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, the wildlife is abundant, and we’ve never met a child yet who wasn’t absolutely enthralled by the experience – up to a point.

The key to planning a successful family safari in Kenya with kids comes down to one thing, balance. Most children won’t want to sit in a safari vehicle day after day, no matter how impressive the game is, how close you get to the action, how cute the cubs are, or how gory the kills are. In all our years of successful safari planning, we’ve found you have to balance awesome wildlife encounters with plenty of non-vehicle-based activities.

Kenya with kids - on safari spotting elephants

Come face-to-face with elephant families when holidaying in Kenya with kids

So 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 from traditional safaris to tracking on foot, cycling and delicious snacks around the campfire.

Kenya with kids Top 10

1. Thrill the family with a world-famous Kenyan safari 

Teenagers and kids on a family safari in Africa - Kenya with kids holiday

Experiencing the sights and sounds of the African bush will be truly unforgettable for all the family

With more than 50 National Parks, Reserves and Sanctuaries, Kenya has an almost bewildering choice of wildlife-viewing possibilities that make it a sure-fire hit with kids, as well as a growing number of genuinely family-friendly lodges. We’ve narrowed it down to some of the most popular places to go and things to do, below, but there are many others; among them, Amboseli with its views of Kilimanjaro, and Tsavo, where you can spot all of the Big Five in a single day. Kenya is also a top spot for a combined safari and beach break. For more see Kenya Places to Visit.

2. Spot big cats in the Masai Mara

Masai Mara lion and cub - Kenya family safari

Guaranteed world-class big cats in the Mara

The Masia Mara is Big Cat territory, famed for its abundant packs of cheetah, lion, and leopard – as well as the Big Five. Iconic landscape with miles of grassland and picturesque Acacia trees and giant termite mounts that the cheetah use to spot their prey. Fans of Big Cat Diaries (filmed here) will be familiar with the way that 4WD guides use radios to report the latest sightings, everything from coming across a family of cubs to witnessing a kill. Take a look at our Highlights of Kenya sample itinerary for how to visit the Masai Mara.

3. Experience a camel safari in Northern Kenya

Kenya with kids trip including camel trek in Laikipia

Hop on a camel for a safari with a difference

For a truly personal and private wildlife experience, take the family to off-the-beaten-track Laikipia National Park. Here camel trekking is a unique way to view a host of wildlife from elephants and giraffes, to birds and creepy crawlies. Accompanied by knowledgeable animal guides, you can walk alongside the camels or for a better vantage point, ride the camels too. There’s an option for an overnight stay where your family will be entirely catered for in a makeshift camp. Find out more about visiting Laikipia in our Out of Africa sample family itinerary.

4. Track wildlife on foot and learn bush skills

Kids learning to make fire on a bush walk with Masaai - Kenya with kids

Learn how to make fire with the Maasai in the Mara

Another favourite activity in Kenya with kids is the chance to track animals on foot. In many of our family-friendly lodges children can go on a bush walk, where they learn to identify which poo belongs to which animal, and they will start to identify footprints. The kids can also learn bush survival skills with the Masaai guides, both making fire and crafting bows and arrows. For more safari options see our African Safari section.

5. Cycle with zebra & giraffe in Kenya’s Rift Valley

Cycling safari Kenya with kids

Get active and go on a Kenyan cycling safari to get up close to Plains game

One of our favourite places for some non-vehicle-based activities is Hell’s Gate National Park, near the shores of Lake Naivasha. 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. Another great spot for mountain biking is the Chyulu Hills, between Tsavo and Amboseli national parks, where you can see Mount Kilimanjaro over the Tanzanian border.

6. Hike along aerial walkways and cool off in heavenly pools

Family with kids and a guide on aerial walkway in Ngare-Ndare, Kenya

Explore Ngare Ndare Forest on the aerial walkways in the forest canopy with your guide

It might come as a surprise to discover that Kenya offers a huge range of landscapes. In the Laikipia Plateau, some gorgeous waterfalls offer the perfect place to cool down after a day’s animal tracking. At Ngare Ndare the river plummets into a natural pool below where you can swim. Heaven! And don’t miss the chance to stretch your legs on a guided ranger hike along the aerial walkways, shaded by the forest canopy.

7. Sit around the camp fire and enjoy a sundowner 

Sun downers around a camp fire - Kenya with kids holiday

Sip G&Ts in a gorgeous setting while the kids tuck into tasty snacks

Kenya has taken the art of the sundowner to a new level. For those unacquainted with the term, a sundowner 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 drinks and snacks for the kids. With freshly cooked cocktail sausages, fried potato skins and a roaring campfire over which the children can cook marshmallows, everyone is happy!

8. Visit Crescent Island on Lake Naivasha for zebra & giraffe

Young boy close to grazing zebra on walking trip near Lake Naivasha - Kenya with kids itinerary

Visit Crescent Island by boat and get close to animals and birds

It may not be a high-octane activity, but a morning boat ride on Lake Naivasha is, without a doubt, one of our favourite activities in Kenya with the kids. See pelicans! Fish eagles! Hippos! For a real treat, finish with a bush breakfast on the banks of the lake, a full English served with fresh coffee under the shade of an acacia tree. Another favourite activity is visiting Crescent Island. With no predators on this almost private sanctuary, you and your family can safely walk on a variety of trails seeing gazelle, monkeys, birds, wildebeest, and best of all, giraffes before re-joining the boat again. Find out where else to visit in Places to Visit in Kenya.

9. Re-energise post safari on a Kenyan beach

Kenya beach with loungers - Kenya with kids holiday

Relax after the rigors of life on safari at Diani Beach on Kenya’s palm-fringed southern coast

After time on safari, it’s hard to resist the lure of the beach for a classic safari and beach combination. 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. Older children will love windsurfing and kayaking whilst younger ones will spend hours building sandcastles (it’s perfect sand for this).

10. Go snorkelling in the Indian Ocean

Kids snorkelling - Africa holiday

Snorkel at one of Kenya’s idyllic Indian Ocean island beaches and look for turtles

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. Islands off the southern coast can be visited on a day trip. Look for dolphins as they jump through the waves and don a snorkel to spot wonderfully brightly coloured tropical fish, and a turtle if you are lucky. See our Kenya Out of Africa Safari & Beach example itinerary to find out more.

More about holidaying in 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 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 with 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

Woman sitting under Acacia tree next to jeep - Kenya's Masai Mara

Follow in the footsteps of our Sales Manager, Charlotte Hamilton, and chill in the shade of an iconic Acacia tree in the Masai Mara