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South Africa with kids

(17 Posts)
Maturestudent82 Fri 10-Nov-17 07:25:41

Hi, I am looking to book a two week holiday for us for Easter 2018. It’ll be my husband and I with our two kids who will be 6 and 5. After discussing basically every possible type of holiday I think we have decided on South Africa! I would like to be able to explore Cape Town as well as a decent safari for at least a couple of days, but worried that some companies won’t allow the kids due to their ages. Any suggestions, advice or recommendations are hugely appreciated. Thanks.

OP’s posts: |
Ber2291 Fri 10-Nov-17 07:44:56

Oh my god a million! Great choice.

Garden route goes without saying.
I won't list the obvious like table mountain and Robben island
Loads of places about twenty minutes out that you can go exploring caves, all sorts of levels, I've done some with tiny babies so your DC should be fine.
Going out to stellenbosh where there are lion and cheetah sanctuaries. One place that has a restaurant with tables in the trees.
Kalk bay for fish and chips and Kalkies and walking along the pier where seals literally just jump up out of the water onto the land to get fed fish.
Driving along the amazing coast line
Visiting a township, not as weird and voyeuristic as it seems usually guess are v welcomed.
Go and do a safari but a small less hardcore one. There are quite a few smaller game parks where you can go quite casually. IMO your children are a bit young for an intense Kruger National Park type thing, while amazing it is quite tiring and hours long.
Loads of incredible restaurants
strolling around the Bo Kaap
Kite surfing
The beaches on both sides
Hiking up lions head and lots of other places

God I could go on forever it's the most wonderful place.

Where are you planning on staying?

2014newme Fri 10-Nov-17 09:05:48

Too young for a proper safari but I think shamwari do some good kids options. You'll see plenty wildlife without safari.
The driving distances between places are long so plan your route carefully.
I would not take kids that young to robben Island but that's just a personal thing, people do.
Boulders beach for the penguins they would like.
Wonderful place for a family holiday

JooLoo Sat 11-Nov-17 14:03:30

I have been to SA with kids aged 5 to 7.
Agree Robben Island too young. 7 year old did ok but we had read the children’s version of Mandela autobiography beforehand and that helped (its a great book!)
Spiers Hotel near Stellenbosch very kid friendly. Has nursery, raptor centre, wine tasting (and juice tasing for kids) and lovely walks.
Agree on doing a small kid friendly safari. My 5 year old loved Knysna elephant park as you can feed and touch them.
Table mountain has lovely trails on top. Also enjoyed penguins at Simons town.
Loved Singing Kettle near Plettenberg, overlooks beach and dolphins.
Also the Cavern Hotel in drakensberg mountains (4 hours from Joberg) very family friendly too.
We love SA!

BubblesBuddy Mon 13-Nov-17 22:31:23

I would also suggest the Garden Route. You can then visit Addo Elephant Park and several lodges there are family friendly for children of all ages. Riverbend Lodge has something for everyone. I think children would love this. Fly home from Port Elizabeth via JoBurg. If you keep to a route that doesn’t stray to Kruger or the Drakensburgs it is a relaxing 2 weeks to go from CT to PE. Lots of beaches to visit!

sparechange Mon 13-Nov-17 22:51:15

If you want to do a proper safari, there is a place called Mondoro which will accept them at those ages, as long as they are sensible and able to follow instructions (ie will stay sat down and quiet in the jeep)
They also have kids play areas in the lodge and a tunnel to a hide to watch elephants etc at the watering hole.

It’s around 2 hours drive from Jo’burg in a malaria-free zone. It isn’t cheap but it is worth it for everything you get there.

Cape Town is great, as are the winelands just outside. Lots of the vineyards are family friendly!

The one thing to be aware of are the rules for travelling with children in and out of SA.
You HAVE to take their long form birth certificates and if either parent isn’t travelling with them, a letter giving permission for them to travel.

BubblesBuddy Tue 14-Nov-17 18:48:05

Why go all the way to JoBurg if you are on the Garden Route and starting in Cape Town? Addo is a no brainier as it keeps travelling to a minimum. Assuming the op
doesn’t want to sit in airports on holiday.

sparechange Tue 14-Nov-17 19:03:14

Cape Town is a 1 hour flight from Jo’burg, and you need to check in 1 hour before a domestic flight, then it’s 2 hours-ish to the lodge. Or 3 hours drive to Kruger but it’s malarial which is why we avoided it last time, but if that doesn’t bother you, look at the Thornybush collection. Some are very child friendly.

Which makes it closer than a drive from Cape Town to Addo, which is about 8 hours. Plus you get to see all the Big 5, and in a natural habitat rather than a giant safari park/zoo
And there are a lot more flights from the UK to Jo’burg than direct to Cape Town (and they are usually a fair bit cheaper than the direct flights to Cape Town even when you factor in the internal flight)

missyB1 Tue 14-Nov-17 19:13:19

We’ve been taking ds to SA since he was 5 months, he’s nearly 9 years old now! Cape Town is a good safe family holiday. You won’t get a proper safari in the Cape but there are good animal sanctuaries. Boulders beach with the penguins is great for kids, and obviously lots of nice beaches in Cape Town itself, the weather might be variable as it will be Autumn.

Personally I would not go to a township, my SA husband says it’s far too dangerous and there’s no way he would risk it especially with ds.

MaryWortleyMontagu Tue 14-Nov-17 19:21:24

I've been on proper game drives with my dd in SA. Once when she was 10 months old at riverbend at addo and then when she was 4 at sibuya and sanbona. Riverbend is the exception I think with no minimum age, most lodges that take children have a minimum age of 4. As yours are older than 4 there should be plenty of places you can book.

Oh and cape town is a 2 hour flight from joburg, not 1 hour.

BubblesBuddy Wed 22-Nov-17 01:26:18

We have done various reserves in SA and I only suggested Addo because it is a sensible option with a younger child. I prefer Kruger and Sabi Sands as well as H/ Imfolozi which is North of Durban but they are a trek from Cape Town and involve flights of 2 hours as well as ground travel. If the holiday IS the Garden Route it’s not 8 hours to get to Addo. It’s on the Route and you fly home from PE.

Lots of game reserves in SA are former farms with relocated animals. They are good fun and very well served with hotels and camps. However if wildlife viewing is not a main feature of the holiday, then a handy one is best.

Oldowl Sun 10-Dec-17 15:45:09

We took our children to Cape Town this summer (Aug 17). They were 14 and 16.

We did: DAY 1: A walking tour of the city to get our bearings. Victoria and Albert Waterfront and a coastal drive round Clifton beaches etc. DAY 2 Robben Island, Bo Kaap walking tour DAY 3 Simon's Town fish and chip lunch, Boulders Beach (penguins) and Cape Point (whale watching) DAY 4 and 5 Safari at Buffelsfontein (this was the highlight of our trip. We had a wonderful 2 days at the reserve, saw loads of animals and were looked after so well by the wonderful staff).
DAY 6 Cookery school in Bo Kaap (Cooking with Love - £25 a person including a morning cooking and a 3 course lunch in a local's home), the boys did the Springbok museum, District Six museum tour (another highlight), Charley's Angel Bakery for delicious cakes and the New York Bagel cafe DAY 7 Table mountain closed so we climbed Lion's Head- amazing views!!

Cape Town is a fantastic place to visit. I would avoid the Townships as they are far too dangerous and crime is rife. They are not tourist attractions. Visit the District Six museum if you want to learn more about the displacement of a population under the apartheid regime.

Do hire a car. It is cheap and driving is easy. Enjoy your trip.

TuttiFrutti Tue 19-Dec-17 11:55:21

We went to South Africa last summer with our 2 dc aged 10 and 12, and we all loved it. Cape Town was brilliant, although you do need to be careful about security - vigilant but not paranoid.

The highlight for us was a 3 day safari in Kariega Game Reserve, an internal flight away. It was expensive but so worth it. You can do day trip safaris from Cape Town but they are artificially created, so like a glorified Longleat.

Higlights in Cape Town: Table Mountain (stunning scenery - but be prepared for long queues and go early), the aquarium in the city centre (not usually a fan but this one is good), the V&A Waterfront for restaurants and shopping, and the drive down Chapman's Peak Drive where we saw some of the most amazing scenery I've ever seen.

BubblesBuddy Tue 19-Dec-17 20:37:55

Kariega was farmland. It has been stocked with game, elephants and predators over the last 20 years - as have many South African reserves. The main difference is the size of it as land has been added. Game reserves are big business in South Africa so many are artificially created - Kariega is one of the many. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth going to but it’s not Kruger.

OllieinOrange Wed 20-Dec-17 14:10:25

We had an amazing stay at the Gondwana Game Resort last year (Drs were 9 and 11) They had a special Ranger just for kids who did activities with them in the afternoons which they loved - made boats from foraged materials and tracking animals etc.

We loved the accommodation and our guide was brilliant - really informative, enthusiastic and great with DS. We chose this over bigger reserves as friends had been to a bigger reserve and missed out on seeing quite a lot of animals. Agree that it wasnt Kruger etc but DSs didn't mind that the giraffes had been 'imported' - they were just thrilled at seeing them on the game drives. We did Addo after this and they far preferred Gondwana because of seeing more of the Big 5.

We also all loved Cape Town and Stellenbosch and the drive along The Garden Route. Best holiday ever!

RainbowCookie Wed 20-Dec-17 18:16:21

I live in SA and you’ve given me lots of ideas for holidays so thank you!

I don’t want to put you off coming as we need the tourist money but just bear in mind the water shortage in Cape Town is so bad that they will have to turn the taps off in about April next year. Might be worth making sure you are staying somewhere with water tanks for showers etc as things will get very unpleasant (and smelly)
This only affects Cape Town, we have plenty of water in Gauteng

BubblesBuddy Sun 24-Dec-17 16:59:26

I think when children are a bit older, one of the greatest holidays you can do is going to really wild Africa and waiting to see that elusive leopard or cheetah with a cub. Children get to realise you need patience and tracking skills to see the animals. It’s not like a large zoo where they are easy to see and presented to you. We waited six hours to see hundreds of wildebeeste cross the Mara River when our children were about 10 and 8. It meant something when it happened and will never be forgotten. It’s great to see wildlife that is relocated but do consider the delights of tracking down elusive animals in their natural habitat and being utterly excited when you are successful!

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