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Family holidays in South Africa
Family holidays in South Africa
Family holidays in South Africa
Family holidays in South Africa
Family holidays in South Africa
Family holidays in South Africa
Family holidays in South Africa
Family holidays in South Africa
Family holidays in South Africa
Family holidays in South Africa
Family holidays in South Africa

Walking with elephants near Plettenberg Bay

South Africa family holidays

Our tips for family safari holidays in South Africa's Cape

The Cape's excellent, malaria-free parks are a great destination for family safari holidays in South Africa. Choose between private villas and good-value places - many have facilities for self-catering that appeal especially to families on a tight budget. Moreover, the Cape is well-suited for self-drives, allowing you to explore at your own pace.

Many lodges in South Africa describe themselves as child-friendly and do accept children. Our on-the-ground experience in family safari holidays with small children enables us to pick those which actively welcome children rather than just accept them. These stand out for activities specifically designed for children; flexibility e.g. concerning meal times and children's dietary requests; child-friendly staff and a relaxed atmosphere so that children can run around and let off a bit of steam. Most of the properties we've chosen don't have any age restrictions, yet you might need to book a private vehicle at an extra cost if you want to safari with very young children.

Our list of favourites highlights various accommodation options, including some great-value restcamps, usually booked for self-catering and self-drive trips. These give families the freedom to set their own schedule.

Delivering the same degree of flexibility but on the other end of the price scale are a couple of private villas and houses in South Africa where families can keep to themselves and children may feel at home. These usually come with a private guide, chef and safari vehicle.

Ecca Lodge

For South Africa family safari holidays with small children, Ecca Lodge should be top of your list. This Kwandwe lodge is a bit more pricey but caters exceedingly well to families with children, with special activities like 'frog safaris' to seek out local amphibians.


Victoria & Alfred Hotel

The Victoria & Alfred Hotel accepts children of all ages and, with its location in the heart of the V&A Waterfront, there is no shortage of activities and local excursions to keep the family entertained.

The Opstal

The Opstal in the De Hoop Nature Reserve offers a range of affordable and child-friendly accommodation options, often self-catered, for family safari holidays in South Africa. Children can enjoy activities like tracking tortoises and (guided) walks through the coastal dunes.

Hunters Country House

For a family holiday in South Africa, the Country House on Hunter’s estate offers a very safe and relaxed environment. There’s an enormous amount of outdoor space, a first-class play area for younger children, and particularly good family rooms.

Mooiplaas Guesthouse

For a relaxing, family stay in Oudtshoorn, Mooiplaas Guesthouse offers very comfortable, farm-style accommodation, in a safe environment suitable for young children. Family room (some with kitchenettes), plenty of outdoor space, and only a short drive to the areas main attractions.

Farmhouse Hotel

The Farmhouse in Langebaan accepts children of all ages and is a very relaxed, unpretentious, family-friendly hotel. The hotel has a small games room, a garden and swimming pool - and it's only a short walk to the beach and lagoon. A very casual spot where you can put your feet up and not have to worry about beach sand on the floor.


Storms River Restcamp

Accommodation at the good-value Storms River Restcamp ranges from campsites to cottages - most of them not for self-catering as there’s a restaurant. During your South Africa family holidays here, explore the forest trails and dramatic rugged coastline of Tsitsikamma Park.

La Petite Ferme

For family holidays in the Winelands with younger children, consider La Petite Ferme’s lakeside lodges or the self-catering Maison Cottage. Older children can be accommodated well in the main suites.

The Opstal

The Opstal in the De Hoop Nature Reserve offers a range of affordable and child-friendly accommodation options, often self-catered, for family safari holidays in South Africa. Children can enjoy activities like tracking tortoises and (guided) walks through the coastal dunes.


Garden Lodge

Garden Lodge makes a great stop for a family holiday in South Africa. The lodge’s rooms work well with children, their catering is flexible, with a good children’s menu, and some activities are designed for children. There’s also a designated playroom and a babysitting service.


Hog Hollow

Hog Hollow is great value for a family holiday in South Africa, with family rooms, friendly staff and superb food. Come for lovely walks through the forests, horse riding and to explore the beaches of Tsitsikamma Park.


Okaukuejo Camp

Inside Etosha National Park, overlooking a prolific waterhole, the fenced Okaukuejo Camp is a good option on a family safari in Namibia. It's also one of the more economical options in the area, although it can be a little rough around the edges.

Vineyard Hotel

At the upmarket but good-value Vineyard Hotel children can enjoy a large pool and beautiful, tranquil gardens. Slightly separated from the main buildings, the hotel's individual cottages offer a laid-back option for a family holiday in South Africa. There are qualified child-minders here too.


Mount Nelson Hotel

The Mount Nelson has a vast array of family friendly facilities and activities, but it is the large swimming pool and extensive, beautiful grounds that make it stand out for us as one of the best family hotels in Cape Town.

Best camps & lodges for Family holidays in South Africa


Farmhouse Hotel

Farmhouse Hotel

The Farmhouse in Langebaan accepts children of all ages and is a very relaxed, unpretentious, family-friendly hotel. The hotel has a small games room, a garden and swimming pool - and it's only a short walk to the beach and lagoon. A very casual spot where you can put your feet up and not have to worry about beach sand on the floor.


87% (17 reviews)
Vineyard Hotel

Vineyard Hotel

At the upmarket but good-value Vineyard Hotel children can enjoy a large pool and beautiful, tranquil gardens. Slightly separated from the main buildings, the hotel's individual cottages offer a laid-back option for a family holiday in South Africa. There are qualified child-minders here too.


93% (58 reviews)
Mooiplaas Guesthouse

Mooiplaas Guesthouse

For a relaxing, family stay in Oudtshoorn, Mooiplaas Guesthouse offers very comfortable, farm-style accommodation, in a safe environment suitable for young children. Family room (some with kitchenettes), plenty of outdoor space, and only a short drive to the areas main attractions.


80% (3 reviews)
Grootbos Garden Lodge

Garden Lodge

Garden Lodge makes a great stop for a family holiday in South Africa. The lodge’s rooms work well with children, their catering is flexible, with a good children’s menu, and some activities are designed for children. There’s also a designated playroom and a babysitting service.


97% (14 reviews)
De Hoop Opstal

The Opstal

The Opstal in the De Hoop Nature Reserve offers a range of affordable and child-friendly accommodation options, often self-catered, for family safari holidays in South Africa. Children can enjoy activities like tracking tortoises and (guided) walks through the coastal dunes.


88% (24 reviews)
Storms River Restcamp

Storms River Restcamp

Accommodation at the good-value Storms River Restcamp ranges from campsites to cottages - most of them not for self-catering as there’s a restaurant. During your South Africa family holidays here, explore the forest trails and dramatic rugged coastline of Tsitsikamma Park.


76% (15 reviews)
Samara Karoo Lodge

Karoo Lodge

With lots of space, the Karoo suites here are great venues for a family holiday in South Africa. Samara has a children's menu, flexible meal times, baby-sitting options and there’s little very dangerous game here, so children are generally allowed on walks and game drives.


90% (6 reviews)
Kwandwe Uplands Homestead

Uplands Homestead

The historic Uplands Homestead, which is always booked exclusively for family safari holidays in South Africa, comes with a private guide, vehicle and chef. Enjoy a relaxed and - for a wildlife area - relatively safe environment just like at home – but in a great reserve!


100% (1 review)
Shamwari Sarili Lodge

Sarili Lodge

Sarili Lodge is a good base for family safari holidays in South Africa, in the not too wild and non-malarial Shamwari Reserve. Even under-fours can go on shorter game drives relatively close to the lodge to see hazard-free wildlife, and every child receives a gift-pack.


No reviews yet
River Bend Lodge

River Bend Lodge

With a very positive attitude towards children and high flexibility, River Bend Lodge offers excellent South Africa family safari holidays. Kids can participate e.g. in baking and a ‘mini rangers’ programme, or go on a self-drive safari in Addo Park with their parents.


92% (5 reviews)
Kwandwe Ecca Lodge

Ecca Lodge

For South Africa family safari holidays with small children, Ecca Lodge should be top of your list. This Kwandwe lodge is a bit more pricey but caters exceedingly well to families with children, with special activities like 'frog safaris' to seek out local amphibians.


100% (26 reviews)
Twelve Apostles

Twelve Apostles

From special touches including bath toys and children’s bathrobes in the rooms, an in-house cinema, buckets and spades for the beach and kids’ menus, there is little the Twelve Apostles hasn't thought about for a family holiday with a touch of luxury in South Africa.


100% (1 review)
Kwandwe Melton Manor

Melton Manor

Melton Manor is an ‘exclusive-use’ safari villa that is well-suited for relaxed family safari holidays in South Africa’s Cape. Its courtyard and fenced bushveld areas are particularly nice to play in and game activities here can be tailored specifically to children.


No reviews yet
Twee Rivieren Rest Camp

Twee Rivieren

The simple Twee Rivieren Rest Camp is set right at the southern entrance to the superb Kgalagadi Transfrontier and works well for self-drive family safari holidays in South Africa. The camp offers both self-catering facilities and a restaurant, as well as a pool.


80% (37 reviews)
Addo Main Camp

Addo Main Camp

We are increasingly including Addo’s Main Camp in family safari holidays to South Africa; it’s great for self-drive visitors. Children will love their own barbeque, whilst Main Camp has space to run around – as well as an excellent interpretive centre to explore.


95% (4 reviews)
Kalahari Tented Camp

Kalahari Tented Camp

For economic family safari holidays on a self-catering and self-driving basis, consider Kalahari Tented Camp in South Africa. It has four family desert tents and bunk beds available. Based in a great game park, you can enjoy excellent views over a waterhole here.


93% (32 reviews)
Elephant House

Elephant House

With spacious family rooms, a large garden and lawn, three pools and a relaxed atmosphere, Elephant House is well prepared for families. Set just outside the malaria-free Addo Park, it provides a convenient base for family safari holidays in South Africa.


78% (8 reviews)
Shamwari Riverdene Lodge

Riverdene Lodge

Shamwari’s Riverdene Lodge is suitable for travellers who want to leave small children at the lodge while on safari themselves (4+ are allowed on game drives). There are lawns, a small jungle gym and a playroom with toys, books, games, puzzles and a TV.


100% (1 review)
Hunters Country House

Hunters Country House

For a family holiday in South Africa, the Country House on Hunter’s estate offers a very safe and relaxed environment. There’s an enormous amount of outdoor space, a first-class play area for younger children, and particularly good family rooms.


97% (13 reviews)
Mata Mata Rest Camp

Mata Mata Rest Camp

The fenced, simple Mata Mata is one of the few camps in the Kgalagadi without any age restrictions. Whilst self-catering here will appeal to those on a tight budget on their family safari holidays in South Africa, others might miss a restaurant.


83% (15 reviews)
Fynbos Ridge Country House

Fynbos Ridge

With wonderful open grounds for children to run free, well-equipped self-catering cottages and a swimming pool that’s big enough to swim lengths, Fynbos Ridge is a good choice to include in a family holiday along South Africa’s Garden Route.


100% (2 reviews)
Mount Nelson Hotel

Mount Nelson Hotel

The Mount Nelson has a vast array of family friendly facilities and activities, but it is the large swimming pool and extensive, beautiful grounds that make it stand out for us as one of the best family hotels in Cape Town.


95% (4 reviews)
Hog Hollow Country Lodge

Hog Hollow

Hog Hollow is great value for a family holiday in South Africa, with family rooms, friendly staff and superb food. Come for lovely walks through the forests, horse riding and to explore the beaches of Tsitsikamma Park.


95% (30 reviews)
Victoria & Alfred Hotel

Victoria & Alfred Hotel

The Victoria & Alfred Hotel accepts children of all ages and, with its location in the heart of the V&A Waterfront, there is no shortage of activities and local excursions to keep the family entertained.


93% (25 reviews)
La Petite Ferme

La Petite Ferme

For family holidays in the Winelands with younger children, consider La Petite Ferme’s lakeside lodges or the self-catering Maison Cottage. Older children can be accommodated well in the main suites.


98% (13 reviews)

Best camps & lodges for Family holidays in Africa

Family holidays elsewhere in Africa

Our top ideas and inspiration for Family holidays in other countries.


Family holidays in Botswana

Botswana

What was regarded unusual ten years ago, is now becoming more and more popular: at a suitable camp, ...

Family holidays in Kenya

Kenya

With fun activities and the fascinating culture of the Maasai, Kenya offers great family safari ...

Family holidays in Mozambique

Mozambique

Mozambique impresses with pristine beaches and excellent marine wildlife. Therefore it's a worthwhile ...

Family holidays in Namibia

Namibia

Namibia offers fantastic self-driving family safari holidays. However, as stunning as the country's ...

Family holidays in Seychelles

Seychelles

Being free of malaria and large predators, the beautiful tropical islands of the Seychelles should ...

Family holidays in Tanzania

Tanzania

With excellent wildlife, lovely, white sandy island beaches and good transport links between them, ...

Family holidays in Zambia

Zambia

Zambia's private safari houses are definitely among our favourites for family safari holidays with ...

Family holidays in Zanzibar

Zanzibar

On family holidays in Zanzibar, you can join watersports or simply relax on stunning tropical beaches...

Family holidays in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is a great option for a classic family safari. Our family friendly lodges hold anywhere ...

Where to see wildlife species in South Africa

Maximise the chances of seeing your favourite animals based on traveller sightings reports from the field.


Buffalo

Buffalo

Syncerus caffer

One of the ‘Big Five’, buffalo earned a fearsome reputation in hunters’ tales. By contrast, big herds of these sociable bovids are placid, but mount formidable defences against predators.

83% SUCCESS

2,557 sightings from 3,090 observations

Where to see buffalo in South Africa

Cheetah

Cheetah

Acinonyx jubatus

The cheetah is the fastest land animal and the only cat that hunts by pure speed. Found largely in open grasslands, its slim, elegant form is today an increasingly rare sight.

33% SUCCESS

1,049 sightings from 3,179 observations

Where to see cheetah in South Africa

Elephant

Elephant

Loxodonta africana

By far the biggest of the so-called Big Five – indeed, the largest land animal on the planet – the elephant shapes the very landscape it inhabits and is a defining presence on any safari.

91% SUCCESS

3,627 sightings from 3,992 observations

Where to see elephant in South Africa

Oryx

Oryx

Oryx sp.

Oryx are impressive antelopes, with a powerful physique and elegant markings set off by rapier-like horns. They cut a distinctive dash in some of Africa’s harshest landscapes.

70% SUCCESS

1,328 sightings from 1,904 observations

Where to see oryx in South Africa

Giraffe

Giraffe

Giraffa camelopardalis

The world’s tallest land mammal, giraffes are herbivores which have evolved many unique adaptations. Their iconic outlines tower above the bush in many of Africa’s wildlife areas.

86% SUCCESS

3,505 sightings from 4,070 observations

Where to see giraffe in South Africa

Hippo

Hippo

Hippopotamus amphibius

The territorial calls of the hippo create a signature soundtrack to Africa’s rivers & wetlands. Despite an endearing smile, this aquatic herbivore has a notoriously aggressive disposition.

89% SUCCESS

2,649 sightings from 2,972 observations

Where to see hippo in South Africa

Spotted Hyena

Spotted Hyena

Crocuta crocuta

The spotted hyena may be thought of as ‘ugly’ and ‘cowardly’. In fact, this versatile and intelligent carnivore is one of Africa’s most fascinating and warrants attention on any safari.

55% SUCCESS

2,173 sightings from 3,940 observations

Where to see spotted hyena in South Africa

Brown Hyena

Brown Hyena

Parahyaena brunnea

This largely solitary scavenger is one of the more elusive and little-known of Africa’s carnivores. Shaggier than its spotted cousin, it occurs only in the arid southwest of the continent.

16% SUCCESS

245 sightings from 1,516 observations

Where to see brown hyena in South Africa

Leopard

Leopard

Panthera pardus

The most numerous of Africa’s big cats, leopard occur across many habitats, from wild tracts to populated areas. Their grace and their elusive nature make them a unique safari drawcard.

47% SUCCESS

1,939 sightings from 4,140 observations

Where to see leopard in South Africa

Lion

Lion

Panthera leo

Lions are at the top of the food chain and also most safari wish-lists, but with their numbers falling fast, any encounter with these majestic apex predators always feels like a privilege.

81% SUCCESS

3,035 sightings from 3,731 observations

Where to see lion in South Africa

Black Rhino

Black Rhino

Diceros bicornis

The black rhino is the smaller and rarer of Africa’s two rhino species but has the more fearsome reputation. Shy and heavily persecuted, it tends to stick to cover.

30% SUCCESS

623 sightings from 2,046 observations

Where to see black rhino in South Africa

White Rhino

White Rhino

Ceratotherium simum

The white rhino is the largest and most numerous of the world’s five rhinoceros species. They are larger, easier to see and generally more approachable than the black rhino.

44% SUCCESS

495 sightings from 1,130 observations

Where to see white rhino in South Africa

Wild dog

Wild dog

Lycaon pictus

African wild dogs are among the continent’s most compelling animals. Much misunderstood, these rare, tie-dyed canids are amazingly efficient hunters with a fascinating social life.

31% SUCCESS

871 sightings from 2,771 observations

Where to see wild dog in South Africa

Wildebeest

Wildebeest

Connochaetes sp.

Superficially bovine in appearance, wildebeests are known for their spectacular migrations sometimes in huge numbers. These resilient animals are some of Africa’s most successful herbivores.

68% SUCCESS

2,484 sightings from 3,665 observations

Where to see wildebeest in South Africa

Pangolin

Pangolin

Smutsia sp.

Pangolins appear to be more pine cone than animal in their unique armoury of scales. These nocturnal, ant-eating oddities are not only highly elusive but also increasingly rare.

2% SUCCESS

54 sightings from 3,321 observations

Where to see pangolin in South Africa

Aardvark

Aardvark

Orycteropus afer

The aardvark is one of Africa’s most bizarre and enigmatic animals. A shy, nocturnal termite-eater, signs of its presence may be scattered about the bush whilst sightings remain elusive.

2% SUCCESS

68 sightings from 3,315 observations

Where to see aardvark in South Africa

Eland

Eland

Taurotragus oryx

Africa’s largest antelope, eland are culturally important from prehistoric rock art to modern game farms. Though widespread, they are also shy so sightings are uncommon and often fleeting.

49% SUCCESS

1,465 sightings from 2,976 observations

Where to see eland in South Africa

Meerkat

Meerkat

Suricata suricatta

These highly sociable little mammals have an endearing appearance and comical antics. Found in the drier areas of Southern Africa, close encounters are a sought-after experience.

21% SUCCESS

88 sightings from 415 observations

Where to see meerkat in South Africa

Zebra

Zebra

Equus sp.

The zebra is a quintessential African animal: the horse in stripy pyjamas at the end of every child’s A–Z. There are three species, of which the plains zebra is much the most common.

84% SUCCESS

3,823 sightings from 4,542 observations

Where to see zebra in South Africa

Roan antelope

Roan antelope

Hippotragus equinus

Africa’s second largest antelope and one of its most handsome, with a powerful build and distinctive markings, roan are wary of people, but renowned for their bravery against predators.

23% SUCCESS

473 sightings from 2,022 observations

Where to see roan antelope in South Africa

Sable antelope

Sable antelope

Hippotragus niger

Perhaps Africa’s most beautiful antelope, sable are renowned for their combative nature, even holding off lions. Shy and restricted in range, sightings of sable are always special.

23% SUCCESS

456 sightings from 2,015 observations

Where to see sable antelope in South Africa

Inspire me

Need inspiration?

Let our trip chooser narrow down the options for you

Inspire me

Other styles of holiday in South Africa

Discover all that South Africa has to offer


Beach holidays

Beach holidays

Discover Africa's coast and tropical islands.

Birdwatching

Birdwatching

Diverse habitats, discreet hides and superb guiding.

Family holidays

Family holidays

Hand-picked camps for an incredible family safari.

Honeymoons

Honeymoons

Romantic safaris and castaway island retreats.

Luxury

Luxury

First-class service, scenic vistas and unparalleled comfort await you during these carefully selected luxury holidays. 

Photography holidays

Photography holidays

Great holidays to suit the keen photographer.

Private villas & houses

Private villas & houses

Enjoy Africa with just your friends & family

Riding holidays

Riding holidays

Explore Africa's wilderness on horseback.

Walking

Walking

Explore Africa's most scenic trails on foot.

Wellbeing

Wellbeing

Wellness escapes in stunning locations

Wildlife safaris

Wildlife safaris

These trips include hard-hitting game and fascinatingly elusive species alike, as well as superb guiding and a variety of diverse ecosystems.

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