyer family has lived on this land for three generations, and has built their lodge around their love for introducing children to the bush. Over the coming days, lodge staff will customize daily activities for you and your family, perfectly blending activity and relaxation for every member. Offering game drives, biking, horseback riding and waterfall swims, each person in your family will find something unique and enjoyable. Furthermore, the chefs are accustomed to designing meals that appeal to the palates and schedules of your children. The lodge has designed two private cottages with families specifically in mind, including a private plunge pool, a fireplace and dining area. Your time at Borana will undoubtedly be an incredible (and effortless) introduction to the African wilderness.

Day 4: Explorations Across the Laikipia Plateau in Search of Elephants, Buffalo, Rhinoceros, Lions and Leopards

Early this morning, you will rise before the sun to travel out across the plateau, catching the bush at its most lively. With warm coffee, tea and snacks in hand your family will explore this spectacular and remote wilderness in a private safari vehicle, in pursuit of the Big Five (lions, leopards, elephants, buffalos and rhinos), the birds, the insects and the ungulates. Since Borana is a private game reserve, your adventures will be completely unobstructed and exclusive. As you follow a pride of lions teaching their offspring to hunt, or observe a leopardess as she shows her cubs to climb a tree, you will experience some of the most intimate wildlife encounters in the country.

As the sun climbs, you will return to the lodge to seek shade beside your private pool. Children may wish to head into the kitchen to bake with the chefs while you relax with a book. As the afternoon progresses, you and your children may wish to stretch your legs on a guided afternoon walk to Pride Rock, the inspiration for the Lion King. This light trek will carry you through the bush with numerous guides and rangers before you climb up this infamous rock. At the top, you will pause for a picnic of snacks, soft drinks and sundowners as you watch the sun set over the escarpment. From here, you may wish to squeeze in one final game drive under the night sky, observing as the land transforms with nocturnal creatures and behaviors. Night drives are a unique activity permitted only in private reserves such as this one.

Tonight you may wish to take advantage of the lodge’s listening service for your children, enabling you to have a final cocktail around the fire, admiring the uninterrupted starry night sky. It will undoubtedly be fascinating to spend some time with the Dyer family members, hearing stories of their childhood adventures in the bush. Around the fire, your sole responsibility will be to listen to the sounds of the bush, ideally hearing a lion roar or buffalo grunt in the distance. 

Day 5: Guided Walks Through Laikipia With a Waterfall Picnic and Visit to a Masai School

This morning you will again rise early to set out again into the bush. Having received a great orientation of the region yesterday, today you might want to seek out greater depth and intimacy with specific species. Whether your family is particularly interested in lions, leopards or giraffes, your ranger will be able to teach your family the basics of tracking and behavior. Spend time with a remarkable population of black rhinoceros – nearly half of the country’s rhino population resides within this conservancy. There is also a number of Grevy’s Zebra, a rare endangered variety of zebra. Borana has an innovative conservation strategy (including the relocation of endangered rhinos from neighboring Lewa Conservancy) that has enabled local wildlife to thrive in the face of heightened poaching and environmental threats. Be sure to ask your educated guide for more firsthand information.

During the afternoon, we recommend walking with guides and rangers through the bush to a river and waterfall, perfect for swimming and small cliff jumping. During the walk, your skilled guides will be able to point out some of the smaller details of the Laikipia Plateau, giving you and your family a greater understanding and appreciation for this unique ecosystem. When you arrive at the falls, guides will set up a feast of grilled meat, fresh fruit and home baked bread, sure to be one of the trip’s most memorable lunches. As you drive or walk back to them camp, you may want to add on a quick detour to the local Masai school. Provided it is in session, your family will have the chance to observe this rural school in action. Guides will also be able to explain the economic and social development projects that occur with some of the profits from Borana Lodge.

Day 6: Fly From Laikipia to the Famed Masai Mara

Today you will wake up for a final breakfast in your cottage at Borana before boarding a plane that will carry you down to the Masai Mara. Here, you will be transferred by road to the Serian Camp, just outside the Masai Mara National Park in the Mara North Conservancy. The drive from the landing strip to the camp is often a safari in and of itself. Keep your eyes open as you drive towards this remote camp along bush roads, since it is common to spy various gazelle, kudu, zebra and perhaps a lion in these parts. 

Arriving at this traditional bush camp, you will be transported back to the time of early explorers – with a few comforts and luxuries added, of course. Staying in a family-sized canvas tent with an adjoining bush bathroom, you will experience the magic that drew owner Alex Walker into the bush, decades ago. With impressive views of the plains of the Mara and the Oloololo escarpment, and the occasional grunt of a hippo or buffalo from the river, you will feel fully immersed in this incredible landscape. Spend the afternoon unwinding amongst the camp grounds and getting to know the staff and rangers. As the sun sets, you will all gather around the main fire for sundowners and an impressive bush dinner. Fall asleep tonight in a comfortable bed, warmed by a hot water bottle as you listen to the grunts and roars around you.

Day 7: Traverse the Plains of the Masai Mara While Observing the ‘Greatest Migration on Earth’

This morning you will wake up to the sound of hippos as they crash back into the river after feasting all night in the surrounding grasses. After coffee, tea or hot chocolate, you will set off for the day with a packed lunch to venture deep into the Masai Mara. The camp itself is located roughly 45 minutes from the park gates – but the safari starts the moment you jump in your private open-top vehicle.

Entering through the park gates, the spectacle begins. If timed correctly during the migration, the landscape in this section will be dotted with wildebeest, impala and zebra who have reached the northernmost point of the migration. Driving south throughout the day, numbers of these ungulates will increase dramatically as you make your way into the heart of these two million migrators. Lions, leopards and cheetahs sporadically appear along the sidelines, either hunting or digesting a recent meal. Elephants and giraffe will poke their heads through the acacia trees, while a rich variety of birdlife circles in the skies above. You will spend the day following the roads towards the Kenya/Tanzania border, getting a full tour of this world-renowned landscape.

Towards the southernmost part of the park, you will stop for a picnic lunch in a small forested area. Here, monkeys have become accustomed to receiving a snack from the tourists and will greedily eye your packed sandwiches and fruit. Bold children may wish to see just how close they can get to these friendly and mischievous creatures before returning to the truck for the afternoon. The remainder of the day will be spent driving northwards, returning to Serian in time for sunset, appetizers and another phenomenal meal.

If you travel during the non-migration period, there’s still incredible game-density to experience.

Day 8: Explore the Mara North Conservancy, Learning of the Smaller Creatures That Enable This Park to Thrive

This morning, rather than returning to the bustling National Park, you may want to consider taking your morning safari through the Mara North Conservancy. This region is a collective of lodge owners who work in partnership with over 800 local Masai landowners to promote conservation and sustainable tourism in the region. As a private reserve, you will experience near exclusivity as you traverse the plains and rivers – a pleasant contrast to the Mara. Rising early, you may wish to set out today with a picnic breakfast to enjoy in a hide or beside the river. A safari here will give you plenty of opportunities to watch the resident lion prides closely. Alternatively, you may wish to set out on foot with a local Masai Warrior, for greater intimacy and familiarity with your surroundings.  These warriors will be able to show you and your family the techniques that have enabled them to survive in this challenging landscape for centuries.

Returning to the camp for lunch, spend the early afternoon lazing in the shade as you wait for the temperatures to cool. From your tent’s balcony, you will have great views of the nearby river where hippos, crocodiles and buffalo are often seen during this part of the day. In the late afternoon, you may either set out again for a final game drive through the Mara North, or perhaps set sail in a hot air balloon over the endless and expansive plains. This truly is one of the more luxurious ways to experience the magic of the region. From the sky, you will gain an entirely new perspective on this now familiar landscape. Landing you will be met with champagne in the bush before returning to the camp for dinner. Gather round the fireplace tonight under the starry sky with the managers to hear stories of the camp’s colorful past, before retiring for a final night of camping in the bush. 

Day 9: Fly From the Mara to the Shores of the Indian Ocean at Kinondo Kweto Resort

This morning you will say goodbye to the bush and board a plane that will carry you to the shores of the Indian Ocean. From the airstrip, you will drive to the only resort on Galu Beach, Kinondo Kwetu – your new ‘home away from home.’  A lovely Swedish family owns and manages this intimate luxury resort, and they strive to offer an incredible number of family-centered activities in this tropical paradise.

The lodge warmly welcomes their guests with a song and dance performance before leading you to your private cottage. There are numerous beachside accommodations for families, each of which perfectly capture ‘barefoot luxury.’ Spend the afternoon lazing about your cabin and reviewing the various customizable activity options with the attentive and friendly lodge staff.

As the sun sets, you will have your choice of dining sites. The lodge itself has no set room, and rather opts to use the spectacular natural surroundings for a perfect and unique dinner every night. Whether you choose to sit under the stars, or amidst the lush garden, this fresh and local feast will be unforgettable. Matching it with a freshly pressed tropical juice – or cocktail – will round off this warm welcome to the Kenyan coastline.

Day 10: Relax and Play on the Shores of the Turquoise Indian Ocean

After numerous activity-filled days, today might be a nice opportunity to laze quietly on the secluded white sand beach. The gentle turquoise waters are perfect for swimming, while the palm trees provide idyllic shade to read a book. Head out on a walk, as a family, down the quiet shores with a picnic packed by the lodge. Enjoy your food under the shade of a palm tree on a private stretch of beach. Take moments to dip in and out of this protected bit of ocean, cooling off as you float in the salty ocean.

If you are craving a bit of activity, the lodge has numerous single and double kayaks that can be taken out towards the sandbanks during low tide. Carrying a snorkel and fins with you will let you and your children explore the magical world beneath the waves – in preparation for tomorrow’s day of snorkeling (or diving!). If your family is interested in scuba diving, the lodge includes a trial pool dive in your stay. This introduction to diving may just be enough inspiration to send you deep below the surface tomorrow.

Kinondo Kwetu also offers private yoga classes on the beach, which may just be the perfect way to stretch out after multiple days on safari. Alternatively, a massage on the beach or in your cottage may be more what you need. A neighboring golf course and on site tennis court are both available for guests to use at their leisure as well. There truly will be no end of activities, which you can enjoy together – or independently, as the case may be.

Day 11: Explore the Ocean by Boat, Jumping in to Snorkel at Vibrant Coral Reefs

Having explored the shoreline yesterday, today would be an ideal time to set out onto the ocean with a picnic and cooler box in order to explore the world below. The lodge is located only a short boat trip away from sand islands, coral reefs and Kisite Marine Park, all of which can be explored over a day or two. Puttering along in a traditional dhow or galawa, keep your eyes on the ocean since pods of dolphin are common in the area! Lucky visitors will have a pod pass right by the boat, giving you the opportunity to jump in with your snorkel and fins to swim alongside them.

As you carry on to the Kisite Marine Park, the ocean floor will grow clearer, with vibrant coral replacing the sandy bottom. Dive in with fins and a snorkel to explore this underwater paradise, swimming through schools of spectacular tropical fish.  Rest on the shores of a quiet island to enjoy a picnic seafood feast, before returning for a final bit of snorkeling and a quiet boat trip home. For those interested in scuba diving, the lodge is a certified PADI Dive Center and offers numerous trips for qualified scuba divers to nearby reefs.  The lodge also offers exploratory dives and certification courses for beginners! One of the best reefs is located only five minutes from the shore, allowing you to squeeze in dives anytime throughout the course of your visit.

Day 12: Explore the Coastal Mainland on Foot or Horseback, Learning about Swahili Culture from Local Communities

Today it may be of interest to explore the mainland behind Kinondo Kwetu. The lodge itself is located within a kaya – a protected area of holy trees and old graves. Sacred to the local Mijikenda inhabitants, a tour into the bush will show you a culture radically different from the Maasai, though equally as fascinating. Be sure to take a spin passed the mammoth and ancient Baobab tree with a trunk you can climb inside.

The lodge has its own private stables, with five gentle horses always keen to take you out to explore the beach. Beginners are able to practice in the paddocks before setting out on a guided tour of the local holy forests or the shoreline. If lucky enough to visit during the full moon, an evening ride on the beach under the moonlight is an especially magical experience. If, however, you would rather stick near the shoreline today, the lodge can also provide equipment for canoeing, kite surfing, waterskiing, windsurfing and snorkeling – all of which can be done right in front of the property.

Should your kids crave one final bit of excitement before returning home, it is worth asking the lodge to organize an opportunity to touch a live snake! The nearby snake conservancy is always happy to pop by for a visit with their slithery friends, safely supervising your children as they receive a ‘hug.’

Otherwise, gather round the dining room under the stars to enjoy a final fresh seafood dinner in this calm and personal environment. Fall asleep to the sound of the waves gently lapping at the shore, as a cool ocean breeze blows through your airy cottage.

Day 13: Return By Air to Nairobi in Time for Your International Flight Departure

After a fresh fruit breakfast and a few final moments lounging on the beach, your sun kissed family will gather to drive back to the airstrip. Flying into Wilson Airport in Nairobi, you will be transferred to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to catch your return flight home. 

Price

Price 

Your custom trip package will include accommodations, transportation within the country, guided tours and activities, unique experiences, trip planning, and 24X7 support during your trip. 

Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates!