10 Family-Friendly Hotels & Safari Lodges in South Africa
10 Family-Friendly Hotels & Safari Lodges in South Africa
Considered the best African destination for families, South Africa offers world-class safaris, exciting cities and great beaches. Children will love taking a cable car up Table Mountain, visiting the penguin colony at Boulders Beach, exploring the V&A Waterfront and Camps Bay – and that’s just Cape Town! Big Five safaris are promised in both non-malarial areas, or choose a Kruger private reserve for the ultimate wildlife encounters.
Here’s our curated list of the top 10 family-friendly hotels and lodges in South Africa:
1. The Oyster Box Hotel, KwaZulu-Natal
The Oyster Box is a family-friendly hotel offering a range of amenities perfect for a family vacation in South Africa. It features two spacious swimming pools, direct access to Umhlanga Beach, and complimentary treats for children, including a special welcome backpack. The Holiday Club, catering to 4-12 year olds, provides a variety of games and activities, while the hotel also offers child-friendly dining options. A Family Experience Manager is available to ensure a tailored and enjoyable stay for families.
Insider tip: Healthy child-focused menus are available in all restaurants and on the breakfast buffet
2. Jaci's Safari Lodge, Madikwe
Jaci's Safari Lodge provides a family-friendly safari experience, offering twice-daily game drives suitable for children aged 6 - 12 years. It features various accommodations: the Nare Suite, accommodating up to 6 guests with exclusive amenities; the Safari Suite, perfect for larger families with a deck, fire pit, and private pool; Jaci's Madikwe House for up to 10 guests, offering a private chef and pool; and the vibrant Tented Suites for a unique glamping experience with children accommodated on camp-style beds.
Insider tip: The Nare Suite is well worth it. There is plenty of space, privacy, your own chef and safari guide and a swimming pool from which you can watch elephants, buffalo and rhinos drinking at the waterhole below.
3. Kirkman's Kamp, Greater Kruger
&Beyond Kirkman's Kamp in Sabi Sand Game Reserve provides an ideal safari experience for families, offering interconnected rooms and triple room options. It features both day and night safaris with expert guides for spotting the Big Five, along with guided bush-walking adventures. The lodge's WildChild program engages children aged 3-12 with fun, educational activities like bug collecting and baking with the chef. Additional family-friendly amenities include childminders and special children's menus.
Insider tip: Enjoy a delicious cocktail in Paul's Pub, which features a chalkboard that invites you to list the day's wildlife sightings.
4. Ant's Nest, Waterberg
One of the best family-friendly lodges in Africa, Ant's Nest offers a true 'home-from-home' experience. The lodge's knowledgeable guides will accompany you on game-viewing experiences; tailoring the day around your needs with no fixed times. On guided bush walks, children can learn about tracks and investigate bugs. Other activities include horseback riding, archery, fishing, and swimming, catering to various interests.
Insider tip: You can be creative on safari too. Why not learn to sculpt, draw or do a photography course in the middle of the African bush.
5. Amakhala Hlosi Game Lodge, Eastern Cape
Hlosi Game Lodge, situated within the malaria-free Amakhala Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape, is particularly suitable for families with small children, featuring a fenced camp to ensure safety. The lodge offers luxurious accommodations and a waterhole, where your little ones can safely observe wildlife such as buffalo and elephants. They even have a dedicated "Cubs on Safari" children's program.
Insider tip: Identify the Southern Cross and other constellations whilst sitting around a roaring fire. Hopefully, the chef will have some marshmallows for the kids to roast.
6. Palace of The Lost City, Sun City
The Palace of the Lost City, located in Sun City Resort, offers a lavish 5-star family-friendly experience. Styled as an ancient city, it boasts stunning architecture and regal decor. Families can enjoy the adjacent Valley of The Waves Waterpark, featuring a man-made beach and thrilling waterslides. The resort also offers 'jungle' gardens and a variety of activities including tennis, horse riding, mountain biking, and volleyball.
Insider tip: Head up to Kings Tower where you will be greeted with 360-degree views of the whole resort and its surroundings. It can be reserved for private sunset cocktails.
7. Grootbos Garden Lodge, Whale Route
Garden Lodge is located in the Grootbos Nature Reserve; a spectacular array of fynbos and forest-clad hills overlooking the whale-watching haven of Walker Bay, near Hermanus. Here, children of all ages are welcome. There's a kids' entertainment area that features a forest-inspired interior, an outdoor courtyard, and a range of activities and programs for kids.
Insider tips: The Botanical Safari is fascinating, you'll never look at plants and flowers in quite the same way again.
8. Pezula Nature Hotel & Spa, Garden Route
Pezula Nature Hotel and Spa is located on the Eastern Head of Knysna, in South Africa's iconic Garden Route. The hotel offers engaging activities like seed planting, bug hunting, koi fish feeding, and hiking paths. It features extensive outdoor nature play areas with jungle gyms, swings, and hammocks. They even offer child-friendly manicure and pedicure treatments!
Insider tip: Arrange a picnic at the nearby Noetzie Beach, rated as one of the top 3 beaches in South Africa.
9. The Mount Nelson, Cape Town
Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town offers a range of child-friendly amenities and activities for families. The hotel provides in-room amenities such as additional cots, a laundry service, and babysitting, along with children’s turn-down services. For family entertainment, there are activities suitable for all ages including family-themed spa treatments, an interactive Chef's Table experience, and close proximity to beaches and museums. The hotel's Children's Club offers educational games and toys, and organized activities like group games and storytelling. Insider tip: Meet South Africa's first tea sommelier at the famous Mount Nelson High Tea. Spend your afternoon enjoying sumptuous cakes, pastries and sandwiches while Craig guides you through 40 different tea varies.
10. Simbavati River Lodge, Greater Kruger
Simbavati River Lodge is set on the banks of the Greater Kruger National Park's Nhlaralumi River in the Timbavati Private Game Reserve. The Cubs Club kids centre is an ideal place for younger children to hang out with games, bean bags and arts and craft opportunities. Child-focused activities include cupcake decorating, treasure hunts and mask making. Older children can learn archery or explore animal tracks with a guide around the lodge, providing an engaging wilderness experience for the whole family.
Insider tip: Simbavati River Lodge is a 1 hour drive from Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport, accessible from Johannesburg and Cape Town.