Kenya is one of the pioneers of the African safari. They know what they are doing and they do it brilliantly well. The game viewing is superb and the wildlife is abundant. The kids will be enthralled.
However, when planning a successful family safari, you need to think about more than this. Children will not want to sit in a safari vehicle day after day after day, no matter how impressive the game. In order to make a family safari holiday a success, you have to include plenty of non vehicle-based activities.
But what are the best activities to do in Kenya with the kids? What will keep the children’s interest piqued for the duration of the trip? Here are our top 10 favourite things to do in Kenya with kids, not including game drives.
Kenya with kids Top 10
1 – White water rafting on the Sagana River
This is an absolute winner for all but the youngest children, an adrenalin fuelled 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.
2 – Wildlife tracking in Laikipia
Another favourite 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 polyfiller. 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 personalised souvenir to take home with you.
3 – Play under ‘Lost World’ waterfall
In a remote corner of northern Kenya, on a private ranch, is a little slice of paradise that we have named the Lost World Waterfall. Strangely otherworldly, here the river plummets over a cliff into a large pool fringed by acacia trees and with huge boulders towering above. After an early morning game drive, spend the rest of the day here. Recharge the batteries relaxing on large cushions in the shade whilst the kids play in the natural pool. There is a ledge that juts out over the water that they can jump off before climbing in and out of a raft and paddling under the waterfall.
4 – 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. See more photos of Hell’s Gate National Park on this useful website.
5 – Ol Njorowa gorge walk
Further into Hell’s Gate National Park is another of our favourite activities in Kenya for children. This is the walk through Ol Njorowa gorge, a narrow cleft through the cliffs, which rear high above you. Some parts of the walk are easy, others are much more difficult and require some clambering up rocky crevices with a rope. A guide is essential not only to show you the way, but also to point out where to put your feet. Children will scamper up, slower parents may need a little more time! The views at the end are phenomenal.
6 – 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 favourite 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. Bliss.
7 – Sundowners, sausages & skins
Kenya has taken the art of the sundowner to a new level. For those unacquainted with the term, a sun-downer involves finding a spectacular location during the late afternoon and then sitting down with a drink to enjoy the sunset. Iced G&T for the parents, soft drink and snacks for the kids. Everyone’s happy. Our favourite? In the Oserongoni Reserve, with freshly cooked cocktail sausages, fried potato skins and a roaring camp fire over which the children can cook marshmallows.
8 – Fly-camp in the bush
For an exciting activity in Kenya with the kids, enjoy a night fly camping, spending the night out in the bush. Offered as an optional activity by some camps, particularly in the north, you will be set up with a tent out in the bush and provided with a camp fire to keep the wildlife at bay (and a ranger to keep watch during the night). Our favourite bush camp is in the new ‘sting ray’ style tent suspended from the trees so animals (including hippos) can walk beneath you. Or if that all sounds a bit much like hard work, just put the kids in the tent to go to sleep whilst you enjoy a bush dinner after the stars, and retreat to the lodge in the late evening.
9 – 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.
10 – Wasini Island
A final favourite 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 01728 752 751 or enquire using our website contact page.
Liddy Pleasants, MD Stubborn Mule Travel