We all know that a holiday ain’t a holiday unless the kids are having fun. Here are some fantastic family resorts and exciting holiday destinations to make sure your family getaway is an unforgettable adventure.
A not-to-be-missed highlight of the Garden Route! The Stromsriver Adventure Centre is located in the heart of the Tsitsikamma Forest. Here, two brilliant, fun and educational forest tours offer kids an opportunity to discover how the forest and all its inhabitants live! Experience either the Canopy Tour or the Woodcutter’s Journey or both! If you are more than seven years old, the Canopy Tour will take you through the treetops between platforms 30 metres above the ground. If you decide on the far less daring Woodcutters Journey (no age restrictions) you’ll follow the elephant trail down to the water in a cool open vehicle and learn all about the giant yellowwoods and stinkwoods, experience the ‘human tree’ and get to know the other plants, birds, animals and insects that live in this exotic world.
Sleep in the trees surrounded by lovely woodland trails and a forest where you’ll find fairies, literally. Kids love it! The excitement of staying high up in a real wooden treehouse surrounded by the sounds and sights of the forest, where its safe for kids to explore - makes it a real paradise for imaginations. There’s a queen and bunk beds and deck area with toddler friendly railings. There’s also a swimming pool and games room with outside braais for the whole family. Hike down to the river, do some rock-hopping and swim in cola coloured water. The towering milkwoods, yellowwoods, candlewoods, incredible bird life and sense of adventure in nature will keep you and your children entertained and happy for days.
Unlike most luxury African reserves, Tswalu not only welcomes children but have made it their mission to excite the next generation about conservation. South Africa’s largest private game reserve (owned by the Oppenheimer family) is malaria-free and extremely luxurious, with animals from meerkats to rare black rhinos. Tswalu’s Junior Ranger programme has been designed to meet a broad age range and is the most brilliant and stimulating way to learn about nature first hand. Every child gets a backpack full of guides and tools and activities include archery (where you make your own bow and arrow), spoor identification and casting, as well as tracking on foot. The Children’s bush walks are highly educational without ever feeling like it (adults can come along too). And at the end of a busy day, kids can gather in the special children’s boma to cook their own bush dinner.
Only a three hour drive north of Johannesburg, in the malaria-free Waterberg, The Ant Collection (Ant's Nest and Ant's Hill) specialize in horse-riding safaris, offering an unforgettable wildlife experience on horseback! Beginners are welcome with lessons on offer, if you need them. Exciting ranger-led 'spoor' and 'bug' walks teach kids how to identify the animals and follow them in the wild. When you get back from your ride or walk, there’s heated swimming pools for year-round use, a children's play area with toys and games to keep kids entertained. Child-friendly ponies for the little ones and family-friendly game-drives available to view larger wild animals including giraffe, rhino and if you’re very lucky, the lonely leopard.
Geckoing (or white water tubing) is a super-fun outdoor family adventure, ideal if you have children over the age of 12. The high adrenalin activity takes place on the upper-Sabie River where teens can enjoy an unforgettable experience - the scenery is spectacular and the rush of rapids, exhilarating! Face the rapids on specially designed square shaped tubes steered with special webbed gloves (not paddles) and make your way down through the wild waters under the guidance of trained river guides. Excursion time is about four hours. If you’re up for a challenge you can jump from an eight metre high cliff along the river into a deep pool below right next to a thundering waterfall. Geckoing on the Sabie River costs R400 per person.
For a real fun cultural experience spend a night or two at Simunye. Tucked away in the hills about a two hour drive from Durban, lies a hidden valley. Here, in the Simunye village you can choose to stay in either a Rock Room, a traditional thatch Rondavel or Lodge rooms – all are luxurious and uniquely crafted by the Zulu community using natural materials from the valleys. The magic begins when you leave your car and go by horse, ox-wagon or 4x4 to be greeted in traditional Zulu style. Share in the history, culture and traditions of the Zulu people; learn how to dance, eat delicious traditional food (and beer for the adults!); go bird-watching, fishing, walking, or riding. Older children are taught Zulu sports, from padded fighting sticks and blind man's pot to Zulu tug-of-war and Bull Dancing.
Take a tram ride back to the 19th century and experience Kimberley, past and present! Running since 1897 when the Gold Rush hit the small town, this old tram once transported people between gambling joints, pubs and surrounding dance halls. Today the burnt-orange tram (with original wooden seats and steering wheels) is still around and takes visitors on a ride back in time. Experience the thrill of the gold rush all over again on a tour that starts at the Kimberley Mine Museum, where original buildings have been reconstructed to the very last detail, and simulated dynamite explosions from the mining shaft make for a memorable and authentic experience. From the museum, the tram circles the Big Hole, allowing visitors to peer into its depths (214 metres!) from the viewing deck before heading back.
Tickets are R20, and are sold on the tram. To truly enjoy the history of the town and take in all the sights and surrounding nature reserves, it’s recommended to spend at least three days in Kimberley. Ghost tours, diamond field tours and a trip to the site of the Battle of Magersfontein are a few of the other outings available.
121 Bultfontein Road, Civic Centre, Kimberley, Northern Cape.
For more information call: 053 830 6272