10 family-friendly activities in South Africa

21 October 2016

South Africa is an incredible destination with plenty to occupy both little ones and big kids (read: moms and dads!). Spot animals race across the savannah or watch penguins waddle across the beach. Pop on your explorer hats and discover breathtaking scenery, sky-high cable cars and giant caves. From adventures in cities to discovering the wildlife, there's a huge amount to see and do on holiday in South Africa. Read on for a taster of 10 activities to delight everyone in your family...

Fly among the trees

Ziplining in South Africa

Zoom through the forest and get a bird’s eye view of the ground below on a thrilling canopy tour! You’ll spend a few hours immersed in the forest, learning about the flora and fauna and zooming among the treetops. There are tours dotted around the country and they’re a fantastic family activity for nature-lovers and adventure seekers.

Seek the Big 5

Seek the Big 5 in South Africa

Lions! Elephants! Rhinos! There’s little to match the excitement of spotting an animal racing through the tall grasses, no matter your age. The Kruger National Park is renowned for the Big 5 (the lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo) and, as it’s almost 2 million hectares in size, this vast area is also home to an incredible number of bird species, trees, insects and other wildlife. Don’t forget your camera!

Spot penguins on Boulders Beach

Penguins on Boulder Beach in Cape Town

Marvel at these adorable, waddling creatures as they dart back and forth into the sea! The glorious white sandy Boulders Beach is home to colonies of African penguins and there are plenty of rock pools for children to explore, too. The water can be a little nippy but the large granite boulders mean that the area is protected from large waves and wind, so it’s perfect for a dip!

Glide up to Table Mountain on the Aerial Cableway…

Table Mountain Aerial Cableway

Hop aboard the cable car and take the five-minute journey to the top of Cape Town's iconic Table Mountain. Standing at 1,089 metres above Cape Town, from the top there's an outstanding 360-degree view over the city, bay and nearby peaks of surrounding mountains.

…And abseil from the top of Table Mountain!

Table Mountain South Africa

Anyone without a fear of heights – and over the age of 10 - can try one of the world’s highest commercial abseil. You’ll “stand” on the side of Table Mountain at 1000 metres above sea level!

The nail-biting descent takes place on the side of a sheer cliff but there are breathtaking views of Robben Island, The Twelve Apostles, Lions Head and Camps Bay, and the twinkling sea below if you’re brave enough!

Explore on horseback

Horse riding in Cape Town South Africa

From horseback safaris across the savannah to gallops along deserted beaches, horse riding as a family is a great way to see South Africa’s mesmerising landscape. And to get a few giggles from little ones as they watch parents bump along in the saddle!

With treks for everyone from beginners to those who love being in the saddle, there are lots of different rides to choose from. If you’re staying near Cape Town, don’t miss a ride across the beach, with views of the majestic Table Mountain.

Say “hello” to an elephant

Addo Elephant Park South Africa

Always wanted to see an elephant walking in its natural habitat? Head to the Addo Elephant Park to see herds of elephants wandering across South Africa’s third largest national park. The park is home to over 600 elephants, but keep an eye out for rhinos, buffalos, zebras, leopards and warthogs, too!

Head underground!

Cango Caves South Africa

Pop on those explorer hats and discover the incredible history and underground world of South Africa’s caves. The Sterkfontein Caves (north of Johannesburg), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has the remains of more than 500 Hominids (fossils related to our ancestors), with some dating back more than two million years! Cango Caves, on the Western Cape, features spectacular dripstone formations, with Cleopatra’s Needle measuring a huge 9-metres in length.

Visit a museum

Robben Island South Africa

South Africa has a wonderful range of museums and galleries to delight both little ones and parents, and your Travel Counsellor will be able to suggest the best ones for your family and itinerary. If you’re visiting Cape Town though, younger children will love the Cape Town Science Centre, and families with teens will find Robben Island fascinating. In Johannesburg, don’t miss the Apartheid Museum (suitable for children over the age of 11) or a trip to Johannesburg Planetarium to explore the stars.

Kayak with crocodiles!

Kayaking with crocodiles in South Africa

Get up close and personal with some of nature’s most terrifying creatures on a kayaking trip. Children ages 12 and over can join a kayaking tour at the St Lucia Estuary, in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As the water is only 3.2ft deep, you should be able to spot the hippos and crocodiles that live in the water!

Ready to head to South Africa with your little explorers? Get in touch with your Travel Counsellor today to plan your South Africa itinerary!

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