Kenya Family Safari
Days 1, 2 and 3 - Masai Mara
Arrive in Nairobi where you are met and transferred to the domestic airport for your flight to the Masai Mara for the start of your Kenyan Family Safari. The Masai Mara is world-renowned for its incredible game viewing and in particular big cats. Lions are fairly common in and around the Masai Mara making them the dominant predator of the region. Cheetahs prefer the open grasslands where they can use their speed to catch their prey, while leopards prefer the rocky outcrops, valleys, and riverine woodlands where they can slink away unseen. If you are lucky you may get to highly endangered wild dogs in some of the community conservancies surrounding the Masai Mara.
The Masai Mara is known for the annual migration that moves through the park from the Serengeti in Tanzania. Every year millions of wildebeest and zebra move in a clockwise direction from the Serengeti through the Masai Mara and back south again, following the rains. The migration traditionally moves between the northern Serengeti and the Masai Mara between June/July and October before the herds head south to give birth. When the migration is in the Masai Mara it can offer some of the most dramatic game viewing in Africa with millions of wildebeest and zebra moving through the grasslands and often crossing large crocodile-infested rivers to get to the best grazing.
Outside of the migration, the game viewing is still spectacular as the majority of animals do not migrate. Elephant, topi, Thompson’s gazelle, cheetah, leopard, lion, buffalo, rhino, and giraffe all remain to make for a varied Masai Mara safari experience.
Within the Masai Mara ecosystem, guests have 2 choices of where to stay. There are the camps that are located inside the Masai Mara Game Reserve and often in the thick of the action, but the areas can get crowded as this is a public reserve. Surrounding the Masai Mara Game Reserve are community-run concessions that are private and so offer a more exclusive safari experience, away from the crowds. There are no fences between the Masai Mara and these conservancies and so the game moves freely between the main reserve and the surrounding concessions. The benefit of staying in the community reserves is more exclusivity and more freedom with the chance to do walking safaris and night drives and the chance to do a full-day game drive inside the main Masai Mara Game Reserve.
Within these choices, there are family-specific camps that cater to kids’ activities.
Days 4, 5 and 6 - Samburu National Park
After your family safari in the Masai Mara, you head north to the drier regions of Kenya and Samburu National Park. Samburu survives off the perennial Ewaso Nyiro River that attracts the animals to its banks. It is also the lifeline for the local Samburu tribes of the area and further north that use the waters for their goats and cattle.
The reason we love Samburu National Park is due to the unusual animal species that live here, including striking (and endangered) Grevy’s zebra, the unusual-looking Gerenuk antelope with its stretched neck, the Beisa oryx and stunning reticulated giraffe with its puzzle-looking markings. Aside from these strange creatures, Samburu is home to large herds of red-colored elephants (due to the color of the soil they throw over themselves), good pride of lions, healthy populations of leopards that live along the riverine forests, and cheetahs, although cheetah is rarer and harder to spot.
Days 7, 8 and 9 - Amboseli National Park
You’ve all seen those iconic photos of elephants walking in front of a snow-capped Kilimanjaro….well that is your next destination. Amboseli National Park borders Tanzania and has the backdrop of Kilimanjaro as a centerpiece. Meltwaters from the snow-capped mountain flow into Amboseli and create 3 large wetlands that sustain life in this otherwise arid landscape. Huge herds of elephants can be seen throughout the day marching through the desert to the sweet waters of these wetlands.
Aside from Amboseli’s celebrated elephants, the park is home to Kenya’s plains game including Grant’s and Thompson’s gazelle, buffalo, eland, zebra, and wildebeest. Predator numbers are increasing as relationships between local communities and conservation efforts continue to improve. Lions remain the dominant predator of Amboseli, although hyenas and cheetahs are also resident.