There are many reasons why South Africa is so popular for family holidays – fantastic year-round weather, oodles of activities, excellent accommodation options that cater specifically for children and the option of malaria free game reserves. There will also be little to no upset of a child’s routine as South Africa is only 1 – 2 hours + GMT, meaning no jet lag.
A popular choice for families is independently exploring the country from the comfort of a hired vehicle, allowing a freedom which is perfect for the demands of children. South Africa’s premium network of roads is easy and safe to navigate. Of course there are other means of getting around the country if you would prefer not to drive, however, we have found that this often suits families who like to be able to stop and start where necessary.
If you’re afraid of overspending by taking the whole family along, don’t be. The exchange rate in South Africa is excellent, especially for those travelling from Europe or the U.S. You can even enjoy a few extra pleasures, especially in terms of wining and dining and at a cost much less than you would ever find at home, you can dine in style and sample all manner of delicious cuisine and refreshing wines.
A safari can be an amazing experience for kids, providing an absorbing and educational holiday unlike anything else. The thrill of a Big 5 Safari can be life changing for kids, while many children can say they went to Disneyland over the summer not many can say they got to hear a lion roar or pet an elephant. There can be age restrictions when it comes to game drives but that usually depends on the lodge you’re staying in. Many lodges cater specifically for children with specially designed children’s safaris. Here your kids can learn all about the animals and the environment while having tons of fun and parents can relax or depart on a game drive knowing their children are in safe and capable hands.
With South African winters warm and dry, travelling between the months of June and August, which coincides nicely with European school holidays, is perfect for families. With normal temperatures ranging from 18 degrees to 28 degrees Celsius your day is top and tailed by a cool start in the morning and a cool end in the evening with plenty of sun in-between. Winter is also the low season in South Africa making the prices more attractive. The climate of a South African summer is quite humid and in many ways similar to that found in Florida with brief rain showers in the afternoon, great for cooling off on a very hot summer’s day.
Malaria is a big concern when travelling to Africa especially as a family, but there are many places void of the disease. The Madikwe Game Reserve and the Eastern Cape region offer a malaria free sanctuary for children to enjoy a safari in safety. As a result many of the lodges are tailored more specifically for families. If your kids or teens are okay taking anti-malarial tablets, arguably the best safari area in the country is the famous Kruger Park.
Safari complete, what else can be tagged onto the holiday? Topping the list of attractions is the city of Cape Town and its surrounds. With an abundance of sites to enjoy as well as beautiful beaches it is bound to keep the whole family entertained. The winter months for Cape Town can be temperamental when it comes to ensuring good weather, however, around this time of year is whale season providing the family opportunity to get up close and personal with Southern Right Whales.
The beautiful KwaZulu Natal province tops the list as the best place to stay during the winter months due to its year round warm temperatures. With so much to offer families, this amazing place offers interaction with Zulu culture, incredible scenery, mesmerising game reserves (including the spectacular Phinda Reserve) and excellent swimming beaches.
The Sun City entertainment complex is another great option for families. The entertainment capital of South Africa, Sun City is filled with an endless amount of activities to keep a family occupied, the biggest draw being the Valley of the Waves water park. It is also relatively easy to tag on a visit to another country to your South African holiday with the most popular being Victoria Falls in Zambia and Mauritius.
Below are properties that cater especially for children, all providing safe and child friendly environments.
One & Only, Cape Town
Kwandwe Ecca Lodge, Eastern Cape (malaria free)
Amakhala Leeuwenbosh Lodge, Eastern Cape (malaria free)
Jaci’s Safari Lodge, Madikwe Game Reserve (malaria free)
Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, Hermanus
Periwinkle Lodge, Plettenberg Bay
Kurland Natures Valley, Knysna
Serondella Game Lodge, Kruger
Phinda Mountain Lodge, KwaZulu Natal
Shakaland, KwaZulu Natal