Most people have travelled pretty far to get to Africa, either from Europe, from Hong Kong or Singapore or from the US or Mexico. This means – you need to stop at some point to allow for acclimatisation.
The best places tend to be either around Lake Naivasha where you can visit a school we support and take a fabulous private house and spend time on the lake – simply relaxing and having fun, or in Nairobi, staying somewhere incredibly memorable like Giraffe Manor, where one can feed the Rothschild giraffe and have them poke their heads through the window at breakfast.
It is great fun, but there is a more serious aspect behind it, which is that these giraffe were on the endangered list which is the whole reason that they were introduced to this property by an eccentric English couple who wanted to try and save them.
You can also visit the Daphne Sheldrick elephant orphanage whilst here which is a truly engaging and worthwhile charity, where the elephant calves are then released back into the wild as a family.
Then off to Laikipia – where you have a handful of some of the most extraordinary private houses which were farmhouses before they took down the fences. This now is one of the finest wildlife areas in the country – and one of the most successful conservation stories.
Stay at any of these places, either sharing or on an exclusive use basis, and in between go camel trekking for either a few hours or a few days, camping en route and ending up perhaps at a tree house. Go horse riding, or take a quad biking safari and visit the local school and learn about the Mukogodo tribe of Maasai origin.
For older children, go trekking for black rhino on foot or again, take a mule assisted walking safari in the forests surrounding the Masai Mara, where you won’t see a single tourist. Learn all about the tribe and their customs whilst having a camp set up for you from place to place in the forest.
It’s one of the most amazing experiences and then you could end up at a lovely private luxury house where you can relax, continue to see wildlife, spend time in a leopard hide at night or spend time with another cultural tribe that hardly ever sees a tourist.
Perhaps spend time with a wildlife researcher in Samburu or in Laikipia – this is not something open to the tourist in general, but more aligned with our ethos and relationships we have with these people – from elephant scientists to lion scientists and the cost is a collar or microchip, so you can know that apart from having the most humbling and privileged experience, that you have also made a difference to the fight against poaching – we are losing 86 of these beautiful animals each day!
Having a private guide accompany you throughout is recommended and the very best option – as this offers greatest harmony and ensures that everything runs smoothly! Our guides all have children and really add to a safari – they are fun, knowledgeable and wonderful to have around! A few are professional photographers so you can hone your photographic skills at the same time!
Then of course, you must see the Masai Mara – Africa’s greatest wildlife reserve. Again, either take over a private camp, or stay in a private camp – one even has a tree house for the adventurous spirit! Or – a great recommendation would be to have a private mobile safari erected just for your family.
This really is the best, as you hear the sounds of the night so much more clearly, the lion marking its territory in the distance, the hyaena whooping, the zebra stallions fighting one another and smell the wild sage and potato bushes first thing in the morning with the early dew.
Visit a Maasai village, a school, learn how to make fire without matches, how to identify the spoor marks or prints of wildlife that has gone before you – and work out what they were doing and which direction they were heading.
Learn about the night sky, learn about the trees and plants that are used for both eating as well as medicinal purposes. Learn the difference of the tribes – Kenya has around 46 – and many are still true to their culture which makes it such a fascinating country.
Perhaps visit Tsavo National Park – where you can spend time at the Daphne Sheldrick houses on an exclusive use basis and learn and see and interact with the orphaned elephants and perhaps even see them being released.
Then to the coast- Lamu is now a safe haven again with the FCO lifting all bans and there are some truly great places including Robinson Crusoe style hideaways to complete your African dream. Whatever you are looking for in terms of the perfect family safari – Kenya offers it all!