Kenya family holidays
Kenya is the original home of safari and inspires ideas of a romantic, bygone era. There’s a reason the book and film “Out of Africa” were based on Kenya, it’s one of the best safari destinations in Africa. Many of us at Scott Dunn have brought our own children to Kenya and know the wonder of seeing the magic of discovery through a child’s eyes.
We carefully select camps and experiences tailored to your family’s needs. We understand that every family is looking for something extraordinary and Kenya is perfect for adventurous, active and culturally interested families.
For families we choose camps and lodges that do more than tolerate kids – they actively embrace their enthusiasm, energy and curiosity. Where your family stays is a huge part of any safari, for most families, a medley of different lodges and camps provide a varied and rewarding experience. We try to mix different styles of accommodation to give you a taste of what’s on offer and Kenya certainly has many amazing options for families.
We’ve curated and hand-picked our favorite properties in Kenya for families. We’ve slept in the beds, and tested everything from the guides to the water pressure. Most lodges will happily accommodate you and your little ones with customized meals that will put a smile on even the fussiest eater’s face, extra beds, placed in your suite-if need be, and family-friendly activities to entertain kids young and old.
Kenya offers an excellent range of unique, exhilarating activities for families, from hot air balloon rides over the Maasai Mara to snorkeling among marlin and sailfish in the Indian Ocean. But the biggest draw of Kenya for families is safari. Safaris appeal to children’s sense of wonder. Driving almost within arm’s reach of elephants, lion and cheetah is an experience that will stay with your kids forever. In addition to catching glimpses of the fascinating ‘Big Five’, you can watch flamingos splayed over the glittering lakes of the Rift Valley, view the spectacular sunrise over Mount Kenya or relax on the miles of white sand beaches along the Indian Ocean.
One of the highlights of a trip to Kenya is witnessing the extraordinary spectacle of the great wildebeest migration, taking place in July-October. Around two million wildebeest crash through the Maasai Mara reserve, as hungry predators lay wait for the right moment to attack. This is truly one of the most memorable experiences that you and your family will ever have in nature.
From the wildlife to the varied landscapes and the family friendly camps and lodges, Kenya is the perfect destination for your next family safari.
There are over 40 different ethnic groups that reside in Kenya.
Kenya has 2 official languages, English and Swahili.
The "Big Five" animals (rhino, leopard, lion, buffalo and elephant) can all be found in Kenya.
Safari is a truly exciting experience for little ones. Though many of Kenya’s most child-friendly lodges don’t offer specific programmes, don’t fret, the staff at these lodges and camps are great with children, and will arrange flexible and kid-friendly activities to make your family holiday in Kenya as enjoyable as possible. Customised menus, meal times and private game vehicles ensure a comfortable and stress-free stay for every member of the family. But do remember to keep a close eye on your kids while on safari, many of the camps are unfenced and have high concentrations of wildlife that frequently wander around.
Remote and surrounded by exceptional wildlife and stunning views, Acacia House works fantastically for families, offering a totally private and flexible safari experience. The design of Acacia is very homey, decorated in inviting warm colors, and features an attic room designed for children. The house is also fully staffed, including your own personal chef, house manager, and private safari guide. There are activities for the whole family at Acacia, the swimming pool (with a baby pool) provides a safe space for children to play. Nearby there is a small school room where the host’s own children are taught daily, and younger guests are welcome to join in on the fun, while parents take a break before game drives. Rounding out the full cultural experience at Acacia House are the guides, they are all exclusively Masai or Il Dorobo and are encouraged to retain and practice the time-honored Masai values such as traditional dress.
Eco-conscious Lewa is a very special part of the world, offering all visitors to the area an incredibly rich and memorable safari experience. Your family’s memories from Lewa will extend so much further than the wildlife, though this is the focus, the people and landscapes will really stay with your family long after you’ve left. Lewa House offers seven large thatched roof cottages, and the very special earth pods - carbon-neutral, zero emission rooms which harness their own water and create their own power. Here you can go on game drives, walking safaris, horse rides, swim in the streams running off Mount Kenya or fly over the hills and valleys in the Waco bi-plane. Lewa is so perfect for families with young children because they offer babysitting, and are flexible with mealtimes and menus.
This 5,000 acre ranch and game sanctuary is ideal for families. This lodge can be booked on an exclusive basis, and the décor is inspired by the surrounding landscape and features many unique pieces made by the Samburu people. Ol Malo has plenty to keep your family busy, the guides are fully trained and licensed, and most grew up in the surrounding wilderness, so they know the area very well. They can tailor activities to suit your individual family, from game viewing by vehicle or foot, to camel rides and fishing or mountain biking. It is also possible to visit some of the community projects and meet the local Samburu people. Your family can choose to do as little or as much as you’d like. You’re sure to get everything you could possibly want out of a safari at Ol Malo Lodge.
Kenya is the ideal safari destination for older children. Activity options expand greatly, from guided walks with the Maasai people to canoeing and hiking to the peak of Mount Kenya, which will give your family and incredible view and a new perspective of the valley below. As your kids get older, they are more able to appreciate Kenya’s unique wildlife, landscapes and culture. You’re sure to create memories that will last far beyond your holiday.
Serian is a traditional bush camp with a very home away from home feel. The emphasis here is on a natural wildlife experience and epitomises the off-the-beaten-track safari. Guiding here is phenomenal and your stay includes a private vehicle, so your family’s safari experience can be as intense or gentle as you wish. There are activities here to suit every interest, such as day and night game drives, guided bush walks, bird watching, hot air balloon safaris, bush picnics and cultural visits. The camp is comprised of six huge tents, two of which are for families. And for the more adventurous family, a stay in the incredible Tree House is a must. Set high up and overlooking the bush on one side and the river on the other, spending a night here is a magical and unforgettable experience. You’ll have one of your most peaceful nights rest ever as you sleep under a blanket of stars.
If you have an elephant lover in the family, this camp is for you. The camp has strong links to Save the Elephants, boasts one of Africa’s most impressive elephant populations and offers guests a unique, immersive safari experience. A warm and traditional Samburu welcome awaits your family on arrival and the game drives here are conducted by Samburu warriors who have grown up in the area and have an in-depth knowledge of the reserve. This camp is also home to the rare Samburu five – Grevy’s zebra, Somali ostrich, Beisa oryx, reticulated giraffe and long-necked gerenuk. The wildlife fanatics in your family will not be disappointed.
Nestled in the shadows of Mount Kenya and surrounded by the indigenous forest, Kicheche Laikipia overlooks a beautiful waterhole which attracts an enormous amount of game throughout the year. This camp offers an uncrowded environment for your family to enjoy viewing of black rhino, elephant, cheetah, leopard, lion, and the occasional glimpse of rarer species of zebra, Hartebeest and oryx. Special trips can be arranged for your family to visit the Wildlife Educational Center and Chimpanzee Center, if you choose, you can have the opportunity to see the near extinct white rhinos and chimpanzees. An extremely memorable experience for every member of the family. The camp has just six custom designed, beautifully furnished tented suites giving everyone an exclusive and private experience. There is also a family tent option available.
Kenya is amazing for multi-generational family travel. Many lodges can be taken exclusively providing the most private bonding experience for everyone. These lodges and camps have something to please every member of the family, there are game drives, horseback and camel rides, balloon safaris, wildlife conservation habitats, and visits to villages of the Samburu tribe. If some members of your family prefer to relax during their holiday, Kenya has that too. There are gorgeous pools to cool off in, large decks to enjoy sundowners on, relaxing massages and exceptional organic meals to dine on. Something your family must try while in Kenya is sleeping under the glittering constellations on a luxurious “star bed”. You won’t spend a night this magical in many other places in the world.
Recalling an era of luxury and quality, Cottar's returns to the original spirit and essence of safari, reminiscent of a golden era of romance, professional guiding, adventure and elegance. Your family will stay in authentic white canvas tents, which are spacious and luxuriously furnished with safari antiques from the 20s. For large families the private house is a great option. It can be taken exclusively, and has eight efficient staff, including a dedicated guide, discreet, attentive butler and masseuse for unbelievable complimentary massages, manicures and pedicures. Every member of the family will be well looked after at Cottar's.
Borana Lodge offers a wide range of activities for your family to enjoy, including game drives, horse riding (for beginners and experienced riders alike!), mountain biking and helicopter expeditions. A very special thing about Borana is that a herd of over 2000 cattle live on the ranch, so your family can spend a day learning about the challenges of ranching. For those family members interested in more leisurely pursuits, the lodge has a beautiful infinity pool, a small boutique with locally produced craftwork (perfect for getting that special someone a souvenir), and a dining room where you can sample fresh produce from the ranch and fresh juices from the Borana orchard. No member of the family will be able to contain their excitement with an excursion to ‘pride rock’ the inspiration for the writers of Disney’s Lion King- a bush breakfast is a must here. If your family is travelling with children, the kitchen is very flexible can easily schedule earlier meals and create a more child-friendly menu. Babysitting can also be arranged if family members would like some adult time to themselves.
Ol Donyo has exclusive access to a quarter of a million acres of one of the few remaining corners of wild Africa, the Mbirikani Group Ranch. The four pool villas are designed to be versatile and private, perfect for families. The lodge offers a private chef, in-room massages and same day laundry service. Make sure to spend a night on the rooftop “star bed” which allows for a unique sleep out experience whilst not leaving the luxury of your private suite. It’s a truly spellbinding experience. A highlight of Ol Donyo is all of the one-of-a-kind safari experiences on offer - during game drives, there can be surprise sundowners or afternoon tea in the middle of the bush, expeditions to the nearby Amboseli National park can be planned, as well as overnight horseback excursions and tracking with the resident bloodhound in a game of ‘hide and seek’. Staying at Ol Donyo Lodge will be unforgettable for every member of the family.
Kenya is made for active families, there are so many ways to have an off-the-beaten-track experience. The wildlife, the landscape and safari are the focal points of Kenya. Your family can get the lay of the land from every perspective possible, there are game drives, walking safaris, horseback and camel safaris, hiking, fishing, biking and the true treat of a hot air balloon safari. You can also choose to visit local schools and villages to learn about the fascinating culture of this vast and exciting country. And for the more adventurous families, we recommend fly camping to get an authentic, rustic experience. Your entire family is sure to have an exciting and educational holiday in Kenya.
Kicheche offers an excellent game viewing experience away from the crowds. The camp is located in a prime wildlife area and game viewing starts right from the camp itself. The activities from Kicheche are based around game viewing and visits to a local village and school. All the guides have expert knowledge on local wildlife and folklore and are ideal companions on a day or night drive or even a walking safari. Balloon trips over the Mara can be arranged and the camp’s location lends itself to experiencing the famed wildebeest migration. A truly amazing excursion is a walking safari with an overnight stay in a fly-camp in the bush. This is an outstanding opportunity to see the Mara from a completely different perspective.
A fully-serviced luxury mobile camp, Karisia is the perfect balance between an adventurous walking safari by day and comfortable camping by night. The staff take down the camp each day and it is transported by camels to the next site, leaving you free to enjoy your wildlife-rich walks. Led by knowledgeable Samburu guides, walking safaris give your family the chance to see the bush from a whole new perspective and it is on walking safaris that your family will gain a better understanding of the smaller elements of the bush that you would normally miss on a game drive. Your family will learn about tracking wildlife and will certainly have some excellent animal encounters, you can also fish and ride camels on this safari. Children 4 and over are welcome and all walks are tailored to accommodate your family.
The Matthews Range area is a refuge for several hundred elephant. Many other wildlife species reside here as well, including Lion, leopard, wild dog, kudu, black and white colobus monkeys, Grevy’s zebra, striped hyena and gerenuk. Given the game-rich area, walking safaris are the emphasis at Sarara, but game drives are also available. While staying here your family can’t miss the ‘Sarara Singing Wells’. Samburu warriors bring their cattle to these watering holes on a daily basis during the dry season. Some of the wells are up to 10 meters deep. The warriors strip off, descend to form a human chain and chant traditional Samburu songs as they pass water up by hand for the cattle. This mind-blowing ritual goes on for several hours a day. This is an experience your family will remember forever.
Time to unwind
Though the focus of Kenya is safari, it also provides the perfect escape to unplug and unwind. Surrounded by nature and the type of quiet that can only be found far away from metropolitan areas, the unspoilt, rugged feel of Kenya doesn’t mean that there is a lack of modern luxury here. Many camps and lodges offer top-notch spas, lovely pools, luxurious suites with every amenity imaginable and breathtaking views. Kenya is the perfect getaway for your family to reconnect and relax.
The location for key scenes in “Out of Africa”, Angama Mara is ideal for those families wanting to live the romance of this iconic safari film. Each of the glass-fronted suites is suspended on the edge of the Mara escarpment overlooking the savannah plains beyond. Your room’s 10 metre wide floor-to-ceiling glass wall will give you spectacular 180 degree views. Your family will wake up in the morning to hot air balloons rising up to your eye-level for a dramatic start to your day. The camp offers a swimming pool, fitness centre and in-suite massages. Here, you can venture out on walking safaris, hot air balloon rides, community visits, game drives with evening sundowners are available, and we highly recommend a picnic on the kopje where Out of Africa was filmed.
Saruni Samburu is a small and personal lodge offering an intimate safari experience in an unspoilt environment. What makes Saruni so special is the hilltop position, offering spectacular views from every angle. There are also several areas around the lodge which can be used as viewpoints over the waterholes which attract wildlife like elephant, giraffe, zebra, lion, wild dog and oryx. In addition to game viewing, there are game drives, a photographic hide, rock climbing, bush walks guided by local Samburu people, private cave tours, bush dinners and helicopter star-gazing. The lodge has two huge, refreshing infinity pools, a Samburu Wellbeing Space offering relaxing spa treatments and a private airstrip. A stay at Saruni Samburu will leave your family feeling rested and rejuvenated.
Ocean Spa Lodge was designed and built to offer its guests exclusive experiences. It’s the perfect secluded retreat for families wishing to spend some quality time together. The 14 airy eco-design suites all have uninterrupted ocean views and are well suited for families. There is a swimming pool and beach to explore right on your doorstep. There is excellent snorkelling and diving off Wasini Island and the deep sea fishing here is some of the best in the world. The Sarunity Spa allows you to properly indulge yourself and relax after your safari, you can also partake in pilates, yoga and boot camp classes. Fine dining is a real highlight of your stay at this lodge, the gourmet menu includes seafood-centric dishes like lobster, crab, prawns and octopus, but all dietary needs can be catered for. Ocean Spa Lodge allows your family can do as little or as much as you’d like.
A Family Adventure in Africa
What to pack on safari