For a family holiday in South Africa this is the perfect mix of city living, exploration and outdoor adventure. We’ve hand-picked destinations along the way where we know there is plenty on offer to keep the smallest of children to the biggest of kids happily occupied!
CITY BREAK in Cape Town: 2-4 days
There’s so much to do in Cape Town that we couldn’t possibly list it all, but here goes with a taster of some of our family favourites. For younger children a visit to the aquarium is always a hit, and with older children, a visit to a local township can be a fascinating eye-opener. For a break from city life, we’d absolutely recommend a day tour out towards Cape Peninsula, stopping off to see the colony of African penguins at Boulders Beach.
So many of the lodges in Cape Town welcome families with open arms, but if you’re wanting a real treat, the Belmond Mount Nelson is the perfect base for families. It’s right in the heart of the city centre yet you’d be forgiven for forgetting you’re so close to the action once you’re nestled within the 7 acres of gardens.
FARM VISITS in the Winelands: 2-3 days
There’s plenty to do in the Winelands for both young and old. While adults are off trying a glass or three of South Africa’s finest, many of the wine estates offer the chance for children to get truly stuck in to the way of life on a farm. One of our favourites, Boschendal, has a brilliant Tree House school where trained childminders will teach children everything from farming to cooking. There’s also a seriously impressive adventure playground.
ADVENTURE on the Garden Route: 2-4 days
Plettenberg Bay (a.k.a. Plett) is where locals go to play, and with good reason. You could spend a whole week here and still run out of time to do all that’s on offer. At Hog Hollow, pick from horse riding, heading out on stand up paddleboards along the Keurbooms River, exploring the treetops on the canopy tour inn Tsitstikamma full of zip lines and elevated platforms, or head off for a day on the beach (many of the lodges will lend out buckets, spades and body boards).
SAFARI in the Eastern Cape: 3-5 days
A short drive from the Garden Route are the Eastern Cape Game Reserves- the perfect location to end your adventure with a few days on safari. This area’s malaria free and there are plenty of family friendly lodges. We love the glorious scenery around Amakhala Woodbury Lodge, which has two thatched family suites, and is one of the friendliest lodges we’ve been to. Game viewing is excellent and for older children there’s the possibility of guided bush walks and riding safaris too.
Other ideas for your African adventure…Add a few days on safari in the Kruger area, spend a couple of days in or around Hermanus during whale watching season, or try some diving and snorkelling in KwaZulu-Natal. If you’re after total privacy and family time, how about adding on a few nights in a private house or safari lodge or even using exclusive use properties for your whole trip.
When to go…Any time of the year works but the best times would be October and February half terms or over the Christmas holidays. Summer hols can be on the chilly side but remains a very popular time of the year particularly due to the whale watching season.
What does it cost…? From around £12,000 for a family of four depending on duration, which lodges you pick and what time of year you travel.