In October half term 2022 our family travelled to South Africa! We’re a family of 5, our kids were aged 10 years, 8 years and 16 months. We had the most incredible time on our Africa family holiday. Here I’m sharing our 10 days South Africa Itinerary. It could easily be stretched to a 12 day South Africa itinerary or even shortened if you have less time. I’ll indicate where I would have spent more or less time as I go through. Read on for some of the best family holiday destinations in South Africa.
Best family holiday destinations South Africa
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Family holiday South Africa
Flying to South Africa from the UK isn’t the most challenging trip we’ve taken with two kids and a toddler (the Maldives definitely claims that title!) But it is 12 hours long and if you are delayed like we were it can be an uncomfortable time. However, once you have arrived the jet lag is almost non-existent and although everyone will be tired from travelling you can pretty much start your family adventure holiday in South Africa immediately. Yay!
We chose to fly in and out of Cape Town as this simplified the trip. Although we’re happy to travel around, packing and unpacking multiple times we wanted to avoid adding too many miles to our trip and certainly didn’t want multiple domestic flights as well. We hired a car on arrival at the airport and this worked brilliantly! We needed it almost every day of our trip and driving in South Africa is easy.
Arriving in Cape Town with kids
Our first night was spent in Camps Bay at The Bay hotel. Camps Bay is the perfect place to land, pause and unwind from a long journey. It’s a beautiful stretch of white sandy beach and The Bay hotel has a prime sea front location.
We spent out time here having a dip in the pool (it was chilly, it’s only Spring in October!), walking the beach and eating ice creams. The sea is wavy and cold, it is the Atlantic, not the Med. It’s a really easy area to navigate in a sleep-deprived state with plenty of eateries to choose from for your first meal out.
Hermanus with kids
Day two we travelled to Hermanus. This area, less than two hours drive from Cape Town is famous for whales! We stayed in a gorgeous seafront house, walked the stunning coastline. We had a relaxed day but if you needed to cut a few days from this 12 days South Africa itinerary you could travel here first thing and head straight out to our day three activity …
Whale watching in Hermanus
Day three we went on a whale watching tour! South Africa whale season is from June to November so we were just in time. And now did we get a good show. The whale trip is 2 hours long and a good portion of that was spent with the whales. We saw Humpback whales and South Right whales.
We went on the midday tour with Hermanus Whale Cruises which allowed us time to have breakfast out in the morning, and then have a relatively relaxed afternoon and cook at home. Not over-scheduling worked really well for us as the kids were exhausted from the end of term at school and the baby still needed quiet times in the day to nap. You can read about our whale watching tour in detail here.
South Africa Safari with kids
Days four – six and excitement really hit fever-pitch. It was time for us to go on safari with the kids. Booking a safari in South Africa with kids isn’t the easiest. Many of the national parks do not allow children in at all. You’ll find more private game reserves that welcome children, but not all of them will allow children to go on the game drives. I chose Gondwana Private Game Reserve because they welcome children and babies of ALL ages and even put on special drives for younger guests who wouldn’t be safe on regular drives. They have an excellent Junior Ranger programme and the kids absolutely LOVED our stay.
If you’re trying to travel South Africa with kids in a shorter timeframe I would not recommend cutting days from this section of the trip. It was by far everyone’s favourite part of the South Africa family holiday, I think a safari is the best thing to do in South Africa with kids. If budget is no object, extend your stay here!
It’s worth noting that under 6’s cannot go on the regular game drives. My husband and I took it in turns to do the drives and stay home with the baby. Staying two nights here allowed us each to do a dawn drive and a dusk drive.
Cape Town with kids
On day six we travelled the 4 hours back to Cape Town and stayed in the busier part of the city at Pepperclub Hotel. This is a 5* luxury hotel with apartment style accommodation. It’s a very short drive to the V&A Waterfront where you’ll find fabulous restaurants. We arrived fairly late in the day as we had stayed at Gondwana for as long as possible on day 6 to take advantage of the morning drive and the swimming pool.
Days six to eight were spent exploring sights from Cape Town city centre. We visited Boulders Beach where a penguin colony lives, we scrambled up some of Table Mountain (sadly the cable car to the top was out of operation due to high winds) and we went on a Township Tour to hear the stories of the people who are STILL affected by the atrocities of South Africa’s awful history of racial segregation.
While we enjoyed all of these kid-friendly activities in Cape Town I feel we could have skipped this portion of the trip if we had been really pushed for time. We are not city people.
Exploring the Cape Winelands with children
Days eight to ten were spent on a 2000 hectare farm and wine estate in the stunning Cape Winelands. I booked this part of the family holiday to South Africa for the adults. Surprisingly the kids said it was their second favourite part of the holiday, the safari was obviously the fave!
Boschendal Farm is absolutely beautiful. We stayed in a 3 bed cottage on the estate and went horse riding, wine tasting and took full advantage of The Tree House (a very cool kids club) and the epic play area.
South Africa travel with kids
This 10 day itinerary for South Africa with children served us well. If I was planning this same South Africa family holiday again I might start with two nights in Camps Bay and skip staying in Cape Town city. That would have suited our family better as we prefer more natural environments to the city. But otherwise, I really think this is the best way to spend 10 days in South Africa with kids.
The safari was absolutely the highlight of the trip. The girls did every single game drive at Gondwana and managed to squeeze in 13 hours out in the jeep over a 48 hour period. You’d think after all that time searching for animals in all weathers they would be done … but no. They would have happily stayed another night or two.
The wine estate was surprisingly family-friendly. I booked it on a whim, stealing a couple of nights from the Cape Town stop and I am SO glad I did. Definitely do not miss this out when you plan your trip to South Africa with children. There are so many activities to keep the kids entertained and the farm is a stunningly, beautiful place to relax for adults. Visiting South Africa with children can be really tiring. There is so much to do on every part of the trip. Visiting Boschendal before heading home gives you the perfect place to unwind before the long flight home