South Africa

South Africa family holiday

With year-round sunshine, fantastic beaches and thrilling safari opportunities, a South Africa family holiday is surefire winner. 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.

Further north, the wildlife viewing in Kruger National Park is superb. Here you can stay in tented camps that enable you to best enjoy the wide skies and dramatic African landscapes. Nearer Durban, there are wetland reserves where you can spy crocs and hippo. The kids will be intrigued by the traditional African cultures in Swaziland and KwaZulu Natal and inspired by the dramatic scenery of the Drakensberg Mountains.

Family safari in South Africa - February half term option

Spot the Big Five and an abundance of wildlife on safari in Kruger

Why take the kids?

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

  1. Seeing the Big Five on a Kruger National Park safari
  2. Hiking up Table Mountain for superb views
  3. Dodging penguins on Boulders Beach
  4. Sipping local wine in stunning scenery
  5. Enjoying exciting tales of Zulu battles at Rorke’s Drift
  6. Unforgettable sunrises over the Drakensberg Mountains
  7. Learning to surf on glorious beaches
  8. Whale-watching at Hermanus

From all these many highlights, probably the most exciting for children will be a safari. Enjoy watching your children as they gasp in awe at close encounters with elephants, lions, rhinos, and other big game. Kruger National Park and its surrounding private reserves offer particularly good game viewing. They also have some of the densest wildlife populations in Africa. This makes for satisfyingly easy and successful safaris!

South Africa family holidays - teenager body boarding

Learn to surf in the Indian Ocean, KwaZulu Natal

But a South Africa family holiday is not just about safari. Along the south coast, both Cape Town and the Garden Route are hugely appealing. In Cape Town, you can hike up Table Mountain, kayak with the penguins at Boulders Beach, and shop ‘til you drop at the Waterfront. Robben Island is also a thought-provoking excursion for the children, with former prisoners accompanying you on a guided tour. Moving along the Garden route there are endless adventure activities, all set against a backdrop of jaw-dropping coastal scenery. See our blog post for more ideas and photos of the best activities when holidaying in South Africa with kids.

It’s also worth noting that the time difference between the UK and South Africa is minimal. This means that you can hit the ground running without jet-lagged and grumpy children. Combine this with world-class wines, food, and hotels, and you can see why South Africa family holidays are a guaranteed success!

Boys sand boarding in South Africa, on Garden Route

A lively harbour town on the Garden Route, Mossel Bay is a great base for family adventure

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, Kruger & Beach Family Safari, and Luxury KwaZulu Natal & Swaziland.

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, see 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.

Mother and son kayaking in South Africa, blue sky

There’s a huge range of outdoor activities for families in South Africa

Will all children enjoy a South Africa family safari?

In our experience children aged approximately 3 and above will love a (relatively short) safari. That said, 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. Older children will ‘last’ much longer although the recommended safari duration will vary from one family to another. Please discuss this with us so that we can advise accordingly.

Many lodges in South Africa have a minimum age for game drives or will require families with younger children to arrange private game-viewing excursions. We can advise which lodges and camps are best suited to your family and ensure that the activities that are offered will appeal to your children. See our Family Safari holidays section for a round-up of family-friendly safari destinations.

Kids watching elephants at a waterhole, Addo Elephant Park, Eastern Cape

On safari in the non-malarial Eastern Cape 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 family safari holiday - South Africa family holiday

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


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