Your First Family Safari: Taking Your Kids on Their First Safari to East Africa

Planning a family safari to East Africa can be an incredibly rewarding experience, offering a mix of adventure, education, and bonding time. But where should you start? This comprehensive guide will help you navigate the exciting journey of taking your kids on their first safari to East Africa, focusing on popular destinations, activities, costs, and practical tips to ensure a smooth and memorable trip.

Why Choose East Africa for Your Family Safari?

East Africa, encompassing Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda, is renowned for its rich wildlife, stunning landscapes, and diverse cultures. It’s an ideal destination for a family safari, offering various activities that cater to both adults and children. From my perspective working at camptrek safaris, I have outlined some of the best family destinations and the amazing experiences you should consider while planning your safari.

Popular Family Safari Destinations and Activities

Kenya: Maasai Mara National Reserve

The Maasai Mara is famous for its abundant wildlife, including the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and buffalo). It’s also the stage for the Great Wildebeest Migration. The reserve offers kid-friendly activities such as guided nature walks and cultural visits to Maasai villages, providing an educational and immersive experience for the family.

Tanzania: Serengeti National Park

The Serengeti is another prime location for witnessing the Great Wildebeest Migration. It offers family-friendly lodges and activities such as hot air balloon safaris, which can be an exciting way for kids to view wildlife from above. Note that if you are looking for a more immersive experience a you can combine a safari and travel through Masai Mara and into Serengeti in a combined Kenya and Tanzania Safari

Uganda: Queen Elizabeth National Park

Queen Elizabeth National Park is known for its diverse ecosystems and wildlife. It’s an excellent destination for boat safaris on the Kazinga Channel, where kids can see hippos, crocodiles, and various bird species up close.

Rwanda: Volcanoes National Park

Rwanda is famous for its mountain gorillas. While gorilla trekking is generally recommended for older children (15+), the park offers other activities such as nature walks and visits to local communities that can be enjoyable for younger kids. Note that if you are looking for a more unique experience you can combine a safari and travel through combined Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania Safari

Incorporating Beach Excursions

After days of wildlife adventure, a beach excursion can be a perfect way to unwind. East Africa’s coastline, particularly in Kenya and Tanzania, offers beautiful beaches and family-friendly resorts. Destinations like Diani Beach in Kenya and Zanzibar in Tanzania provide opportunities for snorkeling, swimming, and exploring marine life.

Best Age to Start Traveling with Kids on a Safari

While there is no strict rule, children aged 6 and above tend to benefit the most from a safari experience. At this age, kids are more likely to understand and appreciate the wildlife and nature around them. However, younger children can also enjoy safaris with appropriate planning and adjustments to ensure their comfort and safety.

Common Considerations

Isn’t a safari too dangerous for kids?

Safety is a top priority on any safari. We are a Reputable tour operator and we provide safe, guided experiences. The Lodges and camps we recommend are well-equipped to handle families and ensure safety measures are in place.

Won’t kids get bored on long game drives?

Our many family-oriented safaris opt for shorter game drives with interactive activities, and educational programs to keep kids engaged and entertained. We consider mixing game drives with activities like nature walks and cultural visits to keep the experience varied and exciting for kids.

What about health concerns?

As a parent ensuring vaccinations are up-to-date and taking preventive measures against malaria can mitigate health risks. Our safari lodges and camps also offer medical facilities and have protocols in place for emergencies. We provide all our clients with AMREF flying doctors insurance cover in case of any emergencies.

Popular Family Accommodations

Here are some midrange accommodations that cater to families:

1. Mara Serena Safari Lodge (Kenya)

Located in the Maasai Mara, this lodge offers family rooms and activities such as guided walks and cultural visits.

2. Serengeti Sopa Lodge (Tanzania)

This lodge in the Serengeti provides family suites, a swimming pool, and child-friendly meal options.

3. Mweya Safari Lodge (Uganda)

Situated in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Mweya Safari Lodge offers family cottages and boat safaris on the Kazinga Channel.

4. Mountain Gorilla View Lodge (Rwanda)

Located near Volcanoes National Park, this lodge offers spacious family rooms and activities suitable for children, such as nature walks and cultural tours.

How Much Does a Family Safari Cost?

A family safari in East Africa can range from $350 to $800 per person per day, depending on the level of luxury, the number of activities included, and the season. For a midrange family safari, budget around $400 to $500 per person per day. This typically includes accommodation, meals, game drives, and park fees and also permits if your looking for a gorilla experience.

Tips to Afford a Family Safari?

1. Plan Ahead: Book well in advance to take advantage of early bird discounts and more availability.

2. Travel During Off-Peak Seasons: Traveling during the shoulder seasons can reduce costs significantly.

3. Choose Midrange Accommodations: Opt for comfortable yet affordable lodges and camps that cater to families.

4. Group Travel: Traveling with another family or as a group can reduce costs through shared transport and group discounts.

Travel Advice for a Family Safari

What should we pack for a family safari?

Pack light, breathable clothing in neutral colors, comfortable walking shoes, hats, sunscreen, insect repellent, and any necessary medications. Binoculars and a good camera can enhance the experience.

Is there internet connectivity?

Many lodges and camps offer internet access, though it might be limited in remote areas. It’s a good opportunity to unplug and enjoy the natural surroundings.

How do we ensure our kids stay engaged?

Involve them in planning and learning about the animals and cultures they will encounter. Bring along books, games, and journals to document their experiences.

What kind of food will be available?

Most lodges offer a variety of meals, including kid-friendly options. Inform the lodge of any dietary restrictions or preferences in advance.

Will my mobile phone work?

Mobile coverage is generally available in major safari destinations, though it can be spotty in more remote areas. Purchasing a local SIM card can be very useful.


Taking your kids on their first safari to East Africa can be an unforgettable adventure filled with learning and excitement. By choosing the right destinations, accommodations, and activities, and by addressing common concerns, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for the whole family. Start planning today, and create memories that will last a lifetime with camptrek safaris.


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