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When to go on a luxury family safari to Kenya

Grab a front-row seat for the Great Migration and discover the Big Five

Kenya is the chosen scenery for a rich variety wildlife and timing is essential when aiming for specific events. Spot zebras, lions, elephants, buffalos and giraffes around watering holes during the dry season. Witness the first few steps of young calves between the lush vegetation of the wet season. Grab front seats for the dramatic crossings of the Great Migration in August and October. Add a dash of adventure to your Christmas break and discover the Big Five in the yellowing savannah. We invite you to explore the vast country behind the creation of A&K.

Dry season

 From January to February and June to September, you can experience the dry season in the plains of Kenya. Throughout the different national parks, wildlife spotting happens more frequently, making it a more enjoyable time for a luxury family safari in Kenya. Elevated temperatures and fewer spells of rain turn the short grass of the plains golden yellow. The Masai Mara inaugurates the lion season, when the animals and their prides are easily spotted looking for their next meals. Watch the Big Five  elephant, lion, leopard, rhino and buffalo – roam the Mara’s rolling hills of grass, woodland and riverine bushes. If wanting a break from the savanna, visit the local Enkereri Primary School and participate on a typical school lunch.

The temperate climate of Kenya averages 25 to 27 degrees Celsius. See elephant herds with snow-capped Mount Kenya as the backdrop in the Sanctuary Tambarare. Experience the calving season for non-migrating wildebeest and antelopes from a luxury custom-designed canvas tent within the Old Pejeta conservancy. Here you can also learn about the conservation effects of national park and explore the landscape through mountain biking. Keep an eye out for the last two northern white rhino. The whole family can get together and visit the Samburu Tribe. In this experience, learn about bright-beaded collars worn by the women and witness the warrior’s dance.

June sees the end of the long rains season from April to May. After being filled, the rivers of Meru National Park invite sightings of the African pygmy kingfisher and more than 300 species of birds. Here, you can visit the former home of renowned conservationists George and Joy Adamson, author of Born Free.

September brings prey and predator to watering holes. In Samburu, reticulated giraffe, Somali ostrich, Grevy’s zebra, beisa oryx and the gerenuk are seen along the Ewaso River drinking and feeding. Teens over the age of 16 can join parents in a black rhino tracking experience on foot, when staying at the Saruni Rhino.

Best time to see the Great Migration

August to October encompass the best months to see the Great Migration in Kenya. July kicks off the Great Migration in Kenya with clear skies and cooler temperatures. The plains of the Masai Mara receive the first herds of wildebeest, zebra, Grant’s gazelle, Thomson’s gazelle, eland antelope and impalas from the southern steppes of the Serengeti, in Tanzania. Watch the dramatic crossings of the Mara river from the best viewing points, with our expert guides. Enjoy privileged views from the river in your balcony at Sanctuary Olonana, a contemporary luxury lodge set by the riverbank.

Leave your family’s mark in the plains when planting a tree. For further adventure, children can learn to identify animal tracks with our expert guides. From making cookies to discovering bugs and animal tracking, our family guides can help you choose the best activities for your family holiday.

As the vast herds settle in the plains of the Mara Reserve in the following months, resident lions, cheetahs and leopards are more active. Vulture and marabou stork patrol the shores or the skies. Be close to the action during your safari drives with our luxury, tailor-made holidays. Leave your mark in the plains by planting a tree with your loved ones.  Enjoy a relaxed viewing of hippos in the shallows surrounded by papyrus and yellow acacias at Lake Naivasha. The absence of predators allows zebras, giraffes, buffalos and gazelles to feed in harmony. Vervet and colobus monkeys are equally plentiful here.

In October, things get busy in the Great Rift Valley. Millions of zebras and wildebeest make the treacherous crossing across the Masai Mara in search of greener pastures. As they move south to the Serengeti, in their wake come lions, leopards and crocodiles in the Mara river. With fewer crowds and quieter plains, the October period is perfect for a half-term holiday. Enjoy picnics in the bush, electric bike rides around the plains or a family-friendly Maasai training experience.

Wet season

From March until May, the kusi monsoon brings longer rain periods with spectacular storms. The yellowing plains gain a vibrant green colour. The vegetation transforms day by day. With fewer crowds and more affordable prices, this season is ideal for photographers and bird watchers.

During the wet season, multicoloured, migrating birds arrive in the savannah. Children can discover the African green pigeon and purple-crested turaco between the lush vegetation in the Chyulu Hills. The emerald landscape makes wildlife spotting a more rewarding experience for a family holiday. Watch animals calving in the open plains, including young impalas.

From late October to December, the warm and dry kaskazi winds result in shorter rain spells. The rain is welcomed by the plains following a dry season. Watering holes are replenished, and wildlife spotting is excellent during this time. This season is perfect for a family Christmas holiday.

Across the plains of Tsavo, elephant calves can be found surrounded by their herds. With Mount Kilimanjaro as the backdrop in the Amboseli, see the Masai giraffe – the tallest in the world – eat from the highest branches of acacia. Spot hyenas search for any leftovers from the lion prides. In Lewa Downs, discover the endangered black and white rhinos, with the backdrop of snow-capped Mount Kenya when staying at Lewa Wilderness. This wildlife sanctuary houses the Grevy’s zebra, sitatunga antelope and oryx.

Feeling inspired? A&K’s tailor-made, luxury family holidays are design to fit all of your needs. Speak to our travel specialists for advice on the best way to fulfil your Kenya wish list.