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Why Kenya is great for a kids holiday
Kenya may not be top of mind for a holiday with the kids, but ... Enjoy superb wildlife viewing, visit conservation charities to see how they care for orphaned and injured animals, and meet with Maasai tribespeople on The Adventure Company's 10-day Land of the Masai family adventure, suitable for families with children aged 5 and older. For an overland adventure that journeys from Kenya to Tanzania, The Adventure Company's 19-day East Africa Family Safari is suitable for families with children aged 7 and over.
The Maasai Mara Nature Reserve is world famous for its game viewing for good reason. You have probably heard of the ‘Big Five’, but here you can spot the ‘Big Nine’: lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant, buffalo, rhino, zebra, giraffe and hippo, as well as many species of antelope. Whatever your age, seeing wildlife up close in its own habitat is a magical experience and with so many different species to spot, even teens couldn’t get bored of taking long game drives here.
Go to Kenya at the right time and you may be lucky enough to see the annual wildebeest migration, which takes place in the Maasai Mara between July and August, and again in October. More than a million wildebeest migrate from the Serengeti in Tanzania in search of greener pastures, food and water, before returning south again later in the year. It is one of the greatest shows on Earth, and the good news is it usually takes place during the school summer holidays, when the weather is dry and wildlife viewing is at its best.
Whether you’re a keen bird-watcher or not, a trip to Lake Nakuru is a must and will absolutely delight girls (and boys) with a love for the colour pink. The lake is home to hundreds of feasting flamingoes, which creates an illusion of a sea of shimmering pink feathers. I was not at all surprised when our local guide told us that the correct term for a collection of the birds is a ‘flamboyance’ of flamingoes – it is certainly a striking sight and a great challenge for budding photographers to capture on camera.
Yet despite the superb wildlife viewing, for me the real magic of Kenya was the warm and welcoming people that I met there. There are more than 40 different ethnic tribes in Kenya, each with their own language, culture and customs, but the red-robed Maasai are perhaps the best known. On my recent trip, I was privileged to meet some Maasai warriors, to learn about their culture, see inside their homes, and share a meal with them. I was even taught some of the traditional tribal skills, including spear-throwing. It was the highlight of my year.
As I sat round the campfire with my Maasai hosts, it struck me that while there are many benefits of travelling in a responsible way, it is the opportunities for cultural exchange that are truly invaluable for children. Tolerance, respect and appreciation come from seeing how others live and learning to celebrate our similarities and our differences. So while it’s unlikely my three boys will ever need to know how to throw a spear in order to survive in modern-day Hampshire, I know they would benefit a great deal from the experience.
Enjoy superb wildlife viewing, visit conservation charities to see how they care for orphaned and injured animals, and meet with Maasai tribespeople on The Adventure Company's 10-day Land of the Masai family adventure, suitable for families with children aged 5 and older. For an overland adventure that journeys from Kenya to Tanzania, The Adventure Company's 19-day East Africa Family Safari is suitable for families with children aged 7 and over.
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