Winter is here! As I write this post about the best places for a winter family holiday in South Africa, the rain is pouring down outside my window in Cape Town and it is glorious!
After a severe drought this is exactly what we need in the Cape… and we hope there will be plenty more to come for the rest of winter! We need the rain. Except when it comes to entertaining kids for 3 long weeks in the middle of a very wet Cape winter!
In that case it’s far better to escape the wet weather and head somewhere with sunnier skies. OR an alternative is to head somewhere that helps you to EMBRACE winter in all it’s glory – walks in the rain, roaring log fires, mugs of steaming hot chocolate!
A winter holiday as a family can be just the ticket to help you find the joy of the season. (and help you to not get bogged down by the grey skies and weather forecast!)
It’s the perfect time to reconnect as a family and snuggle up to watch a movie, play a board game or read a book together… and for the more active, what could be better than a mountain bike ride in the mud!!?
The beauty of South Africa is that there are so many options for great family getaways during winter.
From mountains to beaches there is somewhere to suit everyone and every budget!
I asked some of the best mommy bloggers in South Africa to share with me their favourite family winter holiday destination…
I hope this list inspires you to book your family winter break today!
South African Winter Holidays for Families
Nominated by: Kathryn from Becoming you (that’s me!)
The Karoo in the centre of South Africa might be the last place you would consider for a winter getaway due to the low temperatures, however on my most recent family holidays we’ve enjoyed amazing experiences in the Karoo and really fallen in love with the place… and the space!
This is definitely the place to head to “get away from it all”. If you’re craving vast night skies, endless horizons and limited cell phone signal you need to plan a visit to the Karoo this winter!
Yes, it gets frosty… but nothing a good jacket, wooly beanie and pair of gloves can’t sort out! And as the day unfolds you can peel the layers off to enjoy the sun’s rays.
Winter in the Karoo is full of magic for kids – crisp morning air, hot water bottles, toasted marshmallows… and most important of all on a family holiday TIME with their parents. Most of us fall into the trap of thinking that holidays need to be FULL of entertainment… but the truth is that most kids just want to spend uninterrupted time with their mom and dad!
And when the novelty of too much time together starts to wear off then send them out to run and explore and discover in the endless landscape… or book in to one of the safari lodges in the Karoo. We recently visited Roam Private Game Reserve in the Karoo (full review coming soon!) and my kids never tire of seeing wild animals in their natural environment from the back of a 4×4 safari vehicle. My future rangers love spotting birds and learning about plants and bumbling through the bush tracking animals by their spoor. Roam is a great spot as it’s intimate and personal and very family-friendly plus it’s only 5.5 hours from Cape Town on the N1.
Nominated by: Nikki from We are the Humans
Far down a winding dirt road, nestled in a valley of green, you will find Frog Mountain Lodge.
When it comes to perfect family getaway places, Frog Mountain in Swellendam comes out tops. Why? Well that’s easy:! Its’ modest, comfortable accommodation is perfectly paired with the most beautiful mountain scenery around.
And if that’s not enough, it is packed full of fun things for the kids, not one of which involves a TV or a tablet.
Frog Mountain is an all-weather destination; the rolling waters of the river and the crisp swimming pool make it a great summer spot. But, let me share a little secret with you….
This valley comes alive in winter.
You will never see greens so lush, plus the cottages are equipped with indoor fireplaces and covered patios that make sitting outside on a rainy day magical. It is one of favourite places to visit during the winter months!
Nominated by: Cheralle from My Daily Cake
Winter is my favourite time to do a family holiday as South Africa has a lovely winter climate. Yes, it’s cold, but it’s still okay to get out there with the little ones.
Our favourite winter holiday spot in South Africa is the Drakensberg.
Majestic mountains, fresh air and you have your pick of family resorts. Our current favorite is the Cavern Drakensberg Resort and Spa, which is completely family friendly!
Nominated by: Candice and Stacey from Me and My Sista
For our favourite South African holiday destination for families in winter we undoubtedly recommend the Drakensberg.
Champagne Sports Resort in the Central Drakensberg is nestled between the picturesque Champagne Castle and Cathkin peak mountains. This resort offers something for everyone and families are spoilt for choice with an 18 hole championship golf course for the dads, a wellness spa for the moms and an all new kids entertainment center.
Champagne Sports offers two types of accommodation – self catering chalets and dinner, bed and breakfast in the hotel.
Apart from all that the resort has to offer, the surrounding area is filled with fun family activities. We absolutely love spending time there and, upon leaving, our kids count down the days until our return.
Nominated by: Laetitia from Poppet Patch
Our favourite holiday destination for winter must be Dullstroom. We go to the Lunsklip River and surrounding areas. We’re not particularly trout fishing people, but this area is just so beautiful. It is so cold and perfectly cozy.
We love the old farm house vibe with proper wood fires and great company with friends and family.
Our child absolutely loves the outdoors. We dress her up in her winter woolies and Wellington Boots and go for sundowners by the dam or just watch the farm animals from the veranda. She often ends up eating her supper (and indulging in olives) down at the river while some of the adults try in vain to catch a fish!
Kruger National Park
Nominated by: Susann from Goddess
I grew up with the Kruger National Park right on my doorstep – and parents that loved going there. It kept its’ magic into adulthood and, now that there is a new generation to see the Big 5, tall giraffes, striped zebras and majestic bucks, we plan to make it our winter holiday destination every year, in tents!
There is something so exciting about standing under a star-studded sky next to a crackling fire with a piping hot cup of coffee listening to wild Africa just beyond the fence. Then making your way with a flashlight to your tent, crawling into a warm sleeping bag and falling asleep wondering which direction the lion’s roar came from!
Nominated by: Alexa Gerrard from Things to do with Kids
As any avid traveller will tell you, a list of favoured holiday destinations can be endless, but if I had to choose one favourite family-friendly getaway, it would be Zimbali, Ballito.
My parents had a holiday home there when we were kids, so the area has a touch of home and I have been fortunate enough to create more happy memories there with my own family.
Situated on the tropical Kwa-Zulu Natal coastline, Ballito boasts wonderfully warm winter weather adjacent to the warm, soul-soothing Indian Ocean.
Zimbali also offers beautiful pool areas, nature walks, horse riding and beach access.
Kogelberg Nature Reserve
Nominated by: Deirdre Gower from Accessible South Africa
We have visited a number of Cape Nature reserves over the last while, and even though it is difficult to choose our favourite as they each hold a special charm, as a family getaway we’d visit the Kogelberg Nature Reserve, near Kleinmond, time and again.
Boardwalks lead from the parking area, making two of the cabins wheelchair accessible, and all cabins feature an outdoor braai for warmer winter afternoons, and an indoor fireplace for chilly evenings.
This reserve has a number of hiking trails for nature lovers, and is within close proximity to both the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens and Stony Point Penguin Colony for day visits.
Nominated by: Gaynor from Tulips and Phoenixes
I can confidently say that the town which made the biggest impact on our little family is definitely Storms River in the Tsitsikamma region.
We visited the area when our baby was just 3 months old and it gave us the confidence to take him on many more road trips.
The area is known for attracting adventure junkies and yet, during our visit (with our parents!) during winter last year, there were so many family-friendly activities to do.
We visited the famous Storms River suspension bridge, Big Tree, Marilyn’s Retro Diner, did zip lining and one of us even went bungee jumping.
To top it all off, everyone was helpful, friendly and accommodating. We’re already making plans to return, which says a lot, because I don’t believe in visiting the same place twice!
Nominated by: Kath Read from Cape Town Insider
We love the Robertson Wine Valley because it caters to both us and our kids. Getting away with two toddlers is quite a challenge but the places in Robertson actively welcome children. Many of the wine farms have jungle gyms and big lawns for children to run wild on, and the wine tastings are flexible enough so that you can chase after your children if necessary or sit and relax if you have a moment.
We choose to stay a little bit out of town at Windfall Wines, they have big lawns, love having our children there and a great veranda to enjoy the sunset and a braai after a long day out.
So where will you be heading these winter holidays? Somewhere on this list? Or somewhere else?
Which is your favourite spot to escape to as a family during winter?
Please let me know in the comments below!
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