20 Best Things to Do in South Africa (with kids!)

South Africa is one of the very best countries in the world to visit with kids. There are so many amazing things to do in South Africa with kids that it makes for the perfect family holiday destination where all members of the family will be kept entertained.

I feel that the best family holiday destination is one where all members of the family are able to enjoy themselves.

Choosing things to do or places to visit in South Africa isn’t hard. Every single one of these suggestions by top travel bloggers who have visited South Africa with their own families is ideal for family friendly outings that will keep everyone entertained.

I hope you will enjoy this round up of 20 amazing things to do with kids in South Africa. As a South African travel blogger myself I can highly recommend almost all of the destinations on this list… but I must admit that even though I have lived in the country all my life there are even some spots I still need to see (Hello Northern KZN!)

20 Things To Do in South Africa (with kids!)

Sun City

Sharon from Dive into Malaysia

Of all the places we travelled to in South Africa, it was Sun City that the kids liked the best. While there are many great attractions in South Africa, Sun City is by far the most kid and family focused. Nowhere else could we play mini golf or get lost in a maze around a volcano or play in a great indoor playground while waiting for dinner or go to a big water park all within walking distance of each other. The kids loved doing all those things and we had fun with them. Plus it’s only a short drive away to the amazing Pilanesberg National Park. With accommodation to suit all sorts of budgets and needs Sun City was a fantastic choice as family destination.

 

A Farmstay in Oudtshoorn

Rachel from Adventure and Sunshine

Whilst Oudtshoorn is well known for its enormous cave systems and ostrich farms, it is also a fabulous destination for a farm stay. We were lucky to find Oudemuragie Guest Farm 30 kilometres out from Oudtshoorn on our road trip through South Africa. There are plenty of hiking trails, mountain bike trails and other things to do in the area, but we hardly left the farm. Why? The hostess at Oudemuragie is simply amazing with kids. Each morning our kids would bounce out of bed, rush through breakfast and go in search of Maggie to help her on the farm. Rounding up the sheep, bottle feeding the baby lambs, taking a ride on the tractor, chasing the hens – the kids were constantly entertained and you could not take the smile off their faces for days!

 

Big 5 Safari

Jessy from Planet Pilgrims

One of the best things of raising a child in South Africa is the overwhelmingly beautiful nature and wildlife that you can expose your child to. I will never forget that on Rosie’s 2nd birthday we drove into the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi National Park and she saw rhino and elephants for the first time. It was magical and every since we have enjoyed many safaris. South Africa is ideal because there are many malaria free areas so you don’t need to worry about any precautions.

 

Kruger National Park

Ricky from Daddy Blogger

One of the best things we did during our 2 month trip to South Africa (and one of the best things we have done in our entire travels) was visiting Kruger National Park where we did a 3 day, 2 night safari to celebrate my 40th birthday. Our 3 kids were 5, 3, 1 when we did Kruger and they loved seeing who would spot the Big 5 animals first. This experience was life transforming as for the first and only time in our lives we got to see wild animals in the wild (not from behind cages in a zoo). I highly recommend taking your kids on a safari – it will be a memory they will talk about and remember for the rest of their lives!

 

Table Mountain

Clare from Epic Road Rides

Cape Town’s skyline is dominated by the imposing Table Mountain. Its craggy rock faces are visible wherever you are in the city and it’s hard to imagine visiting Cape Town and not journeying to the top. The great news for families is that there’s a cable car that will whisk you up the mountainside, making the trip to the top a big part of the fun. It only takes 5 minutes and there’s a revolving floor which adds to the excitement. Once at the top there is a circular path that leads from the cable car station. The views down to Cape Town, Camps Bay and Robben Island are staggering. During summer extended opening hours mean you can catch the first cable car up at 8am; perfect for families with kids that get up early!

 

The Garden Route

Corina Swan from Packed Again

Definitely a must when travelling to South Africa with your family is a road trip along the famous Garden Route which offers natural beauty and unforgettable vistas. Apart from its beauty there is so much to do, whether it is a family hike in the most beautiful Fernkloof Nature Reserve in Hermanus, or watching the whales breaching in Gansbaai followed by a play and runaround at the stunning Walker Bay Nature Reserve beach. And not to be missed on any South Africa trip with your family is a family friendly and kids adapted Safari Game Drive at Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve.

 

Addo Elephant National Park

Jenny Lynn from TraveLynn Family

Just a one hour drive from Port Elizabeth, you’ll find Addo Elephant National Park where you are guaranteed to see dozens in their natural habitat. It was one of our favourite things to do in South Africa with kids! Established in 1931 as a sanctuary for the eleven remaining elephants in the area, the park is now home to over 600 elephants and many other mammals (including buffalo, warthogs, zebra, hyena and lions). The park has good tarred roads, so a standard 2wd is sufficient, and the main rest camp even has a swimming pool to cool off after your self-drive safari.

Kirstenbosch Gardens

Serena Cao from Serena’s Lenses

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden is a gem in Cape Town and one of the best botanic gardens in the world. Set against the eastern slope of the famous Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch contains over 7000 species of plants from Southern Africa. Both locals and tourists enjoy visiting Kirstenbosch because it is beautiful, diverse, and family friendly. One can enjoy picnics (or a nap) on the lawn, summer night concerts, hiking trails, or simply walking around to see the flowers and explore the canopy walkway.

 

St Lucia

Nicky Williams from Go Live Young

St Lucia (not to be confused with St Lucia in the Caribbean!) lies on the east coast of South Africa and borders the Indian Ocean. This area is a haven for hippos and crocodiles. Indeed the town is known to have hippos wandering through at night! A boat trip on St Lucia Lake is a must, with hippos and crocodiles being almost a certainty. We spent some time with a huge pod of hippos, some on land with others submerged in the water Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Park is within driving distance of St Lucia, the oldest game sanctuary in South Africa, and home to the Big 5. The first UNESCO World Heritage Site in Africa, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, is found just north of St Lucia, and offers yet more animals, including rhino, zebra and many types of antelope.

Cango Caves

Nirali from Gypsycouple

Set in the Garden Route circuit of South Africa near the town of Oudtshoorn, Cango Caves are a set of caves on a limestone ridge, parallel to Swartberg Mountains. The cave tunnels are large and offers visitors an option to select either the heritage tour or the adventure tour. The Heritage tour is a relaxed guided tour in the bigger caves where it is possible to view the huge stalagmite formations created by the limestone beds in the caves, making it ideal for families and for people of all ages. The adventure tour is a bit harder and is narrow (as small as 30 cm) at certain junctions making it not advisable for claustrophobic people, pregnant women or small kids. Overall the caves are a magical wonderland and the accessible regions are all well-lit and well guided making it ideal for photography.

 

V&A Waterfront

Clemens Sehi from Travellers Archive

The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town is perfect place for children, if only because there is a ferris wheel, from which you can see the whole bay – and of course the majestic Table Mountain. The Two Oceans Aquarium at the V&A Waterfront takes kids on a magical journey and shows them over 3,000 different aquatic animals such as sharks, fish, turtles and penguins. It gets even better on board the Jolly Roger Pirate Boat. On the only pirate ship in South Africa one sets sail in the company of a professional sailing crew.

Boschendal Wine Estate

Elaine & David from Show Them The Globe

Just 45 minutes from Cape Town, the Winelands of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek are popular stops in South Africa. The university town of Stellenbosch is the country’s second oldest town while the bustling village of Franschhoek is filled with galleries and restaurants. An afternoon picnic on the grounds of Boschendal, a 300-year-old farm in the Franschhoek Valley, was one of our favourite things to do with kids in South Africa. The grounds are beautiful, the food delicious and the estate was full of families enjoying the sunshine. For adults, there’s the added bonus of the award-winning wines which are an unmissable accompaniment.

 

Hluhluwe iMfolozi Game Reserve

Karen from Are We There Yet Kids

The Hluhluwe iMfolozi Game Reserve is a fantastic choice for your first self drive safari with kids. Just 250km from Durban, the reserve is known for its rugged landscapes and the many endangered creatures living in its plains. Even on a self drive we spotted rhinos, crocodiles, monkeys, hyenas and giraffes which kept the kids glued to the car windows for hours. For our evening entertainment we stayed at the Mpila Camp in a safari tent and watched a pack of hyenas sniff around our braai after dinner whilst the kids danced on the raised platform. We have never felt so wild.

Spier Wine Estate

Sima Sthanakiya from The Curious Pixie

Many wouldn’t mix wine-tasting with kids in tow, but in the Cape Winelands you need not worry. Unlike many other wine regions around the world the South African winelands are very accommodating towards families. With playgrounds, picnics and animal encounters, there are plenty of activities on offer to keep everyone entertained. On the banks of the Eerste River in the Stellenbosch area is Spier Wine Estate, only a 45 minute car journey from Cape Town. Established in 1692 Spier is one of the South Africa’s oldest farms. We indulged in the Spier wine tasting package for R40 with a choice of five wines across their range. The kids can join with their own juice tasting with three different grape juices and wine gums whilst learning about vineyard insects on their activity sheets. It’s the perfect family introduction to the Cape Winelands.

 

Xhosa bread making with local Xhosa women near Hogsback

Lieve Claessen from Elundini Backpackers

Do you love cooking, want to learn more about Xhosa culture and do you want your kids to have an amazing time while learning new skills? Well…than this activity is definitely a must. In the tiny Xhosa village of Elundini, just outside Hogsback in the Eastern Cape, there is Ntombesizwe who will tell you all the secrets of Xhosa bread making. Start with making your dough.  While the dough is rising, collect wood in the forest and learn to bind it and carry it on your head. Make a fire outside and bake your own portion of rosters. The best bread you’ll ever eat!!! Know that 100% of the fees goes to Ntombesizwe’s baking business.

Harties Cableway, Hartbeespoort

Lindsay and Barbara MacLean from Need to Travel to Survive

Harties Cableway is located approximately one hour from Johannesburg Airport area. The view from the top of the Cableway is beautiful. There are a few trails at the top that are very easy to use and well marked. You do not require anything more than comfortable shoes; even sandals are fine. The trails are cement. There are picnic areas also at the top. Food is available to purchase as well as a souvenir shop. This attraction is great for all ages and activity levels. You could spend a few hours at the top.

 

Sterkfontein Caves

Jorge Bastos from Travel Drafts

The Sterkfontein caves are located about 40km northwest of Johannesburg which means they are perfectly located for a family day trip and one of the best things to do in Johannesburg. This caves complex is internationally known for the discovery of ancient human and animal fossils. In fact, the whole area around Sterkfontein caves is known as the Cradle of Humankind and is a UNESCO heritage site since 2000. The most famous findings in Sterkfontein are “Little Foot”, an almost complete Australopithecus skeleton that is more than 3-million years old, and “Mrs. Ples” a 2.1-million years old Australopithecus skull.

Plettenberg Bay

Shobha George from Just Go Places

Plettenberg Bay has a beautiful beach along the Garden Route on the south coast of South Africa. It is about 375 miles from Cape Town located between Knysna and Port Elizabeth.  The area is popular with both foreign and South African tourists alike for its white sand beaches. One one side of the sandbank gentle shallow waters are perfect for children to wade and to play. On the other side of the beach, the waves are more vigorous and better for the more adventurous swimmer. In addition to Plettenberg Beach, the area also is popular for its nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries. We stayed nearby in a luxury treehouse at the Tsala Treetop Lodge.

Cape of Good Hope

Alexander Waltner from Destinavo 

About 1 hours driving South from Cape Town, you will find yourself at the legendary Cape of Good Hope, which offers some stunning scenery as well as a history lesson. There are many animals living here as well, including baboons and about 250 species of birds. It’s an adventure for the whole family. On your way to Cape of Good Hope you can also make a stop at the famous Boulder’s beach.

Boulders Beach

Christine Rogador from The Travelling Pinoys

Boulders Beach is a rocky beach located in Simons Town, about 46 kilometers from the city centre. People come here for one reason – and that is to see the African penguins. These penguins are highly endangered and can only be found in a few penguins colonies in the world. If you are travelling South Africa with kids, this is one of the best things to do with family. The beach is quite small but it’s ideal for swimming especially with kids. Unlike with other beaches in Cape Town, the water is warmer and the waves are weaker on this part of town. There are also view decks for easier viewing of penguins. A word of caution though, penguins are cute but they can be quite aggressive.

 

Good luck with planning your family holiday to South Africa. And if you’re looking for even more things to do during your visit to my home country check out the rest of my posts on things to do with kids in Cape Town and South Africa.

Or leave a comment below with any questions – either myself or one of my readers will be happy to help!

 

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Images: Supplied; Shutterstock; Unsplash

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Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for almost 7 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

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