- Written by Queen Munguti for KenyaKidz
As the Easter holiday approaches, Kenyan families can take that opportunity to visit various destinations around the country that are bound to relax them and also help them bond.
Research has found that families who travel together strengthen their bonds because it gives them a chance to enjoy time away from their daily routines concentrating on relaxation and play.
“Travel is a means to utilize limited family time to help improve communications within a relationship strengthen lifelong family bonds and increase a sense of well-being in adults and children. They also get to new environments thus creating memorable experiences,” this is according to a literature review on the Family and Relationship Benefits of Travel Experiences published in the Journal of Travel.
In Kenya, there are several destinations that are ideal for family vacations, here are some:
Hell's Gate National Park
Located in Naivasha, the destination is one of Kenya’s famed tourist destinations due to its nature trails, cliffs, hot springs, bird watching activities, wildlife viewing and its geothermal health spa. Its dramatic name, Hell’s Gate, originates from the intense geothermal activity in the park.
Visitors are greeted with spectacular scenery that includes towering cliffs, water-gouged gorges, rock towers, volcanoes and geothermal steam as they walk into the park.
Due the lack of ‘fierce’ wild animals at the national park visitors can explore it by foot, strolling slowly as they enjoy and wave to the ‘friendly’ animals in the park such as zebras, gazelles, elands, buffalos and antelopes among others.
For the bird watching enthusiasts, the park is host to over 100 species including vultures, eagles, augur buzzard, and swifts among others.
In the national park, there are also three main campsites namely; Endachata, Naiburta and Oldubai where campers can pitch their tents. Around the campsite area, there are shelters where visitors are able to prepare their meals. Bathrooms with showers installed are available and so are clean toilets.
At night, campers are able to hear the geo-thermal wells roar, which for some can be a calming sound that helps them drift away to sleep while for others it can be a cause of insomnia for the night.
Recommended items to carry while visiting the park include: binoculars for bird watching and sightseeing, a camera for the memories, hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and walking boots.
Charges are: Park entrance- Sh300 for adults (citizen) Sh215 for children (citizen), Sh600 for adults (residents) Sh300 for children (residents), $26 for adults (non-residents) $17 for children (non-residents)
To confirm the park charges or to get more information call: 0770 070 405, 0774 435 934
It is one of the country’s largest and popular parks perfect for a family day out; friends get together or even a corporate picnic.
Located in Kiambu town, the park overlooks beautiful calming scenery of a lake and has a picnic area with benches provided for its guests. It is at the lake that activities such as boat riding and fishing take place, however swimming is not permitted.
Above the cascading waterfalls are caves that are said to be 2.5million years and where several human remains from the Stone Age era have been discovered by archeologists in years past. The caves are lantern lit providing ample light for visitors to explore inside. They however are stuffy and once inside one will feel the lack of enough oxygen which will result in sweating.
It also features nature trails that provide serenity as one takes a walk between the tall trees while smelling the fresh air.
Other activities at the park include horse riding, ostrich feeding, bird watching and camel rides. For the night adventurers, camping is also available for Sh600, inclusive of a tent, blankets and mattress.
There is a kuku and nyama choma spot in the park and a cash bar for the beer lovers. However one can choose to carry food.
The charges for taking part in the activities range from Sh100 to Sh300, entrance for children is Sh200 while for adults is Sh300. For more information call: 0725885570
Oloolua Nature Trail
The forest situated in Karen, Nairobi, offers Kenyan families a chance to enjoy a calming day as they take a stroll and take in the beautiful scenery and explore the attractions.
“At the Oloolua Nature trail, there is the waterfall, mau mau hills and the papyrus swamp,” says Lucy Line, the marketing officer at Oloolua Naature Trail, “these are our main attractions.”
But it is not only for nature walks, people can hire the ground for other activities such as; family functions, picnics, graduation parties or even church camping.
“We advise people to call us first in order to book the space, so that we can make the necessary arrangements for them,” she said. “They also need to tell us what kind of activities that they will be doing because the charges depend on the activity.”
For the nature walk, they charge Kenyans Sh200, residents Sh400 and non-residents Sh600; for children it is half the prices. Other activities such as camping, which is one of the most popular; charges are Sh5000 per group of ten.
The KWS Safari Walk
The KWS Safari Walk Nairobi offers a great experience for Kenyan families to experience wildlife. The raised wooden boardwalk which covers wetlands, savannah and forest provides visitors a great view to see animals such as the rare bongo, white rhino, albino zebra, lions, cheetahs and leopards among others.
There are also observation points down onto waterholes where the animals frequent and if one is lucky, they might see the animals as they quench their thirst.
Inside the site there is a children’s museum, restaurant and spacious picnic areas.
It is located seven kilometers km from the Nairobi city centre, just off Lang’ata Road. Charges: adult citizen – Sh250, child citizen – Sh150, adult resident – Sh350, child resident –Sh200, adult non-resident – USD25, child non-resident – USD 15.
The walk is open from 8:30am to 5:30pm daily. For more information call: 0726 610533
Nairobi National Park
This is a classic destination for a family visit. It is just a short drive from Nairobi’s Central Business District.
The 117square km of open grass plains is home to the endangered black rhino, as well as lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, buffaloes, giraffes and over 400 species of birds.
The park has several picnic areas, three campsites, and various walking trails. A great place to take the family for a day out; you can drive in yourself or go with a guide.
Charges are: adult citizen – Sh500, child citizen – Sh300, adult resident – Sh1200, child resident – Sh600, adult non-Resident – USD50, child non-resident – USD25.
Extra charges include Sh2000 for a guide for three hours, and a charge of Sh350 for entering with one’s own car. The park is open from 6am to 6pm every day of the week. For more information call: +254 20 2423423