In search of the Big Five: A family safari to Kenya with WSJ+

We’re working with WSJ+ to create entirely customizable and private trips for you, their members. Our Travel Experts are here to inspire you before working with you to make your trip entirely your own. This month, we’re introducing a new highlight itinerary to Kenya that you can embark on today. Totally private, take it ‘as is’ or customize it to your heart’s content. This is what we do.


The original safari destination, Kenya is the perfect spot for a luxury family adventure. Beyond the abundant wildlife of the Maasai Mara, there is much to explore – from hands-on conservation efforts to cultural immersions. See your family’s eyes light up as they tick off the Big Five on a game drive, before delighting in the smaller details on alternative safaris that will see you travel by foot, horseback or mountain bike. You’ll watch the sunset from the original inspiration for Lion King’s Pride Rock, and there’s a fun introduction to Maasai culture with the chance to enroll in Maasai Warrior School. Packed full of unique experiences, this is the ultimate family safari.

To add extra magic to your time away, WSJ+ members will enjoy a complimentary Maasai beading lesson for the whole family. Learning techniques passed down through the generations and their importance to Maasai culture, this fun and interactive experience will also leave you with a unique souvenir of your time in Kenya.

Exclusive to WSJ+ members

This trip has been designed exclusively for WSJ+ members, drawing on our travel experts’ in-depth knowledge of Kenya and family travel. The experience, however, is yours and yours alone, with all of our trips private and customizable. What you’ll find below, therefore, is simply a suggestion. Our Travel Experts will work with you to devise an itinerary based on your inquiry, budget, group size, and desires. Typically, this will include everything from the experiences you do (and the guides that will take you there) to the hotels you’ll bed down in and the trains, planes and automobiles that will take you in between. We can also help with international flights, if you like.

WSJ+ members will receive:

  • Immersive experiences tailored to your interests. This could include anything from birding-focused safaris to conservation initiatives devised to protect the local rhino population.
  • Exclusive benefits to elevate your experience, including a complimentary Maasai beading lesson for the whole family.
  • Stays in Kenya’s most luxurious hotels, lodges and safari camps.
  • Access to expert guides throughout.
  • Unrivalled expertise in planning your trip to Kenya.

What’s travelling to Kenya like right now?

  • Black Tomato have been safely sending many happy clients to Kenya over recent times.
  • Our travel experts are always on hand to provide up-to-date COVID travel advice.
  • Kenya’s borders are open to US travelers, with direct flights from New York making access incredibly easy.
  • Adults will need to present proof of a full course of vaccination, whilst unvaccinated children aged 4-17 will need proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72hrs prior to arrival. No further testing is required for fully vaccinated children or adults.
  • Black Tomato will arrange your return testing too.

Make this itinerary yours

Like what you see? Contact us today to find out more about our exclusive itineraries. But remember: each and every Black Tomato trip is tailored exactly to who you are and what you want to do so tell us about yourself and we’ll create something that’s entirely you.

Start Planning Here

What to do

A bustling, cosmopolitan city, Nairobi is the perfect place to start your safari. After a night to settle in, we’ll introduce you to the local wildlife over a trip to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust elephant orphanage and the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife giraffe centre. Here, you’ll be able to spend time with rescued baby elephants and endangered Rothschilds giraffes, lending the keepers a hand at feeding time, watching them play and listening in to current conservation initiatives.

Having enjoyed a gentle introduction to African wildlife, it’s then time for the real thing as you board a flight to Laikipia. Your days here are yours to spend as you wish. To start, we’d recommend a leisurely game drive with the whole family. This will offer a great introduction to your surroundings and the handy ID cards included in the jeep will keep the kids engaged as you set off in search of the Big Five. From there, there are plenty more options with horseback, mountain bike and walking safaris, with tailored bush walks for younger explorers. The real highlight of your time on the Borana Conservancy however will come on your final evening as you take a trip to the nearby inspiration for Lion King’s Pride Rock. Arrive just as the sun starts to set and find a pop-up bar set up just for you and your loved ones.

Home to a thriving wildlife population, the Maasai Mara is as iconic as safari comes and makes the perfect final stop in your trip. Spend the next few days exploring on game drives and bush walks aplenty, but save time too to get to know the local Maasai culture. Children will love the Maasai Warrior School programme where they’ll have the chance to master the skills of spear throwing and archery as well as take an athletic turn and learn to run and jump like a Maasai Warrior. We’ll also arrange for you all to spend an afternoon with Mamma Naishuru for a traditional Maasai beading lesson that will see you craft your own bracelet, the perfect souvenir of your time in Africa.

Where to stay

In Nairobi, you’ll have two nights at the boutique Hemingways Nairobi to settle in and decompress. Set in a quiet neighbourhood amid sprawling gardens, with a swimming pool to cool off in, you’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated in no time. Then, in the shadow of Mount Kenya in Laikipia, you’ll have three nights on a sprawling private conservancy at Borana Lodge. Experts in a family-friendly safari experience, there’s no minimum age to stay at Borana with experiences adapted to best suit each family and the two-bedroom suites offering plenty of space.

Finally, you’ll end you trip with a traditional Out of Africa experience at Cottar’s Safaris, a beautiful tented camp and East Africa’s oldest family-run safari. The Cottar family have generations of experience in bringing the safari experience to life, so you know you are in good hands here.

Anything else?

This experience is yours and yours alone, so feel free to customise it however you wish. Over our years exploring Kenta, we’ve built up a handy network of contacts and exclusive experiences and can help take your experience to the next level. For budding conservationists, there’s plenty to explore in the form of rhino tracking and anti-poaching deployments on the Borana Conservancy, as well as foraging experiences and an introduction to sustainable farming. Whatever it is you’re interested in, we have the answer.

Return to full WSJ+ collection