South Africa

South Africa family holiday

With year-round sunshine, fantastic beaches, thrilling safari opportunities and a fascinating cultural history, an exciting South Africa family holiday is an obvious choice. The glorious outdoor lifestyle of the Cape Peninsula with its stunning Table Mountain backdrop is perfect for children of all ages. Parents will appreciate the local produce of the Winelands and everyone can enjoy the fabulous coastal scenery and variety of activities on offer along the Garden Route.

Blyde River Canyon South Africa family holiday

Blyde River Canyon – one of South Africa’s many iconic vistas

Immerse yourself in traditional African cultures in Swaziland and KwaZulu Natal, hike amidst the dramatic scenery of the Drakensberg Mountains and enjoy safaris in the non-malarial regions of the country or tick off the big-five in the famous Kruger National Park.

There is little time difference when flying from the UK so you can hit the ground running without jet-lagged and grumpy children. With world-class wines, food and accommodation as well as a favourable exchange rate, South Africa family holidays offer fantastic value.

Why take the kids?

Cape Town has to be the ultimate destination for any family adventure. There is so much to do here – hike up Table Mountain (or hop on the cable car for the easy option), shop ‘til you drop at the Waterfront or take an emotive visit to Robben Island where former prisoners take you on a guided tour culminating in Nelson Mandela’s cell. Younger children will love getting up close to the resident monkeys and ostriches at Cape Point Nature Reserve, older ones can enjoy kayaking amongst the penguins at Boulders Beach or surfing at the many fantastic beaches.

The famous Garden Route offers numerous activities in various stunning locations – hang out with the meerkats at Meerkat Manor, view the whales at Hermanus, pop into Monkeyland, take a hike through the Tsitsikamma Forest or get high on an eco-canopy tour. For older kids (and daring parents) there’s one of the world’s highest bungy jumps at Bloukrans Bridge. The entire family will enjoy listening to lively accounts of the Anglo Zulu battles in KwaZulu Natal or learning about more recent history at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg.

World-class safaris can be enjoyed at the many game reserves throughout the country on a thrilling South Africa family holiday. Enjoy watching your children as they gasp in awe at close encounters with elephant, lion, rhino and many other big game is a magical moment for any parent. And definitely justifies bragging rights back in the playground.

A major concern for many families is the malarial issue. Happily, the majority of the country is malaria-free so you can still enjoy a taste of Africa (including a safari) without trying to coax anti-malarials into little ones. However for those prepared to take the necessary precautions, Kruger National Park and its surrounding private reserves offers spectacular wildlife-viewing including the all important big-five (lion, elephant, rhino, leopard and buffalo).

Some of our favourite activities on a South Africa family holiday include:

  1. Looking out over Cape Town having hiked up Table Mountain
  2. Seeing the penguins run freely over Nelson Mandela’s former place of captivity, Robben Island
  3. Whale-watching at Hermanus, from the shore, a cruise or even a kayak
  4. Sipping local wine in stunning scenery (parents need downtime too!)
  5. Enjoying exciting tales of Zulu battles at Rorke’s Drift
  6. Waking to an unforgettable sunrise over the Drakensberg Mountains
  7. Seeing the big-five on a safari in Kruger National Park

On safari - South Africa family holiday

On safari in the malaria-free Eastern Cape

Will all children enjoy a South Africa family safari?

In our experience children aged approximately 3 and above will love a safari although a certain amount of bribery may be needed to keep them quiet at the crucial moment when you have finally spotted that leopard hiding in the tree… Younger children may struggle with being somewhat cooped up in a safari vehicle for hours on end and might not find this kind of holiday so interesting. Clearly this will vary from one child to another and you will know whether or not a safari is suitable for your family, but do discuss this with us if you have any concerns.

Guides at the safari lodges and camps are fantastic at engaging with all ages however and your offspring will soon be off tracking prints through the bush or regaling you with the delights of ‘spoor identification’ (better known as ‘poo-spotting’).

You can also help keeping them interested whilst out on safari – get them using the binoculars, buy them their own proper camera (ah the beauty of being able to delete so many photos of feet or sky in the digital-age…), use check-lists and award charts for ticking off creatures big or small.

A tailor-made family safari to South Africa is definitely the best way for your family to enjoy the experience. Sharing a 4×4 with strangers is not ideal for either party and some lodges have age restrictions on game drives. Many places also have minimum age requirements or are not prepared to offer children’s menus so it is important to choose child-friendly camps and lodges. At Stubborn Mule Travel we will be able to arrange itineraries with appropriate travelling times, suitable accommodation and activities relevant to the ages involved.

Kids on safari on a South Africa family holiday

On safari at Amakhala where you can spot the big five and much more.

Are family safaris in South Africa safe for children?

Seeing lion and hippo at close quarters sounds wonderfully exciting, but many parents will wonder is it really safe to be in such close proximity to wild animals?

Absolutely it is. All camps and lodges in South Africa have strict safety guidelines and controls, including either electric fences or regular patrols by trained safari staff. There is a rigid safari etiquette – keeping arms inside the vehicle at all times, never getting out of the vehicle (your guide will stop at appropriate places when necessary) – and toddlers must be under control at all times if you are in a tented camp.

Appropriate precautions will need to be taken against malaria if you are travelling to the Kruger area. For younger families or those averse to asking children to take anti-malarials, the Eastern Cape, which is malaria-free, offers wonderful safari opportunities – perhaps not on such a grand scale as Kruger but still very exciting nonetheless.

A smiling 4 year old on safari on a South Africa family holiday

A child-friendly lodge is the key to an enjoyable safari experience on a South Africa family holiday

Example South Africa family itineraries

All of our South Africa family holidays are bespoke which means that they are tailor-made for your own specific family, taking into account the ages of your children, your interests, your budget and so on.

However, to give you an idea of what you could do on a South Africa family holiday, have a look at our sample itineraries Classic Cape & Garden Route and Kruger & Beach Family Safari.

Also check out some of the other places that you might like to visit on your family holiday to South Africa and if you need further inspiration, have a look at our South Africa photo gallery.

Lastly, don’t forget to check what the weather will be like at the time that you want to travel. Or simply give us a ring and we’ll be delighted to advise you on the best South Africa family holiday for you and the children.

South Africa family holiday - zebra and elephant in Kruger National Park

South Africa’s legendary Kruger National Park in vast and altogether more wild than the Eastern Cape

Logo-icon

Call us and we will be happy to provide you with a free-of-charge no obligation itinerary and quotation designed for you.

01728 752751

Stubborn Mule cartoon