Kenya for families
If you and your children aren't so keen on the idea of a traditional family holiday, consider travelling somewhere more exciting and exotic, like Kenya. This east African nation boasts a wealth of attractions that will appeal to parents and kids alike.
Of course, the main attraction is staying in one of Kenya's safari camps and heading out on game drives to try and spot some of Africa's most iconic and amazing animals. Seeing a herd of elephants wandering across the plains or watching as lions lounge in the afternoon sun will be truly awe-inspiring, no matter what your age.
However, there's more to Kenya than its national parks, so make sure you set aside some time to discover its glorious coastline. If you'd like to inject a bit of culture and history (as well as a bit of beachside fun) into your family holiday, Mombasa is an excellent place to do so as the city boasts several interesting monuments and sights, as well as beautiful sunkissed beaches.
Capture young imaginations on family-friendly safaris
An absolute must on any family trip to Kenya is going on safari. There are many national parks and game reserves in the country where you can see a vast array of animals, but if you're travelling with children it may be advisable to stick to the more accessible options, such as the Masai Mara Game Reserve, which is well set up to cater for travellers of all ages, the Nairobi National Park, which is close to the capital city, and Tsavo National Park - the largest protected area in Kenya.
To teach your children about Kenya's diverse wildlife and ecosystems, follow the Nairobi Safari Walk, which leads through three simulated habitats (forest, savannah and wetland), providing an excellent introduction to the country's flora and fauna. Look out for colobus monkeys, tortoises, leopards, crocodiles and pygmy hippos as you walk.
Within the Nairobi National Park is the Nairobi Animal Orphanage, which has been operating since 1964. The facility rehabilitates injured or orphaned animals, releasing them back into the wild whenever possible.
Whichever Kenyan safari camp you decide to stay in, make sure your children know what animals make up the Big Five (elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard and rhino) and encourage them to ask questions about the fascinating creatures you see as you explore the game reserve.
Top activities for the whole family
As well as discovering Kenya's wildlife together, there are plenty of other things you can do as a family. A popular option is to spend part of the trip on safari and the remaining days or weeks based in or near Mombasa to enjoy the beauty of Kenya's coastline.
There are pristine tropical beaches here that parents can unwind on while children play in the sand or paddle in the calm sea. Older kids can have a go at snorkelling to see some of the vibrant coral reefs that lie just below the surface.
Colourful fish dart in and out of the corals, while crustaceans, molluscs and other invertebrates hide in the reef. This is a wonderful world to discover while you're in Kenya and one that will captivate grownups just as much as children.
Another excellent family-friendly activity to do on the coast is taking a cruise in a traditional dhow. These boats have been used for centuries to transport people and goods along the coast, with most excursions venturing into the mangroves - yet another of Kenya's diverse ecosystems.
Preparing to travel to Kenya with children
If you are planning to travel to Kenya with children of any age, it is important to be well prepared for your trip. Take appropriate clothing for the places you are visiting - in some parts of Kenya temperatures can drop considerably overnight, so warm clothes are essential, while on the coast it is hot and humid, making lightweight garments preferable.
Kenya is a very exotic destination, where tribal culture has blended with the modern world. This means it's a great opportunity to teach your youngsters more about the world and other societies - it may be beneficial to explain a bit about Kenya and its history before you jet off on holiday to help children understand what they see once they arrive.
Family holidays in Kenya
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