Winter holiday in SA with baby?(17 Posts)
Anyone got any advice on a winter holiday to South Africa with a baby (6 or 7 months by then)? Things like where to go/avoid and any experiences you had there.
This is very very early stages as we gave been looking at different destinations (NZ is the favourite) but the lack of jet lag for SA is very appealing...
We have been to South Africa several times, but not with a baby. I think it very much depends on what you want to do, what area you want to go to and what you want to see when you are there and how much travelling you want to do. It is a huge country. I would have thought the flight to NZ for a holiday with a baby would be awful!
Our winter is high season in SA and it will be hot more or less everywhere. I would suggest Cape Town and a leisurely drive along the Garden Route to Port Elizabeth is the best option for a first time visitor with a baby. There are lovely towns such a s Knysna and Plettenburg and great beaches. Cape Town is excellent for exploring.
I would also stay in small guest houses rather than anonymous hotels. We stayed at 4 Rosmead in Cape Town and you will be helped to plan your days and I think a baby would be Ok as places like this. South African Guest Houses are fantastic. There are also plenty of guest houses in the seaside villages around the Cape. We liked Kanoncop (check spelling!) in Knysna. Fantastic hosts. There are guide books such as www.portfoliocollection.com and Exclusive Getaways that you can browse through to give you ideas. I do know another small hotel in the Cape Town beach area, I will look it up and post again.
Avoid game parks where malaria tablets are required. In fact, with a baby, I would avoid game parks altogether. People can get serious about looking at animals and I think a baby may not be their ideal travelling companion in an open top vehicle. Have fun planning!
Come to Cape Town. Stay by the v&a tons of stuff to do for babies. I live here myself although don’t have kids but everyone brings their children to restaurants and there are mini trains and playgrounds. Amazing stuff for kids and babies.
It is Cape View, Clifton. This is a beach area with great restaurants.
That is so helpful to get us started, thanks!
The appeal of NZ was that I have been before and loved the freedom of travelling in a camper, the beaches, the scenery etc. What is really putting us off is the flight and jet lag though.
Does anyone have experience of doing short (ie day length) walks/hikes, for instance in that Garden Route area? The foreign office advice made it seem a bit risky generally but difficult to know how to interpret it as it's such a big country.
Will PM you details of my travel agent whose an expert on travel in SA. I live here and use her all the time
For the delegates who come from abroad to do courses. She will assist you al the way. From flights to day experiences, transfers, the lot.
Sorry can’t find how to get to my inbox on the app!! Here’s her email address. She won’t mind me posting on a forum
I think if you want to do walks, organise it through a guide. Even in cape Town, I would not recommend walking on Table Mountain except on the main paths without a guide. Having said that, there are lots of options and lots of lovely walks you could do in cape town and the surrounding areas. Simple walks like along the beaches (Muizenberg has a lovely long walk you can do for miles) or as you head up the coast.
South Africa with a baby is fine. If the baby is weaning, take a portable high chair as I always find that while restaurants are very friendly to children, high chairs seem to be in short supply. The garden route is lovely, but don't do it unless your baby is happy to travel in the car. Even taking a leisurely drive, you're looking at a few hours a day.
Personally, I'd go to Cape Town and just stay there for a couple of weeks. You can move around and do a lot while your'e there including walks, beaches, countryside, tourist stuff etc. It's also a major city so convenient with a baby in terms of lots of places to go and services easily available.
When travelling with a child to SA you need the child's full birth certificate. If travelling with just one parent you also need permission from the other to take the child into and out of South Africa. Bear that in mind and make sure you have the correct documentation. It will be checked.
We went to SA when DD was 7 months old (and several times since then as I'm married to a South African). I'm not sure I'd have wanted to risk messing up any progress made with sleep patterns by going to NZ. If you're going to be a sleep-deprived parent, you might not want to muck up your sleep any more than it will already be!
I agree with Bubbles that SA guest houses are lovely. There's so much to do around Cape Town - Table Mountain, Robben Island, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Boulders Beach to see the penguins, Cape of Good Hope. There are hikes you can do in the Cape area too - we bought a book from Amazon with hikes in the Cape area.
Stellenbosch and Franschoek (sp?) (the vineyard region) isn't too far from Cape Town - if you fancy staying somewhere other than Cape Town but don't want to drive too far. Again, lots of lovely guest houses.
We did go to a game park when DD was a baby - but went in our own car, so there was no-one else to get bothered if she cried. Most organized game trips (in open top vehicles) don't allow children under 12 for exactly the reason Bubbles mentioned.
Went to Cape Town and it was safe relative to rest of SA/no malaria tablets and amazing holiday, saw penguins on the beach and big 5. We just kept to organised excursions for the most part due to safety but at end of holiday did hire a car and no problems. DH boss who is SA had a friend shot dead for his car so do take safety risks seriously.
We stayed in the Vineyard Hotel and it was lovely. Would love to go back.
We've hired cars every time we've been to SA. The first time I went I asked the guest house owner about the risks of car-jacking - she took one look at our bog-standard hire car and laughed. She said most car-jackings were for high-end/luxury cars.
We had a car hacking attempt near Cape Town - but by a baboon. The buggers know how door handles work, that’s for sure.
You can do some interesting walks from Hermanus, about 50km from Cape Town. There's a lovely cliff top walk which is 10km (so 20km if you do the whole thing as a return), plus walks in the mountains in the nature reserve. This is all perfectly safe - it's a very naice area with a lot of naice visitors.
Cederburg Travel would help you plan walks. They can suggest accommodation with safe walks nearby. Around Knysna and Wilderness there are great walks and Tsitsikamma (spelling?!) has well used trails. Also, and I haven't looked, there may be companies who offer accompanied walks. Look at Lonely Planet for advice. Hermanus in September has whales galore very close to the cliff walks. You can see them better than being on a boat! We watched a mum and calf for two hours. Memorable.
The Garden Route is the safest area but always take precautions regarding personal safety. They won't want your hire car, but jewellery and money are more of a lure. Blend in. Never wander off the beaten track and never go into a township on your own. Be sensible.
I also meant to say that South Africans take safety very seriously. It is a perennial hot topic of conversation and the dos and donts will be spelled out to you.
That's all really reassuring, thanks. The whales sound amazing. I think we need to get a couple of books and read up a bit on the areas you have suggested (an early stage of planning I love). Thanks again (and any more ideas or recommendations very welcome!)
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