The Kitchen’s Kenyan Safari

House in the Wild / Courtesy of House in the Wild

January 2025 | 8-12 Nights

Kenya is my favorite family safari destination because it has many all-ages camps and a lower malaria-risk area. January is a secret time to visit after the rains but before the high season rush of the Great Migration. There are also some great family-run properties (highlighted below) with owners who raised kids in the bush, so they are totally ready for it. I would suggest 7-10 nights on safari with possible extensions in Nairobi or on the beach on Pemba Island.


High season rates end on January 5th, so I imagine you would start the trip then to get the regular season rates listed below. Availability isn’t guaranteed, but I think we can make it work with a little wiggle room. You and Ben would be full price, the boys at a discounted kid rate, and Elizabeth is free. The only unknown is flights, but I’ve estimated that at $300 per person per leg. Those can add up, and moving the kids can be hard, so I’ve limited the number of stops.

For eight nights on safari at two lodges, you get $34,220. This includes all food/drink and most activities, but not tips or transfers from the airport. I’ll get you a firm price if you’re interested in this.


Childcare is available on safari in a limited capacity and is included in the price—though you should tip the babysitters. They can take the kids back to the room and get them in bed after an early dinner so you can stay up and have drinks. Alternatively, the adults could leave early in the morning for a bush run or mountain bike ride, and someone can be there with breakfast to watch the kids in the room after they get up.

Day 1: Nairobi

Accommodation: Airport Hotel -or- The Emakoko

A visit to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust at Giraffe Manor, luxury Kenya safari / Courtesy of The Safari Collection
A visit to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust at Giraffe Manor / Courtesy of The Safari Collection

Flights into Nairobi generally land late, so you will go directly to a hotel before catching your short flight to the safari areas in the morning. You can stay at an airport hotel like the Four Points Nairobi for a good price. If you stay a day in Nairobi, I would recommend a short safari in Nairobi National Park—the only urban national park in the world. There is decent game viewing and an interesting environment, but the biggest draw is a visit to the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage. The Emakoko is a sweet little lodge in the park with great food.

  • Four Points Nairobi: $200/nt per room
  • The Emakoko (Nairobi safari lodge): $765/nt per adult & $465/nt per kid over 5 (David Sheldrick visit will be an extra charge)

Day 2-5: Maasai Mara

Accommodation: House in the Wild

  • $1,115/nt per adult & $725/nt per kid over 5

The Maasai Mara is one of the best-known safari areas on earth because of the Great Wildebeest Migration. You will be here outside of migration season, but there will still be lots of wildlife (and, honestly, fewer flies that follow the great herds). I always book private reserves here to avoid crowds and House is in the Wild is one of my favorite options. They are in a large conservancy north of the Mara that is doing great community work. They have a family unit that would be great for y’all. You will spend most of your days on game drives here, but the Mara Training Center is nearby and makes for a fun community visit. It is a community center that trains locals on rewilding and has a large garden and an adjacent school. Kids can bead and do other crafts with locals while y’all learn about ecology.

Day 6-10: Laikipia Plateau

Accommodation: Ol Malo

$1,145/nt adults & $730/nt kids

From the Mara, fly north of Nairobi to the high Laikipia Plateau around Mount Kenya. This area is over 5,000′ in elevation, so it has good weather year-round. There isn’t quite as much wildlife here, but the numbers are catching up with the Maasai Mara because of conservation work. You will see a lot of elephants. The reason I end trips here is that you will have checked off all of the animals by then and be more open to the diversity of activities. You can walk, bike, horseback ride, helicopter, and visit villages and working ranches.

Ol Malo is a really fun property with a great two-bedroom family unit with a loft for the boys and a large pool. I know the owner and took him out to Don’s Depot when he was in town. He is a helicopter pilot and brews his own beer at the lodge. It’s a super fun take on safari and one of the best places for kids.

Extension: Pemba Island

Manta Resort / Courtesy of Manta Resort
Manta Resort / Courtesy of Manta Resort

If you want to stay a bit longer, Pemba Island in the Indian Ocean is nice and warm for swimming in January. It’s next to Zanzibar but much more laid-back. The Manta Resort here is one of the world’s best snorkeling destinations. Because of the added flying time, I would suggest four nights.

  • Manta Resort: 2 Bedroom Villa starting at $1700/nt


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