Family holidays are all about making lifelong memories together; spending quality time in each other’s company while discovering new destinations and experiencing exciting adventures. A family holiday in southern Africa will give you the chance to explore vibrant cities, breathtaking coastlines, colourful cultures and abundant wildlife.
From touring with tots to travelling with teens, here are our top 5 destinations for an African family holiday to keep everyone smiling:
South Africa’s Mother City is a favourite among travellers and famous for its wide range of attractions, activities and experiences – most of which are child-friendly. Treat the kids to a cable-car trip up Table Mountain, learn about South Africa’s unique marine life at the Two Oceans Aquarium, enjoy a family picnic in the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, or spend the day at one of Cape Town’s many incredible beaches.
Top Tip: Book a full-day Peninsula tour, to experience one of Cape Town’s most scenic regions. Take in the magnificent stretch of coast from Clifton and Camps Bay to the beach hamlet of Llandudno, towards the charming harbour town of Hout Bay. Embark on an up-close Seal Island cruise before winding along the legendary Chapman’s Peak Drive with its dramatic ocean views. Enjoy lunch at the Cape of Good Hope Section of the Table Mountain National Park, before visiting the naval port of Simonstown and the resident penguin colony at Boulders Beach (optional and for own account).
Why not try: South Africa Surprise
This breathtaking stretch of coastline between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth is a paradise of forests, lagoons and mountains, and promises families a wealth of unique experiences. From animal encounters at Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary and watersports in Plettenberg Bay to lagoon cruises in Knysna, the Garden Route promises an African family holiday you won’t soon forget.
Top Tip: Take a tour to nearby Oudtshoorn, the ‘feather capital of the world’ and visit an ostrich farm. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore the fascinating limestone caverns of the Cango Caves, a natural wonder, sculpted through time by the elements.
Why not try: The Inspirational Garden Route
Kruger National Park
The gem in South Africa’s wildlife crown is home to a diverse array of animals: from the Big 5 to over 600 bird species, reptiles and even fish, the Kruger National Park also offers a wide variety of experiences. From luxury tented camps in private concessions to adjacent private reserves dotted with stylish safari lodges and into the actual park itself – there is indeed something for everyone. Make sure you choose a lodge that offers a family-friendly experience. This can include baking with the chef, mini safari excursions around the camp, an education session with a ranger and even a kids lounge with wildlife videos available.
Top Tip: Summer and winter offer different safari experiences in the Kruger National Park. The dry winter season between May and October is considered the best for game-viewing as the bush is stripped bare and animals tend to congregate around waterholes. It’s also mild, warm in the day and cool in the evenings, making for a truly comfortable stay. November through to February is the hottest and wettest time of the year; the rains arrive, the vegetation flourishes, baby animals are born, and the birds are out! Called ‘The Green Season’, it’s usually a high-value time to visit the Kruger, but its warm climate doesn’t always suit everyone.
Why not try: Kruger and the Kingdoms
If there were no other reason to visit Zimbabwe, the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls would be reason enough. Besides being one of the wonders of the world, the “Smoke that Thunders” has it all: trails for hiking, birdwatching, mountain biking, horse riding, jet-boating, river-rafting, canoeing and, for the more adventurous, bungee-jumping.
On the other side of the mighty Zambezi River, Zambia plays host to many of Victoria Falls’ wildlife and adventure activities. The Zambezi teems with hippos and crocodiles, so any journey made on the water is a highlight. You can also opt for a guided canoe trail through the Lower Zambezi National Park, a marvellous way to view bird and animal life up close, and at a more sedate, family-friendly pace.
Why not try: Majestic Victoria Falls
Namibia is a land of vast quietness, endless horizons, broad star-studded skies, ghost towns, desert dunes and intriguing rocky plains. This is the getaway of all getaways, a destination in a million which promises an unforgettable family holiday. As the “adventure capital” of Namibia, Swakopmund is an ideal sun, sand and surf destination for families – especially if you’re travelling with teens. The town’s wild and untamed surroundings provide an irresistible buffet of activities for adventure seekers, from sandboarding and dune-buggying to horseback and camel rides across the moon-like landscape. With its seaside promenades, sidewalk cafés, art nouveau buildings and trendy bistros, Swakopmund is all about Gemütlichkeit (a distinctly German appreciation for the good life).
Top Tip: Combine Swakopmund with the Skeleton Coast to explore the stark beauty and of Namibia’s famous coastline. Find adventure and view Namibia’s desert-adapted elephants in the Damaraland region and explore the world’s tallest sand dunes at Sossusvlei.
Why not try: Namibian Discovery