I’ve been on safari in Africa more times than I can count. From luxe safari lodges to extremely remote wildlife encounters, I’ve covered a lot of ground over the past twenty years. I can honestly say, in Africa there is something for everyone.
But when it comes to traveling to Africa with children, it takes both the expert eye of a professional travel designer AND real, first hand experience as a parent traveling with children to create the perfect safari experience everyone in the family will love.
Today, combining two decades of experience in Africa travel plus 10 years experience traveling with my own children, I’m thrilled to introduce to you my favorite itinerary for the best safari in Africa with kids!
Make it the “real” Africa
East Africa, including Kenya and Tanzania, is the Africa most people have in mind when they think of Africa and is always my suggestion for a first time safari in Africa. Here you have the iconic Acacia trees, bright red sunsets, strong Maasai warriors, colorful ladies in the markets, and of course prolific wildlife and big game on the world-reknown Serengeti plains. East Africa has a special place in my heart and always delivers when it comes to family safaris in Africa.
From the moment you step off the plane in Nairobi, you’ll be on safari. Spend the night in a beautiful property located in Nairobi National Park. You’ll experience a game drive just minutes after leaving the airport.
Recover from the journey and begin to see the real Africa
As the sun rises over Nairobi, hop on a small aircraft for a flight to the northern frontier of Kenya. Watch as the bustling city of Nairobi melts away into lush green highlands dotted with small farms and villages. Finally, fly over the Mathews Mountain Range and descend towards the airstrip in the heart of the Namunyak Wildlife Reserve.
Buzz the runway to signal giraffe, elephant and antelope to clear the area. Surrounded by mountains, spot your first African wildlife who surprisingly share this majestic area with local Samburu families.
Cool off after lunch with a dip in one of my favorite pools in all of Africa and begin to recover from jet lag. Over the next few days, Africa will begin to reveal herself to you and your family, as you get to know more about her wildlife and people in one of the most relaxing places on earth.
Elephants walk freely in and out of camp, enjoying the nearby water hole. Here you can do game drives, walks or even explore on horseback. You’ll begin to learn about the Samburu culture first hand from some of the best guides in Africa.
Get out of the vehicle and walk in the bush!
Now it’s time to get the adrenaline pumping! Unlike a vehicle-based safari, a walking safari allows your family to develop a more intimate insight into Kenya’s animals and people.
These walking safaris are supported fully by camels. You’ll spend your days walking through the bush, and camping each night under the stars. Camps are very comfortable, fully set up for you by an amazing camp staff.
Expect to see plenty of big game, but also stop to look a tracks and some of the smaller wildlife often missed when sitting the back of a safari vehicle.
No vehicles are used to move the camps and the camels carry the entire camp and luggage. By using camels rather than vehicles it is possible to get to areas that vehicles cannot reach, plus it is a very peaceful way of travelling through the landscape!
Typically you will be woken before sunrise with hot water in basins on your tent verandah. After a cup of tea or pressed coffee, some granola, eggs, toast and fruit, set off with the rising sun. You’ll be accompanied by a Laikipia Masai tracker and a few riding camels who carry refreshments and day-packs.
Stop en route for a light snack and then carry on to the next camp. The main team will pack up the camp behind you and aim straight for the next campsite. Arrive at the next camp to be greeted with a cool drink and a gourmet lunch. The afternoon is normally spent relaxing, enjoying a stream or river, having a siesta or fishing before going for an evening walk and sundowners. The camels also use this time to relax and browse around camp. In the evening, staff will offer hot showers before you enjoy drinks by the fire and a three-course dinner under the stars.
This is a classic safari experience, combining luxury in the bush with some wild exploration! Kids love setting out on foot, and peppering the guides with questions and observations along the way.
Finish with a Bang in the middle of the most epic safari region in the world
Finally, wrap up your East Africa safari by hopping in a safari vehicle and experience the densest wildlife reserve in the world, the Maasai Mara.
Here, the safari camp I use is hidden in a grove of riverine woodland on the banks of the Talek River and consists of sweeping pale canvas tents, king-sized beds made from local fig-wood, wide sofas furnished with bolster cushions, and wool rugs – a luxurious base from which to explore the Mara. This is big cat country, expect to see cheetah, lion and if you’re lucky, leopard!
This is also an ideal location to learn more about the Maasai culture. One of my daughter’s most memorable moments on safari was visiting a local Maasai market. This weekly market is a hub of Maasai culture and life. While we were warmly welcomed, there were no other tourists here, making it a very real, raw and authentic experience.
This 10-night safari in Kenya is, in my opinion, the best safari in Africa with kids. The pacing of the itinerary includes time in the beginning of the trip to recover from jet lag and ease into life on safari, then a fun walking adventure that kids absolutely love, and concludes with a few days of non-stop wildlife action.
I know there are a lot of amazing African safari companies out there. Over the years I’ve worked with or for many of them! But here are three good reasons why you should book your family’s African safari with me;
- I only book safari experiences that have stood the test of time. I’ve spent decades watching safari lodges age, new destinations emerge and the best safari operators evolve and continue to surprise and delight travelers.
- The price is right. Unlike most travel agents, I book directly with the suppliers on the ground and offer the most competitive pricing available from luxe private game reserves to lovely little safari camps and lodges.
- I’m a Mom and I get it! When planning a family safari, you simply must work with a family travel expert!
Or for instant access to this complete itinerary, simply complete the form below.