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Are kids allowed in Masai Mara safari?

The Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya is one of Africa’s most famous and spectacular safari destinations. Known for its abundance of wildlife including the Big 5 (lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and Cape buffalo), the Masai Mara offers visiotrs an incredible safari experience. Both kids and adults can take part in safaris here.

Are kids allowed in Masai Mara safari?

Safety considerations for kids on safari

While safaris present amazing opportunities to view wildlife, important safety precautions need to be taken when bringing children. Some key factors to consider include:

  • Supervision – Children must be closely supervised by an adult at all times in the reserve due to the presence of dangerous wild animals. Hold their hand when outside vehicles.
  • Vehicle rules – Most safari vehicles do not allow children under a certain age, usually 5 or 7 years old, to ride in open-roof vehicles or sit near openings. This ensures their safety during close wildlife encounters.
  • Ask guides – Inquire with guides about safety procedures and kid-friendly policies before booking a safari tour. Select one that welcomes children.
  • Age-appropriate experience – Choose safaris tailored to different age groups so kids can enjoy the experience without getting too frightened by very close animal encounters.

Kid-friendly Masai Mara safari options

Many safari tour companies and camps in the Masai Mara cater well to visiting kids and families. Some kid-friendly options include:

Ground safaris

  • Day or overnight safaris by van or 4×4 with a driver-guide provide lots of wildlife viewing from the safety of a closed vehicle.

Family-oriented camps

  • Many permanent tent camps offer family tents and activities/meals for kids. Some examples are:
    • Governor’s Camp – Offers family safari packages and a special kids’ program.
    • Mara Intrepids tented luxury camp with family tents, pools, and kid menus.
    • Mara Serena Safari Lodge – Features family rooms and suites, playground and pools.

Sky safaris

  • For a unique aerial perspective, book a hot air balloon ride over the Mara plains at dawn, perfect for older kids and teens.

Benefits of taking kids on safari

Safari tours in the Masai Mara provide tremendous benefits for kids beyond seeing incredible African wildlife up close:

  • Learn about wildlife conservation efforts to protect endangered species.
  • Gain appreciation of nature by witnessing animals in their natural habitat.
  • Experience Maasai culture firsthand by visiting a traditional village. Interact with villagers to learn about their way of life.
  • Foster curiosity and adventure by exploring a vastly different ecosystem from most kids’ home environments.
  • Create special family memories out in the African bush that will last a lifetime!

With proper precautions taken, a Masai Mara safari can be a safe, enlightening and unforgettable adventure for children. The abundant wildlife sightings are sure to inspire kids of any age.

Key takeaway

While supervised children of all ages can partake in safaris in Kenya’s Masai Mara reserve, some safety measures should be taken. Vehicle restrictions, specialized tours for kids, and choosing age-appropriate safari activities allows the whole family to enjoy wildlife viewing in the famous National Reserve.

Conclusion

Visiting the incredible Masai Mara is an experience that can benefit kids tremendously. With ample fascinating wildlife encounters to inspire children, the National Reserve offers driver-guided safari tours suitable for kids of all ages. By selecting kid-centric accommodations and activities, parents can treat the family to an unforgettable, educational, and safe African safari adventure.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Are there any age limits for kids to go on safari in the Masai Mara?
    Most safari tour operators and camps in the Masai Mara allow children of all ages. However, some enforce age minimums such as 5 or 7 years old for open-vehicle game drives. Always check with the specific company about restrictions.

  2. What vaccines do kids need to go on a Masai Mara safari?
    Children should be up to date on all routine vaccinations and receive anti-malarial medication, typhoid, and yellow fever vaccines before travelling to Kenya and the Masai Mara National Reserve.

  3. Is it safe for small children to go on safari?
    Yes, children of any age can safely enjoy Masai Mara safaris when properly supervised by adults at all times. Kids under 5 years old may not be permitted on certain game viewing vehicles. Choose a reputable tour operator with clear safety procedures for kids.

  4. What kid-friendly activities are there on a Masai Mara safari?
    Great activities for kids include game drives to see baby animals, visiting Maasai villages to see indigenous culture, Rongai Sanctuary for orphaned elephant and rhino interactions, and exploring nature by foot within fenced camp grounds.

  5. What should kids wear on safari in Kenya?
    Kids should wear neutral colors (greens, tans) to blend into nature, as well as comfortable, durable clothing. Hats, sunglasses, lightweight long sleeves and pants offer sun/bug protection. Binoculars and cameras can enhance viewing.

  6. How close can you get to animals on a driving safari?
    It varies, but guests can view most wildlife relatively close on self-drive or guided 4×4 safaris through the Masai Mara reserve. Kids will see lions, hippos, elephants and more just meters away! However some privacy for animals is maintained.

  7. Should I book a private or group safari tour with kids?
    A private driver-guide allows families to dictate their own schedule. Kids might have short attention spans or get hungry/tired early. Having flexibility with a private safari tour caters most easily to children’s needs and preferences. Expect higher cost.

  8. Is it OK to visit Maasai villages on a safari with kids?
    Absolutely! Visiting a traditional Maasai settlement to learn about Kenyan culture first-hand is a safe, fun and enriching experience well-suited to kids. It brings school studies to life. Be respectful by asking before photographing villagers.

  9. Can kids go on a hot air balloon safari?
    Many hot air balloon companies allow children ages 8 and up to participate in an early morning balloon safari at dawn over the Mara plains. These magical rides provide amazing aerial views and memories, perfect for older kids. Weight minimums around 50 lbs apply.

  10. What hotel amenities do luxury Masai Mara camps offer for kids?
    Luxury permanent tent camps excel at catering to families. Look for kids’ activity programs, childcare services, family rooms/suites, pools, kid-friendly dining options, and more. Leading examples include &Beyond Bateleur Camp and Mara Intrepids Tented Camp.

  11. What should parents pack for kids on a Masai Mara safari?
    Pack sun protection (hats, glasses, lotion), bug spray, medication/first aid supplies, hand sanitizer, binoculars/cameras, neutral safari clothing, bathing suit if pool is available, favorite snacks, games/books for downtime, appropriate footwear like closed-toe shoes.

  12. Is it better to visit Masai Mara or Serengeti in Tanzania with kids?
    Both are incredible and offer lots of wildlife. The Masai Mara has more accommodation tailored to kids. The Serengeti covers a vast area so is more focused on extensive driving between central lodges. Access to the Serengeti is more complex.

  13. Is it better to go on safari in the Masai Mara during the rainy or dry season with kids?
    The dry season of July-October offers reliable weather and abundant wildlife congregating near rivers to drink. However the rainy seasons still have decent weather periods. Going in April/May offers newborn animals and discounted pricing to compensate for some rains. Both can work with kids.

  14. What should you not do on a Masai Mara safari with kids?
    Avoid having kids stand up or sit dangerously in safari vehicles. Do not let children wander camp grounds unsupervised where wildlife may roam, or scare/provoke wildlife during drives. Refrain from visiting extremely remote wilderness zones far from medical care with very young kids in case of an unlikely emergency.

  15. How many days do you need for a good Masai Mara safari with kids?
    Most family-oriented safari packages range from 3 days up to a week in the Masai Mara reserve. This allows time to go on multiple game drives for wildlife viewing, balance downtime for kids around scheduled meals and naps, visit a village, and travel to/from Nairobi or home destinations.

  16. Should kids and parents have separate rooms on safari?
    Many permanent tented camps offer adjoining rooms or full family suites in the Masai Mara, allowing parents and younger kids or siblings to reside in connecting rooms with some privacy. Having easy access reassures children at night in the African bush. Older kids appreciate their own space.

  17. Is it safe for kids to go walking on guided bush walks?
    Structured nature walks with trained, armed guides are generally safe for children ages 5-6 and up wearing closed toe shoes. Walks normally explore campground surroundings, not remote bush. Guides teach kids about tracks and sights along the way. Families with young children can request private walks.

  18. What do you do if a child gets sick while on safari?
    Most camps have medical staff who can provide basic care. For serious illnesses, you would drive to the nearest hospital, though this can take hours from remote camps. Evacuation insurance is essential. Bring prescriptions, anti-malarials, motion sickness medicine, electrolytes to quickly treat kids.

  19. Can a nanny or babysitter go on safari with our children?
    Absolutely. Many upscale Masai Mara camps even offer private childcare services during kids’ club times so parents can also do separate adult activities. Having a nanny along provides extra help, though parents should still directly supervise young kids in vehicles and around wildlife at all times.

  20. Is it better to have a private or shared safari guide with children?
    A private driver-guide allows you to set your family’s own schedule for kids without rush or fatigue, take detours, prioritize sightings for their interest areas, pull over readily for bathroom breaks, and manage timing around meals and naps. The flexibility, personalized care and education private guides offer caters well to kids.

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