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    Steppes Travel is made by the people who work here. Incredible holidays are made possible because of their vast travel experience and the great enthusiasm they bring to their work.

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Lion at dawn, Masai Mara, Kenya

Kenya Safari Holidays

One of the prides of the African continent. After trekking through the Masai Mara and meeting lions, giraffes and wildebeests, head to the shores of the warm Indian Ocean to unwind and reminisce.

Home to some of Africa’s best wildlife, dramatic landscapes, rich and colourful culture and beautiful Indian-Ocean beaches, Kenya is the ideal destination for first-timers, honeymooners, families and seasoned safari hands alike. The big-game-rich Masai Mara attracts all the attention, but the country is dotted with pioneering wildlife conservancies, as well as a host of beautiful national parks.

End of the migration, Masai Mara, Kenya
Masai Mara, Kenya
Kenya Leopard, Talek River in Masai Mara, Kenya
Masai Mara, Kenya

Highlights of the Masai Mara

  • Drive off road and explore on foot in one of the adjoining conservancies
  • Wake up to spectacular Out-of-Africa views at Angama Mara
  • Get close to the action of the Great Migration with a spotter and guide
Pair of lions, Ol Pejeta, Laikipia, Kenya
Laikipia, Kenya
Game drive, Loisaba Tented Camp, Laikipia
Loisaba Tented Camp, Laikipia, Kenya
Fly camping, El Karama, Laikipia, Kenya
Laikipia, Kenya

Highlights of Laikipia

  • Stay at owner-run lodges on pioneering wildlife conservancies
  • Witness rhino conservation in action; track endangered black rhinos
  • Take advantage of adventurous, family-friendly activities
Family Safari, Masai Mara, Kenya
Masai Mara, Kenya
Giraffes necking, Lewa, Laikipia, Kenya
Laikipia, Kenya
Looking out from small hill, near Sarara Camp, Matthews Range, Kenya
Matthews Range, Kenya
Sunset over the savannah, Masai Mara, Kenya
Masai Mara, Kenya
Elephants, Tsavo, Kenya
Tsavo, Kenya

Kenya Family Safaris

Combine all of Kenya’s highlights on a fun, family-friendly holiday that includes both spectacular wildlife and lots of activities. Go mountain biking, try horse riding and dive off waterfalls in Laikipia, before learning Maasai bush skills and spotting big cats in the conservancies of the Masai Mara.

Kenya’s interior offers a mix of adventure and wildlife for all ages, whilst the coast is the perfect place to unwind and relax on beautiful white beaches.

Some ideas for a family holiday in Kenya:

  • Adopt an orphaned elephant and visit the Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi
  • At the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, visit the chimpanzee sanctuary, spot big cats and meet the last three surviving northern white rhinos
  • Try snorkelling, sailing, kayaking, wakeboarding and more from the beautiful beaches that carpet Kenya’s Indian-Ocean coast
  • Learn bush skills, such as tracking and making bows, under the tutelage of fantastically knowledgeable local guides
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Warriors in Evening, Samburu, Kenya
Samburu, Kenya
Gerenuk browsing, Samburu, Kenya
Gerenuk, Samburu, Kenya
Flamingos Lake, Logipi, Samburu, Kenya
Lake Turkana, Kenya

Highlights of Samburu & Meru

  • Stay at Elephant Watch Camp, home to Saba Douglas-Hamilton
  • Visit sacred singing wells in the Namunyak Conservancy
  • Explore the volcanic Lake Turkana by helicopter, camping on its shores

Explore Kenya

  • Laikipia
  • Masai Mara
  • Samburu
  • Lake Turkana
  • Amboseli, Chyulu Hills and Tsavo

Experiences

Reteti Elephant Orphanage

Visit the Reteti Elephant Orphanage, where local Samburu people care for rescued elephant orphans.

Outdoor Adventures

Go hiking, horse riding, camel trekking and mountain biking across this remote and little-visited region.

Meet the Samburu People

Visit the traditional Samburu people, who live alongside wildlife conservancies.

Visit the Singing Wells

Spend time at the local Singing Wells – sacred water sources that provide both the Samburu and their cattle with vital water, as well as the wildlife.

Kenyan Adventure

Explore on camel-back, camping by rivers and jumping off waterfalls.

Visit the local children of Elephant Watch Camp

Gain an insight into growing up in the bush – hang out with the children from This Wild Life at Elephant Watch Camp.

Coastal Adventures

Try sailing, kayaking, wakeboarding and more from the beautiful beaches that carpet Kenya’s Indian-Ocean coast.

Ol Pejeta Conservancy

At the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, visit the chimpanzee sanctuary, spot big cats and meet the last two surviving northern white rhinos.

Bush School for Children

Learn bush skills, such as tracking and making bows, under the tutelage of fantastically knowledgeable local guides.

Visit the Local Community

Take a tour of a local school, sit down to dinner with elders and interact with the local community with One Horizon.

Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Jackie Devereux

I was born in Zimbabwe. With a dad who was in the police force, we moved from place to place. I have always been passionate about travel. My grandparents mentioned that our ancestors set off from the Horn of Africa – Ethiopia – looking for better cattle pastures. They ended up settling in the south-eastern hills of Zimbabwe, in the Great Zimbabwe area.
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Illona Cross

Illona has visited Kenya numerous times, as well as spending time in the Masai Mara as a safari guide at one of the camps. Having explored much of the country and stayed at a variety of camps and lodges, she always enjoys the diversity of activities on offer, including her personal favourite, horse riding.
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Bridget Cohen

Aged five and with my Curious George toy safely tucked under my arm, I set off with my family to travel around Europe in an orange VW minibus. Looking back on the adventures we had along the way, I now know that this was where my love for travel and exploring began.
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Chris Johnston

Chris has explored much of Africa over the years, yet holds firm the belief that Kenya offers the best big-game experience in the world. He has walked, driven, mountain-biked, ridden and paddled past some of Africa’s most exciting wildlife whilst on safari in Kenya. And such is the style and comfort of the country’s lodges, all this was whilst within easy reach of an ice-cold G&T.
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Frequently asked questions about Kenya

What are the differences between the parks?

The best way to enjoy a safari is to spend time in different parks, as this will offer you a choice of different wildlife, different scenery and different activities. Most people combine two different parks with some time on the coast, allowing for greater variety.

The Mara is undoubtedly the place for a classic safari – open savannah, rolling plains dotted with game and giraffes towering in the distance next to flat-top acacia trees. In contrast to this, Laikipia is home to wildlife reserves that offer more dramatic and rugged scenery, with a particular focus on rhinos and wild dogs. It is also here that you can do some of the more adventurous activities, such as horse-riding, walking or mountain biking.

Further north, you have the fiery landscapes of the Samburu region, with a dramatic volcanic landscape, softened by rivers and palm trees. The lakes (Nakuru and Naivasha) are great for birding, with vast flocks of flamingos appearing almost overnight. Alternatively, the vast plains of Tsavo offer a chance to explore one of Kenya’s wildest and largest parks. And the coast has its own marine parks, which are perfect for any number of activities.

What is a typical day on safari?

Safaris are all about being flexible, so your guide will usually discuss what you would like to do each day and plan accordingly. As a rule of thumb, you are woken just before sunrise with a cup of tea or coffee, so you can freshen up before the day begins. You then leave camp for your morning game drive or walk around 6:30 am.

Breakfast is usually taken as a picnic in a shady spot in between drives or walks, returning to camp for lunch around midday. During the hottest part of the day, relax by the pool, take a siesta or watch wildlife from the camp itself. Around 4 pm, there are hot drinks and biscuits, before you head out again.

Around 6 pm, you then enjoy a traditional sundowner drink to toast the setting sun, before returning to camp before nightfall. After a shower and pre-dinner drinks around the fire, you settle down to a delicious dinner. This is followed by a quick nightcap, then bed.

What is the accommodation like in Kenya?

There is a huge choice of accommodation in Kenya. Each property is different and, with so much choice, it is easy to get it wrong. Here is a rough guide to the options on offer:

Mobile Bush Camps

As the name suggests, these are small mobile camps that are set up for a finite number of nights. Usually an overnight bush experience offered by permanent lodges, they can also be part of a longer walking safari. These fully serviced camps are set up for you and have simple dome tents, a small camp bed and a mattress, with bedding provided. Simple, but delicious meals are prepared for you and hot water is brought on demand to wash. There is a long-drop toilet (hole in the ground) in a separate small tent, although some of the larger tents have their own bucket showers at the back.

Permanent Tented Camps

These are classic, East African camps, with only a handful of spacious, stylish, tented rooms. They feature comfortable beds and fine linen, small dressers, soft furnishings and private en-suite facilities. Usually, there is a patio or decking area outside the tent. These camps are typified by great service levels, shared safari vehicles and communal dining in the evening, with drinks (including alcohol) often included in the cost. They are great fun and very flexible.

Luxury Camps

Fine dining, silver service and spa treatments feature heavily, whilst some properties offer private vehicles for game drives. Properties can be a mixture of canvas and permanent structure, but always with elegant and eclectic designs. There are exceptional levels of service, with an emphasis on personal touches and attention to detail.

Private Ranches

These are usually family homesteads or working ranches that have been converted into luxury accommodation. They offer some of the warmest welcomes in Africa, given the families themselves usually manage the properties and live on site. Again, only a handful of rooms, with a warmth and hospitality you would only find in someone’s home.

There is usually a wide range of activities on offer, given the surrounding land is owned by the lodge. Therefore, they are very flexible for large groups or families, although individuals and couples are also welcome.

Private Houses and Villas

Perfect for families and large groups who want the privacy and flexibility of enjoying their holiday exactly as they like it. Fully staffed, with private guides and vehicles, these properties can manage wildlife activities and meal times around the group, to ensure everyone is happy. They can be found in both the wildlife areas and along the coast.

Coastal Properties

The best places to stay are the small, boutique-style retreats. Often featuring cool Swahili designs, they provide shade from the sun, overlooking palm fringed beaches. Many have pools, which helps when the tide is out. Again, some are better suited for families with a range of activities on offer, whilst others are perfect for a quiet retreat or honeymoon.

When is the best time to go to Kenya?

What you are looking for will dictate when you travel. Kenya is equatorial and as such it is the altitude, rather than the latitude, that determines local climates. The coast remains warm and humid, with rain peaking from April to June (the same time as the rest of the country), with shorter rains in October and November.

The Mara and the central highlands have a cooler, temperate climate, due to their elevation. Whilst warm and pleasant during the day, they can become quite cold at night. The outline below should give you an idea as to what each month offers:

January to March

One of the hottest and driest times of the year. Little water around and, in theory, a great time for game viewing. However, temperatures can be sweltering.

April to June

South-eastern monsoon winds bring the long rains, so much of the wildlife is giving birth in preparation for the lush vegetation that will follow. It is also a great time for birders, as the birds are in their mating plumage and wildflowers are in abundance. It can be very wet, however, and a number of the coastal properties close. This is also known as ‘the green season’.

July to September

The best time to witness the wildebeest migration and the coolest time of the year. It can get very busy in the Mara National Reserve, so you need to pick your spot carefully. All of the other parks are easily accessible but free from the Mara’s crowds.

October to November

One of our clients’ favourite times to go on safari and one of ours as well. The tail end of the migration may still be around, whilst the arrival of the short rains brings the countryside to life. Flora looks lush and green, rivers flow and the animal are well fed. The air is clear, bringing spectacular sunrises and sunsets; it is no surprise that many photographers prefer this time of year. This is also known as ‘mid’ or ‘shoulder’ season.

What are the best options for a family safari in Kenya?

The key to a successful family safari is flexibility and fun. Each family has their own wish list and each member of the family will enjoy slightly different things. Therefore, for small families with young children (up to five years old), we only recommend small camps that cater for children this young. They feature flexible mealtimes and the option of a private vehicle. All guides are fantastic with children.

If travelling as a larger family group, then bush houses tend to offer the best value options. They can be booked on an exclusive basis, and include a pool and staff. You can be completely flexible on what you do and when you do it.

For children up to around 12 years of age, lodge managers and guides will happily fill their day with fun activities. These include line-fishing, identifying dung and insects, making bows and arrows and looking for animal tracks (as well as the animals themselves).

For older children and teenagers, they start to fully appreciate the animals and outdoors. They will not only engage with the guides more and learn about the cultural diversity found here, but will want to burn off some energy with mountain biking, rafting and walking safaris. The coast also offers more grown-up activities, such as kite surfing, snorkelling and sea kayaking.

How can I avoid the crowds?

Very easily. Those who think Kenya too busy or too commercial have either never been, or have been poorly advised when planning their trip. Around 90% of people who come to Kenya go to the Masai Mara and, even then, nearly all of these people travel between July and September.

It is also important to remember that the Mara is only one of more than 40 national parks and wildlife reserves in Kenya, and is one of the smallest. Therefore, there are more off-the-beaten-track destinations that still offer big game.

However, the Mara is undoubtedly worth a visit. But picking the right place and time of year can make a huge difference. The Mara is effectively split into two types of areas:

Masai Mara National Reserve

The main park, gazetted in its present form in 1968 by the Kenyan Government. The busiest area, with the highest number of lodges, which are usually much bigger and where game drives are confined to defined roads and tracks. The Mara and Talek Rivers dissect the park and these are where the majority of the migration crossings take place. Vehicle numbers are not restricted and the reserve is open to self-drive tourists. There are, however, a handful of very good lodges in this area.

Masai Mara Private Concessions

These are privately managed reserves, run in conjunction with Masai communities that border the National Reserve. Far better managed, they offer the same excellent wildlife opportunities, but far fewer vehicles and have much more flexibility in terms of activities and driving off-road. Numbers of tourists are heavily restricted, with access limited to those who are staying in one of the camps.

Staying here also allows you access to the National Reserve if you would like, but those staying in the National Reserve cannot visit the private concessions. You have the best of both worlds. Lodges are generally smaller, the wildlife experience better and more exclusive and the guiding of a higher quality – reflected in a higher price.

What advice would you give on photography in Kenya?

Kenya is a photographer’s dream, with an ever-changing landscape, spectacular wildlife and a rich and colourful cultural heritage. However, always ask permission when photographing people. When on safari, to get decent shots you need to consider a camera with at least a 300mm zoom lens.

Some camps are better suited to photographers, with many of the guides being amateur photographers themselves. But all guides have a knack of getting people in the right place at the right time. The shoulder season in October and November is particularly good for photography, as the light rains clear the air, keep the scenery lush and the animals healthy. There are usually spectacular skies at this time of year and far fewer tourists.

All camps have facilities to charge camera batteries and some even have specialist lenses that you can borrow.

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