How to travel to Kenya with kids

Dre Roelandt

written by
Dre Roelandt

updated 03.06.2024

When it comes to family vacations, few experiences rival the thrill of a Kenyan safari. If you're contemplating a trip to Kenya with kids, you've landed in the ideal place. In this article, we'll delve into why Kenya is the perfect destination for family travel, offering tips and insights to ensure a memorable and stress-free journey for you and your little ones.

Is Kenya suitable for kids?

Kenya is a fantastic choice for a family getaway. Everywhere you turn, locals will greet your little ones with open arms.

This country boasts top-notch national parks, nature reserves, and pristine beaches, making it a haven for family adventures. The coast, in particular, is super kid-friendly – in fact, it's been a go-to package-holiday destination for years.

Expect safe beaches, heaps of fun activities, and plenty of attractions. Plus, the resorts are generally geared towards families, with amenities like children’s swimming pools, kids’ clubs, adjoining rooms, and in some cases even babysitting services (often provided by housekeeping staff). Most hotels serve buffet meals, which means even the pickiest eaters will find something yummy to munch on.

Periyar's elephant, India © Shutterstock

Seeing elephants is a great thing to do in Kenya with kids © Shutterstock

Kenya with infants and toddlers

Kenya can be a great place to travel with young ones, but it does come with its challenges. When it comes to essentials, you'll find disposable diapers and baby food readily available at supermarkets. 

Hotels typically offer a variety of fresh foods and are often happy to accommodate infants' tastes with a bit of advance notice. Bringing along a lightweight, collapsible stroller is a smart move, especially since many hotels and lodges have long paths from central areas to accommodations. Consider packing a child-carrier backpack for added convenience.

Unless you're sticking exclusively to the coast, be sure to pack some warmer clothing for chilly upcountry mornings and evenings when temperatures can unexpectedly drop. Keep in mind that very young children may not be able to take malaria prophylactics, so it's crucial to avoid malaria zones altogether. 

While Kenya's famed safaris are a highlight for many visitors, they might not be the best fit for younger children who can easily become bored or disruptive during long game drives. In fact, some tented camps even have age restrictions for children, both in terms of staying at the camp and joining game drives.

Zebra in Tsavo National Park - Kenya © ANTONIO JIMENO JIMENEZ/Shutterstock

Zebra in Tsavo National Park - Kenya © ANTONIO JIMENO JIMENEZ/Shutterstock

Kenya with kids & pre-teens

Kenya can be a truly memorable experience for kids and pre-teens. This country offers plenty of kid friendly activities, from butterfly houses to giraffe conservation centres (more on that below).

Safari adventures can be a blast with kids, especially if they're over ten and into nature. Be sure to equip them with their own binoculars and cameras for the best experience. Private vehicles offer flexibility for game drives, a must if you're uncertain about your children's safari stamina. 

Choosing the right safari tour operator is key; exclusive rides ensure privacy and flexibility, crucial for toilet breaks and impromptu stops. Remind the kiddos to stay patient during game drives – wildlife sightings aren't guaranteed, and keep in mind that they might witness some of nature's raw moments. 

Kenya's abundant natural playgrounds promise endless fun for the little ones, but keep in mind, babysitting services are scarce in national parks, so plan ahead. Opt for family-friendly lodges, especially the mid-range ones with ample facilities. 

Hot air balloons flying at sunrise over the Maasai Mara National park in Kenya © Daniel F Ascanio/Shutterstock

Hot air balloons flying over Maasai Mara National Park in Kenya © Daniel F Ascanio/Shutterstock

Kenya with teenagers

With teenagers in tow, your journey becomes an opportunity to create lasting memories and foster a deeper understanding of the world — and Kenya has a lot to offer.

Explore Kenya's cultural heritage by visiting Maasai villages, local markets, and historical sites like Fort Jesus in Mombasa. These experiences offer valuable insights into Kenya's diverse cultures and traditions.

If your kids are on the adventurous side, you might want to add water sports or zip-lining to the itinerary. Quad and mountain biking expeditions are also popular.

Of course, with older kids, safaris become even more fun for the family. If possible, you’ll want to plan your trip during the Wildebeest migration for a truly once in a lifetime experience.

Our tip is to involve your teenagers in the trip planning process. You can research together about the destination, activities, and cultural aspects of Kenya. This not only educates them but also gets them excited about the trip.

Wildebeest jumping into Mara River. Great Migration. Kenya. Tanzania © Shutterstock

Great Migration. Kenya. Tanzania © Shutterstock

Best things to do in Kenya with kids

Kenya is brimming with activities that will thrill children of all ages. For more inspiration, see our guide to the best things to do in Kenya.

Experience the Great Migration

Witnessing the Great Migration is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for families, and it is best experienced in the Maasai Mara from July to October. During this period, over 1.5 million wildebeest, along with zebras and gazelles, migrate in search of fresh grazing. 

Children and adults alike are sure to be awestruck by the sheer number of animals and the dramatic river crossings. For many, this yearly phenomenon alone justifies a trip to Kenya.

Take a boat ride on Lake Naivasha

A boat ride on Lake Naivasha is a great way to experience Kenyan wildlife. The freshwater lake, located about an hour and a half from Nairobi, is home to hippos, a diverse array of bird species including fish eagles and pelicans, and sometimes even giraffes and zebras along its shores.

 Guided boat tours offer the best chance to see these animals up close and safely. Families should bring binoculars, sun protection, and snacks for the trip. 

The Nairobi Museum and Snake Park

The Nairobi National Museum and Snake Park provide an engaging and educational outing for families. The museum showcases Kenya's rich cultural heritage, natural history, and art, with exhibits that are interactive and informative. 

The adjacent Snake Park houses a variety of reptiles, including snakes, crocodiles, and tortoises, and offers educational talks. For a comprehensive visit, families can join a guided tour which often includes fascinating insights and behind-the-scenes information. 

National Park for Rothschild Giraffes Giraffe Manor in Kenya © The Safari Collection

Visit the Butterfly House

Located in the coastal city of Mombasa, the Butterfly House is a delightful attraction for families. It showcases the dazzling beauty of tropical butterflies amidst lush gardens filled with nectar-rich flowers. 

You and your family can take a guided tour to learn about butterfly anatomy, behaviour, and the importance of conservation while over 20 butterfly species flutter around you. It is part of the Haller Park complex, which also features a reptile park and a fish farm. 

Visit the Giraffe Centre

Located in Nairobi's leafy suburb of Karen, the Giraffe Centre serves as a conservation and education centre focused on the endangered Rothschild giraffe. Your family can enjoy feeding these gentle giants from an elevated platform, learning about their behaviour, habitat, and the conservation efforts aimed at protecting them. 

Don't forget to explore the adjacent nature trail and visit the Giraffe Manor, an exclusive boutique hotel where giraffes often roam freely, offering a truly unique dining experience. To avoid crowds, consider visiting the Giraffe Centre early in the morning.

Visit the elephant orphanage

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi is a heartwarming and educational destination for families. The orphanage rescues and rehabilitates orphaned baby elephants, and visitors can watch the elephants being fed and playing in the mud. 

Daily public viewing sessions offer a chance to learn about the individual elephants and the challenges they face. It's best to visit during feeding times, usually late morning, when the elephants are most active. 

Oloolua waterfall, Kenya © Shutterstock

Oloolua Waterfall, Kenya © Shutterstock

Where to stay in Kenya with kids

Families planning a trip to Kenya have a lot of options when it comes to accommodation.

Maasai Mara National Reserve

Kids will love the opportunity to see wildlife up close, including lions, elephants, giraffes, and more, on safari tours. Many lodges and camps in the Maasai Mara are also family-friendly.

Some establishments offer specialised programs and activities tailored specifically for children, such as guided nature walks, junior ranger courses, and cultural interactions with the Maasai people.


This coastal town boasts beautiful beaches and marine activities suitable for families, such as snorkelling, and swimming. For a closer look at underwater wonders, hop aboard a glass-bottom boat tour, where kids can peer through transparent hulls to observe the magical world beneath the surface. 

Hell's Gate National Park

Perfect for families who enjoy outdoor activities, Hell's Gate offers hiking and more. Families with a sense of adventure can try their hand at rock climbing: scaling ancient volcanic plugs amidst breathtaking panoramas of the Great Rift Valley. 

Keep an eye out for native wildlife, including zebras, giraffes, and antelopes, which roam freely across the park. 


The capital city has several attractions suitable for kids, such as the Nairobi National Park. At the Giraffe Centre, they can hand-feed these graceful creatures. For an unforgettable encounter with orphaned elephants, visit the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, where kids can witness the playful antics of baby elephants during feeding times.

In the distance is the Riyadha Mosque in Lamu, Kenya © Shutterstock

In the distance is the Riyadha Mosque in Lamu, Kenya © Shutterstock

Kenya itineraries with kids

Explore Kenya with your little ones with these family-friendly itineraries crafted by our local Kenya travel experts. Say goodbye to the stress of planning and instead focus on the unforgettable moments of your trip. Our tailor made trip service allows you to customise every detail, and our team is available round-the-clock to assist you throughout your journey. Check out our Kenya itineraries for more inspiration.

Kenya family safari itinerary

On this seven day family itinerary, you’ll go on a journey packed with close-up animal encounters, Big 5 safaris, and loads of fun day activities. Highlights include Pejeta Conservancy, Maasai Mara, and Nairobi National Park.

Editor's tip: skip the hassle and book this trip.

On day 1, transfer from Nairobi Airport and start your city tour. Visit the Animal Orphanage, David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage, Giraffe Centre, and Mamba Village.

On day 2, depart Nairobi after breakfast and drive through tea and coffee plantations to Ol Pejeta Conservancy. Enjoy lunch at Sweet Waters and a game drive.

Day 3 is for exploring Ol Pejeta with a full-day game drive for Mum and Dad, while the kids enjoy activities at Sweetwaters Serena Camp. On day 4, drive to Lake Naivasha, take a boat safari, and visit Crescent Island Sanctuary.

Day 5 begins with a drive to Maasai Mara. Have lunch at the lodge and an afternoon game drive. Day 6 starts with a sunrise safari, optional hot air balloon ride, picnic lunch, and a full-day game drive.

On day 7, enjoy a morning game drive before returning to Nairobi, concluding your trip.

Zebras in Nairobi National Park, Kenya © mbrand85/Shutterstock

Zebras in Nairobi National Park, Kenya © mbrand85/Shutterstock

Best of Kenya & Tanzania itinerary

This ten day family safari itinerary starts from Nairobi. Enjoy game drives in Maasai Mara, explore Lake Victoria, Serengeti, and Ngorongoro Crater. From there experience local culture at Africa Amini Maasai Lodge, and take in the views of Mount Kilimanjaro in Amboseli National Park before heading back.

Editor's tip: skip the hassle and book this trip

On day 1, welcome to Kenya! You'll be picked up from the airport and transferred to your hotel to rest and recover.

On day 2, depart Nairobi after breakfast and drive to Maasai Mara, stopping at the Great Rift Valley viewpoint. Have lunch at Mara Leisure Camp and enjoy an afternoon game drive.

Day 3 starts with a sunrise safari and optional hot air balloon ride. After a morning game drive and late breakfast, enjoy a picnic lunch and explore Maasai Mara all day.

On day 4, have an early breakfast and morning game drive before crossing the Isebania border to Lake Victoria. On day 5, depart for Serengeti National Park after breakfast and enjoy a game drive through the western Serengeti with a packed lunch.

Day 6 begins with a sunrise game drive, followed by breakfast and a picnic lunch. Spend the day in the Ndutu region. On day 7, depart for Ngorongoro Crater, enjoy a picnic lunch by the hippo pool, and a game drive.

On day 8, head to Africa Amini Maasai Lodge for cultural activities and nature walks with views of Mount Kilimanjaro. On day 9, depart for Amboseli National Park, complete immigration procedures, and have an afternoon game drive.

On day 10, take an early morning game drive in Amboseli before returning to Nairobi.

Also, make sure to check out all our Kenya itineraries.

Hell's Gate National Park, Kenya © Shutterstock

Hell's Gate National Park, Kenya © Shutterstock

Practical tips for travelling to Kenya with kids

Travelling with kids adds a whole new dimension to your journey. Here are some practical tips to ensure your Kenyan escapade is a memorable one for the whole family.

#1: Go over wildlife etiquette

As you venture into Kenya's renowned national parks and reserves, it's crucial to instil in your children the importance of wildlife etiquette. You’ll want to emphasise the need to respect animals' space and avoid behaviours that may disturb them. 

Encourage quiet observation and remind your little explorers to heed the instructions of guides and park rangers for a safe and respectful wildlife viewing experience.

#2: Learn a few Swahili phrases

While English is widely spoken, sprinkling a few Swahili phrases into your conversations can enrich your interactions with locals. 

Teaching your kids some simple Swahili words not only fosters cultural appreciation but also sparks a sense of curiosity and excitement. Imagine the joy on their faces as they greet locals with a cheerful "Jambo!" (hello) or express gratitude with a heartfelt "Asante sana" (thank you very much). 

Chale island in Kenya © Shutterstock

Chale Island in Kenya © Shutterstock

#3: Explore the local cuisine

Sampling Kenya's diverse cuisine is a must-do, but it's essential to approach it cautiously, especially with young palates. Start with milder dishes and opt for food from reputable sources to minimise any risks. 

Many eateries offer kid-friendly menus featuring familiar favourites like pasta, chicken, and rice. Don't forget to pack some familiar snacks to appease picky eaters and stave off between-meal hunger pangs.

#4: Bring your own entertainment

In the heart of the wilderness, modern amenities like television and robust Wi-Fi signals may be scarce commodities. Be prepared by bringing along plenty of entertainment options to keep your little adventurers engaged during downtime and long journeys. 

Tablets loaded with games, movies, and educational apps are invaluable companions, while books, colouring supplies, and travel games offer timeless entertainment.

#5: Take breaks and pace yourself

Even the most intrepid young explorers can tire quickly, particularly when contending with jet lag or extended travel days. Incorporate regular breaks and downtime into your itinerary to prevent fatigue and meltdowns. 

Consider including activities that cater to relaxation, such as visits to tranquil spots like Nairobi's Karura Forest, where children can frolic and explore safely. When embarking on safaris, opt for shorter game drives or breaks at lodges to keep restless youngsters content.

Dre Roelandt

written by
Dre Roelandt

updated 03.06.2024

Dre Roelandt is originally from the United States but lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Dre is a freelance writer and artist with a passion for travelling. They are an in-house Content Editor at Rough Guides.

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