As all parents would agree, travelling with the family can be a richly rewarding experience or it can send you over the edge and turn you into a screaming lunatic, completely lacking in sense and reason. So before you entertain thoughts of throwing yourself off Table Mountain, here is our chic guide to stylish and child friendly holidays in South Africa.
Surf or Turf?
With a huge variety of choices in child friendly holidays in South Africa, this is the perfect destination for accommodation and activities that will keep the whole family happy and entertained. If your time is limited or if you are a newbie to the southern tip of the continent, then surf and turf is the best way to go. Within a short space of time you will be able to fit in safari drives through the wild and untamed African wilderness (the Lions should keep the kids enthralled and sitting quietly in their seats), followed by sunset walks along glorious stretches of coastline. Begin your travels in the amazing game reserves not far from Johannesburg before going south to enjoy some sand and sea in Cape Town.
Do leopards have spots?
Of course yes they do! They are also solitary creatures and one of the most elusive of the big cats, hunting mostly at night and spending their days snoozing in trees. See how much you can learn on a safari! In no time, you’ll have your own little safari specialist on hand, telling tales of lion kills and thrilling African escapades to her classmates. Wildlife safaris are not only exciting but also highly informative and will have your children enthralled and lapping up tons of useful information.
One of the most popular areas for game viewing, and a great option for child friendly holidays in South Africa, is the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve, adjacent to the Kruger National Park. The reserve is one of the oldest and most successful in Southern Africa as well as the birthplace of sustainable wildlife tourism in the country. It is home to a variety of endangered animals and boasts a superb selection of lodges, breathtaking scenery and excellent cuisine.
Within this area, Singita Castleton is a family friendly, exclusive-use homestead that can sleep up to 12 so there will even be space for the grandparents. In addition to complimentary Wi-Fi, TV and DVD player there is also a swimming pool and tennis court where the little people can work off any extra energy. Mom will enjoy the spa treatment room while Dad can pump up his abs in the private gym. The beautiful boma overlooking the lake is a great place for the whole family to get together come sunset for a chat and some spectacular views. A chef, driver/guide and butler are all thrown into the package so days can be spent concentrating on quality family time that is stress-free and fun.
Another good option in Sabi is Chitwa Chitwa Game Lodge that not only welcomes children of all ages but also offers a unique Chitwa Children’s Eco Experience, making this one of the best child friendly holidays in South Africa. The unpretentious rooms are spacious yet stylish and comfortable and large enough to accommodate two extra beds for the kids. The private deck, indoor outdoor shower, plunge pool and welcoming fireplace will keep the parents happy too. The lodge is set next to one of the largest lakes in Sabi Sand and is a popular watering hole for the local wildlife. Daily game drives and bush walks under the guidance of professional rangers and trackers are all part of your family holiday.
Always be sure to check the fine print before booking your safari because, although safaris can be great child friendly holidays in South Africa, there are some game reserves that do not accept children under the age of 12. Also bear in mind that Sabi Sand is a malaria area and it is necessary to ensure you have the correct malaria medication before embarking on your journey.
Once you have had your fill of wild animals and adventure catch a flight down to the sunny coast of Cape Town.
Family time in Cape Town
The Cape Peninsula is not only breathtakingly beautiful but also holds some of the county’s top tourist attractions such as Table Mountain, Boulders Beach, Robben Island and the pretty-as-a-postcard Cape Winelands – perfect for child friendly holidays in South Africa. The city’s pristine beaches will have the kids building sand castles, frolicking in azure blue seas (opt for the beaches on the False Coast with their slightly warmer Indian Ocean waters), and watching in fascination as penguins toddle and hop over rocks.
The Cellars-Hohenort is the ideal chic retreat for child friendly holidays in South Africa, ideally situated in the Constantia Valley of Cape Town. Its central location makes getting around the Mother City easy. The hotel overlooks the iconic Table Mountain and is only 15 minutes from the V&A Waterfront, a collection of shops, cultural markets, restaurants and activities that could keep everyone busy for a few days at least. With wine tasting just a few steps away and the hotel boasting a top rated eatery, three swimming pools, tennis courts, wellness spa and putting green, you can rest assured that the whole family will stay entertained and occupied without getting in each other’s hair.
Honey, I forgot the bathing suits
When travelling to South Africa in summer, bathing suits, caps/hats, sun lotion and sandals are a must. While the days are balmy and warm the evenings may bring a chilly breeze off the sea or a cool gust through the bush land so be sure to pack some warm clothes too.
Safari attire is only really considered chic when actually stomping in the bush, while dressing for the beach requires little more than slip slops, a colourful sarong and a stylish hold-all thrown over your shoulder. Nightlife in Cape Town can be trendy so if you get the chance to escape the under 12 club for an evening, depending on where you go, you will fit in quite well in some designer threads.
Start planning your dream South African family holiday today, but whatever you do don’t tell the kids just yet. As a seasoned parent, you should know the tenacious little darlings just won’t give up with the ‘are we there yet?’ until you threaten to jump off that aforementioned Table Mountain!