Kenya is a great destination for first time safari goers, with excellent game viewing and a huge diversity of scenery and activities that makes it a wonderful place for families.
There are a number of camps and lodges on safari that welcome children and have guides who will spend time showing them the ‘Little Five’ (buffalo weaver, elephant shrew, leopard tortoise, ant lion and rhino beetle), teaching them about Maasai culture and how to track animals.
The Kenyan coast and surrounding islands also have a number of hotels good for children from which they can explore local ruins, try out their bargaining skills at the markets or have a go at some water sports.
Local dhows are great for trips around Lamu Island and are run on a rotation system to ensure that all the crews get the opportunity for a little business.
Diurnal Tours will be able to arrange for you to enjoy a sunset dhow trip, or a sail to the Takwa Ruins on Manda Island (about a three hour round trip). It is also possible to arrange for a full day cruise. On this excursion you will have the opportunity to fish and then cook your catch over a charcoal fire on the beach.
Following lunch you can sail to the coral reefs for some snorkeling before returning to your hotel.
Hot Air Balloon Flight
Before dawn, guests are taken from camp to the hot air ballooning starting point. You will be able to see the balloons being inflated whilst enjoying a hot drink and a biscuit.
When the balloons are ready the guide will show you to your balloon. After a short briefing, the balloon rises up over the Mara. The direction of the balloon will depend on the wind and it will sail over the trees, plains and rivers.
The pilot will talk about the scenery and point out animals. Watch out for the giraffe hiding in the trees, antelope on the plains and roosting birds. As the sun comes up the views are superb — one of the most beautiful sights in Africa. After about an hour your pilot will land the balloon.
The chase vehicles will be nearby and whilst you enjoy a glass of champagne, breakfast is set up. Enjoy a cooked breakfast in the middle of the Masai Mara before enjoying a game drive back to camp.
Maasai Village Visit Cultural Experience
Masai Mara offers a unique opportunity to get to grips with what life is really like in rural Kenya. This is far more in-depth, interactive and rewarding than a typical village tour and allows you to spend time with Maasai villages over the course of three days. Each day is different and your guides will be the Maasai mamas of the village who show you their daily chores, invite you to collect water with them, make their traditional beaded jewelry and visit their school.
The country has a rich cultural heritage and often a short visit to a village which sees tourists day-in-day-out doesn’t really scratch the surface and leaves visitors disappointed. By spending several days, visiting different villages in the and region, you will come away with a full understanding about the challenges of life in a rural Maasai community, having heard real stories first-hand.
White water rafting on the Sagana River
This is an absolute winner for all but the youngest children, an adrenalin fueled activity that gets any family holiday off to a cracking start. Tackle some serious rapids (younger children may be asked to walk around some of the more difficult ones) and prepare for a soaking.
Wildlife tracking in Laikipia
Another favorite activity in Kenya with the children is the chance to track animals. In one of the most family friendly lodges in the northern region of Laikipia, children will be taken out tracking with a bag of Polyfilla. After learning to identify which poo belongs to which animal, they will start to identify footprints. If they find a good print they can make a plaster cast of it, for a highly personalized souvenir to take home with you.
Cycle with zebra & giraffe
Hell’s Gate National Park, near the shores of Lake Naivasha, is the ideal base for some non-vehicle based activities. Children will love cycling through the park, following a downhill route between the massive cliffs that flank the park’s entrance. Zebra and impala dot the landscape and the occasional giraffe ambles past. It’s not often that you can combine a bike ride with superb and pretty much guaranteed wildlife sightings.
Blissful boating on Lake Naivasha
Pelicans swoop over the calm waters of the lake and hippos snort loudly, interrupting the early morning quiet. Fish eagles perch in the top of long-dead trees, silhouetted against the dawn. It may not be a high octane activity, but a morning boat ride on Lake Naivasha is without doubt one of our favorite activities in Kenya with the kids. For a real treat, finish with a bush breakfast on the banks of the lake, a full English served up with fresh coffee under the shade of an acacia tree.
Sandcastles & kayaks at Diani
After time on safari, it’s hard to resist the lure of the beach. Up against stiff competition, our favourite beach is Diani, south of Mombasa. Here you have a long swathe of beautiful powder white sand, backed by swaying palms. Younger children will spend hours building sandcastles (it’s perfect sand for this); older ones will love windsurfing and kayaking.
A final favorite activity to do in Kenya with kids is the chance to spend the day on an idyllic island, snorkelling and devouring a picnic lunch. Wasini Island, off the southern coast, can be visited on a day trip. Watch dolphins jump through the waves en route to the island and don a snorkel to spot wonderfully brightly coloured tropical fish, and a turtle if you are lucky.
More about Kenya with kids
Visit our Kenya family holidays section for more about what to do, including taking the kids on safaris, information on places to see and the best times to visit. Also check out our example Kenya itineraries.
There’s so much for to do in Kenya with the kids. The ideal family itinerary will include a mixture of vehicle-based safaris interspersed with some of the activities mentioned above.
To talk to an expert and start planning your perfect holiday, call us on +254 704 309 781 or enquire using our website contact page.