Dave and Karen Febry didn’t want to take the kids on just
another family holiday. In Kenya they discovered the ultimate family
adventure, living together in a remote Maasai Village. The Febry family
have visited Kenya twice in the past two years, and their journeys have
shown growing taste for adventure and an increasing awareness and
respect for Kenyan cultures.
Dave and Karen, from the UK, both work for British Telecom. It all started when Dave and Karen were looking for a “really good beach holiday”. Karen suggested the Kenyan coast, where it would also be possible to try some “basic safari experiences”.
Dave admits “I knew very little about the country and was
rather worried about what it may be like. I even told my wife I didn't want to go when she first suggested we holiday in Kenya.”
Dave and Karen decided to give Kenya a chance, and together with their sons Jonathon and Nathan spent 3 weeks combining a stay at Watamu on the coast with a wildlife safari based in a lodge near the Maasai Mara.
This combination gave them the beach holiday they wanted, and a chance to explore the world’s best known game reserve. Despite some initial culture shock on arrival, Dave really enjoyed himself. “Kenya exceeded my expectations in terms of it's friendly and open people… we found the people to very ,very hospitable and charming.”
In fact, while the wildlife and beaches made this an unforgettable trip, it was the people of Kenya that the Febrys remembered the most. These memories developed into a genuine interest in Kenyan culture, and this interest evolved into plans for a return trip. A year later the Febrys were back. ”As we have learned more about Kenya we have returned to learn more about the different tribes and their customs.” says Dave.
Their second trip saw them heading for a remote Maasai village called Maji Moto, which means ‘Hot Water’ in reference to some nearby thermal springs. Dave and Karen had arranged for a special “village stay” which would let the family live with the Maasai for 3 days.
“We had some wonderful experiences at Maji Moto” Dave says of their memorable stay. The family walked through the hills, saw plenty of game and spent plenty of time learning about everyday Maasai life.
They were treated as guests of honour at the local school, and found that their interest in Maasai culture was matched by the interest of the Maasai in life in the Western world. It was a two way street. While the Febry’s learnt more and more about Maasai traditions and customs, the Maasai were just as keen to try out the CD walkman that the kids had brought along, and hear about life in the UK.
Dave recommends that other travellers to Kenya take time for this kind of cultural exchange. ”You will find that local people will be very interested in you, will want to chat and are very hospitable”. This was a great education for the Febry’s two young sons, but it also gave the whole family an insight into a very different way of life. The best times in the village were the “many happy hours talking round the campfire with local Maasai tribesmen.”
After a night spent camping in the Maasai Mara reserve, the Febrys returned to the coast, where they spent two and a half weeks on the beautiful beaches of Watamu, including another three day stay in a small coastal village. This gave them yet another perspective on Kenyan life. Dave explains “You will have the best time if you can put aside your ‘western’ ideas and really get out and meet the local people who are the most charming and welcoming folks you
Dave has long forgotten his initial concerns about bringing the family to Kenya, and their interest in local cultures, and sense of adventure just keeps getting stronger. This year the Febrys are back in Kenya again, visiting their friends at Maji Moto before heading North for a family camel trek through Samburu.