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Family-Friendly Highlights of South Africa (Local’s Guide)

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Family-Friendly Highlights of South Africa (Local’s Guide)

If you have been following our blog for a while, you know that South Africa is one of our absolute favorite travel destinations. We fell in love with the country when we spent two weeks road-tripping through the most beautiful places in South Africa.

Years later, we took our kids to South Africa when the twins were just 2 years old and it’s still one of the best family trips ever! Here, you can find our South Africa trip itinerary with kids

In this article, we are featuring our first guest post by a South African travel blogger – Sara Essop from In Africa And Beyond. Sara shares her favorite places, family-friendly highlights of South Africa. Take a look for a local’s perspective on where to go!

South Africa is fast becoming a popular holiday destination for international visitors thanks to its diverse attractions. As a born and bred South African, I love showcasing the best of South Africa to the world and I find it gratifying when others realize how awesome South Africa is. As a mom of two kids, I also want everyone to know how family-friendly South Africa is.

South Africa is so diverse that in one trip you can climb mountains, go on safari, relax on beautiful beaches, enjoy city experiences and discover ancient fossils. It is no wonder that it is often referred to as “a world in one country”. To top it off, the weather is temperate, the people are friendly and the exchange rate is great for visitors.

These are my favorite family-friendly places to visit and things to do in South Africa:

Safari

I love safaris and would spend all my life in the bush if I could. South Africa is rich in wildlife and has some of the best game reserves in the world.

You can see magnificent animals like lions, elephants, rhinoceros, and leopards in their natural environment. When visiting game reserves, I often encounter international tourists with children, who are on safari for the first time in their lives. Their excitement is something to behold.

Safaris can be done in most of South Africa’s provinces. For a malaria-free safari experience, visit safari parks in the southern part of the country. We recommend Addo Elephant National Park. For a short game ride, Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve.

TIP: Going on safari for the first time? Check our best African safari tips!

Elephants on safari in South Africa
Elephants on safari – © InAfricaAndBeyond
 

Durban

Durban is known as the warmest place to be, due to the friendly people and its warm climate all-year round. It’s affordable for those on a budget and it has a great location along the shores of the warm Indian Ocean.

Popular activities in Durban include swimming and surfing, segway tours and colorful ricksha rides on the beachfront promenade.

Adults and older kids can enjoy adrenalin pumping activities like the Big Rush Big Swing at Moses Mabhida stadium, officially named the world’s tallest swing.

Read more about the best things to do in Durban with kids.

Durban South Africa
Durban – © InAfricaAndBeyond
 

Mpumalanga

Mpumalanga region is another must-visit destination in South Africa. It is regarded as one of the country’s most geographically diverse and spectacular provinces.

It has breathtaking scenery, historic caves, striking waterfalls, and unique geographical formations.

Some of South Africa’s best wildlife reserves are in this vicinity, including the world-famous Kruger National Park. Luxury and budget safaris are both available.

Lisbon Falls Panorama Route South Africa
Lisbon Falls, Panorama Route – © InAfricaAndBeyond
 

Johannesburg and surrounds

Johannesburg may be better known as a business hub, but there is a lot more to it. Family-friendly attractions include Gold Reef City, a popular theme park built on an old gold mine, and the Apartheid Museum, which provides a stark history lesson on South Africa’s dark past.

A short drive out of Johannesburg lies the Cradle of Humankind, a World Heritage Site known for its rich concentration of fossils. Thousands of fossils of pre-humans have been discovered here dating back to millions of years.

You can explore the Sterkfontein Caves and take a fascinating underground boat ride back in time through the various stages of Earth’s creation.

Gold Reef City South Africa
Gold Reef City – © InAfricaAndBeyond
 

The Garden Route

In South Africa, we are quite spoilt with many picturesque roads, perfect for long road trips. The Garden Route is one of them. It has lush green forests, breathtaking gorges, tranquil beaches, lagoons, and mountains.

The Garden Route also boasts two national parks – Tsitsikamma and Wilderness. The Bloukrans Bridge Bungy, the world’s highest commercial bridge bungy, can also be found here.

There are lots of family-friendly activities along the Garden Route. We especially love Monkeyland and Birds of Eden in The Crags near Plettenberg Bay. Also Knysna Elephant Park is great with kids!

A Beach on the Garden Route South Africa
Garden Route © InAfricaAndBeyond
 

Cape Town

Nestled between the ocean and the mountain, Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Kids will love taking the revolving cable car to the top of the iconic Table Mountain, which offers incredible views of the city and surroundings.

Cape Town also boasts pristine beaches, scenic hiking trails, and beautiful gardens.

Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town is another firm favorite for kids. It is inhabited by endangered African penguins and the kids can swim with them. If you’re lucky, you can also see dolphins, whales and sharks in the sea.

A few hours drive will take you to Cape Agulhas, the point where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet. Many other attractions are also within short drives from Cape Town.

Boulders Beach Penguins Simon's Town South Africa
Boulders Beach Penguins – © InAfricaAndBeyond
 

READ ALSO: Best Places to Visit in South Africa

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The highlights of South Africa. Local's guide to the best family friendly destinations in South Africa that should be on your itinerary
 
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Tania @ Larger Family Life

Tuesday 21st of February 2017

It looks incredibly stunning. It's easy enough to see why you love it so much!

Arianne Asunsolo

Wednesday 15th of February 2017

Love this article! The cute penguins and the gorgeous waterfalls! Makes me want to visit so bad!

Jurga

Saturday 18th of February 2017

South Africa is such a special place, Arianne. Where else could you see penguins on the beach on a sunny summer day! ;)

Tracy

Sunday 12th of February 2017

love all these places! Also the Drakensburgs too - so much to see and do it takes a lifetime to do it. It is my second home (grew up in Benoni!) and I love going back!

Jurga

Wednesday 15th of February 2017

We loved the Drakensbergen too, Tracy! So many beautiful places in South Africa, and so diverse. No wonder they call it 'The world in one country'.

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