Christmas on Safari – take Grandma too
Multi-generational holiday – book now for Christmas 2023
While we all may dream of an idyllic Christmas where the whole family is gathered to celebrate, there’s rarely the opportunity for the entire clan. Next year, why not plan a very different kind of holiday, where everyone can be together on an incredible African adventure?
East Africa has some gorgeous private houses that can be hired on an exclusive basis, making the dream of hosting a large family Christmas a reality. Home to some of the finest wildlife viewing areas on the planet, acres of remote wilderness and a coastline dotted with pristine white sand beaches, Kenya is a natural choice when it comes to booking an unforgettable family getaway. And its range of private homes means there is something to suit all tastes and group sizes.
Continuing our series on best festive safari choices, here we recommend some of Kenya’s private houses for a fantastic multi-generational Christmas holiday without any of the hassle.
Arijiju or Laragai House
Located in the foothills of Mount Kenya in the north of the country, Borana Wildlife Conservancy’s 32,000 acres are home to good numbers of black and white rhino along with lion, leopard, elephant, and buffalo. Wildlife roams freely over the unfenced border between this and the neighbouring Lewa conservancy.
It’s here on a wonderful hillside setting that Arijiju can be found, a stylish and luxurious five-bedroom home offering the utmost in private safari experiences. A stay here means contributing to one of Africa’s sustainable conservation success stories too, with conservancy fees going towards supporting local community and conservation projects. Days can be spent exploring on foot, mountain bike and 4X4. Guests can head out on horses, swim beneath waterfalls, join rangers tracking rhino and learn about the conservation efforts.
Designed and built with families in mind, the house is perfect for multi-generational groups with three suites in the main building and two cottages set a little apart. Delicious meals are prepared by the house chefs using local produce, and there is a swimming pool as well as a spa and wood-burning hot tub for total relaxation.
Located a little further to the east, Laragai House is another excellent option for soaking up this spectacular part of East Africa. Built originally as a country retreat for brothers and British lords, Valentine and Michael Cecil, the exclusive-use bush home is set within the privately owned Borana Ranch. There are eight bedrooms, a large sitting room with an open fireplace, a games room, riding stables, a tennis court and an infinity swimming pool. The house comes fully staffed, making it the perfect pad for spending quality time together. You’ll also enjoy a private safari guide, on hand to share this incredible area.
For a truly offbeat spot, make tracks to the Namunyak Wildlife Conservancy in northern Kenya. This community-run conservancy is another flagship conservation success story, having become a gathering place for large herds of elephants which migrate north from Laikipia. Leopard are regularly sighted and Wild Dog have returned to the area too. The best way to immerse yourself in the landscape is via day and night drives, bush breakfasts and dinners, heading out on foot as well as more adventurous activities including climbing the sacred Lolokwe Mountain or helicopter camping.
What better way to experience this pristine wilderness as a family than by staying at a lodge owned by a local dynasty with decades of safari know-how? Sarara House is owned by the Samburu community and run by the Bastard family, whose commitment to wildlife and conservation is driving great change. Set within Sarara Camp, the two-bedroom Sarara House has a sitting room, private dining and a pool, which attracts elephants in search of water.
Cottar’s Bush Villa
For many, the Masai Mara is the definitive East African safari destination. Host to the wildebeest migration between July and October each year, the Mara’s plains are full of animals year round to make it one of Africa’s greatest wildlife reserves.
Another legendary Kenyan family, the Cottars have been delivering exceptional safari experiences here for more than a hundred years. Their name has become synonymous with stunning wildlife and wilderness experiences, embracing the original spirit and essence of safari. For the highest standards of guiding within one of the best wildlife viewing areas in Africa, this option is hard to beat.
Cottar’s Bush Villa is the ultimate retreat for families wanting to experience their own private piece of Africa. Constructed from eco-friendly materials, the house has been beautifully designed and boasts jaw-dropping views over the plains and across the border to Tanzania. The fully staffed house sleeps up to twelve people in five bedrooms (all with amazing views). It comes complete with a 25-metre pool, own safari vehicle and guide.
For something entirely different, consider spending some of your African Christmas holiday at the coast in a private beach villa. Diani Beach is everything you could wish for from a tropical holiday with palm-fringed, white sand shores, sheltered turquoise seas and coral reefs.
With snorkelling and scuba diving, deep sea fishing, yoga, kite surfing and even an 18-hole golf course, there’s something for the whole family when staying at Alfajiri Villas. Exclusivity and privacy come as par for the course thanks to the secluded location. The three luxury villas all accommodate up to eight guests and offer 24/7 staff, bespoke dining and wellness experiences. Each comes with its own child-friendly pool too.
We would be delighted to help you plan a safari encompassing any of the destinations mentioned here (or any of the many others from our little black books that we’ve built up since 1999). Our team of experts has travelled widely throughout Africa and can offer expert advice on every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris. Do get in touch – chatting to people by phone or email is what we do best. We listen, we explain, we answer all sorts of questions even those you didn’t know to ask, and finally we make suggestions. If this is your first time to Africa or your twenty first, we have a team standing by to help make the planning easy and the journey the best ever. Please get in touch whatever stage you’re at.