Kenya is a great country for a family safari, with an abundance quirky, family-owned properties that will make you feel your family is visiting close friends. This itinerary is perfect for families with kids and adults of all ages, full of great game-viewing and unique activities at intimate properties.
Day 1: Giraffe Manor, Nairobi
Upon arrival in Nairobi an Extraordinary Journeys representative will meet you and drive you to the one of a kind Giraffe Manor where you will spend 1 night feeding giraffes from your bedroom window before beginning your safari the next morning.
In Nairobi, you will find a city that is lively, cosmopolitan and full of contrasts. It's a place of smart office workers, mansions and expensive suburban shopping centers as well as slums crowded with people struggling on as best they can. Displaying enormous vitality and buzz, Nairobi is one of Africa's major cities and is East Africa's hub for commerce, aid and increasingly, technology. It hard to imagine that this city of almost 5 million people celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1999 and that where it now stands, only Maasai manyattas stood barely a century ago!
Built in 1932 by Sir David Duncan, Giraffe Manor is situated on 120 acres of land just a few miles from the center of Nairobi in the suburb of Karen. In 1974 Jock Leslie-Melville, grandson of a Scottish earl, and his wife Betty, bought the Manor. They also founded the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW) and proceeded to move five highly endangered Rothschild giraffe babies to their property where they were successfully reared and have since produced their own offspring. Betty chronicled these events in her book, Raising Daisy Rothschild.
Exclusive, spacious and elegant, it is the only place in the world that you can feed giraffe from your second floor bedroom window, over the lunch table, or at the front door. This is meant to be more like a home than a hotel. You are encouraged to make yourself completely at home – settle down and read a book, admire the view, help yourself to a drink. Staying at Giraffe Manor also contributes towards saving endangered species and educating local school children about conservation, as a portion of your fee is donated to these causes.
Overnight at GIRAFFE MANOR. Includes: All meals, local drinks, laundry, entrance to AFEW Giraffe Centre, transportation within Karen/Langata area, wireless internet access
Days 2-5: Lewa House, Laikipia
Today you will be driven to Wilson Airport for your flight to the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and Lewa House.
The Laikipia Plateau is a vast expanse of wild country covering over 3000 square miles between Mt Kenya and the Rift Valley. The Laikipia Wildlife Forum has brought together privately owned ranches and communal grazing areas, creating an immense wildlife area. The ranches are actively involved in eco-tourism and conservation projects alongside local communities. Wildlife moves freely throughout the area and with few other tourists and the freedom to leave your vehicle, Laikipia offers a unique experience.
Lewa House is managed by Sophia (Craig) Macfarlane and her husband Callum. They live there year round with their two children and as soon as you arrive will feel you are a part of the multi-generational Craig family that founded the Lewa Conservancy.
There is so much to do here! In addition to game drives, you can go horseback riding or take advantage of opportunities to view wildlife on bush walks with Maasai guides. For clients who are interested you can visit the cultural Boma, the furniture workshop or one of several community projects put in place by the conservancy.Lewa House itself is set on top of a hill with an engaging panoramic view of the rolling landscape of the Conservancy, and overlooks the luggas (valleys) and hills, with the horizon rising to the eye-catching views of the Mathews range and the sacred mountain of the Samburu, Ol Lolokwe.
The property has a main building with a lounge and dining area, opening up to the charmingly furnished stretch veranda with its own special vista across the plains of Northern Kenya. A short walk away there are three large cottages each with a double and a twin room, making the property suitable for up to twelve people. All the cottages have ensuite bathrooms, apart from the family cottage, which has a shared bathroom. Each of the cottages has a private veranda where guests can sit in the cool of the evening to enjoy the starlit African skies. A large swimming pool overlooking the waterhole is also yours to enjoy at Lewa House.
Overnights at LEWA HOUSE. Includes: All meals, house beverages with meals, game viewing activities, laundry.
Day 5-8: Mara House, Masai Mara
Today you will fly from the Lewa airstrip to the Masai Mara and Mara House.
The Maasai Mara is Kenya’s most famous nature reserve, and one of the settings for the film Out of Africa. It is classic savannah – grasslands, where animals are plentiful and the vistas spectacular. In this dreamlike land, animals live in freedom, and the Maasai tend their cattle. The area, also known as the “Jewel of Africa,” has one of the largest and the most spectacular animal migrations in the world. The reserve is known for its large wildlife, including lion, cheetah, elephant, leopard, black rhino and hippo.
There are also over 500 resident species of birds in the park including ostrich, lark and sunbird. The reserve which covers an area of 700 square miles forms part of the Serengeti ecosystem and hosts the world famous spectacle of the annual migration of up to two million wildebeest, thousands of zebra and an escort of carnivores from the Serengeti plains, following the rains and succulent new grass. A costly trek as many of the lame, laggard and sick will fall prey to predators and many more will die in the swirling flood waters of the Mara River as they try to cross it. Whether you’re in the Maasai Mara during migration time, your wildlife viewing will be spectacular, as the resident population of zebra and wildebeest will be there, along with the predators.
Located in the same valley as Acacia House, Mara House is a three bedroom private bush home designed to suit a couple, small group or family on safari.
All the main living areas are at the front of the house and lead onto the verandah so all can enjoy the wonderful views down to the game rich waterhole. It is here and at the nearby pool (shared with Acacia House) that much of the day is passed when not out and exploring. The three double rooms are all ensuite and spacious living areas mean the group staying here have plenty of indoor as well as outdoor space. Your private team will prepare all meals to the usual high standard and will cater for bush picnics or lunches out on the lawn under the shade of the acacia trees.
Mara House comes with a full complement of well-trained and experienced staff at guests disposal including a chef, wildlife guide and house manager to ensure a seamlessly-run safari experience which delivers the very best the Mara has to offer. It is an opportunity to explore this wilderness from a private bush home in the company of your personal Masai guide on your own terms.
A fully qualified guide and vehicle will be on hand to assist with a wide range of safari activities which include walking, day or night game drives and visits to local villages and trading centers. Game viewing is done both in the game reserve and in the conservancy and so offering a wide range of experiences.
Overnights at Mara House. Includes: All meals, house wines, soft drinks and beer, laundry, game drives in open 4X4 vehicles and Laundry.
Day 8: Departure or onward to Olerai House!
This morning you will be taken to the Mara airstrip where you will fly to Nairobi in time for your international flight home on onward to Olerai House if you decide to add a few days on the Kenya Coast!
Optional Extension Days 8-12: Olerai House, South Coast
Olerai Beach House family-owned beach front house situated on a coral bed, high above the Indian Ocean, with panoramic ocean views and a cool sea breeze. Tiwi Beach, located on Kenya's South Coast a beautiful and undisturbed beach with endless stretches of white sand; a perfect private holiday destination for a family to relax and unwind.
This large house has a spacious dining area and veranda which opens out onto the huge green lawn which stretches down to the palm lined beach. The house also overlooks a stunning swimming pool set around interlocking natural coral caves, which is probably one of the best features of this house.
There are 4 large double rooms, each with their own bathroom and shower. The rooms are all tastefully decorated with views over the Indian Ocean, just 50 meters beyond. There is further space for children in the open planned upstairs area of the house, with another 4 beds, sharing a bathroom, plus a small cottage set behind the house if extra space is needed. Olerai is fully staffed with an excellent chef/manager, housekeeper, gardener & pool attendant plus a night-watchman and security guard. We also provide a private driver with vehicle. Bookings can be made on a full board basis (including drinks) or a self catering basis (chef still provided). Fresh seafood is brought to the house by local fisherman, and a great selection of seasonal coastal fruit and vegetables are also brought to your door!
The price for this family adventure starts at $25,000 for 2 adults and 2 children (without Olerai Beach House). With the Olerai Beach House Extension the program starts at $29,000 for 2 adults and 2 children. Prices vary by season and exclude international flights.