For adventure-seekers, nature-lovers, animal-lovers & those looking for memory-making family-time, this really is a Perfect Family Adventure … in Kenya.
It’s Brief This Time ;o)
I’m not going to bore you to death again with my endless adventure stories, my children not quite behaving as they should or my rather strong points of view of how the soft-furnishings should be; instead I’m going to present you with a photo collage of my new favourite Safari Adventure with Children, a handfull of days at Tumaren Camp (a fabulous little base camp for the fabulous Karisia walking Safaris), in Laikipia, Northern Kenya. I think this family safari is best summarized in the words of our children ‘that is my favourite and bestest camp we’ve ever stayed!’ Billy (our son), ‘me too’ exclaimed Zia (our daughter) … and we have stayed in 100’s folks, its what we do!! We truly had the most amazing time!!
Kerry, Jamie (the adventurous and super-fun owners) & the incredible Samburu guide that is Gabriel … & Tumaren Camp so very much for putting up with this mucky, mad, energetic, scalliwag family … you made our dreams come true!
Kenya, unlike Southern African countries, welcomes families travelling with young kids, with open arms. See more on this.
Tumaren Camp – For those looking to experience a real safari, in comfort! Tumaren offers so many incredible, natural activities giving a family the most incredible opportunity to bond and to form life-long memories together. The Area – is rugged, dry, dramatic and eye-poppingly beautiful. You’re here for arid lands, the unexplored territory, the real culture and real life, and that is indeed what you get. For those travelling to Kenya with kids – Do it, if there’s one thing you should do in life, come here for at least 3 nights, with your kids. I would even suggest two or three families. No Ipads, no TV, no shopping …. instead you will have time … time to chat, to sing, to have your meals under an umbrella tree in the bush, to walk, to ride camels, to rock climb, to watch the sun go down, to swim in the river, to see wildlife, to witness real Samburu culture … ahhhh heaven! Weather – warm days and mild nights. What to Pack? – A good camera and binoculars (even for the kids, it’ll help them get into it more). Layers … jeans and a warm jumper / jacket for the evening and early mornings and shorts and a t-shirt for the day. High SPF sun cream, hats .. and a big smilie face! Price – USD450 per adult, per night (before conservation fees) – this includes all accommodation, all food (really delicious food!!), all drinks, all fully guided activities (walks, camel safaris, rock climbing, river-swimming, cultural experiences … etc.). My advise – People go on holiday for very many different reasons, if you are looking to experience a safari how it always was, at an agreeable rate, but with all the luxuries you need (comfy beds, beautiful tented rooms, cold drinks, yummy bush food, great hosting etc.) Tumaren will suit you perfectly. How to Book it? Kenya is not a country gifted with ‘ease of booking via bookings.com or hotels.com’ its always best to use a trustworthy, knowledgeable company who can help you book. We suggest contacting eitherChania who can organise your entire safari from the minute you touchdown to the minute you take off! Or one of the incredible magicians at The SAFARI Company, who daily turn adventure-dreams into real-adventures!! Fancy finding out more about this rather special company?
To book a Family Adventure Safari tailored to YOUR unique & dynamic bunch click here!
In Search of the perfect Family-Friendly Hidden Gem, in Egypt. Honestly, Egypt has never appealed to me, but with the allure of my sister & her extended family temporarily living in Cairo, off the three of us went, Billy, 6, Zia, 5 and me, ancient!! A blank canvas, an open mind, eyes on stalks and fully prepared for the eyeball-sweating heat .. sort of!
Cairo’s history is fascinating beyond belief. Indeed it’s a hussling, bussling, wobbly-pavement and hanging electricity wires city … the fact that it’s dispersed with incredbly showy shopping malls & flashy kids entertainment made it difficult to fully comprenend. Do I like it, do I not? Is it grotesque amongst so much poverty? or is it just normal for nowadays? Hmmmm ….. Hey ho, any Kenyan released into shops = pure happiness; incredible culture & history, bring in on!!
Apart from the dreaded (pretending not to like them) shopping centres, did we discover any memorable Hidden gems in Cairo? Well I’m going to add a little list of the fun things we did and what we got out of them as a family .. whether the most popular tourist attractions in the world, or hidden gems:
The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities– An incredible museum! For those historians out there a few days would be ideal; our personal favourite section was the breath-taking collection of the infant-king Tutankamun’s belongings …. though it transpired one child doesn’t so much love being in a room with hundreds of dead bodies (Mummies!), so our visit was fairly speedy.
The Grand Bazaar, Khan El-Khalili, in Old Cairo – A trinket market primarily set up for tourists. A huge amount of colour and buzz, a little ‘badgery’ but a great experience if you love a bit of tat-shopping, as I indeed do!! Oh and we found a little silver shop hidden amongst it all with gorgeous silver goodies!
A little tour around some places of worship, SEVEN to be precise – Synagogues, churches, Roman Catholic churches such St. Virgin Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church, The Basilica of St Therese of the Child Jesus; Islamic mosques, the Al Hakim Mosque, the Mohammed Ali Mosque in the Citadel of Saladin etc. etc., honestly it was incredibly interesting, fastinating, beautiful and inspiring, and we saw where Jesus once lay, apparently … but … note to self, don’t take 5&6 year olds around 7 places of worship, in 42 degree heat😓, in the same day …. or their mother to be honest; Billy recounts it as his worst day ever!! Three places and three ice creams would have been perfect.
Tentmakers Street(Sharia Khayamiya)– Hidden Gem – our guide was furious we’d asked him to take us here, but we had fun and it’s a pretty cool place! Hop on a TukTuk as the road is fairly narrow and overall it’s not hassly or touristy, through sdtill full of colourful little shops with men sewing beautiful tapestries, applique, weaving …. etc.
The vibrant craft community of Fustat– Hidden Gem – Pottery Galore, tile-making, metal-denting, paper-making and not a tourist in sight … all in the Fustat area near Coptic Cairo, I dont mind if I do!!! This was a personal highlight for me. You can pop your kids into a little paper-making course whilst you shop until you drop in some beautiful artesan galleries / shops / art studios .. there is nothing gold plated about the area, it essentially looks like an industrial area, but the talent, the talent!!
Boutique shopping – Hidden Gem – Egyption Cotton & Essential Oils, Soaps & Salts, Silk scarves, Vintage Home Accessories, Hand-made Jewelery, Organic Food … and kiddy cooking to keep them occupied and happy whilst the retail therapy takes place – all this fun can be found in the Delga Stores, 2, Road 218, Degla, Maadi. Maadi or El-Ma’adi is an affluent, leafy suburban district south of Cairo.
Sundowners on the Nile on a local Felucca– Hidden Gem – Super affordable. Take a coolbag of drinks, snacks and enjoy a little no-frills sail along the nile (if theres any wind!).
The Pyramids of Giza – More than 2m limestone and granite blocks were hauled into place on the Great Pyramid. The average weight of one block is about 2.5 tons … how can this not impress you? If you are planning on going during the day, get there early to miss the crowds (and heat 😓) … but we would rather suggest you go to the incredible evening sound & light show.
As well as Cairo, the family’s highlight was a couple of nights in one of Egypt’s seven Oasis’, Al Fayoum – a complete Hidden Gem!!! A land of unspoiled nature & rich history, a place worth discovering! Only 90 km southwest of Cairo, what was so much fun here?
The Journey – indeed this was the first discovery. Beautiful rice paddy feilds, the sunflower fields, the water buffalo & donkeys at work, the road-side food stalls and the rustic charm of the surrounding areas.
Wadi Wadi El-7itan (Valley of Whales) –Little Boy Heaven!!! UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to the earliest prehistoric whale fossils ever discovered. A fabulous little Fossil & Climate Change Museum, sand scattered with prehistopric fish bones and more than 400 X 40 million year old preserved basilosaurus and dorodontus skeletons show the clear evolution of land-based mammals into sea-going ones, as they have vestigial front and back legs.
The Magic Lake (gorgeous) andGabal El-Medawara – a scenic hiking option overlooking the Magic Lake, and a great place to camp and to marvel at the stars!! Here we were so, so, so lucky to spot a nearing extinction Ruppell’s Sand Fox.
Maidum Pyramid – is believed to be the first attempt to build a pyramid
Tunis Village – A picturesque village known for being the arts center of Al Fayoum, specializing in handcrafts and literary works. We spent two days in pottery classes and shopping, together as a family …. this was a highlight for us!
The Petrified Forest of Fayoum – the largest petrified forest in the world, 40m high trees that have survived for thousands of years.
A Felucca on Lake Qaroun – a beautiful evening out on this ancient natural lake.
Sand boarding – Its an Oasis so sand dunes are all over the place, pick your spot and off you go. The most famous sand boarding spot is “Qoussour El-Arab”.
Camel Trekking & Horse riding through the desert.
Hold our breath and visit the Shakshouk Fishing Village.
In Abu Boxa, fishing boats are manually produced.
Visit Al-Agamiyin: for palm frond furniture known in Arabic as 3argoun.
We stayed in Byoum Lakeside Hotel, I’ve never paid so little to stay anywhere in my life. It was bigger than I’m used to, but perfecly comfortable rooms, a gorgeous swimming pool and delicious food… highly recommended.
In brief, how did we find Egypt? For me the highlight of most holidays is spending time with loved ones. My sister has two gorgeous step-sons and they made this holiday awesome for me, and the ankle-biters; 24 hour entertainment all round, Hannes & Eduardo, legends!!!
Honestly Cairo, for me, is not a typical holiday destination I would choose, it was super sweaty, dusty and dirty, the men are infuriating but I do love ‘amazing’ and the pyramids, the churches, the museum ….. are all ‘amazing’! The people are certainly talented in arts and crafts and the food is delicious. Al Fayoum was the hidden-gem highlight for me … rustic charm and absolutely incredible.
I’m utterly delighted that we went and feel enriched as a result!
Of course if this gorgeous place is enticing you ….. have a little look at our other amazing itineraries, that are all reduced in price at the moment!!
Looking for other Family – Friendly places to stay in Africa? Here are some of our favourites.
For more stories, specials, reveals, news & views on Diani Beach and all other African travel deliciousness, please do follow The Safari Co Ltd on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter.
To keep up with our Family Adventures around Africa please do follow us on A Family Safari Blog on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter
Find out about our family safaris that we have put together, for you, as a result of our adventures.
Our Family-Friendly Guide to The World’s Most Impressive Wildlife Spectacle, The Annual Wildebeest Migration
If it’s the very best wildlife spectacle on earth that you’re looking to witness, with your family, the Annual Wildebeest Migration is indeed the World Cup of Wildlife, this is what you’re looking for. If it’s to get off the beaten track, away from the crowds, this guide is as helpful … just keep away😊!
What is the Annual Wildebeest Migration?
The annual wildebeest migration isthe movement of over 1.5m wildebeest, 500,000 Burchell’s zebra, 200,000 Thompson’s gazelle and 18,000 eland antelope across 40,000 square kilometres; the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and the Maasai Mara National Reserve & its surrounding conservancies in Kenya … these masses of wildlife are in search of green grass, they’re following the rain … hence the exact dates are not 100% predictable, but there is a continuous movement that generally takes place at the same time each year.
This movement is over expansive plains, accross crocodile infested rivers and through forests; it offers the viewer unbelievable experiences, both incredibly beautiful, awe inspiring, flabberghasting & brutal to the core. Put your seat belts on!
First & foremost, we would like to inform you that the wildlife viewing in the Serengeti or the Maasai Mara is excellent all year round, so any time is a good time to travel to either places, you just need to know where to base yourselves, and this is where we come in handy (did we mention we also own a safari organisation company?). Please feel free to contact us and we will help! Being one of the 7th Wonders of the World, don’t expect to be here alone, you will be sharing this spectacle with many other cars … unless you know someone who knows something 😉 and we will book you in little private conservancies away from the traffic jams, but close enough to dip in and out as you like!
Please use this only as a guideline when planning your East African safari as it is indeed weather dependent…. We’ve had double migrations before, early ones and late ones of course!
When & Where to view The Great Migration
January to March– The big herds are often in the South / South East Serengeti (mainly Ndutu & Kusini). Calving often takes place in Jan / Feb, therefore there are loads of young, lots of predators and great visibility. A great time to travel here.
April & May – The herds are now generally moving towards central Serengeti (Seronera). This is typically the time of the long rains in East Africa; generally rain appears in short bursts leaving dramatic skies and beautiful sunsets and game viewing is still excellent. NB. There are some great discounts available at lodges and camps throughout Kenya & Tanzania, and at The SAFARI Company, we love this time of year for photographers!
June – The large herds of wildebeest are generally in central Serengeti (Seronera) as well as western Serengeti (Grumeti) in June. We love this time of year, the grass is usually greet, lots of young, beautiful skies and low volumes of visitors.
July & August – They start to head north towards the Mara River (the river in between the Serengeti & the Maasai Mara). July is usually when the annual wildebeest migration all kicks off. River crossings may be seen in both the Western Corridor (Grumeti area) and the North (Mara River) within the Serengeti… as well as the northern Maasai Mara, The Mara Triangle and Musiara area.
September & October – The herds have indeed filled up the Maasai Mara plains at this time of year as they move north and then east through the Masai Mara (from The Triangle, they move through Musiara, through Mara North Conservancy, Olare Orok Conservancy, Naboisho Conservancy and the Talek area, Siana and Olderkesi, starting to cross back to Tanzania in October / November.
Of course if this incredible experience is enticing you ….. have a little look at our other amazing itineraries, that are all reduced in price at the moment!!
For more stories, specials, reveals, news & views on The Great Migration and all other African travel deliciousness, please do follow The Safari Co Ltd on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter.
The Pressure of Getting it Right! An affordable multigenerational beach holiday in Kenya … As someone who’s lived in Kenya all her life, someone who’s worked in the African travel industry for 26 years, who’s company specialises in family travel it’s up to me to book all our holidays …. this time it’s somewhere for my extended family’s summer beach holiday, again … again The Pressure of Getting it Right … is On!
Daily, I see more and more people looking to travel on a teeny, tiny budget, but expecting perfection in return. Trust me, some of my family (you knwo who you are 😉 is absolutely no different, ‘Chania let’s all go somewhere gorgeous on the beach; we have USD1 per night … how lovely, we can’t wait for amazing food and a beautiful place, with a gorgeous swimming pool, on the beach’ ….. seriously😳!
So on a mission I went, again. One of the lovely little Hidden Gems we use for our clients on a tight budget came up trumps! They offered my rather extreme family a wonderful rate … Diani Blue here we come.
The adventure begun before we even reached the airport in Nairobi (to fly on the affordable Silverstone to Ukunda, Diani Beach). My parents reached the airport in good time; my sister, myself and the three kids didn’t. Traffic was in a gridlock and we were about to miss our flight. After calling the incredibly helpful and understanding Silverstone airline on numerous occasions, they informed us they couldn’t wait for us any longer, so we jumped out of the taxi; 2 adults, 3 kids, 100 suitcases, 200 beachbags, swimming noodles, hand boards, surf-boards, cuddly toys, beach hats, flippers and snorkles and we ran, along the main Nairobi road, we ran, we ran .. screaming kids, flipflips breaking, noodles flying away; what a sight it must have been, especially when the gridlock was released and all the traffic drove past us, including our taxi!
Anyhow, stiff from all the intense activity before our flight, we arrived to the caramel-warm air of Diani beach. Our rather characterful taxi met us and off we bumbled, a 5 minute drive to Diani Blue. 1st impression of the Blue is a beautiful forested and ponded area spotted with butterflies, sleeping monkeys, and beautiful tweeting birds skipping from branch to branch… pheow something for the bored and sweaty kids to do whilst we checked in! Then the view!!! The view through the Lamu doors on the most beautiful little swimming pool in the foreground and the aqua-seas in the background … yeay.
Diani Blue is indeed a charmingly small and exclusive (only 6 rooms) place lapped by the waters of the Indian Ocean; the love-child of a little boutique hotel and a relaxed barefoot beach-family who run it; the structure is elegance personified, the décor and atmosphere homey, relaxed and welcoming, located bang-on Diani Beach, which was recently voted the ‘Best Beach in Africa’ by the ‘Oscars’ of the travel industry: The 21st Annual Travel Awards.
We were shown our lovely little
air-conditioned or fanned (the choice is yours) Swahili-style rooms, with
lovely en-suite bathrooms (with showers) all overlooking the swimming pool;
perfect, absolutely perfect! Kids leaping on the beds whilst you’re trying to
find their swimming costumes, sun cream, hats etc. etc. and then we all leap in
the pool…. That was it, we were at the beach, heaven!
Our 10 days at Diani Blue were filled properly bonding as a multi-generational family, my parents, my sister, her boy, our kids and me ….. time together, a true luxury.
We all sat chilling and chatting, bickering & winging 😉 by the pool whilst the kids screamed around it (sorry!);
We spent time walking along the gorgeous beach, making sandcastles, playing beach cricket … trying to provide enough entertainment to stop the youth from bickering;
Surfing the crazily huge waves on belly boards; my 78 year old father was in heaven … finally two grandsons to muck around with, not two sissy daughters! Mum got tumbled a few times too .. hilarious memories that will last forever;
We went on an Ngalawa, Diani Blue’s traditional dugout canoe, to the sand-reef to find shells and urchins, to snorkel, to play French cricket;
We had a little bumpy camel ride up the beach;
We went on a Glass Bottom boat with the legendary John, who loves having kids on board, and they love him .. he teaches them all about marine life, starfish, sea urchins etc. etc.;
We visited the Colobus Conservation Trust to show the kids what people do, the lengths they go to in order to conserve the wildlife around us; pretty impressive;
We went to a back-packer joint to see Bushbaby’s coming in for their evening meal of bananas.
We mainly ate delicious food at Diani Blue, the restaurant is called The Edge … delicious, simple and traditional crab, lobster, fish, fish & more fish, samosas, salads (I suggest the ginger crab, the feta samosas, the self-saucing chocolate pudding … oh and the fish fingers for the kids) .. the menu was amazing, we could eat when we wanted, overlooking the beach and lapping seas and it was so damn reasonable! The only advise I give, is to order an hour before you need to eat, to avoid tears from hungry tummies. We also went out for some deliciousness:
We treated ourselves for my sisters birthday at theSails Beach Bar & Restaurant – Our personal favourite for a special occasion. Located on the beach front within Almanara Boutique Hotel & Villas, the modernization of the sweeping sails and curving beams create an ambience unparalleled on the east coast of Africa. The waiting staff are professional, kind and friendly, the ambience is friendly. As well as delicious, delumptios and heavenly fresh seafood, a selection of meat, salads and scrumptious treats for those with a sweet tooth… as well as being child friendly!!
We went toThe Sands at Nomad Beach Bar a few times, a wonderful beach bar, on the white sands of Diani Beach which wonderful pizzas, great Japanese, other seafood and non-seafood choices and a great ice-cream bar. Super Child friendly with a lovely little natural play area for all ages .. huge Connect 4, huge Tumbledown etc. loved this.
We went to Piri Piries Bar & Restaurant – a really lovely little café, restaurant and bar, very popular with Diani expat residents. Their menu is wonderful, serving seafood specialities, delicious meat dishes, vegetarian options, I loved the ploughmans and the huge selection of salads! They also offer amazing coffees and cocktails. Plus they had a great little playground for littlies.
We even went to the Colobus Shade – is a proper local restaurant owned by some Diani fisherman… get brave!🐙 There is nothing fancy or chic, but a great experience. It is reasonable and the fish platter or the plain fish, calamari and crab is fresh & delicious!
What a time … what special, precious time. We loved our relaxing stay at Diani Blue, we had a perfect time. The food amazing, the service slow .. but once Coastitus sets in, you don’t notice.
For value for money, you simply can’t beat it! Even if it may not have been as fun for them as it was us (Zia may have discovered some scissors … and a mosquito net and a bed-sheet and decided to see how they all worked together!!! The guilt to this day is unbearable, especially as they still haven’t sent me a bill! Sorry Diani Blue .. again!! I am waiting.
The guilt is still there, but I do believe Diani Blue & I pulled it off. It’s an awesome little place, a perfect place to bond with your family, it suits all generations and it doesnt empty your bank account. We had amazing food and a beautiful place, with a gorgeous swimming pool, on the beach ….. seriously!
Of course if this gorgeous place is enticing you ….. have a little look at this wonderful family itinerary or any of our other amazing itineraries, that are all reduced in price at the moment!!
Practicalities: Diani Blue – Is a personal, relaxed little beach place …. rather more an AirBnB than a lodge, but with the luxury of a beach-side restaurant at your fingertips. Diani Beach – Recently voted the ‘Best Beach in Africa’ by the ‘Oscars’ of the travel industry: The 21st Annual Travel Awards. A flawless, long stretch of white-sand beach hugged by lush forest and kissed by surfable waves, it’s no wonder Diani Beach is so popular. This town/stretch of beach scores points with a diverse crowd: party people, families, honeymooners, backpackers and water-sports enthusiasts. Only one warning here, beware of high, high season as the beach can become a little busy. For those travelling to Kenya with kids, and grandparents – If you like to spend time with your kids, rather than palming them off onto a kids club; do it, it will be the best bonding experience, you can chill by the pool or do all the fun activities we did .. and they cater for kids perfectly here. For those who live in East Africa – go as a family or get a couple of families together to fill up the place (6 rooms only) and GO!!! You’ll have an incredible time…. and their resident rates are appealing! Weather – of course it depends on when you travel, but generally warm days and warm nights with a gorgeous sea-breeze … delicious. What to Pack? – High SPF sun cream, hats, swimmers and light clothes to go for your excursions (respecting the coastal Arabic society)….. If you can why not squeeze in the odd body board? Price – Between USD85 and USD115 per person per night, Bed & Breakfast. Contact us to book! My advise – People go on holiday for very many different reasons, if you are looking to spend quality family time, relaxing but with something rather fun to do each day, please do come here!
For more stories, specials, reveals, news & views on Diani Blue and all other African travel deliciousness, please do follow The Safari Co Ltd on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter.
To keep up with our Family Adventures around Africa please do follow us on A Family Safari Blog on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter.
Find out about our family safaris that we have put together, for you, as a result of our adventures.
Real Culture, Real Wilderness, Real Kenya … & kids love it!
Real Culture, Real Wilderness, Real Kenya … & kids love it! Lentorre is my new favourite cultural find…. shhhhh don’t tell anyone ;o)
I am constantly asked ‘where’s your favourite place in Kenya?’ or ‘where can I experience the “Real” Kenya?’. Honestly I simply can’t choose one .. or two .. or even five; there are so many incredible places suited to every different dynamic of person or group … but my new favourite cultural experience for my little family, is indeed Lentorre.
Receiving an invitation to visit Lentorre, with my family, at the end of a long summer holiday all seemed a little hectic to me, we were shattered and we simply didn’t know what to expect; the website was not completed, they didn’t have professional photos yet and I just didn’t know what to expect … but not wanting to appear rude …. we jumped in the car and went on our merry way, covered with smilie faces.
My travel and tourism career started 25 years ago co-managing the incredible Rusinga Island Camp on Lake Victoria (another incredible experience full of happy memories), but my marketing-tourism career begun at Shompole, just next to Lentorre, so driving here welled up incredible emotions for me of happiness and pride … after 15 years or so, it’s great to be back!
What an incredible drive it is, from Nairobi through the Great Rift Valley, over flamingo-covered Lake Magadi and through the Maasai & cattle dotted lands to the incredible Olkirimatian Conservancy where our incredible real Kenya experience begun.
We spent two incredible nights here and boy oh boy, what an awesome time we had.
The lodge itself is truly delicious in a hundred different ways. It is indeed attractive in a perfectly Kenyan way, each room enormously spacious, light in colour and a truly wonderful atmosphere. Our bedroom is the same size as my entire home (bigger actually) with our very own baths (yes baths with an s!!), a view of a highly popular watering hole in the foreground and Mt. Shompole in the distance and our very own swimming pool. We had landed in heaven.
The food is unique, healthy and delicious …. coconut and avocado soup, heavenly home-made chocolate ice-cream, yummy home-made juices …. mmmmm, really yummy.
Then it came to the activities … I am so, so excited to tell you about these!! Anyone interested in experiencing real, un-spoilt, un-ruined Maasai culture, this is it! Lentorre is a community lodge, each and every member of staff here comes from the local area, so you simply spend your time here doing what they have been doing all their life …. as well as some wonderful game drives of course; oh and an amazing swimming pool … plus one in each room; and an amazing sundowner (clinking and clanking glasses to celebrate the end of another wonderful day) and a bush breakfast (having a delicious picnic breakfast to celebrate the beginning of another wonderful day), so basically you do everything amazing that you have ever wanted to do on a cultural safari. Over our 36 hours we:
went for a glorious walk through the arid lands of Olkirimatian with incredible guides who are simply amazing with kids (another ‘best-ever’ experience!), who kept the kids interested throughout, even if they did have to carry them for much of the way.
went fishing for cat-fish in the neighbouring river.
cooked the fish we caught, traditionally, on the banks of the river.
bow & arrow lessons
herded the cattle into their boma for the night
milked the cows (or viewed it to be exact)
chatted to the wonderful Maasai family members and played with the kids
went on the best night drive I have even been on in my 40+ years in Kenya … where, as well as the usual fabulous Kenyan wildlife, roaming free, we also saw all these amazing nocturnal animals – 6 genet, 1 wild cat, 1 spotted hyena, 4 bat-eared foxes, a honey badger, … and a leopard drinking from out waterhole when we got back to our room!!!!!
What an experience for all of us. What surprised me most on this wonderful safari was how I found myself pondering in a Maasai Manyatta (homesteads made from mud) … that rather than feeling pity for this family being ‘less fortunate’ than I, I was wishing I lived their life. They’re happy, truly happy; they live an incredibly happy family-friendly lifestyle, all together, they chat a lot, cook together, milk the cows together, play together; they told me they don’t get stressed or worry about anything, except when there is a drought .. and even now they cant really change anything. I wondered what happened to us ‘educated’ folk. Why have we ruined our wonderful family units? Why do we have to answer emails within 2 seconds of them being sent? Why do we have to keep up our social media posts? Why do we have to watch the news? Why do we have to chose the right hue of Farrow & Ball paints for our kitchen? Why? Why? Why?
Of course if this gorgeous experience is enticing you ….. have a little look at our other amazing itineraries, that are all reduced in price at the moment!!
Practicalities: Lentorre – Will forever remind me of a truly uplifting cultural experience, kids swimming for hours in our room … and I’m dreaming of their food right now! Olkirimatian Conservancy – Deep in the heart of the Great Rift Valley, beyond the volcanic lunar landscape surrounding the soda lakes of Magadi and Natron, lies this oasis. Fed by crystal clear springs running off the South Loita and Nguruman escarpments, Lentorre provides the perfect spot to relax and soak in the wonders of a wild and untouched Africa. For those travelling to Kenya with kids – Do it, it will be the best cultural experience your kids will ever experience .. and they LOVE kids here, they cater for kids perfectly! For those who live in East Africa – get a couple of families together and GO!!! You’ll have an incredible time…. and their resident rates are appealing! Weather – warm days and warm nights … delicious … no need to wear jumpers even on night game drives. What to Pack? – A good camera and binoculars, high SPF sun cream, hats… and clothes for a lovely warm environment (shorts and a t-shirt). Price – USD860 per person per night which includes it all; all your meals, all your drinks (apart from champers), your game drives, walks, bush meals, amazing guiding etc. you will just need to pay extra for the boma visits … which all goes to the boma. Contact Chania to book! My advise – People go on holiday for very many different reasons, if you are looking to experience incredible culture, please do come here!
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Find out about our family safaris that we have put together, for you, as a result of our adventures.
What are you looking for in a safari? I’m looking for The Real Thing! A safari, staying at Offbeat Mara; a real tented camp on an outstandingly beautiful, private conservancy bordering The Masai Mara Reserve, where kids … and adults can be kids. This ticks my boxes!
What do you mean by the ‘Real Thing’ you ask? and what boxes? Do let me explain:
The Place – The Masai Mara reserve in the most incredible wildlife spectacle in the world, which sadly means at some times of the year it’s hotter than Oxford Circus/5th Avenue on a Saturday afternoon. Offbeat Mara is situated within the 74,000 acre Mara North Conservancy which borders the Masai Mara reserve; the scenery, the animals and the culture is all the same; the area is full of wildlife yet open to a few member camps only and has a strict policy on game viewing etiquette… loads of game, no lodges on every corner, no bustling within cars to see animals. For these reasons you get a properly exclusive wildlife experience that is otherwise becoming impossible to find … for those looking to experience the migration in the heart of the reserve; crack on, you can dip in and out of the circus to your hearts desire.
The Camp – a small, traditional safari camp, with only seven tented rooms, Offbeat Mara is a simple, cosy, private homely feel (in the good way that the English use, not the American version!) in the bush. Each tent is en suite with flush loos and traditional hot safari showers, privately scattered within the beautiful riverine forest encouraging privacy and offering a gorgeous view. The heart of the camp is a simple main ‘mess’ tent, on wooden decking, which has a sitting room , dining room and bar/library area.
The People – well, in my opinion this is exactly what the Masai Mara is all about. The wildlife is here, there and everywhere, the scenery is mind boggling, it’s a great guide that make The Mara a trip of a lifetime or not … and Offbeat have good guides, of yes they do! Kind, caring, thoughtful, amusing and dam they know their stuff!
The Experience – your 1st game drive in Africa makes tears come to your eyes, wild animals living in their natural habitat, happily roaming around the Savannah, the incredible views that await you around every corner, the beautiful Maasai people living at one with nature, striding across the African plains …. you don’t want 3 days of only game drives though, nope you don’t. By then the kids are screaming for their IPads and if you see another lion, you’re going to scream (us humans are weird) …. what you wanna do is:
Walk, get out on that African soil with your own feet, see nature, real nature with your own eyes. Learn about the little stuff, the bugs and beetles, the grasses and what poo belongs to who .. why not?
A surprise bush dinner party, under the stars.
A sundowner. Not a lot beats a Kenyan sundowner; set up under a lone acacia tree, overlooking miles and miles of Bloody Africa with a G&T in hand.
Go and see how the Maasai people live. It’s bright, cheerful, interesting … and quite shocking … it will stop you complaining about how your new Farrow & Ball paint which doesn’t quite match the Racing Car green on your chaise longues .. for a while.
Hell, why not hop on a hot air balloon for the morning … this is how to see the Mara, the peace, quiet of floating above the best wildlife spactacle on earth.
My little family are so very lucky. We stayed at Offbeat Mara, with 3 other families, all with small kids, for a long weekend. I simply cannot express what an incredible time we had. We stayed in an amazing little double tent, a family tent; the camp is indestructible so you’re not on the edge, terrified that your mini-terrorist is about to break the family crystal; the food was absolutely delicious, the G&T’s better; there was always something amazing to do, something amazing for the kids and adults .. walks, sundowners, picnics, nature walks, game drives … we literally couldnt fit in everything; the Offbeat team are out of this world with the adults, and kids .. and the best part is once the kids go to bed, a friendly Maasai guard sits on your tent verandah watching over sleeping beauty … whilst you can have a scream with your friends not far away.
Practicalities: Offbeat Mara – Will forever remind me of a natural, happy, homely time, spent with family, and friends. A simple tented camp, with everything you should want. Mara North Conservancy, The Maasai Mara – as I mentioned above, this is literally the best place to stay when visiting the Masai Mara, especially over the annual wildebeest migration, it gets you away from the crowds, but in the action. For those travelling to Kenya with kids – Do it, stay at Offbeat Mara. It’s simple, comfortable and offers them a ‘real’ safari experience, but with all the comforts you need. For those who live in East Africa – get a couple of families together and GO!!! You’ll have a scream. Weather – warm days and a little bit chilly nights. What to Pack? – A good camera and binoculars. Layers … jeans and a warm jumper / jacket for the evening and early mornings and shorts and a t-shirt for the day. High SPF sun cream, hats. Price – From USD460 per person per night which includes it all; all your meals, all your drinks (apart from champers), your game drives, walks, bush meals, amazing guiding etc. etc. BUT they have a tonne of amazing special offers for honeymooners, families, groups, early bird bookings etc. you can get this price down by 25%!! Contact Ray to make the most of these! My advise – People go on holiday for very many different reasons, if you are looking to experience safari how it always was, but with all the luxuries you need, Offbeat Mara will suit you perfectly.
Our Advice is to always provide extra entertainment for your kids on safari.
A safari for kids is full of anticipation, excitement and adventure …. but there are quiet moments too, so our sister company, The SAFARI Companynow offers these fabulous Kiddy packs for their clients to take on Safari!!
We suggest you do the same thing for your kids … and clients with kids!
16 Great Activities In & Around Nairobi, to Enjoy, with your Kids
16 Great Nairobi Activities for Kids. Exciting, educational & enthralling outdoor activities for you and your kids to enjoy, together, in Nairobi.
Visit an Art Gallery – Kenya is full of great local artists for kids to enjoy. Try the Nairobi Gallery, Banana Hill Art Galleries, The GoDown Arts Centre or MattBronze (sculpted Bronze) etc. Our advise – If you need help, let us know your interests & location, then we will suggest the best for you.
Go up to the Top of The Kenya International Conference Centre (the K.I.C.C Helipad would be best).. The best place to get a 360 degree view of Nairobi in all its sun-bathed splendour. If the fog’s not too heavy you can see all across the outskirts of the city to the National Park. Cost – Entry can cost Kshs 200 – 400 (about USD2 – 4) … may take some negotiating! Our advise – go out of rush hours .. to prevent serious traffic.
Have lunch or a picnic in Nairobi National Park – A Perfect Kids Activity. Go on a game drive and see the incredible amount of wildlife in this city bordering park and either have a lovely picnic under an Acacia Tree or lunch at Ololo Lodge, where there’s also a great pool. Cost – From however much you would like to spend on a picnic or Kshs3,500 / USD 35 per person for lunch excluding drinks at the charming Ololo Lodge. Our advise – go with someone who knows, you’ll see a lot more and the day will be more fun! To enquire about a vehicle and or guide, please don’t hesitate to contact The SAFARI Company.
Go and stay in a beautiful farmhouse in Tigonidating from the 1940s. With an extensive garden, a pond and 24 acres of rolling fields dropping down to indigenous forest, you can stay in this peaceful, farm-fresh house for a night .. or two! Take walking trails through the indigenous forest with Sykes and Colobus monkeys as well as prolific birdlife. Roam around the grounds with the Jersey cows, swim in the pool or sit on the veranda, breathe in the clean air and take in the view of the Ngong Hills. Cost – From Kshs6,000 per room (Kshs3,000 per person if a double) including a full English breakfast, Kshs2,500 for an evening meal. Our advise – spend 2 nights, relax, walk, talk and make the most of this yummy home-cooked produce!
Visit Karura Forest– 1,000 ha of wonderful forest was recently resurrected to its former beauty by The Friends of Karura Forest. You can escape Nairobi, with your kids and actively visit the caves, waterfalls, rivers and incredible flora and fauna. A perfect place for trail biking, walking, jogging, family fun days out. Cost – Kshs100 for a citizen, Kshs200 for a resident, Kshs600 (about USD6) for a non-resident to enter… plus car & picnic fees. Our advise – To go for a picnic, you must pre-book.
Visit Kibera Slum & HELP – We highly recommend the fantastic One Horizon who run a community centre in Kibera catering for the needs of 300 children and their parents. Visit for the day or for the night. It’s not about building a classroom, it’s about connecting, playing and helping. Kibera is a tough place to live and even harder when you are a child but this centre is a refuge, centre for learning and a ray of light for very underprivileged children in a much challenged community. Come and be part of what will change your life. Cost – From USD200pppd for non residents. Please consult us if you are a resident. Our advise – Go!!! A life changing experience for adults & children, for those visiting and those in the centre.
Try African Cuisine– Nyama Choma is the typical Kenyan barbeque, usually consisting of goat meat served with other delicious treats such as ugali (maizemeal) and kachumbari (a sort of salsa). Immerse yourself! Our advise – We suggest the following places if you want to try a traditional meal:
Le Palanka – The ambiance is great, the food is good and the service is good.
The most authentic is “K’osewe Ronalo Foods”, right in the city center.
There is also one “Amaica” on Ngongo Road and JKIA.
Enjoy a tour & a delicious lunch on a tea farm– This wonderful farm in Limuru provides a tranquil insight into life on a tea farm, a beautiful guided forest walk and a delicious lunch. The farm house is set within beautiful gardens surrounded by acres of tea and indigenous forest – home to the Colobus monkey and other wildlife. Cost – Kshs3,200 per person (about USD32) all inclusive, children under 12 are half price. Our advise – Book first (through us if you like) and then arrive at 11am, from then on your day will consist of a little chat about the history of the farm, the process of making tea, see tea in the field, walk in the indigenous forest, lunch prepared with veg from the garden and puddings with cream from their Channel Island cows.
Feed the giraffes at The Giraffe Centre. Truly an experience of a lifetime for both adults and children and you get to learn about these leggy creatures. Cost – Kshs1,000 (about USD10) for a non resident adult and Kshs250 for a resident. Our advise – Open from 9:00am to 5:00pm everyday including weekends and public holidays. Go early to miss the crowds…. Plus, go on the nature walk, it’s lovely.
Do a Brown’s Cheese Factory & Farm Tour– In the rolling hills of Limuru, it is well worth your while coming here for a 3-course lunch (100% homegrown ingredients) at the Brown’s farm. This is a wonderful opportunity to sample Kenya’s best cheeses. Cows and chickens are also there for all to enjoy plus milking of cows is possible for kids. Brown’s natural cheeses are made using traditional methods and no colorings, coatings, or additives are used, suitable for vegetarians. Cost – Kshs 4,000 (about USD40) per person. Our advise – Six person minimum or Kshs 24,000 (USD240) minimum cost. Always call to book.
Go on The Nairobi Safari Walk!A conservation-based recreational facility on Langata road, where you can walk along a raised walkway and get a chance to see some of the rarest animals on the planet. These include the white Rhino, the Bongo and even the Albino Zebra. What this walk offers, is a chance to see most of Kenya’s wildlife within a single setting. Cost – USD25 for a non resident adult, Kshs250 for a citizen and Kshs350 for a resident. Our advise – don’t go at a weekend or if you do, go early to miss the crowds.
Go and see an art performance, a play, a musical, dance and or another production at The Kenya National Theatre, The Phoenix Players or a host of other places. Our advise – ask us where the best performance is on at any one time.
Visit The Nairobi National Museum – Four pillars of Kenya’s national heritage – nature, culture, history and contemporary art. Learn about the rich cultural heritage of Kenya and the archaeological origins of man, see the animals and birds of Africa in the galleries, appreciate contemporary Kenyan art, and then go for a stroll through the beautiful botanical gardens. If you’re brave, visit the snake park and get up close and personal with some of Africa’s favourite reptiles. Costs – Kshs1,200 / USD12 for non residents / Kshs600 for residents / Kshs200 for citizens Our advise – The museum is open 365 days a year, from 8:30 to 15:30, go early to miss the crowds.
Visit the Masai Market– it’s bright, cheerful and lively!!! You can buy a variety of artefacts, ornaments, home décor and clothes from around Kenya, and Africa. Our Advise – Remember to bargain .. and these are the days:
On Tuesdays – Kijabe St Pk next to Nairobi River & Prestige Plaza, Ngong rd.
On Wednesdays – Capital Centre, Mombasa rd.
On Thursdays – The Junction Mall & Ngong rd.
On Fridays – The Village Market, Limuru rd.
On Saturdays – High court parking, City Centre opp. Re-Insurance Plaza & Prestige Plaza, Ngong rd.
On Sundays -Yaya Centre, Valley Rd, Hurlingham.
Spend the night on a double decker bus!– Oh yes, it is a converted bus in the quiet leafy Nairobi suburb of Karen. An incredible adventure for a family, go and stay here, take some supper with you (they have most kitchen equipment) and spend a night on this bus. There are 2 queen beds and 2 single beds. Costs – About Kshs11,000 / USD110-120 for the whole thing (you can fit 4/5 family members comfortably). Our advise – Wrap up warm and go, the kids will love it!
Last but by no means least, adopt a baby Elephantat The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Langata – Play with it, feed and get to know it. Cost – USD50 per year fostering fee and you can visit at 4.00pm daily. Our advise – adopt an elephant so that you can go when there are no crowds and you can feed your elephant, stroke it, put it to bed. Honestly, for adults and children alike, this is up there.
There is tonnes of other fun to be had in Nairobi, from ice skating to GP Karting, horse racing to rallying, visiting malls to amazing restaurants .. but we have stuck to ‘safari & adventurous’ options.
For these experiences, for a vehicle, a flight, a guide or simply additional advise on travelling in and around Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda or Rwanda, please contact us.
Enjoy our beautiful country.
With very kind regards
Chania Tundo / Founder Proud winner of:
• Kenya’s Most Influential Woman in Tourism and Leisure 2016
• East Africa’s Most Influential Woman in Tourism and Leisure 2016 www.aFamilySafariBlog.com – www.theSAFARICoLtd.com If you’d like to experience Africa whilst staying in magnificent little game lodges, a safari tent, a beach villa or exquisite little farmhouses, rather than the larger hotel chains, The SAFARI Company is right for you. Psst, we have found gorgeous places, even for the budget conscious.