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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.


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.

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.


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.


Eagle's Nest

Come to Eagle's Nest for scenic drives, self-guided walks, day trips to Lüderitz and fun barbecues on your family safari holiday in Namibia. Its family chalets, which have no age restrictions, are widely spaced out and equipped with self-catering facilities.

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.

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.


Okaukuejo Camp

Inside Etosha National Park, overlooking a prolific waterhole, the fenced Okaukuejo Camp is a good option on a family safari. 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.

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 Africa

Maximise the chances of seeing your favourite African 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

1,125 sightings from 1,351 observations

Where to see buffalo in 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.

29% SUCCESS

427 sightings from 1,469 observations

Where to see cheetah in 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

1,610 sightings from 1,773 observations

Where to see elephant in 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

649 sightings from 932 observations

Where to see oryx in 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.

83% SUCCESS

1,540 sightings from 1,850 observations

Where to see giraffe in 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

1,183 sightings from 1,328 observations

Where to see hippo in 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.

50% SUCCESS

919 sightings from 1,820 observations

Where to see spotted hyena in 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

113 sightings from 718 observations

Where to see brown hyena in 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.

45% SUCCESS

851 sightings from 1,894 observations

Where to see leopard in 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.

80% SUCCESS

1,330 sightings from 1,668 observations

Where to see lion in 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.

29% SUCCESS

264 sightings from 909 observations

Where to see black rhino in 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.

43% SUCCESS

222 sightings from 514 observations

Where to see white rhino in 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

378 sightings from 1,224 observations

Where to see wild dog in 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.

64% SUCCESS

1,072 sightings from 1,686 observations

Where to see wildebeest in 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

28 sightings from 1,503 observations

Where to see pangolin in 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.

3% SUCCESS

44 sightings from 1,589 observations

Where to see aardvark in 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.

45% SUCCESS

623 sightings from 1,380 observations

Where to see eland in 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.

20% SUCCESS

38 sightings from 189 observations

Where to see meerkat in 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

1,743 sightings from 2,082 observations

Where to see zebra in 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.

24% SUCCESS

231 sightings from 967 observations

Where to see roan antelope in 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.

21% SUCCESS

200 sightings from 963 observations

Where to see sable antelope in Africa

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