Discover the real meaning of safari (the Swahili word for “journey”) on a three-week adventure in Kenya, created and implemented by Kenyans to provide an authentic and impactful experience. You’ll connect with the cultures and environments of this remarkable country as you explore national parks, visit wildlife reservations, and stay with a local host family. You and your group will tour urban centers—such as downtown Nairobi—and venture into the habitats of rare species like lions and rhinos. You’ll also meet and live with the semi-nomadic Maasai tribe, who live on a breathtaking national reserve, and learn about the Maasai way of life and their work. Enjoy three weeks of education and exploration in a country dedicated to preserving and protecting its vast natural beauty.
Most Global Prep programs accept participants between the ages of 13 and 18 years old. However, 13 and 14 year old’s aren’t eligible to enroll for certain Global Prep destinations. If you wish to participate and will be 13 or 14 years old at the date of departure for the program, please contact AFS for more information about specific program eligibility. Please also keep in mind that due to regulations mandated by the airlines, 13 and 14 year old participants will be considered Unaccompanied Minors and additional charges will apply.
On this program you are likely to learn about these Sustainable Development Goals:
Sample Program Itinerary to Kenya
The below itinerary serves as an outline for the program, and each Global Prep experience will vary based on group size and opportunity.
I. Arriving in Nairobi
Your journey will begin in New York, where you’ll meet the rest of your group and travel with your Group Leader to Kenya. When you land in Nairobi, you’ll be welcomed by AFS staff or volunteers. Then you’ll attend an orientation and learn some essentials about Kenyan culture and the Swahili language. In Nairobi, get ready to absorb the kinetic energy of the city, which is full of bustling crowds and colorful corner markets.
After settling in, you will visit the The Wildlife Foundation (TWF) in Kitengela, a small but rapidly-growing urban center that neighbors the Nairobi National Park. TWF is a Kenyan NGO dedicated to conserving wildlife dispersal areas by nurturing a sustainable coexistence between humans and wildlife. After lunch you will have a brief introduction about the work of the TWF, learn more about Masai culture, and spend the night at Wildlife Foundation Center!
You will also volunteer in Nairobi with the Merciful Children’s Centre–a non-profit that supports homeless youth, where you’ll participate in sports and education activities. At the center, you will have an opportunity to learn more about its mission and have lunch with the kids. In the afternoon, you will have an opportunity to learn about the Biogas project as one of the interventions put in place to address climate change. The Centre received global attention from a community teenager’s invention that protects communal livestock from lions without causing harm to the animals. Past groups have even had the chance to meet and interact with him! Later, you will be escorted to your respective host families to stay the night with them.
II. Masai Culture, Karura Forest, and Ngong Kills Wind Power Station
You’ll get to visit Masai traditional homes locally referred to as Manyatta. There, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about Masai rites of passage, oral tradition, ways of life, and artwork, including bead-making by Masai women. Expect another exciting expedition in the Masailand that will take you through guided nature walks and a local community boma (homestead) to see a predator deterrent lighting system, among other efforts for wildlife conservation.
On one morning session, you’ll plant trees at the famous Karura Forest in Nairobi. Karura Forest is an urban forest in Nairobi, managed by the Kenya Forest Service in conjunction with the Friends of Karura Forest Community Forest Association. The following day, you’ll visit Ngong Hills Wind Power Station to learn more about renewable energy as part of an effort to fight against climate change. The Ngong Hills are peaks in a ridge along the Great Rift Valley, located southwest near Nairobi, in southern Kenya.
You’ll also explore nearby cities, like the market town of Naivasha, which is located on the banks of an enormous lake that’s famous for its hippo population. Its attractions include the famous Hell’s Gate National Park. (The main locations for The Lion King, including Pride Rock and the Gorge, are modelled after this park, Longonot National Park, and Mount Longonot). This area is known for its abundant flower farms. You and your group will check-in at Lake Naivasha Crescent Camp and go on a boat ride to observe hippopotamus and other wild animals!
III. Olkaria I Geothermal Power Station, safari, and a tour of Nairobi
In the last week or so of your trip, you’ll visit the Kenya Wildlife Service training institute for a two-hour learning session about the effect of climate change within Naivasha ecosystem and what interventions have been put in place to address them. You’ll also spend most of the following day traveling to Lake Elementaita to see flamingos and other fresh water birds!
Next, you’ll visit the Olkaria I Geothermal Power Station to learn about renewable energy. The facility is located at the Hell’s Gate National Park in Naivasha. Later in the afternoon, you’ll visit one of the Flower Farms in Naivasha to learn how the farming industry uses natural resources within the Lake Naivasha Basin. The visit will give you first-hand information about the challenges faced by the Flower Farm in the use of the Lake Naivasha water.
As your trip comes to a close, prepare for a whole day of driving around on safari, where you’ll hopefully see lions, elephants, rhinos, buffalo, and leopards, better known as the “Big Five!” During safari you will visit the Mara River, the ‘border’ between Kenya and Tanzania where Masai Mara meets Serengeti! On your journey back to Nairobi, you’ll have another opportunity to see the wild animals inside the Mara conservancy and National Reserve.
In the last few days of your program, you will tour the town, do some last-minute shopping, and enjoy lunch in one of the local restaurants. You’ll visit The Bomas of Kenya for a colorful display of Kenyan traditional dances and visit displays of traditional villages belonging to the several Kenyan tribes.
For most of your time in Kenya you will be staying in hotel like dorms. You will also have the chance to say with a Maasai host family in a boma (traditional village). This is your chance to experience what daily life is like in their community and maybe even learn how to make some traditional foods like irio (green peas and mashed potatoes) or pilau (spiced rice with beef or chicken). Your host family will be a great resource for learning about different aspects of Kenyan culture!
What's included in your program fee?
- Round trip international airfare chaperoned by an American staff member
- Accommodations, meals, and transportation
- International secondary medical travel coverage
- Access to a 24/7 Emergency Duty Officer
- Visa Support
- Please review the Terms and Conditions for complete guidelines.
What’s not included in the Program Fee?
“Life-changing” is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad. “Transformed” is another one.
When you return home, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and developed the confidence and resilience to accomplish anything you set out to do.
That transformation isn’t only visible to you, though – others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers. Second language fluency, intercultural competence, creativity, and critical reasoning will help you succeed, whatever path you take. “Life-changing” means it’s only the beginning.
It’s not just an adventure abroad; it’s a whole new reality. The perspectives and personal connections you gained will stay with you and likely draw you back to the second home you found in Kenya.
In fact, our alumni reviews have made AFS one of the top-rated organizations in the study abroad industry.