It’s a wondrous thing how the wild calms the child ~ Unknown

A safari is a sensory experience for children of all ages. It transports them to a world of real-life adventures full of tactile interactions. Tracking rhinos, collecting feathers, learning how lions feed, crafting a Masai spear, riding a camel, discovering the inside of a Samburu house, listening to hyenas call and identifying all manner of different animal poops! From toddlers to teenagers, they’ll reap the benefits.

Riverbed run at Sala’s Camp

Game driving at Siruai Mobile Camp

Your kids will remember the adventures you went on, not the stuff you bought them. Kids outgrow stuff; they never outgrow adventures.

Each of The Safari Collection properties welcomes children of all ages with open arms. We know that packing for an African safari can seem daunting at the onset, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Our founders, team members and lodge managers are all dab hands at heading off into the bush with little ones. So, from many years of trial and error, here are their top tips of what to pack for kids on safari.

Capture the memories

Enable curiosity

  • Binoculars – give children ownership of being able to spot and see more wildlife themselves. Blobs on the horizon suddenly come to life through the lens. Plus, giving them their own binos keeps sticky fingers away from yours! We like the L.L. Bean 10 x 42 Discovery Binoculars as they’re handy and lightweight.
  • Camera – a simple camera for kids is a really great way of focusing and engaging them to capture their own experience and record memories (even if their photos do cut off the lion’s head or only snap half a rhino!) Recording a video diary can be a fun project throughout a trip. You might also consider a polaroid instamatic camera as they’re less expensive and offer instant printouts which are great for scrapbooking along the way and engaging with people they meet.
  • Torch/headtorch – whilst there are torches in all our rooms, it’s useful for children to be independent and have their own; they can look for bush babies after dark, read under their duvet or find their way to the loo in the middle of the night!
  • Wildlife guide – a child friendly safari animal guide to tick off species spotted always creates a great sense of anticipation.
  • Scrap book – for doodling, diary writing, drawing, collage creating (feathers, leaves etc). All our camps have a little set of paints. Take a glue stick and pencil case of stationary to encourage creativity.

A good pair of shoes is always a safe bet

Comfort clothing is the best on safari.

Comfort is key

  • Warm and cool clothes – a cosy fleece and hat/buff for chilly dawn and dusk game drives are essential. Easy to remove layers are also key as temperatures change quickly over the course of a day. Zip off trousers work well as do Puffa jackets as they pack light but give great warmth. All our camps offer a complimentary laundry service to help reduce your packing load. As a very general guide, expect temperatures in the 50s ( degrees Fahrenheit) at night (10-14°C) and 70s/80s during the days (22-31°C ).
  • Good pair of trainers or hiking shoes (not boots) – for running around camp, bush walks, avoiding thorns. Also useful to wear with socks and tuck trousers in for evening mosquito protection.
  • Swim gear – kids love playing in the private plunge pools at Sala’s Camp and Sasaab. Giraffe Manor and Sasaab have lovely larger pools too. At Siruai Mobile Camp you can wild swim in the river and bigger kids can leap off the cliff into a waterfall pool. A long-sleeved rash vest or full sun suit is useful for sun protection whilst playing in the water. Kenya is on the equator so sun safety is essential.

Making a splash at The Retreat at Giraffe Manor after a fun safari in the wild

Keep basic needs met

  • Snacks –hangry children aren’t fun! Whilst our properties provide afternoon tea and snacks, it’s useful to have your own long-lasting emergency snack supply to access at any time (something along the lines of a Clif Bar or equivalent). Ask the managers at each of our properties for marshmallows to roast on the evening campfire.
  • Refillable water bottle – Our properties will give you reusable metal water bottles, but small children often find it easier drinking out of their own.
  • Prescription glasses – remember to pack a spare pair if your children need these.
  • Day bag / backpack – for storing all of the above! Give older kids their own backpack so they can be independent and have control of all their safari essentials like notebook, camera, binos, hat and sunscreen. Ensure items inside backpacks differ for siblings to avoid squabbles over whose is whose!

Aside from the thrill of exciting game drives, our properties each offer a range of activities for families to enjoy. This includes quads and camels at Sasaab, bicycles and horses at Solio Lodge, giant Jenga at Giraffe Manor and riverbed volleyball at Sala’s Camp.

Paints in the rooms at our properties

When the lions (and adults) are sleeping

  • Ball / frisbee– doesn’t take up much space in a bag and great to get everyone running about after sitting on a game drive. All our properties have plenty of outdoor space for playing games in.
  • Card games – tiny to pack and hours of entertainment! Family favourites like Uno, Dobble, Top Trumps, Monopoly Deal and so on are great.
  • Earphones – if electronic entertainment is a must, don’t forget earphones. Our four main properties have Wi-Fi in the rooms but downloading in the bush can be slow at times, so it’s a good idea to have content pre-loaded. Devices like Kindles and tablets can be useful for downtime.

A stylish hat to protect the young tracker from the harsh midday sun ©Will Burrad Lucas

Safety First

  • For the sunshine: sunglasses, hats, sunscreen and SPF lip protection (the same applies for adults too!) Wind and dust in eyes are not fun for anyone, so a good pair of wrap-around sunglasses are essential. Caps tend to stay put on heads better than hats – the plural is intentional here as they do have a habit of getting lost so bring a spare. You can also purchase caps in the gift shops at each of our properties (they make great safari souvenirs).
  • Kids Medication – pack a basic first aid kit of all your usual remedies for headaches, sore tummies, diarrhoea, allergic reactions, cuts and bruises. Include nice-flavoured rehydration sachets – whizzing along in the wind on game drives can dehydrate you, so these will come in handy.
  • Mosquito repellent – We provide natural insect repellent in all our rooms,  however we recommend bringing a bug spray containing 30% DEET which is most effective in preventing bites. Pack trousers, socks and long sleeves for evenings. There is a malaria risk in parts of Kenya. Sasaab and Sala’s Camp carry some risk, whilst Solio Lodge and Giraffe Manor have no malaria due to being at higher altitudes. Don’t worry though, properties in risk areas have mosquito nets which are put down and sprayed for you in the evening. Malaria is transmitted by the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito which has already bitten an infected person. These mosquitos only bite at night. Instances of our guests contracting malaria are extremely rare.

Children under the age of 16 do not need a visa to enter Kenya, however they must have their own passport.

Private vehicle hire for ultimate flexibility

Practical Bush tips for Kids

  • Little ones love sundowner suppers. Choose from our special kids’ menu one sitting ahead, and our chefs will pack it up along with your sundowner drinks and nibbles, all ready to go for your afternoon game drive. What’s not to love about an al fresco dinner in the bush surrounded by wildlife? Then it’s all ready for bath and bedtime upon return to camp.
  • Sunrise PJ game drives – pop one of our cosy fleece ponchos over your pyjamas and head out to catch some early wildlife action with a packed breakfast.
  • Private vehicle hire – all guests staying in our family rooms at Sasaab and Sala’s Camp get exclusive vehicle use for game viewing. This gives families ultimate flexibility on times and duration of game drives to curate your own adventures in the bush. You can book exclusive vehicle use at our other properties for an extra cost.
  • Opt for internal flight transfers – to avoid long drives between destinations.

Want to start planning your bucket-list family safari of a lifetime? Browse our safari experiences, from our Lion King Family Adventure to our Beach and Bush Safari. Or we can design a bespoke itinerary to match your exact needs, simply get in touch at