South Africa for families

South Africa for families


TRAVEL ADVICE FOR FAMILIES IN SOUTH AFRICA

South Africa is an awesome African introduction for travelers of all ages. Its modern, cosmopolitan cities, great roads and accessibility make travel safe and easy, while the jumble of cultures and languages, variety of landscapes and superb wildlife still give a wonderful glimpse into the richness of Africa. The Garden Route is ideally situated in South Africa for families - with plenty of places to stop, eat and sleep, and interactive activities.
Remember: seeing wildlife requires patience and silence, and open-sided vehicles provide little protection from the dawn chill or midday heat, so children younger than eight are unlikely to get much out of a game drive. Bush walks can only be carried out by those aged 12 or even 14 - so consider this when planning your trip.

Activities for families in South Africa


What to do with little ones on vacation

"Older kids should experience camping. It brings down the price, but it also offers something different. In a lodge, you only experience the park during the activities. You do a game drive, then go back indoors. But when you camp, you’re in that natural environment 24/7. You experience the sounds, the smells, the noises at night – it’s a much more intense experience" - Rupert Calcott, from our supplier Exodus
"Check out small group tours. I always used to wonder why I'd want to travel with other people’s kids. But when you go on one, you realise you’re not traveling with them – your kids are. They’ve got ready-made playmates, they share, they learn. It’s great to listen to them discussing the lions they’ve just seen." – Tim Winkworth, from our supplier the Family Adventure Company
Just a short hop from Port Elizabeth, Addo Elephant National Park offers all the adventure of an African safari – without the long drives, the remoteness or the malaria! Now a sanctuary for more than just elephants, Addo is home to the Big Five, and its family-friendly activities include horse riding, short hikes and whale watching off the coast.

South Africa family travel advice


responsible travel asks the experts

Rupert Calcott, from our supplier Exodus, shares his tips on South Africa for families:
"South Africa is a big country, so with children it’s best to slow the pace of the tour so there’s not as much driving. Base yourself out of Cape Town, for example, or do the Garden Route and spend two nights in each place so they can get out and experience the place rather than just passing through. People always go to a country and want to see as much as they can – but for families it’s better to bite off a little bit less, to have a better experience but not see quite as much.
Get children out into the pristine areas. They’re really dwindling and there is so little wilderness left. It motivates children, it opens their eyes to different experiences in a way a city tour can’t. And I believe that in the long term you’ll get a budding conservationist."
Tim Winkworth, from our supplier the Family Adventure Company, shares advice on traveling in South Africa for families:
"It’s great to take your kids to South Africa to interact with the local children. Kids play with kids, and it’s an incredible thing to show them what’s going on in the rest of the world, and how spoilt and lucky they really are."
Will Fox, from our supplier On Track Safaris, shares his family travel advice:
"Your tour company know what you eat – and what your kids eat, especially if they are fussy eaters. The lodges are a very long drive from the nearest shop, and the food gets brought in the day before you arrive. We can deal with anything if we get notice – but on the day it’s too late."
Photo credits: [Family image: Intrepid Travel] [Addo elephant National Park: Brian Ralphs] [Local children: AWOL Tours]
Written by Vicki Brown
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