South Africa is a paradise for families on holiday. In a country where there is so much to see and do, a great many hotels and lodges have pulled out all the stops for families, catering specifically for children by providing suitable accommodation, appropriate activities and supervision. Here Exclusive Getaways gives some pointers for families coming to South Africa on holiday, and lists some excellent lodge and hotel options. We also include some private villas for families willing to make a splurge in the interests of luxury and privacy.
Is it Safe for Children?
Safety issues will be paramount for families holidaying with children. For the safari portion of your South African holiday, a fenced camp is a good bet if you want the assurance that wild animals will be deterred from entering the camp. Jock Safari Lodge is a luxury lodge in Kruger National Park and fenced for the peace of mind of its guests. So is its family-friendly sister lodge, Fitzpatrick’s Lodge, a 3-room standalone lodge where families can enjoy privacy and seclusion. The setting is a beautiful one where two rivers meet, and there is exclusive traversing of about 6 000 hectares. More about fenced safari camps in South Africa.
Another choice you could make is to visit a safari lodge where a ranger will collect you from the gate and take you to the lodge, rather than self-drive through a game reserve where wild animals roam free. Ask us to recommend lodges with collection points for guests.
Many lodges and hotels have staff on hand to supervise children and ensure their safety. Ask us about child-friendly services at lodges. Mail us
What About Malaria Risk on Safari?
Parents who are reluctant to expose children – and particularly infants – to the risk of malaria need not fear: there are large tracts of wilderness in South Africa that do not carry a malaria risk. These include wilderness areas in the Eastern and Northern Cape, Madikwe Game Reserve and Pilanesberg National Park in North-West, and the Waterberg region of Limpopo. Ask us to recommend family-friendly lodges in these malaria-free regions.
What Children’s Activities are in Place?
When boredom sets in, holidays become hard work. Choose hotels and lodges with well-structured programmes for children, so that both young and less young get the most from their holiday.
Kurland is an ideal family holiday destination, situated at The Crags on the Garden Route, close to a number of animal sanctuaries and a host of exciting activities. Set on a polo estate, the hotel offers horse riding, polo instruction, pony rides, and various other children’s activities. Mail us
For a mountain holiday in the famous Drakensberg area of KwaZulu-Natal, Cathedral Peak Hotel is a wonderful family-friendly option. The hotel is well geared for guests of all ages, and offers a huge variety of activities: guided hikes, birding, rock art viewing, a jogging trail, tennis, 9-hole golf, helicopter flips, horse rides, mountain & quad biking, and mini-adventure golf, to name a few. Mail us
For a family holiday at the seaside in the Western Cape, The Arniston Spa Hotel is situated in the small and very quaint fishing village of Arniston, two hours away from Cape Town. The hotel has interleading family rooms and offers activities for children. The beach is on the doorstep and there are magnificent caves to explore nearby. Cape Agulhas and De Hoop Nature Reserve are easily reached. Mail us
When going on safari with children, there are many lodges to choose from that have dedicated children’s activities in place. These include Tuningi Safari Lodge in Madikwe Game Reserve, Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge and Londolozi Varty and Founders Camp in Sabi Sands, Lukimbi Safari Lodge in Kruger National Park. There are many other family-friendly safari lodges – do ask us for ideas.
Many lodges also offer child-minding, so that parents can go ahead and enjoy the daily safari drives on which children under 6 are not permitted for safety reasons.
Do I Want an Educational Experience for the Children?
Family-friendly Bush Lodge in Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve offers interactive activities for children aged 4-12 at its EleFun Centre. This centre strives to promote awareness and appreciation of the wilderness. The Junior ranger Programme features bush survival skills, bugs and birds, tracks and signs of wildlife – all intended to sensitize children to the preciousness of the wilderness. Qualified staff guide and supervise the activities. What a wonderful opportunity for kids – to leave Africa with a far greater appreciation of our amazing planet and its living creatures!
Standalone Cottage-Style Accommodation for Families
On the Garden Route, Belvidere Manor offers standalone cottage-style accommodation on the edge of the Knysna lagoon. The cottages are beautifully set on a 10-hectare garden estate, and all have their own kitchens and living spaces. There is also a restaurant on the estate, giving families the choice to eat in or out. Mail us
In De Hoop Nature Reserve in the Western Cape, De Hoop Collection has a good selection of catered and self-catering accommodation. Two-bedroom self-catering cottages are among the options for families wanting to do their own thing within a magnificent nature reserve where there is much to see and do. Mail us
Private Luxury Villas for Families
Families wanting oodles of luxury and complete privacy from other guests, would do well to consider a sole-use private villa.
In the Western Cape, near Hermanus and Stanford, the Grootbos Private Nature Reserve includes a 4- and a 6-bedroom private villa, set on the edge of a spectacular fynbos reserve. Here you will have 1000 square metres of luxurious living space to use as your own, as well as a private chef, butler and guides to lead environmental excursions through forests and fynbos, along the coast and at sea. Mail us
In the Cederberg area of Western Cape, Bushmans Kloof Koro Villa is another stunning option for families wanting to be accommodated away from other guests, with all the luxury that makes a holiday special. This beautiful sole-use villa has 2 master bedrooms, a loft area for 4 children, equipped kitchen, bar and living spaces, barbeque area, terrace, and private infinity pool. The villa includes amenities for children such as camp cot, high chair and nappies. A personal chef, field guide and housekeeping service is provided. Enjoy fantastic guided activities in the reserve, such as swimming in rock pools, hiking and canoeing. Painting, games, treasure hunts and more will keep the children engaged. Mail us
Exclusive Getaways has been booking magical holidays in South Africa for 28 years. Mail us about your family holiday in South Africa, or give us a call on +27 21 797 7122.