TAKING the family on safari has become increasingly popular in recent years. Kenya is the perfect destination for those with little ones in tow and there are several fantastic family-friendly properties, with plenty to keep the young – and young at heart – amused. With some superb special offers – including Cheli & Peacock’s Family Special and three for two – there has never been a better time to book a last-minute family getaway.
“We have always had multigenerational groups on safari – although family safaris are definitely on the increase, comment Stefano and Liz Cheli, owners of Cheli & Peacock. “Twenty years ago we had couples ‘escaping’ for a romantic holiday; nowadays – with our more frenetic lifestyles – we have a great many families that consider a safari to be a perfect way to spend some time together. Kenya is great for kids – Kenyans are warm and welcoming, especially when it comes to young families.”
At Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp in the Maasai Mara, visiting children can enrol at Maasai Warrior School. Under the tutelage of local Maasai, Kinyaika, young safari-goers will learn the ways of a warrior. With the African bush as your classroom, ‘lessons’ will cover fire-building, spear-throwing, bow-and-arrow practice, the art of the well-known adamu jumping dance, singing, dancing and more. Young warriors will also participate in a traditional blessing ceremony – adorned in Maasai clothing, jewellery and henna – and, on completing the course, will be awarded with a certificate, bow and arrow to equip them for life in the bush.
With the children entertained, proud parents can either cheer from the side lines or escape for a couple of hours of peace and quiet on safari in the camp’s own 6,000-acre private conservancy, set in the midst of the world-renowned Maasai Mara ecosystem.
Steeped in history and heritage, Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp harks back to the pioneering days of the early 20th century, capturing the original spirit and essence of safari. There is no better way to experience this golden era of adventure than with the whole family. Of the camps’ 11 luxurious canvas tents, four are perfectly suited to families – each with two spacious en-suite bedrooms, and a shared sitting/dining room. Meanwhile, the private house can accommodate a family of ten.
The Lewa Safari Camp – in the heart of world-famous Lewa Wildlife Conservancy – offers an action-packed itinerary for young families. Above and beyond the game viewing, visiting children can learn how to fire a bow and arrow, harvest honey and get to know some of their contemporaries at the local Maasai village; meet the tracker dogs at Lewa HQ; spend the afternoon playing with Lewa’s three orphan black rhino; visit one of the 12 local schools; saddle up for a horse or camel safari; explore the nearby Ngare Ndare and much, much more.
Meanwhile, Loisaba also caters wonderfully for children: river rafting, horse riding, camel safaris, lion tracking, fishing, quad biking, mountain biking and star beds that can accommodate the whole family for an unforgettable night under the stars.
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