April 17, 2014

Local family travel in South Africa

There are some amazing local family holiday options for us South Africans, or for families visiting our beautiful country. Check out some of Sure Travel's suggestions for a great family holiday this Easter or the next school holidays...

In the Cape:
A little remote place called Simonskloof, just outside Montague. No cell phone reception, no 3G, no electricity; nothing except clean fresh air, mountains to climb, trails to hike, dams to swim in. They also offer the exciting geocaching* - great family fun to be had doing this activity.

*Geocaching is a form of a treasure hunt using GPS coordinates to find items hidden somewhere in the world.

Read about a holiday to Simonskloof Mountain Retreat here and a family holiday to Montagu Guano Cave Resort here.

Photo copyright: Abigail Pires.

Photo copyright: Abigail Pires.
Other alternatives are the great nature escapes offered on Cape Nature.
The Kogelberg Nature Reserve is a sublime option. This reserve really does have it all. The pristine beauty abounds all year round, even in summer when green is not what you expect to see, and in winter when rain and mist create beautiful waterfalls along the rock faces.

The whole area is one of more than 400 biosphere reserves worldwide. Kogelberg was South Africa’s first registered biosphere reserve and it encompasses the entire coastal area from Gordon’s Bay to the Bot River Vlei, and inland to Grabouw and the Groenland Mountain. There is also plenty to do here. Activities range from canoeing & kayaking to swimming, sightseeing, wildlife watching, cycling, mountain biking, whale watching and hiking.

Local cruises:
A great option for a family holiday is one of the local MSC Cruises - a favourite for families at the moment. Read about a family trip on the MSC Sinfonia here. More MSC traveller stories coming soon.

Options abound for family holidays, especially the beautiful Kruger National Park.
If you have not taken the family here yet, then make this a priority. There is nothing as spectacular as the bush for a great getaway, and a true escape too. Very little modern data interference here. The importance of showing our children their inheritance and the precious wildlife we have left in Southern Africa is so important. With cheetahs on the endangered list, Wild Dogs only numbering 450 left in South Africa (take a look at what we're doing to support Wild Dogs here) plus some of the rare antelope species, such as Roan and Sable, very near the extension list, this is a priority.

Visiting these parks with the family gives you the opportunity to really connect with nature and get your kids interested in this non-urban part of life. Accommodation on offer is at a great choice of camps to suit many budgets and can be self-catering or camping.

Look out for our next blog article: A bush break in Kruger.

The sightseeing in Mpumalanga is also quite spectacular, from Mac Mac Falls, Blyde River Canyon, Pilgrim's rest to God's Window. Don’t forget to stop at Petena’s Pancakes in Hazyview on your way through - this is a very old tradition and a must-see!

Our last suggestion offers great beach vacations, especially for those Gauteng folk looking to escape the hustle and bustle for a quick break. The South Coast has been a firm favourite for seaside holidays for many years now. If you're looking for a true escape without data and email interruptions, once again the national parks are a good choice.

The Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park is a fantastic option. Offering a wonderful opportunity to see our beautiful elephants, and of course the ever endangered Rhino, including black Rhinos. There are activities for the whole family such as educational game walks, cycling, hiking and many other outdoor adventures. Accommodation is available in chalets for the whole family or camping, which kids love.
Read about a Wildlife ACT volunteer experience in the park here

Parks on offer in KwaZulu-Natal are also not in short supply. In fact there is an option for all family types: wildlife parks, coastal parks and mountain parks.

The Free State:
The Free State offers the beautiful rugged landscape of the Golden Gate National Park. Nestled in the rolling foothills of the Maluti Mountains of the north eastern Free State, lies the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. The park derives its name from the brilliant shades of gold cast by the sun on the park's sandstone cliffs, especially the imposing Brandwag rock, keeping vigil over the main rest camp.

The 11 600 hectares of unique environment is true highland habitat, It is home to a variety of mammals – black wildebeest, eland, blesbok, oribi, springbok and Burchell's zebra - and birds, including the rare bearded vulture (lammergeier) and the equally rare bald ibis, which breed on the ledges of the sandstone cliffs. Ribbokkop, the highest point in the park, reveals a breathtaking tapestry of red, yellow and purple hues as its warm shades merge with the cool mountain shadows towards evening.

Areas of special interest:
• The Van Reenen family graveyard
• The impressive Brandwag buttress rock formation
• Vulture Restaurant
• Cathedral Cave (guided walk)
• Interesting lookout points and viewpoints - Zuluhoek lookout point, Generaalskop viewpoint (the third highest point in the park), Oribi basin and Drakensberg view.

5 things to look out for:
1. Bearded Vulture
2. Bald Ibis
3. Black Wildebeest
4. Eland
5. Oribi 

Whichever option you choose, be sure to “escape” sufficiently and have great fun as a family in the outdoors. As in life, in the end, there is nothing more important than family!

Where is your favourite local family holiday spot? Comment and let us know. 

Browse and book local family holidays here.


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