What about South Africa for a summer holiday, with teenage DCs?

(15 Posts)

I have a fair number of airmiles to use up, and thought this might be a good time to use them this year, rather than spending money that we might not have.

I had thought about going to the US or Canada, but DH has a sudden whim to go to South Africa as a friend of ours was waxing lyrical about it.

Anyone been? Where would you recommend? What is there to do - DCs will be 17 and 14.

brimfull Mon 05-Jan-09 00:02:49

if ou don't mind that it's winter there then yes fab !

Ah. Good point. Is their winter cold though?! I am not a cold weather person at all!

ChasingSquirrels Mon 05-Jan-09 00:12:57

I have family in Kimberley and went in Aug when I was 17. It had been snowing the week before, though it was 28c when I was there.
Don't know what's typical.

expatinscotland Mon 05-Jan-09 00:16:25

i'd go there in a heartbeat.

brimfull Mon 05-Jan-09 00:18:17

not really cold
except at night I think

I am, I have to confess, totally ignorant about the country - and will admit to being very nervous about personal safety.

I do know, though, that it is also supposed to be a spectacularly beautiful country.

I suppose that I just don't know where to start!

alipiggie Mon 05-Jan-09 00:19:16

Depends where you go. Ask my South African friends if they'd ever go back. Seriously though, research it carefully and bear in mind tourists are fair game for muggings/shootings etc and South Africans here don't recommend you drive yourself around. I'd love to go and see the Cape etc, but will wait until my boys are older.

NoNoNoNo Mon 05-Jan-09 00:21:28

depends on where you go. The weather round the cape can get bloody cold in the evenings in the winter, and you can have rain, etc., it will prob be too cold to use the pool in your accommodation and so on

If you go further north it will be warmer, as closer to the equator

would love to go, though. You will have a great time.

expatinscotland Mon 05-Jan-09 00:26:54

oh, see, i'm from the US. i grew up there and in S. America when crack cocaine was getting big there, so i'm always on my guard. always wouldn't go someplace like that unless i knew people. always alarm systems, bodyguard(s), guns, no travel after sundown, NO WAY things Brits take for granted like visiting cash points at night, women driving alone at night, car doors lock automatically when you get in and that sort of thing.

alipiggie Mon 05-Jan-09 00:48:09

expat I'm so with you on that one. Friends of mine went back for a wedding and two days before the father of the bride was shot dead - drive by shooting. Everyone has security guards who has any money whatsoever and then you risk them letting their pals in to rob you. My friends brother and his pregnant wife were held at gun point for three hours. That's Jo'burg.

If you go, go with a reputable tourist/travel firm and let them organize everything for you.

expatinscotland Mon 05-Jan-09 01:00:59

i remember in the late 80s, i hung out with this guy, he was Taiwanese.

but like, all the best parties were Chinese.

GREAT DJs! really top notch and no cover charge.

i was too naive to realise why they never needed to charge covers to get these DJs in, hell, they were running drugs!

but anyhow, one New Year, my pal 'Frank' had this absolutely beautiful girl called Myleen from LA over to stay.

so we go to this party.

and sure enough, this fight breaks out.

we all go to the windows to watch and she's already leaving out the back door, saying, 'Fuck! I shouldn't have come here! There're no fucking metal detectors! Any minute, they're going to bring out their guns. Get the fuck out of here!'

so, after living in S. America, i'm out behind her on my knees and the others are there at the window like fools.

then we hear sirens and these dudes all scattering like roaches when you turn the light on.

i told me friend, 'Why are they going? They're hurt!'

he said, 'EIS, they're illegal! we need to get OUT of here fast!'

i never had such an eventful new year since!

OhBling Mon 05-Jan-09 14:04:15

South Africa is fantastic - brilliant place to go on holiday with teenagers.

On safety, yes, you need to be careful, but the real crime is in non-tourist places (mostly) and if you're sensible you should be fine. Believe me, if British tourists were being killed in SA on a regular basis, we'd all here a lot more about it. Avoid joburg - but frankly, there's no reason to go there if you're on holiday anyway, so that shouldn't be too hard.

At that time of year, the cape will not be that cold, but it will be wet and a bit depressing. Depending on how much time you have, it's probably worth doing a short stay there simply because Cape Town is so beautiful, there are the wine routes etc.

But, if you want a bit warmer and you want to entertain the kids, think about either Natal (durban) or go to Sun City in Mpumalanga where there's also game viewing.

Natal is typical tropical weather and in winter will not be hot, but certainly won't be cold. Durban is a beach city, with lots of entertainment along the beaches etc.

Alternatively (and especially if you're a bit nervous about safety and would rather have it all laid on for you), go to Sun City. You can stay in family friendly accomodation there and while it will get fairly cold at night, the days will be crisp and clear. Probably too cold for water sports but there's lots of other things to do nearby. There's also a game farm round the corner - the Pilanesberg Game Reserve which is excellent - so you can either do day trips from Sun City or go stay there for a few days/ a week. Lots of self catering and hotel accomodation.

OhBling Mon 05-Jan-09 14:04:57

Sorry, North West Province:

Pilanesberg

elliott Mon 05-Jan-09 14:08:41

I'm thinking of going with my ds's who are 5 and 7. However I do have friends there (but won't be spending all the holiday with them) so will be able to get advice re safety etc. They are in Eastern Cape which sounds really lovely and a bit off the beaten track - it has beaches, mountains and is malaria free.

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