Top 10 Family-Friendly Safari Lodges in East Africa

Top 10 Family-Friendly Safari Lodges in East Africa

Taking a trip to East Africa with your family is one of the most captivating experiences you could possibly ever give your kids. With the option of incredible safaris out in the open savannah and a selection of sun-kissed beaches with their white sand, warm turquoise waters and palms swaying in the breeze; East Africa is one of those very few destinations in the world where you can go on a family-friendly safari and see wild animals up-close, before heading off to enjoy some well-deserved relaxation and fun water activities with the kids at a nearby tropical beach. 

It’s no surprise that Tanzania and Kenya are firm favorites for family vacations because parents identify them as safe safari destinations that offer world-class family-friendly lodges and camps. Best equipped to cater towards the needs of families, even with the youngest of children, here are our Top 10 family-friendly safari lodges in East Africa.

Family-friendly Safari Lodge: Dunia Camp – Serengeti

Wildlife viewing from Dunia Camp's deck on a family friendly safari
Enjoy wildlife spotting with the family from Dunia Camp’s viewing deck: A family-friendly safari lodge

Location: This award-winning tented camp is situated in a diverse wildlife area of the Serengeti National Park that is ideal for witnessing the annual Great Mammal Migration: an awe-inspiring event when almost two million wildebeest and zebra pass through the Serengeti in search of greener grazing grounds. The Serengeti also offers frequent sightings of Africa’s famous Big Five.

Age restrictions: Dunia welcomes children from age five upwards, although younger children may be accommodated by special arrangement.

Family accommodation: Dunia has one Family Tent which can accommodate a maximum of five guests in two separate bedrooms.

Activities for kids: With a large number of safari vehicles on offer, families of six or more will have their own private vehicle and guide for morning and evening game drives. The camp does their best to try provide all families with a private vehicle and guide but it’s never guaranteed unless booked in advance AT an additional fee. In high season, families with children under 12 years are obliged to book a private game-viewing vehicle at an additional cost.

Booking a private vehicle is highly recommended for family safaris as it allows you to move at a pace that suits everyone and offers the opportunity to focus on the interests of the family.

Taking a hot air balloon safari ride over the Serengeti is a truly unforgettable experience. Soaring thousands of feet above the ground at dawn offers a completely different perspective to game viewing. It’s however important to note that there are height and weight restrictions.

2. Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp – Masai Mara, Kenya

Inter-leading suites at Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp that's ideal for a family safari
Beautifully appointed inter-leading suites at Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp: A family-friendly safari lodge

Location: Perfectly positioned in the north-western area of the world-renowned Masai Mara National Reserve, this classical camp is nestled along the Sabaringo River and commands exceptional views of the Masai Mara and Oloololo escarpment. The Masai Mara offers some of Africa’s best game viewing with regular sightings of the Big Five and large herds of antelope. During the Great Migration, Kichwa Tembo is close enough to see all the action unfold.

Age restrictions: Children of all ages are welcome at the lodge however scheduled game drives only permit children over the age of 5 years. Children between the ages of 3 and 5 years can request additional children’s drives, or alternatively, it is highly recommended that families pre-book a private vehicle which is provided at an additional cost. This will enhance the families overall safari experience, moving at a pace that is suitable for everyone. Nature walks are restricted to children over the age of 12 years.

Family accommodation: Kichwa Tembo has three Family Suites that can each accommodate two adults and two children. Two of the tented suites are inter-connectable, giving parents who are traveling with very young children complete peace of mind. There are some triple rooms available at the lodge but remain subject to availability at the time of inquiry. 

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Activities for kids: Kichwa Tembo offers a WildChild Program which is a collection of educational activities around wildlife and the African bush. Each child receives a special backpack that includes items such as a scrapbook, compass, solar torch or magnifying glass. The activities may include tracking, fishing expeditions, making of traditional bows and arrows, crafting and painting, and learning bush skills that include making a fire – the Maasai way.

Additional value-add on’s for families include creative menus and childminding services make families feel right at home in the African bush.

3. Singita Serengeti House – Grumeti, Tanzania

Evenings spent around a fire-pit beneath the African Sky is part of your family-friendly safari at Singita Serengeti House
Enjoy private fire-lit evenings with the family beneath the African sky at Singita Serengeti House: A family-friendly safari lodge

Location: Positioned in the private 350 000 acre Singita Grumeti Reserve in Northern Tanzania, Singita Serengeti House is an exclusive-use home positioned on the lower slopes of Sasakwa Hill and offers breathtaking views of the Serengeti plains and an active waterhole just below the house. The Singita Grumeti Reserve offers fantastic game viewing and is on the path of the Great Migration, which passes through this region between approximately mid-May through early July each year. 

Family accommodation: Serengeti House can accommodate a maximum of eight guests in four suites. Two suites are located in the main house and two in the garden. It is an exclusive use property so a minimum charge for four guests is applicable, with any additional guests charged accordingly.

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Age restrictions: Children of all ages are welcome at the lodge.

Activities for kids: Activities are tailored to suit each family, taking into consideration the ages of the children and any special requests. The activities are geared towards teaching new and exciting skills and include tennis, archery, swimming, baking with the chefs, arts and crafts, Wildlife DVDs, board games, spa face painting; and a mini rangers course which focuses on bush skills, animal tracking and learning about wildlife.

The kids also receive a survival kit which includes a water bottle, sunscreen, and a small bag with velcro tabs that will be used for attaching badges earned for activities such as fishing, birding, astronomy and tracking to name a few.

Childminding services are available on request at the house.

4. Ol Donyo Lodge – Mbirikani Group Ranch, Kenya

A family-friendly safari is possible in the spacious two-bedroom Sambu Suite at Ol Donyo Lodge
Spacious two-bedroom Sambu Suite at Ol Donyo Lodge: A family-friendly safari lodge

Location: Positioned in a pristine 275 000 acre wilderness area between the Amboseli and Tsavo National Parks, Ol Donyo is a contemporary lodge that sits on a hill and offers magnificent views of the savannah plains, the lodge’s active waterhole, and Mount Kilimanjaro which is the highest mountain in Africa and second largest in the world.

Family accommodation: The two bedroom Sambu Suite at Ol Donyo Lodge is ideal for two children aged 15 years and younger sharing with two adults. In the event that the Sambu Suite is unavailable, one child under the age of 15 years can share with two adults in a Pool Suite. Children over the age of 16 years will need to take their own room.

Age restrictions: Children aged 5 years and older are welcome at the lodge. Families will share safari activities with other guests unless a private vehicle is booked at an additional cost. We always recommend this as it allows the family to move at a pace suitable to them. Walking safaris offered at the lodge are restricted to children over the age of 12 years.

Activities for kids: The lodge boasts a Young Explorers Program that is designed to offer activities suited to children between 5 and 15 years of age. These include bike riding on the plains, painting, beading, kite flying, animal tracking, learning bush survival skills including fire making – the Maasai way. They will also have the opportunity to experience sleepouts in the bush, learn about warrior dancing and visit a local school.

On arrival at the lodge, each child receives a Young Explorers pack complete with animal tracking tools, Swahili vocabulary, puzzles and coloring books. Once the program is completed, each child receives a badge and certificate.

5. Lake Manyara Tree Lodge – Lake Manyara, Tanzania

Unrivaled views of the bush from the family suite of Lake Manyara - a family-friendly safari lodge
Lake Manyara’s family suite offers unrivaled views of the African bush – A family-friendly safari lodge

Location: Positioned in the Lake Manyara National Park which is well known for its tree climbing lions, large elephant herds and pink flamingos, Lake Manyara Tree Lodge is the only permanent lodge in this area and offers a unique tree-house style of accommodation.

Family accommodation: Lake Manyara has one Family Suite that comprises of two en-suite bedrooms that are connected by an entrance hall and can accommodate a family of two adults and two children. A third child can be accommodated on special request.

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Age restrictions: Children of all ages are welcome at the lodge however scheduled game drives only permit children over the age of 5 years. Children between the ages of 3 and 5 years can request additional children’s drives, or alternatively, it is highly recommended that families pre-book a private vehicle which is offered at an additional cost. This will enhance the families overall safari experience, moving at a pace that is suitable for everyone. Nature walks are restricted to children over the age of 12 years.

Activities for kids: Lake Manyara Tree Lodge also offers a WildChild Program which is a collection of educational activities around wildlife and the African bush. Each child receives a special backpack that includes items such as a scrapbook, compass, solar torch or magnifying glass. The activities may include tracking, fishing expeditions, making of traditional bows and arrows, crafting and painting, and learning bush skills.

Extra touches such as creative menus and childminding services make families feel right at home in the African bush.

6. Saruni Mara – Mara North Conservancy, Kenya

A family-friendly safari experience at its best in the opulent Natural History Suite of Saruni Mara
Enjoy pure opulence in the Natural History Suite at Saruni Mara: A family-friendly safari lodge

Location: Saruni Mara is situated in the private 74 131 acre Mara North Conservancy which borders with the world-renowned Masai Mara National Reserve. The Masai Mara boasts an abundance of wildlife all year round but is most famous for the Big Five and the World’s Greatest Migration which is generally seen during the months of July to November. The Mara North is extra special because it’s here where you can experience a second migration which is known as the Loita Hills Migration.

Family accommodation: The Natural History Suite is a stylish and spacious two bedroom family villa perfect for two adults and two to three children under the age of 16 years. The villa includes all the amenities that ensure a comfortable stay.

The private Nyati House at Saruni Mara is ideal for families of four that are looking for an exclusive safari experience. The two bedroom villa with its private dining area and front garden for the kids to enjoy offers families flexibility and is equipped with its own safari vehicle and professional guide.

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Age restrictions: Children of all ages are welcome at the lodge. Families will share safari activities with other guests unless they are staying in the Nyati House. There is also the option to book a private vehicle at an additional cost.

Kids activities: Activities are tailored to suit the preferences of families. The lodge’s Warrior Academy offers interactive activities such as bush skills, animal tracking, and learning about the traditions and customs of the Maasai people.

On arrival at the lodge, each child receives a Young Explorers pack complete with animal tracking tools, Swahili vocabulary, puzzles and coloring books. Once the program is completed, each child receives a badge and certificate.

7. Ol Pejeta Bush Camp – Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya

Breathtaking bush views from the main areas of Ol Pejeta - A family-friendly safari lodge
Ol Pejeta is a family-friendly safari lodge that offers various spaces to relax in and enjoy the views and sounds of the African bush

Location: The camp is situated in the Laikipia region of Kenya and is the perfect location for families to enjoy sightings of the endangered white and black rhino, as well as Africa’s famous Big Five. The camp is world-renowned for its various conservation projects and prides itself on its exceptional safari experience.

Family accommodation: Ol Pejeta Bush Camp can accommodate families of up to two adults and two children under 12 years sharing, subject to availability. The camp also boasts three triple tents that can each accommodate a maximum of three people.

Age restrictions: Children aged 5 years and older are welcome at the lodge. Children under 12 years will be required to share a room with an adult. Families with children 5 years and over will share activities with other guests unless a private vehicle and guide are available for the family. In order to guarantee a private vehicle, families should pre-book these at an additional cost.

Kids activities: There are a number of activities for the kids to enjoy during their stay at Ol Peteja. From visits to the nearby enclosure to see the last three surviving Northern White Rhino left on the planet, to animal tracking during game drives, or visiting the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary to feed rescued chimp. Other activities include learning to shoot a bow and arrow, making a fire, spear throwing and catapult making, baking and cooking, and star-gazing.

8. Saruni Samburu – Kalama Conservancy, Kenya

An exclusive family-friendly safari experience is had in the family villa of Saruni Samburu
Savor exclusive views offered in the two-bedroom family villa at Saruni Samburu: A family-friendly safari lodge

Location: Saruni Samburu is an exclusive lodge found in the heart of the private Kalama Conservancy, which borders the 200 000 acre Samburu National Reserve. The reserve is famous for its rare and endangered species including African wild dog, Grevy’s zebra, reticulated giraffe, Beisa oryx, Somali ostrich and gerenuk.

Family accommodation: Saruni Samburu offers four well-appointed Family Villas that are designed to cater to the needs of families. The villas are private and feature two en-suite bedrooms suitable and luxury amenities for a maximum of four people.

Age restrictions: Children of all ages are welcome at the lodge.

Kids activities: Activities are tailored to suit the preferences of families. The lodge’s Warrior Academy includes interactive activities such as bush skills, animal tracking, and learning about the traditions and customs of the Samburu people.

On arrival at the lodge, each child receives a Great Plains Young Explorers pack complete with animal tracking tools, Swahili vocabulary, puzzles and coloring books. Once the program is completed, each child receives a badge and certificate.

Childminding services are available on request at the lodge.

9. Naboisho Camp – Mara Naboisho Conservancy, Kenya

Naboisho Camp offers a family-friendly safari with its children's program and gift bags
Young guests at Naboisho Camp discover what’s inside their gift bag  on their family-friendly safari

Location: Naboisho Camp is located in the private Mara Naboisho Conservancy which forms part of the greater Masai Mara region. The Naboisho conservancy has an abundance of wildlife and one of the highest lion densities in the world with over 100 lions living in the conservancy. The Mara Naboisho Conservancy also serves as a vital migration corridor for the lesser-known Loita Migration.

Family accommodation: Naboisho has two Family Tents available on request which can sleep a maximum of five people, so either two adults and three children under 12 years or a maximum of three adults.

There is also one triple tent which can sleep a maximum of three people.

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Age restrictions: Children of all ages are welcome at Naboisho Camp, however families with children under 5 years should book the camp out exclusively. Children under 12 years will be required to share a room with an adult. Families with children 5 years and over will share activities with other guests unless a private vehicle and guide are available for the family. In order to guarantee a private vehicle, families should pre-book these at an additional cost.

Kids activities: Naboisho has its own children program that is led by professional guides who share their knowledge and teach children bush skills, animal tracking, take them on short guided bush walks, play traditional games, and visit a local community or school to learn about their fascinating traditions and customs. Each child will also receive a gift bag on their arrival at the camp.

10. Mahali Mzuri – Olare Motorogi Conservancy, Kenya

Open-air dining is part of the family-friendly safari experience at Mahali Mzuri
Enjoy open-air dining with the family at Mahali Mzuri Camp: A family-friendly safari lodge in Kenya

Location: Mahali Mzuri is a luxury safari camp that is owned by Sir Richard Branson and is located in the private 33 359 acre Olare Motorogi Conservancy which forms part of the world famous Masai Mara. Its prime location offers phenomenal game viewing all year round and front row seats to the annual Great Migration.

Family accommodation: Mahali has two Tents that are suited to families and can accommodate up to two additional children under the age of 15 years on day beds in the living room. Children between the ages of 12 and 15 years are allowed to stay in their own tent but it is recommended that they rather share with their parents.

Age restrictions: Children aged six years or older are very welcome to stay at Mahali Mzuri. Families will share activities with other guests unless a private vehicle is booked at an additional cost.

Kids activities: Mahali Mzuri does not have a set program for kids but rather tailor-make activities to suit the interests of each child or “little warrior” as the lodge prefers to call them. These activities include animal tracking, outdoor games, short bush walks, bedtime stories and DVDs. The camp also tailor makes menus to suit each child’s tastes.

 

East Africa is a vacation destination that is both safe and fun for families. A family safari is not just exciting and educational but gives families the opportunity to connect with nature and reconnect with one another. If you looking to give your family an unforgettable safari experience, let our Safari Experts help you plan your family-friendly safari in East Africa.

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