Why go on a small group family vacation in South Africa?

South Africa’s National Parks and wild spaces are legendary for their beauty, with millions of tourists heading here every year for safaris, whale watching and driving along the dramatic Garden Route. But you’ll get more out of your family vacation if you take time to learn about its diverse culture and history, too. One of the best ways of achieving this is taking an organised small group tour. You’ll get to all the places that other tourists don’t reach, whether that means spending time in a traditional Zulu village, visiting a nature reserve off the beaten track, or hiking in the rocky wilderness of the Cederberg. With our experienced small group operators you’ll be spared from sorting out the logistics and can be sure that you’re traveling responsibly, too. Plus, small group vacations are often slightly less expensive than tailor made, perfect if you’re a big family after a big adventure.

What does a small group family vacation entail?

Our small group vacations in South Africa are made up of around 12 to 16 people, or three to five families, traveling either in a purpose built overland truck, or in a combination of private minibuses and 4x4s. Some trips are aimed specifically at families with teenagers, so that older kids can hang out with their peers and try out more adventurous activities.

Tours last at least two weeks, and you’ll travel with a minimum of two expertly trained crew – a driver and a guide, for example, with local guides as extra in certain locations. As there are children involved, long drives are kept at a minimum, there are plenty of rest stops and you don’t tend to travel every day, though you should expect some early starts. Teen-friendly trips may include slightly longer drive times.

Small group means massive advantages. You can stay in locally owned, small accommodation, and visit communities without overwhelming them, allowing you a deeper connection with local people. What’s more, your kids will have ready made friends to share their adventures with and you’ll have like-minded fellow parents to relax with after each exciting day.

Is there an age limit?

Yes. Our tours have a minimum age of between seven or 12, depending on the style of trip. For the most part, longer, camping based overland trips are restricted to those aged 11 plus; while trips taking a slower pace, with stays in guesthouses and tented camps are ideal for younger children. On trips for teenagers, your kids will have to be 10 or over and under 18.

What are the itineraries like?

Each itinerary is designed to help you discover the best of the country, which means combining heavy hitting highlights with off-radar gems that independent travelers might miss. There will be plenty of wildlife watching on the cards, and you’ll spend time in star attractions such as Kruger National Park then perhaps take in little-known treasures such as Tshukudu Game Reserve, too, traveling with guides who have years of experience in getting the best sightings. Responsible small group vacations also aim to introduce you to local people. This could include being guided around attractions by local guides, visiting local curio markets or traditional Zulu villages or taking a guided tour of Soweto.

Our top Family vacations in South Africa Vacation

Family vacation to South Africa & Swaziland

Family vacation to South Africa & Swaziland

Kruger, Swaziland and Durban with the family

From US $2280 13 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2024: 31 Mar, 14 Jul, 21 Jul, 28 Jul, 4 Aug, 11 Aug, 18 Aug, 18 Dec
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What are the guides like?

Guides on our small group tours are used to entertaining and engaging children and work hard to ensure that everyone gets as much as possible out of the vacation. They’re keen to share their love of South Africa and are also incredibly patient, making sure that all travelers understand what they’re seeing and doing. While they will strive to make sure that the group has a good time as a whole, they’ll also give everyone lots of private family time, too.

Where will we sleep?

This depends on the type of trip you’re taking. On some family small group trips you’ll stay in a mixture of en suite rooms in lodges and tented camps, and traditional accommodation such as rondavels or beehive huts, with food eaten in local cafes and restaurants or at your accommodation. Alternatively, you could opt for a camping trip, where you’ll spend most nights in permanent campsites in national parks or towns, with a few nights of wild camping thrown in, too. On these trips, everyone is expected to pitch in to help with food prep, washing up and putting up and taking down tents.

Combining South Africa with other countries

Most small group family tours to South Africa include some time in other countries, too. Shorter trips might make a foray into Swaziland, to visit Hlane National Park or Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, but others go even further. Really intrepid families might like to try the classic route from Cape Town to Victoria Falls, or vice versa, over a period of three weeks, taking in Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, as well as some South African highlights. Children will need to be 12 or older to tackle this superb adventure.
Written by Nana Luckham
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