45 Fun Family Vacation Activities in South Africa

[Updated October 2018]

Looking for fun, family-friendly places to visit on your South African holiday? We’ve rounded up 5 of the best destinations for Mom’s, Dad’s and the children in each of the 9 provinces – check out 45 fun places to visit on a family vacation in South Africa … guaranteed you will never be too far from one of these family-friendly venues no matter where you go in South Africa.

 

Family Friendly Places in the Free State:

Bob’s Peanut Butter Shack, Bloemfontein

Bobs Peanut Butter Shack - family vacation

Bob’s Peanut Butter Shack provides a great, not to mention scrumptious, way to spend an afternoon in Bloemfontein – visit the charming tea garden for light breakfasts, milkshakes, burgers and waffles and let the kids work off the sugar in the special fenced-in garden play area while you relax and enjoy the ambience. The play area comes complete with jungle gym, swings and other fun stuff and there’s a variety of activities to keep the children happy, including an arts and crafts room, baby playroom and dress-up room. You can even host a children’s’ birthday party here. Restaurant prices are reasonable, and the play area is completely free.

Contact: 084 376 5831 | View location

Wyndford Holiday Farm, Fouriesburg

Wyndford Holiday Farm - family vacation

Enjoy an old-fashioned, affordable resort holiday with all the trimmings, including three hearty meals a day, an idyllic setting in the Eastern Free State and a variety of outdoor, country-style activities. Located on the Lesotho border on the banks of the Caledon River, Wyndford Holiday Farm offers various water activities including tubing and agate hunting. In the winter, there’s a lot to do in the snow including skiing, snow fighting and building a snowman. Summertime signals endless picnics, a leisurely swim in the resort pool, a game of bowls, mountain bike riding, tennis, cricket, horse riding or exploring the area on a guided walk. A great family vacation for an adventurous clan!

Contact: 058 223 0274 | View location

Basotho Cultural Village, Golden Gate

Basotho Cultural Village - family vacation

The Basotho Cultural Village is an authentic experience you’ll find in this part of the world and makes for a great family outing as you learn all about the traditions of the indigenous Basotho people. In the village, with its 16th century replica dwellings, you can watch customary Basotho arts and crafts being handmade and experience the people’s genuine hospitality and lifestyle. In Basotho culture, homes are decorated with colourful mural art called ‘litema’ and the local beer is a speciality. Watch traditional dancing, meet the village elders and take home some cultural keepsakes – traditional baskets, blankets, pottery and beadwork. A 45-minute guided tour of the village costs under R100 per adult.

Contact: 058 721 0300 | View location

Berry Picking at Bon-Af Berry Farm

Bon-Af Berry Farm - family vacation

Berry picking is great fun – and of course, the whole family reaps the rewards of enjoying the delicious fruits of your labour! The outing includes a guided tour of the orchard, as well as the chance to pick a variety of berries, including blackberries, gooseberries, elderberries, raspberries, blackcurrants and Black Nightshade. You’ll be given a special container to hold your pickings. There’s also a tea garden on the premises, where you can have some refreshments and a petting zoo with cute farm animals. Make sure you visit the little museum with its displays of everyday items including a dress that dates back 125 years, and a gun and a phonograph from 1889.

Contact: 056 811 3966 | View location

Maselspoort Resort

Maselspoort Resort - family vacation

This charming family-friendly holiday resort is only 23km from Bloemfontein and it’s known to serve up a variety of fun activities for the whole clan. Many people come camping here in tents or caravans although there is a range of self-catering accommodation too, from chalets to a youth hostel. Activities include fishing in the Modder River and a variety of fun summer and water sports. There’s a swimming pool, super tube, trampoline, mini golf, mountain biking, volleyball, hiking and game viewing, as well as boating on the river. There’s even a special training and track for 4×4 enthusiasts! Day visitors pay R60 per person, chalets start from R450 per night for two people. The perfect family vacation for small or large families.

Contact: 051 441 7848 | View location (approximate location)

Find your Mango flight to Bloemfontein with Travelstart!

Family-Friendly Places in the Northern Cape:

Take a ride into the past on Kimberley’s Vintage Tram

Vintage Tram Kimberley - family vacation

It’s the biggest attraction in Kimberley. The Big Hole, which tells the story of the diamond rush, is a must see, and what better way to see it than by vintage tram. The Hole, which is 214 metres deep with a perimeter of 1.6km, is encircled by Kimberley’s vintage trams which have been running since 1887! In those days it transported rogues, adventurers and ladies of the night between the various gambling joints, pubs and dance halls surrounding the Big Hole. Today, this bright orange tram with its original wooden seats takes visitors on a 20-minute ride back in time as it circles the Big Hole. It sets out from the Kimberley Mine Museum, which is home to the first diamond discovered here, called the Eureka. Tickets are R20, and are sold on the tram.

Contact: 053 830 6272 | View location

Go hot air ballooning in Augrabies with Balloon Scape

Augrabies Hot Air Ballooning - family vacation

Possibly the best way to see the magnificent lower Orange River Valley at Augrabies is from a hot air balloon. Get a birds-eye perspective of the lush vineyards as they spread out below you, gasp at the Orange River as it winds its way through the valley, while you soar silently over it all on a thrilling family adventure; this is an unforgettable experience to add to your treasure trove of memories. The balloon launch site is located 10km from Augrabies Falls. Hot air balloons offer safe, gentle rides and a unique vantage point from which to see the scenery below. Hot air balloon rides in Augrabies operate from October to April.

Contact: 079 888 9502 / 072 515 6079 | View location (approximate location)

Bella Roma Grill & Pizzeria, Upington

If you’re looking for a family-friendly restaurant near Upington, we recommend Bella Roma at the Desert Palace Hotel. Meals are reasonably priced and the menu offers a variety of delicious pizzas and steaks as well as other hearty fare for breakfast, a pub lunch or dinner. The kids will have the time of their lives, as there are lots of activities to keep them happy, including jungle gyms outside and play stations in the games room. You can also dine alfresco on the deck if you prefer. Menu items are priced between R60 and R160 for main meals.

Contact: 054 338 4100 | View location

At last! Stretch your legs at Williston Mall, Williston

Williston Mall - family vacation

This is the ideal road trip pit stop! Die Ark & Williston Mall near Calvinia is one of the most visited places in Williston, and it’s certainly not what you’d expect to find in the middle of nowhere! A place to stretch your legs, here you will find an extraordinary place to shop, eat, visit a theatre, and a guesthouse. It is also home to a restaurant selling the best milkshakes in the Northern Cape and the filter coffees are famous! There’s a restaurant and licensed pub (Doppies Bar) attached to the mall where Dad can enjoy a frosty one. The mall has a special area where your brood can run around and get rid of some pent-up energy, or splash in the pool and cool down. There’s every type of shop here, too, selling antiques, books, clothing, décor and plants at the nursery! Make a stop at Williston Mall on your next family vacation!

Contact: 053 391 3659 | View location

Flamingo a go-go at the Flamingo Casino, Kimberley

Flamingo Casino Kimberley - family vacation

Flamingo Casino in Kimberley got its name from the abundance of these beautiful pink birds that make their home in the nearby Kamfers Dam, so it goes without saying that gambling probably won’t be your priority on a visit here. The flamingos occupy a 400-hectare stretch of wetland and water, while the nearby casino offers a variety of entertainment and leisure activities for the whole family when you’re all birded out. There’s an excellent family grill restaurant, and the resort, which is owned by Sun International, is set in 10 hectares right next to the Kimberley Golf Club, 7km from Kimberley itself. The golf club has its own museum, which the kids will enjoy visiting too. Accommodation is available at the nearby Kimberley Road Lodge.

Contact: 053 830 2600 | View location

Family-Friendly Places in Mpumalanga:

Experience the thrill of tree-top and aerial cableway swings at Skyway Trails, Hazyview

Aerial Cable Trail Hazyview - family vacation

Traverse the treetops on an awesome outdoor adventure in the Lowveld. Skyway Trails is the longest aerial cable trail in Hazyview. This exciting, non-strenuous adventure lets you and your family glide 50 metres on a zipline through a magnificent forested valley! There’s also a thrilling obstacle course involving 19 different fun experiences, from rope bridges to balancing beams. The trail varies in length from 70m to 230m and links 10 platforms. Up to 8 people at a time can zipline with a qualified guide. The Hazyview Skyways Trail is located about an hour from Nelspruit. The cable trail ride lasts around 2.5 hours and it costs R495 per person. The tree-top challenge is an hour long and costs R180.

Contact: 013 737 6747 / 082 825 0209 | View location

Go “Geckoing” on the Sabie River, Hazyview

Geckoing Sabie River - family vacation

Memories are made of this! Geckoing, or rafting along the Sabie River, is one of the most fun family adventures available in Mpumalanga, where exciting outdoor activities abound. Your small inflatable raft is steered with special webbed gloves, not paddles, and making your way down the steep, narrow incline is an experience not to be missed. If you’re up to the challenge, you can even jump 8 metres from a cliff into a deep pool below, right next to a thundering waterfall. You can also have your adventure filmed! This is the ideal family activity if you have children over the age of 12. Geckoing on the Sabie River costs R430 per person.

Contact: 013 492 0071 / 082 773 8762 | View location

Encounters of the reptilian kind at Perry’s Bridge Reptile Park, Hazyview

Perrys Bridge Reptile Park

Visit one of the largest reptile parks in SA, located in the town of Hazyview, Mpumalanga. Here you’ll see some of the most venomous snakes in the world, including mambas, rattlesnakes and cobras as well as Nile crocodiles, lizards, iguanas, tortoises and frogs living happily in their natural habitat. It’s a great outing for the whole family, but especially for boys, large and small, who love the furtive world of reptiles. The knowledgeable guides at Perry’s Bridge Reptile Park reveal fascinating facts about the reptiles, including their eating, hunting and sleeping habits. The younger set will be enchanted with the potbellied pigs, goats and other farm animals. Daily demonstrations take place at 11:00 and15:00.

Contact: 013 737 7680 | View location

Koek ‘n Pan Restaurant, Kaapschehoop

Enjoy the best pancakes in Mpumalanga, both sweet and savoury, at this fully-licensed family restaurant. Located in the sleepy village of Kaapsehoop close to Nelspruit, this country establishment offers a variety of hearty meals as well as their famous pancakes. You can also use Koek ‘n Pan as your base from which to explore the surroundings, either on a hike or on horseback. A great escape for the whole family, with superb pancakes thrown in for good measure!

Contact: 013 734 4580 | View location (approximate location)

Find your oasis at Lake Umuzi Waterfront, Secunda

Lake Umuzi Waterfront

Image by hyper7pro from: flickr.com

This entertainment area offers a variety of fun activities, including the popular Aquazone Waterpark with a selection of fun indoor and outdoor slides, Adventure Golf and the Entertainment World with pool tables and ten pin bowling. Located on the shores of Lake Umuzi in Secunda, it’s the ideal spot to spend a fun day with the family. There are slides and a kids’ pool to cool off in the summer heat and all sorts of activities to keep the whole family occupied. Of course, there’s also a choice of restaurants here, and accommodation if you wish to lengthen your stay. And the Avalon Day Spa is open if mums wish to be pampered.

Contact: 017 631 3452/ 017 631 3441 | View location

Family-Friendly Places in Limpopo:

Khamai Reptile Centre, Hoedspruit

Khamai Reptile Centre - family vacation

The word ‘Khamai’ is ancient Greek for ‘chameleon’, a completely harmless little reptile who is one of the inhabitants at the Khamai Reptile Centre near Hoedspruit. The area is home to a number of reptiles, including various snakes that you will see at the centre, which also houses reptiles, frogs and spiders, as well as turtles and various other scaly creatures. Aside from being educational, the centre also teaches people about reptiles and how they live, hunt and breed. An educational day out for the whole family!

Contact: 015 795 5203 | View location

Enjoy pub fare at the Pot n’ Plow, Magoebaskloof

The Pot n Plow- family vacation

If you’re looking for family style dining in Limpopo, the Pot n’ Plow is a great choice. This village restaurant offers a range of dishes but is most famous for its delicious, thin-crusted pizzas with generous and delicious toppings, as well as traditional pub food such as bangers and mash. The menu is written up on blackboards and you place your orders at the counter. There’s a traditional British pub atmosphere, welcoming and hospitable. The Pot n’ Plow is located on the main road, halfway between Haenertsburg and Tzaneen.

Contact: 082 691 5790 | View location (approximate location)

Go on a family fishing trip at Magoebaskloof Getaway

Magoebaskloof Getaway - family vacation

Magoebaskloof Getaway is home to two lovely dams full of trout, bass, carp, catfish and kurper. It’s a great place to fish and fun for the whole family in a peaceful, outdoor setting. A great stopover point or spend a few days staying at the cottages, log cabins and caravan sites. If you’re staying over, fishing is free except for what you want to keep. You can, however, come for the day if you have a valid fishing day permit and annual license (both are available from the reception at Magoebaskloof Getaway). Catch and release is also permitted in one of the dams.

Contact: 083 449 7024 | View location

Also read: How to explore the green haven of Magoebaskloof

Take a tour of Geluksfontein Goat Cheese Farm, Waterberg

Geluksfontein Goat Cheese Farm - family vacation

A great educational experience and lots of fun for the whole family, at Geluksfontein Goat Cheese Farm families can enjoy a guided tour around the working 400-acre ranch in the heart of the Waterberg, just 30 minutes from Vaalwater and Nylstroom. Here, Swiss-style goat’s milk cheese is made traditionally using the milk from goats that are reared on the farm. You can watch the goats being milked, and see how cheese is made. Enjoy a cheese tasting and breakfast or lunch at the farm’s Goatino Pub & Grill. Take some cheeses home with you too if you like. Geluksfontein Goat Cheese Farm is open 7 days a week from 08:00 to 17:00; entrance fee is R25 per adult and R15 per child under the age of 12.

Contact: 083 704 4229 | View location

Family Safaris at Ant’s Nest, Waterberg

Ants Nest Waterberg - family vacation

Take your next family vacation up a notch. Located on Gunfontein Farm in Vaalwater in the Waterberg, Ant’s Nest offers an unmatched wildlife experience in a magnificent, untouched part of South Africa. Kids and their parents are taken on a guided horseback exploration to find out all about Limpopo’s flora and fauna as well as prolific birdlife, while those under the age of four can enjoy pony rides. Kids love following the spoor of wild animals and the bug trails and are taught how to identify the animals and follow them in the wild. Game drives in 4X4 vehicles are also available to view larger wild animals including giraffe, rhino and perhaps the elusive leopard.

Contact 081 572 2624  | View location

Family-Friendly Places in the Western Cape:

Have a blast at Blasters Family Entertainment Centre, Mossel Bay

family vacation

At Blasters, the whole family is catered for in a safe, secure environment where the kids can have fun and their parents can also enjoy themselves, enjoying a delicious meal or coffee at the restaurant, a quiet drink in the cigar lounge or a game of pool. Of course, there’s lots of family fun, too – play mini golf in a magical underwater world or go rollerblading, enjoy a braai on the vast braai terrace or a number of special events, including live music, quiz nights, karaoke and much more.

Contact: 044 692 0521 | View location

Farmyard fun at Imhoff Farm, Kommetjie

Imhoff Farm - family vacation

If you’re visiting Cape Point, take some time out to call on this beautiful historic Cape farmstead near Kommetjie where there’s lots to enjoy, from great food and fun activities to animal encounters and shopping. At Imhoff Farm, you and your loved ones can enjoy a petting zoo, camel rides, horse riding, a snake park, food, a wine store and some stunning items to buy in the craft shops.

Contact: 021 783 4545 | View location

Picnicking at Spier Wine Estate, Stellenbosch

Spier Picnic Basket - family vacation

Spier Wine Estate, an hour from Cape Town, is a popular place to visit, not only because of its superb setting and great wine tastings, but also because they offer a fabulous family experience – the chance to picnic on freshly home-baked treats and goodies on the estate. The setting is idyllic and there are plenty of shady spots to choose from on the lawns or on the banks of the Eerste River. The picnic hampers are full to the brim with farmhouse cheeses, pasture-reared cold meats, homemade bread, pate, chutney, fresh salads and home-baked delicacies. Wash down your picnic meal with a delicious bottle of Spier wine. Book your Spier picnic basket before noon for collection on the following day.

Contact: 021 809 1100 | View location

Summer slides for the whole family at Adventure Land, Plettenberg Bay

Adventure Land Plett - family vacation

Adventure Land in Plettenberg Bay is the most fun you can have near the seaside! There is a variety of exciting rides for the more adventurous family members, as well as some less strenuous for the rest, including a 75-metre super tube, a raging rapid tube, a 12-metre free fall slide and mini versions for the kids. You’ll also find trampolines, jungle gyms and waterslides to ensure that there’s something fun to do for the whole family. There’s also a 3.5km cross-country trail on a semi-automatic quad bike and a smaller track for the younger set. Braai facilities and a take-out kiosk are also on site.

Contact: 044 532 7869 | Adventure Land is situated between Plettenberg Bay & Knysna with easy access off the N2

Bugz Family Playpark, Kraaifontein

Bugz Family Playpark - family vacation

Located in Kraaifontein near Paarl, this is the largest play park in the Western Cape, with five different outdoor playgrounds and venues, and a stunning indoor play area with seven different sections all offering a variety of rides and play equipment. There are colourful pedal cars, tree houses, jumping castles, mini tractor rides, a choo-choo train and rowing boats – and that’s not all. Older kids can enjoy pony rides and quad biking. It’s ideal for kids aged 2 to 10 years old, popular as a birthday venue and always packed on weekends. Delicious food is on hand at the Bugz Mini Market. Open Monday – Sunday from 09:00 – 17:00.

Contact: 021 988 8836 | View location

Family-Friendly Places in KZN:

All aboard the Umgeni Steam Railway, Kloof

Umgeni Steam Railway - family vacation

Explore scenic KwaZulu-Natal on an authentic historic steam train. Journey along one of the oldest functioning railway tracks in the country in a railway carriage built in 1908 and explore the spectacular Valley of a Thousand Hills in the outer west region of Durban. Travel through one of the oldest running tunnels, Drummond Tunnel, built in 1880 and steam up some of the steepest railway gradients in the country. The 45-minute route takes you from Kloof to Inchanga and back. The Umgeni Steam Train operates on the last Sunday of each month. Note that only cash is accepted on board the train and at Inchanga.

Contact: 082 353 6003 | View location

KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board, Umhlanga

Kwazulu-Natal Sharks Board

Image by flowcomm from: flickr.com

The Natal Sharks Board is the only organization of its kind in the world. It services 320km of coastline in KwaZulu-Natal with shark nets and drumlines so that swimmers and sunbathers on the beaches are safe. It also conducts research into sharks and their history and offers a public education programme. At their Umhlanga headquarters, visitors can enjoy displays of lifelike replicas of sharks, fish and rays as well as an educational audiovisual presentation and a dissection of a shark. It’s a great family outing, and educational too.

Contact: 013 566 0400 | View location

Mitchell Park, Morningside

family vacation

Not only does Mitchell Park have a magical tropical setting, but it also offers a variety of activities for the whole family. Here you can relax on spacious lawns and explore landscaped gardens, while the kids play on jungle gyms, swings and slides in the playground. There’s also a lovely tea garden here, and the famous Mini Zoo, home to various birds, monkeys, crocodiles and Admiral, the ancient tortoise, who has been living in the Park since 1915! If you’re lucky, you may even spot the elusive bush babies! There’s even a walk-through aviary for bird lovers. Mitchell Park Zoo is located in Morningside in Durban, near trendy Florida Road. Admission is R11 for adults and R9 for kids under 12 years. Get an annual family pass (4 members) for R178.

Contact: 031 303 2275 | View location

Mini Town, Durban Beachfront

Mini Town Durban - family vacation

One of Durban’s most popular long-standing beachfront attractions, Mini Town, is a replica of the city in miniature form, showing some of its most famous landmarks. Walking through Mini Town will give you an excellent idea of what to see while you’re visiting this beautiful resort town, and if you’re planning to spend most of the time on the beach, at least you will have had a look at some of its most fascinating buildings. The structures are all knee-high in size and there’s even a rail network with trains travelling to and fro, an airport with scale aeroplanes and the pretty harbour. Refreshments are available from a small kiosk.

Contact: 031 337 7892 | View location

Check out 55 things to do in Durban for under R250!

Also read: Durban Escape: food, coffee bars and adventure

Surf’s Up at the Wave House Gateway Theatre of Shopping, Umhlanga

Wave House Durban - family vacation

No matter what type of board sport you enjoy, you’ll find it at the Wave House in Umhlanga. This venue is especially popular with youngsters and offers the opportunity to surf and skate to your heart’s content. Live bands and other spectacular events thrill the crowds here too at the Wave House Events Arena. You’ll also find the highest indoor climbing rock in SA, and an assortment of restaurants and refreshment kiosks to keep hunger and thirst at bay.

Contact: 031 584 9400 | View location

Family-Friendly Places in Gauteng:

Gold Reef City, Johannesburg South

family vacation

Photo by: @tsogosun via Instagram

Johannesburg’s most famous entertainment complex offers a combination of fun, fantasy and history. It’s as well known for its casino and theatre as it is for its fabulous fun activities for kids – but that’s not all. You can also enjoy traditional African dance, music and history here. The hotel is designed in the style of an old mining village, which not only tells the story of the 19th century Gold Rush, but is also charming and old world. Go underground into a genuine gold mine, and take advantage of 30-plus adrenalin-filled rides and entertainment offerings in the theme park if your stomach can handle it. There are lots of restaurants, restaurants and souvenir stores – and you can even order a sepia photograph of the family dressed up in 19th century clothing! Cost: R550 for a family ticket (2 adults and 2 kids under 16). Children under 3 years gain free entry. Gold Reef City is your one-stop shop for a thrilling family vacation for young and old.

Contact: 011 248 6800 | View location

Brightwater Commons, Randburg

Brightwater Commons - family vacation

This fun family destination in the heart of Randburg is a great spot to eat, shop, go to the movies and have lots of fun. Brightwater Commons boasts more than 60 shops, restaurants and refreshment stores as well as a variety of entertainment and a flea market full of bargains and souvenirs. It’s famous for its musical fountains that thrill the crowds, a laser quest area and a sensational Skatepark called Boogaloos as well as hosting live bands and traditional African dancing. If you’re at a loss about what to do in Johannesburg, Brightwater Commons is a fabulous choice.

Contact: 011 789 5052 | View location

Yeesh! Fun For Kids, Woodmead

family vacation

Finding something to occupy the kids is easy at Yeesh! Fun for Kids. This entertainment area has been designed by a qualified child psychologist and mother to challenge kids and improve their development while they’re having fun. There are activities for children aged 4-12 years in the double-storey obstacle course, including slides, trampolines, a jumping castle as well as soft play obstacles. There’s also a mini version for kids aged less than four years. Other activities include pottery, T-shirt painting and sand art. Parents get a chance to relax while children are supervised in a safe and stimulating environment.

Contact: 011 656 9669 / 083 923 2306 | View location

Feed the ducks at Zoo Lake, Johannesburg

Zoo Lake - family vacation

Image by Tracy from: flickr.com

This pretty oasis in the middle of Johannesburg is located across the road from the city’s famous Zoo, hence its name. Zoo Lake, with its picturesque man-made lake, is a great place to relax, feed the ducks, row a boat and enjoy a picnic. It’s packed on weekends with families, couples, joggers and dog walkers enjoying the ambience. The Zoo Lake Bowling Club is a popular drinking spot as well as a great place to play bowls. You can play tennis here, or enjoy traditional, local cuisine at Moyo. Zoo Lake is also a famous concert venue. On the first weekend of every month between 08:30 and 16:00, visitors can enjoy the Artists Under the Sun art market here.

Contact: 072 126 6718 | View location

Treetop adventures at Acrobranch, Melrose

family vacation

Photo by: @j9claassen via Instagram

Located in James and Ethel Gray Park near Melrose Arch, you’ll find a great family outing in Acrobranch – the longest zipline in Africa at 200 metres. Activities here are for all ages, starting with a yellow course where the little ones can learn the ropes and enjoy a variety of fun obstacles including an exciting monkey bridge and four different ziplines. Older kids can enjoy the more challenging and speedy Sprinting Cheetahs located 3 metres above the ground that offers 37 different challenges and an exciting 20-metre zipline at the end. There’s also the more advanced Stalking Leopards course where balance is tested on the Tarzan Swing and the challenging Hunting Lion, which offers 47 obstacles, platforms 9 metres above the ground and long ziplines. The most difficult of all is the Big Zip, mentioned above. Prices vary according to the level of difficulty. Come and discover an original outdoor family activity where you go from tree to tree doing fun exercises testing your balance, strength and focus.

Contact: 086 999 0369 | View location

Family-Friendly Places in North-West Province:

Trace your family’s roots to the beginning of time at the Cradle of Humankind

Cradle Of Humankind - family vacation

Maropeng is the visitor centre for the famous Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, an hour’s drive from Johannesburg. This is the birthplace of humanity, with evidence of life here dating back more than 3 billion years. There are 13 excavated sites here, some of which you can explore, as well as the famous Sterkfontein Caves, spectacular as well as historic, as these caves are where the pre-human skull, known as Mrs Ples was found, including an almost complete hominid skeleton called Little Foot. Explore the caves on modern walkways and visit the excavation site on a boardwalk before enjoying a meal at the restaurant if you wish. The tours at the caves start above ground and take you deep into the caves. They run every half an hour.

Contact: 014 577 9000 | View location

Also read: An epic guide to South Africa’s World Heritage Sites

Inland beaching at Sun City

Sun City - family vacation

Image by Jorge from: flickr.com

One of the most famous entertainment resorts in Africa, Sun City is located in the North-West Province 2 hours from Johannesburg. It’s a sought-after entertainment, golfing, gambling, water sports and family holiday destination and offers a choice of four hotels, from the self-catering Cabanas to the plush Palace of the Lost City, as well as the Cascades and Sun City Hotel to support the influx. Sun City is a favourite holiday destination for locals and visitors alike, especially because of its spectacular Valley of Waves waterpark, a simulated ocean complete with a beach. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of activities, from mountain biking to horse riding, tennis, squash, and a variety of swimming pools and there’s even waterskiing and parasailing available. Of course, there are lots of restaurants to choose from, and showbiz is booming day and night.

Contact: 014 557 5840 | View location

Find cheap flights from Cape Town to Sun City

Pilanesberg Game Reserve

Pilanesberg Game Reserve - family vacation

Image by Derek Keats from: flickr.com

Close to Sun City, and another reason to visit this fabulous area is the 55,000 hectare Pilanesberg National Park, a malaria-free game park that is home to a variety of wildlife including the Big Five. Visitors flock here to go on self-drive and guided safaris, viewing a number of wild animals in their natural habitat, including lion, leopard, black and white rhino, elephant, buffalo, giraffe, hippo and crocodiles. You can also enjoy a day hike into the park, or go hot air ballooning to see the animals from a completely different perspective. Bird watching, game drives, walking safaris and other fun game viewing activities are all available, too. The park, which is located in a crater of a long-extinct volcano, offers a selection of accommodation at six different game lodges, or you can stay at one of the four Sun City Hotels next door.

Contact: 014 555 1600 | View location

Book a holiday at Sun City for the whole family!

Hartbeespoort Dam Elephant Sanctuary

Elephant Sanctuary Hartbeespoort Dam - family vacation

Image by Donna-Maree Findlay from: flickr.com

Amongst the variety of attractions at Hartbeespoort Dam, the Elephant Sanctuary is a highlight. At the Hartbeespoort Dam Elephant Sanctuary, children and parents can enjoy interacting with African Elephants, touching them, brushing them down, and walking trunk-in-hand. There is no better way to learn all about these gentle giants than to see how they spend their days sleeping, swimming and walking around. The Elephant Sanctuary has recently merged with the neighbouring Monkey Sanctuary, meaning that you can also interact with monkeys in their natural habitat. Rates for the 2-hour interaction programme are R775 for adults and R335 for children aged 4 to 14.

Contact: 012 253 9904 | View location

Chameleon Village, Hartbeespoort Dam

Chameleon Village

Another great family activity, if you’re visiting Hartbeespoort Dam, is the Chameleon Village near Broederstroom. This 10-hectare retail, dining and entertainment area includes an excellent African craft market selling handmade curios, a home décor centre with 28 different stores selling everything from antiques to handmade arts and crafts, various kids’ play areas with jungle gyms, jumping castles, sandpits, slides and other activities as well as a variety of restaurants and cafes to suit every taste. There’s also a lion park and a snake park here.

Contact: 012 253 1454 | View location

Discover 10 reasons to visit the North West Province

Family-Friendly Places in the Eastern Cape:

Areena Riverside Resort, East London

Areena Riverside Resort

This little slice of paradise is located at the entrance to the scenic Wild Coast area, 23km from East London. You can either visit here for the day or choose from a variety of accommodation, including a campsite, self-catering family cottages and timber chalets on the river bank. The Areena Riverside Resort’s popular Adventure Village offers a range of exciting activities including a two-hour zipline tour with guides within the game reserve, canoeing, paintball, pellet gun target shooting, quad bike safaris, game drives and an entire children’s play area with pool, playground and touch farmyard.

Contact: 043 734 3055 | View location

See our fun things to do in East London to add a little more adventure to your vacation!

Kragga Kamma Game Park, Port Elizabeth

Kragga Kamma Game Park - family vacation

Experiencing the magic of viewing wild animals in their natural habitat is a must-do and this exceptional game park near Port Elizabeth is a perfect location. Kragga Kamma Game Park is home to white rhino, cheetah, buffalo, giraffe and other animals all roaming freely, and one can stay in a choice of thatched lodges within the park, all fully equipped and self-catering with sleeper couches for the kids. There are also luxury tents if you prefer, complete with fully equipped kitchen, en-suite bathroom and private braai area. Game viewing in your own vehicle is a delight, although you can also opt for the two-hour guided tours in 4X4 vehicles.

Contact: 041 379 4195 | View location

Tea in the Trees Outdoor Restaurant & Market, Chintsa

Tea in the Trees Cintsa - family vacation

Enjoy Tea in the Trees, or pamper the kids with a delicious breakfast, lunch or brunch full of home-made delicacies. This idyllic thatched cottage is located in a shady setting right next to the farmhouse and workshop. It’s a great location for a forest walk, cycling along the paths, or relaxing and enjoying the surrounds while the kids play in the playground. Various activities are held at this popular venue, including a forest theatre, Mediterranean tapas and live music on Friday evenings, and yoga on Sundays before enjoying a hearty breakfast. Put this on your to-do list for your next family vacation!

Contact: 072 611 2367 | View location

Floradale Nursery, East London

Floradale Nursery East London - family vacation

Floradale Nursery in East London is home to a variety of garden plants and accessories, as well as a selection of cafes, restaurants and stores that make it ideal for a family outing. In the Craft Gallery, you’ll find an exciting selection of gifts, as well as arts and crafts materials to make your own items. There’s also a superb fine art gallery with displays of works by six local artists, the child-friendly Country Bumpkin Restaurant with its own kids’ playroom, fresh deli items and beautiful local crafts. Or you can stop off for refreshments including delicious teas at Brady’s Café. If you want to celebrate a birthday, you can even hire the Jumble Rumble Kids Party Venue.

Contact: 043 748 2420 | View location

The Boma Reptile World, PE

The Boma Reptile World Port Elizabeth

A fascinating world of reptiles, owls and even a Hornbill will welcome you when you arrive at Reptile World – a fun, interactive educational sanctuary where the whole family gets to interact with the reptiles, learn about them and have their photographs taken with them. See the deadly Black Mamba, marvel at the smallest python in Africa, the Royal Python, and find out some fascinating facts about every type of reptile imaginable. Free reptile demonstrations are available if you’re enjoying a meal at the Boma Country Restaurant at 12:30 on weekends, and reptile shows are available for special parties and functions.

Contact: 041 366 1591 / 083 357 4041 | View location

Also read: Fun things to do in Port Elizabeth under R150

With these exciting ideas under your belt, we’re sure you’ll have the best time with your family over the holidays!

Feel free to drop us some more great ideas in the comments box.

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All information on this blog page was correct at the time of publishing and may change at any time without prior notice. Travelstart will not be held liable for loss or inconvenience resulting from the use of outdated or incorrectly noted information.

Our Readers Comments

  1. Really nice article, thanks for sharing such information. I went on dude ranch vacation Before a couple of years with my family. That was really great experience and beautiful memories. Wide range of activities was there we enjoyed horseback riding, rafting, swimming pool plays, fly fishing, cattle work and many more. The food was awesome and accommodation was also great.

  2. Africa will never be left behind on the list if your thinking of an exotic travel experience. Awesome shots featuring the rarest animals in the world.

  3. Hi m a mother of 3 girls age 4-13 need assistance in arranging a weekend get away trip for us. Where and what to do?

    • Hi Nonhlanhla,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Should you wish to get assistance in making a reservation, we have a team of Travel Experts that would love to help.
      You can contact our direct sales team by calling 021 468 4300 (Monday – Friday) or by sending an email to

      travelbar@travelstart.com with all details exact dates, routing, budget and number of passengers. An agent will get back to you with 2 working days.

  4. good day i am looking for a place to go on christmas day with my family and friends, we looking for a place that have slippy slides and swimming area braai area, around the vaal traingle

  5. Hi, I am looking for 1 to 3 days crafts /art /hobby lessons or classes around East London during the first week of October 2016 for me and my 11 year grandson. Or places for him to have fun.

  6. Hi. My boyfriend and I are planning a four days away in december around Sun city but not sure which sides to visit for fun. Please help

  7. i think the milkshake bar and the masel resort was AWSOME. I hope i could come there.

  8. Hi There i would like to know where in the Free State can we held a family reunion in December.The place needs to be close to Bloemfontein ,Kroonstad and Kimberley.

    • Hi Levinne,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I would suggest contacting the Free State Tourism board: Office-051 409 9900 give them all the details, of when you are wanting to go, how many people your budget and what exactly you are looking for and they should be able to assist with some ideas.

  9. I am looking for an ideal place to send my mom and dad on a two day breakaway this weekend. My dad is turning 80.

    • Hi Ernest,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      Birthday wishes to your Dad 🙂

      You welcome to contact our direct sales team where one of our Travel Experts would love to assist with a quote.

      You can e-mail them at: travelbar@travelstart.com with your exact details: dates of travel, your budget, what you looking for and number of passengers and a consultant will get back to you within 2 working days.

      Alternatively you are welcome to call them on 021 468 4300 and speak to an agent over the phone.

  10. Morning
    I’m looking to take my family away these Christmas holidays to somewhere in South Africa. Last year we went to Harties and had loads of fun. Any ideas on a similar destination?

    • Hi Banny,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      This really depends on your budget and what you are looking for and where in SA you are wanting to go.

      If you look on our blog we have listed the below:

      Free State family activities and attractions
      Northern Cape family activities and attractions
      Mpumalanga family activities and attractions
      Limpopo family activities and attractions
      Western Cape family activities and attractions
      KZN family activities and attractions
      Gauteng family activities and attractions
      North-West Province family activities and attractions
      Eastern Cape family activities and attractions

      You are welcome to click on each link and read through some of articles and see which would appeal to your and your family. There are some really great places to visit for families.

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