“Micato’s planning and execution are beyond amazing,” says Amanda Klimak, a Virtuoso travel agency executive. “Their tour directors travel with guests from start to finish, and everything – from transfers to tips – is included.” She recommends Kenya in particular for both first-time and repeat safari-goers because its abundant wildlife delivers the classic safari experience. “It’s the perfect vacation for families with teens because it’s so immersive and makes everyone feel like they’re on a real adventure.”
Micato’s executive director, Anna Pinto, whose parents founded the company, naturally agrees. “By design, a safari takes you out of your busy day-to-day lives and brings your family closer,” she says. “It’s a chance to press pause and have new experiences together.”
Micato has perfected the art of anticipation, building our excitement for months leading up to the trip. We couldn’t wait to open the pre-departure packages mailed to our home, including keepsake-worthy documents, signature Marmot duffels, and a movie-night gift box of microwave popcorn and a DVD
of the classic film Out of Africa
When the date finally arrived, our bags were packed and we were off. After landing in Kenya’s bustling capital of Nairobi, we were met by our safari director, George, and his team, who whisked us to Fairmont The Norfolk
, a legendary hotel that has counted Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, and Ernest Hemingway among its guests. Its British colonial architecture and lush courtyard made it easy to imagine the aristocratic safari-goers who stayed there a century before us. So much has changed – today we tote cameras, not guns, as Kenya banned big-game hunting in 1977 – but the property’s grand history still makes it a glamorous starting point.
At Nairobi National Park, we fed Rothschild’s giraffes at the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife’s Giraffe Centre
and met elephant orphans at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
. Though we’d soon view them in the wild, the opportunity to see so many young elephant calves was a highlight. Dozens of them frolicked around us to splash in the mud until their handlers lured them back with giant bottles of formula at mealtime. At the trust’s nursery, we “adopted” Mukkoka, a shy male who had just been rescued. We fell in love after he tentatively approached us and sniffed my daughter’s hand with his trunk, and we learned of his attachment to one of his keepers, who slept in his stable to comfort him.