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Traveler’s Corner: A Return to East Africa

November 28, 2023  By: Gretchen

Ashley and Emily had both studied in East Africa for a semester in college. They loved their experiences – calling them one of the highlights of their lives – and wanted to take their families back to the places they had been to share the magic and beauty of Kenya and Tanzania. While they wanted to go back to the specific places they had visited previously, they also wanted to have a less rustic and more comfortable experience with their families and turned to Africa Adventure Consultants to help plan their family safari.

"A safari is a great family vacation. It’s the perfect blend of excitement and adventure but our guides maintained a very safe environment. My kids – ranging in ages from 9-14 – loved every minute." - Ashley
vehicle by rhino

Both Ashley and Emily were happy that their kids were able to learn a lot about conservation and endangered animals from their excellent guides while on safari. There were also some lessons about the birds and the bees when they were lucky to see lions mating!

“Our guide told us it was rare to see but we were lucky to see lions mating two different times!” – Ashley and Emily
group with guide

Ashley and Emily also loved that their kids had the chance to expand their cultural awareness throughout their travels. They were able to ask lots of questions and learn to be very respectful of different beliefs. From the colorful towns in Zanzibar to the Maasai villages they visited, they both felt it was a wonderful experience that helped open their children’s eyes to how other people live. They found that this cultural immersion was a wonderful benefit of choosing to travel to East Africa.

boys with warthog
“It was so much more than seeing animals. Experiencing different cultures, different ways of life, interacting with locals, staff and guides – it was special to give our kids the gift of this experience.” – Ashley and Emily
group with hot air balloon

One of Ashley’s favorite memories from their adventures was a hot air balloon safari.

“We came across two hippos crossing the road in the dark on our way to the launch site which was unexpected. We were dropped off at the river to cross it on a boat – and there were hippos in the river, too, which was very exciting! When we went up – it was so beautiful! You can see for miles! We saw lions eating breakfast and other lions hunting. We could see the curve of the river and the huge landscape. There were animals running on the plains and the sunrise was gorgeous!” - Ashley
group with Maasai

Emily thought that every single day brought a new highlight.

“I still watch the video of my kids dancing with the Maasai – it was so much fun! Getting to know the staff in camps was so interesting and spending time with them was very special. We were so well taken care of on safari – we felt like royalty.” - Emily

During their stay at Kenya’s Ol Pejeta Bush Camp they could hear animals at night. Lying in bed they could hear lions, leopards and hippos and one night spotted an elephant outside their tent window. Another evening, while staying at Governors’ Camp, they heard elephants just on the other side of the canvas eating. They loved being able to quietly lift the window flap and see the elephant on the other side.

teenager with giraffes
The nice thing about a safari vacation is that it appeals to every single age group – from people in their 40’s to 9-year-olds and even for teenagers. Everyone enjoyed the experience. The element of adventure and seeing things you have never seen before is something anyone would be interested in. - Emily
vehicle by elephants

The whole group was impressed with their guides on safari. When Ashley and Emily visited the first time, ex-student ‘guides’ drove them around the savanna just hoping to see wildlife. This time with their professional guides, they saw “every animal possible.” The guides knew where to find the animals and knew everything about them – “they were outstanding.”

vehicle looking with giraffes behind

Not only were the guides outstanding, they were patient. They knew the wish lists of their guests and helped fulfill them. They spent hours at the river watching crossings because it was what Ashley, Emily and their families wanted.

boys with leopard by vehicle

A few other highlights included

  • A leopard walking right by the vehicle. ‘It was especially exciting given that an animal that can be so hard to spot came out of a tree and walked right by our car!”
  • Watching a rock python swimming in the river at Ol Pejeta Bush Camp
  • The special touches on safari, including hot water bottles at night, cozy blankets around the fire, personalized notes and more.
“Go with an open mind. Listen to AAC – you really do not need to pack much. You can take everything in your carry on. Listen to the experts. Go and have fun - it is wonderful!” - Emily
group by airplane

Are you ready for an East African safari adventure?

Contact one of our Journey Specialists to start planning or sign up for the newsletter below to learn more.


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Photos courtesy AAC Livingstone Club members Ashley P. and Emily T.