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  • Writer's pictureHannah D

Family-friendly things to do in South Africa

Updated: Jul 14, 2022

It's not surprising that families love South Africa thanks to its many attractions and activities. From wildlife safaris to botanical gardens and theme parks, there's something for everyone to enjoy!

Here are some of the top family-friendly things to do in South Africa.

Take a trip to the beach

South Africa is blessed with sandy beaches and warm summers, making a trip to the beach the perfect family day out. If you're based in Cape Town, some of the most popular beaches are Camps Bay, Clifton, Llandudno and Muizenberg (where they also have the Instaworthy brightly coloured beach huts).

Up the east coast, you’ll find long stretches of beaches that are popular with surfers, like Jeffries Bay and Plettenberg Bay.

Cape Town water can be cold, so those looking for warmer waters should head towards Durban. Some of the best beaches around there are North Beach, Umhlanga Rocks and South Beach. Head to Umdloti Beach if you like a bit of rockpooling away from the crowds.

Go on safari

Going on safari should be on everyone's South Africa bucket list. For children, it's not only exciting being able to see animals up close in the wild, but it's also educational for them.

Thankfully, there are many places you can go on Safari in South Africa. Accommodation at camps, lodges and safari retreats ranges from more affordable, self-catering cottages to luxurious 5-star establishments that cater to your every need.

Kruger National Park, located in Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces, is one of South Africa's most exciting and popular safari destinations. Tourists travel from across the globe here in search of the 'Big Five': elephant, lion, rhino, leopard and buffalo.

Visit a wine farm

With South Africa being such a family-friendly destination, many wine estates now include child-friendly tastings.

While mum and dad make their way through some of the finest wines and spirits on offer, children can enjoy grape juice or even milk tastings, along with food pairings such as chocolate, biscuits and fruit. Spier's children's tasting includes two different grape juices and an educational activity sheet highlighting the role insects play in our vineyards.

Many wine estates, particularly those in Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, have children's playgrounds and child-friendly restaurants, so it's a day out the whole family can enjoy.

Have some animal encounters

Having ticked off seeing the 'Big Five' on safari, there's still plenty of opportunities for other South African animal encounters.

Penguin fans should head to Boulders Beach in Simon's Town where the wooden walkways allow you to wander around the colony. These cheeky birds have also been known to wander around the neighbourhood, but be careful not to get too close as they can be known to bite!

Between July - November is the perfect time to spot whales, and Hermanus is known as one of the best whale spotting destinations in the world. Try your luck sighting from land or take a boat tour.

Lake St Lucia, in KwaZulu-Natal's iSimangaliso Wetland Park, is home to the largest population of hippos and crocodiles in southern Africa. A boat tour on the estuary gets you up close to these impressive animals with plenty of opportunities to get some great photos.

Go wild at Sun City

Sun City Resort in the North West province of South Africa, promises a vacation packed with adventure. Go wild at the Roaring Lagoon, a world-class water park, and try not to go crazy navigating your way through the mind-boggling Maze of the Lost City. You can also explore the African bush on a game drive, glide through the air on a hot-air balloon, and parents will enjoy playing a round of golf on two world-class golf courses.

Be a tourist

Adventure doesn't have to be far away and sometimes we can get all the benefits of a vacation without leaving town.

Hop on the #RedBus in Cape Town and Johannesburg for a fun and informative day out exploring the city. As well as ticking off the main landmarks and attractions, you can add on experiences such as wine tours and sunset cruises.

Embrace a bit of history by visiting one of the many museums in South Africa. From motor museums to art, nature and history, there's something for all interests and parents will have the opportunity to learn something new along with their children.

The V&A Waterfront in Cape Town is crammed full of fun things to do, such as taking a trip on the Cape Town Wheel or gazing at the sea life at the Two Oceans Aquarium. After your day of fun, head to the Food Market or one of the many restaurants nearby for some dinner. Keep an eye out in the harbour for the playful seals that enjoy popping up to say hello!

Fishing is one of the many activities families can enjoy together in South Africa.

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