South Africa Family Holidays & Safaris

South Africa has a huge variety of fantastic things to see and do, most of which is very accessible and affordable. The good infrastructure of the country, along with high quality accommodation, excellent wine for the parents, and yummy delicacies for the whole family to enjoy add up to make South Africa an outstanding holiday destination for families. 
However old your children and whatever your specific interests, South Africa has an itinerary to suit all. Visit the iconic and vibrant Cape Town, goggle at the magnificent big five wildlife, and participate in every possible activity, from elephant feeding and cheetah petting for little ones, to bungee jumping, paragliding and shark cage diving for teenagers. For the “responsible adults” find solitude in some of the most delicious and civilised restaurants in the whole of Africa, and probably the world. South Africa has it all.

Why a South Africa Family Holiday?

  • South Africa’s infrastructure is advanced, with excellent transport networks, a sophisticated hospitality industry and a fabulous range of accommodation at various price points. In amongst this, the rand is also relatively weak which means you can get a lot for your money in comparison to other African choices – particularly appealing when paying for extra baggage!
  • Many of the accommodation options in South Africa, unlike other safari destinations, are game lodges rather than camps. If you have little ones, the safe confides of a sturdy lodge can make the whole trip that bit more relaxing.  
  • The climate is very benign – although South Africans will tell you it gets very cold during their winter (July – September), it’s mild by most standards and often still T-shirts and shorts weather!  Great family safari holidays can be had in South Africa year-round, although a few extra layers may be required for chilly mornings and evenings.
  • South Africa has so much going on! You really can, compared to other African countries, explore South Africa via so many different activities. You don’t have to stick to the conventional safari, which can sometimes get tiresome for younger travellers! Instead, for the teens and big kids have a splash around white water rafting and surfing, or go no pain no game and enjoy hiking and mountain climbing. Accross the board, South Africa tailors much of it's tourism towards families. 
  • However, you will not be let down by a purely safari experience in South Africa. With some of the best guiding on the continent, your children will be extremely well entertained throughout the duration of your trip. 

  • Which are the most family friendly safari lodges in South Africa? 

    Richard Branson’s Ulusaba is right up there as one of the best family safari lodges in South Africa. Standards of accommodation and service are reliably high, the Kids Club keeps the little ones entertained, and the spa and tennis court keep the grown-ups happy – everyone is set up for an unforgettable family holiday.

    The luxury Lion Sands Safari Lodge in Sabi Sands game reserve is on a par with Ulusaba, and offers an a la carte menu of children’s activities for the over 10’s ranging from bush survival and spoor mould making, to astronomy and arts and crafts.

    Though not ideal for first timers due to slightly lower concentrations of game, luxury Tswalu Safari Lodge is well off the beaten track at the edge of the Kalahari offering solitude from the crowds. It is malaria-free – a big plus and also lends itself further to families with the owner’s children orientated ethos, providing educational and entertaining activities for all ages.

    A 5-star boutique hotel on the outskirts of Cape Town, The 12 Apostles falls over itself to welcome children and is definitely one of our best family hotels in South Africa.

    With an 8-acre formal garden laid out in the midst of vineyards and fruit orchards arching up towards the craggy wilds of the mountains beyond, Babylonstoren in the Winelands is a truly magical place for all the family, and one of our absolute top favourites.

    One of Cape Town’s larger hotels, Mount Nelson is not a hotel that we would normally recommend for our average guest for this very reason. However, for families it is unquestionably one of the best options in South Africa. The Garden Cottage Suites offer plenty of privacy and use of a ‘family’ pool (there’s a separate adults-only pool), a children’s centre and teen lounge.


    South Africa Family Holiday itinerary planning

    Any South Africa itinerary should really include the fabulous must-see Cape Town. Unquestionably one of the most exciting cities in Africa, Cape Town has much to offer families, including a cable car trip up Table Mountain, a fantastic aquarium and a constantly revolving selection of outdoor events, markets, exhibitions and family-friendly restaurants. A little further afield, the wider Cape Peninsula Nature Reserve well merits a day's exploration, including Cape Point and numerous charming little fishing villages and bays. Whale watching is also a popular activity at the right time of year.

    There are various options for a family-friendly safari, not least in the world-famous Kruger National Park and its adjoining private game reserves such as the Sabi Sands. The game here is absolutely exceptional and viewings of the big five virtually guaranteed, sometimes all in one game drive, although the area is malarial and prophylactics are recommended. For those who would prefer a malaria-free option, Madikwe has all the big five (although not in the concentrations to be found in the Kruger) and is a popular option with families.

    We recommend about 5 days on safari, plus at least 3 or 4 days in Cape Town and the remainder of your South Africa family holiday exploring either the Winelands or the Garden Route. For a beach extension, South Africa combines well with either Mozambique or Mauritius, via Johannesburg.

    The most family friendly DESTINATIONS in South Africa

    Hand Picked South Africa Itineraries

    How much does a South Africa Family Safari cost? 

    Safaris are not a cheap family holiday, there is no question about it, but find solace in South Africa being a lot more economical than other African destinations due to easy transportation links, the relatively low value of the Rand and its great child friendly deals. 
    There are accommodation options in South Africa ranging from around $300 per person per night all the way up to $2,000 per person per night. Bear in mind that kids often get lower rates. A really great value trip including Cape Town, the Winelands, Safari and Beach can cost around $5,700 per person including internal flights. Depending on what you may choose to include or exclude of course, and what style of accommodation you are after this cost can vary hugely! 
    The best way to begin planning a South Africa safari is to give us a ring, chat about your interests, and then we can begin to craft your perfect trip. 

    Top 5 South Africa Family Safari tips 

  • For a real added luxury, book a private vehicle, which allows flexibility and freedom for your family to enjoy a holiday completely catered to you. Sometimes, there is no need to do this as depending on your accommodation, a private vehicle may be included.
  • Avoid taking malaria medication by going to an amazing malaria-free destination such as the 'Big 5' reserves such as Kwandwe and Madikwe. 
  • For younger kiddies and teenagers alike, a really fun day trip is exploring the animal sanctuaries of the Garden Route.
  • Rent a car and explore South Africa on an epic family adventure.
  • Rent an apartment in Cape Town and make this your base for a while – the city has so much to offer, you may as well do it properly! 

  • Where to go with teenagers on your South Africa Family Safari?

    A combination of Phinda Game Reserve and Cape Town is a fantastic choice for a great holiday if you are a family of big-kids (and adults)! Here, you get to enjoy so many different safari experiences, all in a remarkable park full of hugely diverse habitats. The whole family can bond over walking safaris, tracking big game (the rare Black Rhino), sleeping out under the stars, trips to local communities, boat safaris and conservation projects. From Phinda, beach time is also only an hour’s drive away on the Sodwana Bay Coast with its enchanting nesting turtles – an unmissable experience. Combined with the fabulous Cape Town and the vibrant night-life it is famed for, your teens will be begging you for another family holiday as soon as you return…  

    How do I combine the beach with a South Africa Family Safari?

    South Africa can be combined with the beach in many different ways. Rocktail Bay and Thonga Beach Lodge are our favourite lazy beach dwellings on the East Coast and Durban has some fantastic diving spots for those wishing to scuba dive. Alternatively, just a short flight from Cape Town is The Garden Route which is an amazing spot for a bit of relaxation with its beautiful landscape and great beaches. A flight away into the heart of the Indian Ocean sits Mauritius which is an ideal spot for action packed beach getaways, with fantastic resorts and activities. 

    Is it safe to take children on safari?

    Safari is of course a potentially dangerous holiday due to the fact that you are staying in close proximity to wild animals! However we only work with established, well organised and well-funded safari lodges and camps with a great safety track record. As long as you follow the instructions and briefings from the camp managers and guides in the camps then your safari will be very safe. Speak to us about which safari camps we believe are best suited for families. 

    South Africa Family Safari Vs. Botswana Family Safari 

    Both a South Africa and a Botswana family safari will offer you a family trip of a lifetime. Botswana is an incredible safari destination, but then again, so is South Africa for its own unique reasons. Firstly, a South Africa safari is a much cheaper option, and when you have added people to pay for this can be a make or break difference! South Africa also has some of the best guides on the continent which will go that extra mile to revolve completely around your child's every need. South Africa is more accessible than Botswana for beach extensions, which in our opinion is a must when travelling to Africa on any holiday, let alone a family one!  Also, there is no need to bounce around on small aeroplanes, which may not be a huge bonus for many. 

    South Africa Family Safari further details: 

    Still not sure if a South Africa safari is right for you? Please see our blog on a reflection of a family safari in South Africa

    Between us here in our office we have visited every lode or camp in South Africa that is worth talking about so the best way to book a South Africa Family Safari is to get in touch and have a chat with us. Email us on [email protected] or call through on 1866 356 4691 or the UK on 020 8704 1216.  




    Although we tailor-make all our trips we have reproduced a number of popular itineraries here

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