Looking for fun family-friendly activities or places to visit on your next South African holiday? South Africa offers an amazing destination for a family vacation, this huge country boasts a beautifully wild coastline, family-friendly game lodges, rich cultural experiences, jaw-dropping landscapes and more. Many game lodges and resorts offer child orientated programs and there are plenty of activities for older children too. With the kids taken care of, activities such as Cape Town’s wine tours are perfect for parents!
Choose from plenty of options from rustic holidays at the beach to once-in-a-lifetime experiences such as malaria free Big 5 safaris. South Africa is guaranteed to transform your family vacation into the ultimate African adventure. With a host of activities on offer, families will be spoiled for choice no matter which region they visit! We have put together a list of a few of many popular activities to try or places to visit countrywide:
- Sun City, North West Province: A Glittering resort and entertainment destination Sun City is a great stop on a family holiday. Supervised crèche Camp Kwena offers younger children the chance to socialize while parents enjoy some time off, older kids will enjoy alcohol-free, under-eighteen nightclub Kowabonga Club. There is a children’s games arcade, and a water park on-site, the Maze of the Lost City, Chimp & Zee Rope Adventure Course. Nearby Pilanesberg National Park is ideal for authentic wildlife viewing or a hot air balloon ride for adventurous families.
- Gold Reef City, Johannesburg South: Johannesburg’s most famous entertainment complex offers a combination of fun, fantasy and history. Gold Reef City is well known for its casino and theatre, as it is for its fabulous fun activities for kids. That’s not all- You can also enjoy traditional African dance, music and history on your visit. The hotel is designed in the style of an old mining village, which not only tells the story of the 19th century Gold Rush, is charming and old world. Go underground into a genuine gold mine, and take advantage of 30-plus adrenalin-filled rides and entertainment offerings in the theme park. There are lots of restaurants and souvenir stores. Gold Reef City is your one-stop shop for a thrilling family vacation for young and old.
- Kruger National Park: This is South Africa’s most well-known park, and rightfully so. This game-rich park is home to the Big 5 and more species of large mammals than any other African game reserve (at 147 species). Visitors are able to self-drive, the roads are well-marked and very well maintained and there are lots of picnic sites dotted around the park. Accommodation (including camping) does get booked up, so early booking is essential. Some of the rest camps have swimming pools, which are great fun for kids to cool off after a morning game drive.
- Spotting the rare white lion in Timbavati: Safaris are perfect for families, enjoy mornings and evenings filled with game drives and plenty of time during the day to relax and let the kids play by the pool. The Timbavati region of South Africa offers an exciting opportunity beyond spotting the Big Five as guests can search for rare white lions. White lions have a rare genetic marker resulting in a beautiful white coat.
- Bourke’s Luck Potholes: A day trip along the beautiful Panorama Route is a must, this area is full of natural beauty! Bourke’s Luck Potholes are without doubt incredible, offering a great stop for families to visit along this route. It is no surprise that these Potholes made it onto Frommer's 500 places to take your kids before they grow up. These potholes are thousands of years old and have been carved into the soft sandstone of the canyon wall by the Blyde River. A series of metal bridges take you right above them, whilst walkways around the ridges allow you various angles and viewpoints from which to take photographs. Other viewpoints in this area not to be missed include God’s Window and the Three Rondavels. This is an area full of natural beauty!
- Mini Town located at Durban Beachfront: Is one of Durban’s most popular long-standing beachfront attractions, Opened in 1969, this nonprofit park offers city & other landmarks in 1:24 scale. Mini Town, is a replica of the city in miniature form, showing some of its most famous landmarks. Walking through Mini Town will give you an excellent idea of what to see while you’re visiting this beautiful resort town. There is even a rail network with trains travelling to and from, an airport with scale aeroplanes and the pretty harbour.
- Surf’s Up at the WavePark Gateway, Umhlanga: No matter what type of board sport you enjoy, you’ll find it at the Wave House in Umhlanga. This venue is especially popular with youngsters and offers the opportunity to surf and skate to your heart’s content. You’ll also find the highest indoor climbing rock in South Africa, and an assortment of restaurants and refreshment kiosks to keep hunger and thirst at bay.
- Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour: Children from age 5 upwards will enjoy this extra fun activity. This canopy tour takes place in the beautiful Tsitsikamma rainforest and offers the perfect mix of adventure and fun. You will have an amazing time zip lining through the trees, from platform to platform, 30m above the forest floor. You will be as close as possible to all of the lush greenery and bird life, while the professional guides will not only ensure your safety, but give you interesting information about the forest’s ecosystem. This is an unforgettable experience offering a truly unique perspective for the whole family.
- Cango Caves: Situated in Oudtshoorn, this is one of the places where both children and adults will have fun exploring caves and tunnels. Open 7 days a week, 364 days a year, from 09:00-16:00, this wonderful site hosts guided tours through its caves at various levels. From the standard Heritage Tour to the more thrilling Adventure Tour (ages 6 and up) where you get into some very tight places whilst exploring the caves as you squeeze through very narrow passages like Devil’s Chimney (30 centimeters high) or Leopard Crawl (27 centimeters high). Whilst on your Heritage tour, your guide explains the importance of the number of people they allow into the caves each day, as well as giving you information on the caves itself. The caves were first found in 1770’s and are made up of different chambers based along the limestone belt which display beautiful columns of Stalactite and Stalagmite rock formations, worn and shaped by mother nature over the years. A site worth a visit!
- Addo Elephant National Park: This diverse wildlife conservation park situated close to Port Elizabeth in South Africa and is one of the country's 20 national parks. It currently ranks third in size after Kruger National Park and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Established in 1931 as a sanctuary for the eleven remaining elephants in the area, the park is now home to over 600 elephants and many other mammals (including buffalo, warthogs, zebra, hyena and lions).
- Table Mountain: Offers an amazing experience for young and old, once you reach the top, you’re welcomed to a vast array of flora and fauna, with indigenous plants and wildlife you can see nowhere else in the world. Ever seen a dassie before? There is also a family-friendly restaurant and snacks at the top, surrounded by incredible views. Kids are sure to love the ride up the rotating cable car as you take in the view of the Mother City.
- V&A Waterfront in Cape Town: This is the most visited South African destination. With over 24 million visitors annually, this waterfront is considered as one of the must visit places and one of the most iconic spots in South Africa. Aside from the charm of the harbour and European architecture, the complex is set to the magnificent backdrop of Table Mountain. The entertainment harbour complex boosts world-class shopping, museums, restaurants, bars, tourist attractions, outdoor activities such as a playground to run around in and the gateway to boat cruising activities in Cape Town where you can catch the ferry to Robben Island and more. The V&A Waterfront has something on offer for everyone with an endless amount of things to see and do. Kids can explore the Two Oceans Aquarium, try their hand at Cave Golf, scratch for gemstones at the Scratch Patch, experience 360 views of the city on the Cape Wheel and much more.
- Boulders Beach: Head over to Boulders Beach to watch the penguins play! The beautiful Boulders Beach is one of Cape Town’s most visited beaches and the only place in the world where you can get close to African Penguins. This sheltered beach is made up of inlets between granite boulders, from which the name originated. Kids can climb the boulders, swim in the ocean, play on the beach, meet the penguins and more!
Still not sure what activities to do with the kids or looking for more options country wide? Contact us for more information or to find the best activities for your family. We are also happy to send sample itineraries showing how these activities can be incorporated into a family package.