Have you been dreaming about that perfect summer getaway? With so much to offer local travellers, more and more South Africans are exploring the beauty of our country, creating lasting memories with friends and family along the way.
With the summer holidays around the corner, families need to look no further than their own (metaphorical) backyard to enjoy some rest and relaxation as well as keep the kids happy at the same time, from resort-style getaways to hidden gems and some off-the-beaten-track offerings.
Here, we’ve hand-picked our top out-of-the-ordinary local spots that will delight you and your family come holiday season. Not only do these destinations offer value for money and are incredibly cost-effective, but all are Covid-prepped, so you are assured that your loved ones will be safe, comfortable and cared for in a family-friendly environment.
Whether it’s the cosmopolitan Cape Town or the beauty of the Garden Route, there is something for everyone in the Western Cape. The province is built for travellers; evident by the many top-class accommodation options, restaurants and activities in and around the region.
Situated on just over 4 hectares of pristine natural beauty on the banks of the famous Knysna lagoon, this resort is the perfect spot to indulge and explore the Garden route with your family this summer. This luxurious, newly refurbished hotel offers top-class amenities and facilities, against the backdrop of incredible natural beauty. With only 133 rooms and suites, service is personal and attention to detail comes standard. Surrounded by indigenous forest and situated on the banks of the Knysna Lagoon, the setting is serene and the views are glorious, yet you’re only three kilometers from the town centre.
Attractions and activities for the family: Outdoor activities at the hotel and surrounding area include fishing, golfing, boating, swimming, mountain biking, hiking, and bird watching. For adventure seekers, try extreme sports, paragliding, or the world’s highest bungee jump, all located close by. Back at the resort, enjoy direct private access to the lagoon, while a large outdoor pool, on-site restaurant and bar, and kids club playground, means you’d be hard-pressed to find a reason to leave.
This is a truly family-friendly getaway that offers self-catering and bed & breakfast accommodation, complete with comfortable rooms and en-suite bathrooms. At the a la carte restaurant, guests can enjoy some of the best local cuisines while looking out over the farm dam and the beautiful surrounding mountains. As for the kids, they will relish the many fun activities on offer, including camel rides, animal feeding, target shooting, trampolines, and more.
Attractions and activities for the family: Camel rides, ziplining, Mini golf, donkey-cart rides, animal feeding, target shooting, tractor trails, adventure trails, pedal cars, rowing boats, trampolines, an obstacle course and a curio shop – you’ll be spoilt for choice with activities to keep the whole family busy and having fun.
Travel from the West Coast or even Eastern Cape to the sophisticated Premier Hotel Cape Town, at the base of Table Mountain, nestled in the tree-lined Marais Road of Sea Point. Select from 130 stylish, impeccably furnished, fully-equipped rooms most of which command spectacular views of a prime stretch of Cape coastline or the majestic Lions Head.
Attractions and activities for the family: Walk or hire a bicycle on the nearby beachfront promenade that spans all the way to the iconic V&A Waterfront. The area, with a cosmopolitan vibe is minutes from the bustling city centre, perfect for those visiting Cape Town with so much to see and do.
Kimberley has plenty of attractions for the family to enjoy, from the historical Diamond Route, monuments, museums and churches, to nature reserves, the Kimberley Golf Club, The Jasper Solar Farm, Kamfers Dam, The Big Hole, the Nooitgedacht Glacial Pavements, the Wildebeest Kuil Rock Art Centre. So whether it’s a historical journey through time or leisure experiences that you seek, Kimberly will tick all your boxes.
The 90-room lodge is ideally located next to the Flamingo Casino entertainment and leisure destination – perfect for a family getaway. The air-conditioned rooms accommodate up to three people sharing, and each room has an en-suite bathroom, a work desk, TV and free WiFi.
Attractions and activities for the family: Take the family to Kamfers Dam, where flocks of flamingos make their home, or the famous Big Hole, just 10 minutes away. The lodge also has a range of casinos, restaurants and bars, and a variety of activities close by for the whole family to enjoy.
The Eastern Cape has it all, including a glorious diversity that extends across landscapes, from the desert of the Great Karoo to the pounding waves of the Wild Coast.
Hogsback is all about the beauty of nature, with its daily visitors like Cape parrots, Samango monkeys and Knysna Loeries. Families are sure to enjoy the thrill of lodging in the self-catering chalets perched on the precipice of the Hogsback plateau, surrounded by dramatic views and unspoiled indigenous Afromontane forest with fascinating swirling mists and cloud formations.
Attractions and activities for the family: Experience a serene walk in the Labyrinth, similar in design to the one in the Chartres Cathedral in France; enjoy local home-grown produce and local crafts at the Under the Oaks Market; or, for the adventurous at heart, brave the extreme mountain sports on offer – there’s something for the whole family to enjoy at this resort.
Situated just 35 km from east London, Mpongo offers accommodation in four lodges and a single villa. The resort has a delightful dining room, communal lounge with fireplace, a pool and a lapa. Home to elephant, lion, zebra, buffalo, giraffe, numerous antelope and 225 bird species, Mpongo Private Game Reserve offers a comfortable stay for families and awe-inspiring game viewing experiences on more than 3 500 hectares of conservation land. And the family will love learning about nature, wildlife and conservation while enjoying their holiday.
Attractions and activities for the family: Open-vehicle game drives and guided walks by experienced game rangers are an incredible way to experience the diversity of wildlife on the reserve. And what better way to start your morning than with a heavenly cup of hot chocolate in the bush?
Famous for its tropical fruits (avos, mangoes and bananas), Tzaneen has fantastic weather and many noteworthy attractions, including the Debengeni Waterfall, an indigenous forest, and a Rain Queen (Modjadjiskloof)!
Apart from the luxurious accommodation, the misty, breathtaking mountain views at Kings Walden are legendary, as are the magnificent gardens and century-old heritage home. The décor is classic and elegant with a modern African touch. Each room has a fireplace, a spacious bathroom with a massive bath and decadent shower, and WiFi in all the rooms. This truly charming place is perfect for family stays.
Attractions and activities for the family: Take the family to explore the historic Haenertsburg village with its coffee shops, bistros, restaurants, gift shops, a collectibles book shop, and a museum in the area. Cycle through the forests with the kids, view the tea plantations and marvel at the fruit-laden trees.
If you’re looking for a tropical destination with warm weather year-round, KwaZulu-Natal is a family favourite. The province’s excellent climate lends itself to every kind of outdoor pursuit.
Scottburgh is a charming bay situated on the south bank of the Mpambanyoni River and a favourite among tourists, beach-loving families and scuba divers.
The resort, situated on the beachfront, is set amidst 14 acres of beautifully manicured grounds, unspoilt indigenous vegetation and 180-degree sea views, with the grassy embankments leading to golden sandy beaches. In addition to comfortable accommodation, families will also find amenities like a swimming pool, bar, pizza oven and a restaurant terrace. The world-renowned Aliwal Shoal diving experience is nearby, with the Scuba Xcursion Dive Centre onsite offering various ocean activities for adventure-seekers.
Attractions and activities for the family: Family-friendly activities include Aliwal Shoal, Crocworld (animal park), Scottburgh Beach, TC Robertson Nature Reserve, a golf club, and scuba diving at Aliwal Shoal. There’s no shortage of fun things to do for the whole family at Premier Resort Cutty Sark.
Premier Resort Sani Pass is nestled at the foot of the Sani Pass and on the banks of the Mkomazana River. Comfortable rooms with modern amenities and breathtaking views of the Drakensberg await those who choose to spend their family getaway here.
Attractions and activities for the family: Relax in the luxurious spa or around the sparkling pools after a day of adventurous activities in Sani Pass and the Southern Drakensberg Mountain range. Golfing, fishing, horse-riding, hiking, mountain bike trails or 4X4 excursions up the pass are all up for grabs for adults and kids alike. Don’t forget to bring along your passport if you’re heading for the Lesotho border.
This World Heritage site just outside Johannesburg is where they unearthed the 2.3 million-year-old Mrs Ples. It’s the world’s richest hominid site, producing 40% of the world’s fossils of our human ancestors.
Located just a five-minute walk from Maropeng and a 10-minute drive from the Sterkfontein Caves, it offers air-conditioned rooms with a classy African theme, each with its own delightful patio and splendid views. The hotel has a terrace with an outdoor pool, and families can enjoy scrumptious meals at the on-site restaurant.
Attractions and activities for the family: Browse the quaint gift shop or visit the fascinating Cradle of Humankind and Sterkfontein Caves – these are great places to visit to entertain and educate kids at the same time.
The ‘City of Gold’, as it’s known, is the financial and industrial metropolis of South Africa, built on a rich history of gold mining. The city is rapidly evolving into a vibrant art and culture hub.
This contemporary African-styled hotel is surrounded by the Southern-Johannesburg metropolis. It is situated in the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve, home to many species of flora and birdlife, as well as blesbok, zebra, wildebeest and duiker. Relax in the luxury hotel rooms in a tranquil setting with breathtaking sunsets, or unwind at the spa, refreshing pool or meditation trail. The Kraal Restaurant and Olive Tree Coffee Shop offer superb cuisine, great wines, and rich, aromatic coffees.
Attractions and activities for the family: A pool, complimentary breakfast, hiking, and a children’s playground and activities. The reserve has a number of hikes and trails, archaeological sites, and the Bloubos Spruit. In the area are contemporary galleries; the new Maboneng Precinct, with its trendy restaurants, cafés, and art studios; and the Apartheid Museum and Constitution Hill. There is truly so much for the family to learn and enjoy at this resort and its nearby attractions.
Mpumalanga, meaning ‘Place where the sun rises’, draws people through its magnificent scenery, fauna and flora, and the fascinating remnants of the 1870 gold rush era.
The Winkler offers 87 beautiful rooms and suites, which act as the perfect base to explore the rich African landscape with the family. The superb Wakuja Restaurant promises delectable meals set against the backdrop of the magnificent valley scenery.
Attractions and activities for the family: Take the family to visit God’s Window, the Kruger National Park, Rocky’s Drift, Mbombela and more, which are all nearby and provide fun and lots to learn for the whole family.
These family-friendly destinations will make you welcome year-round, so what better way to explore the beauty and majesty of South Africa than with your loved ones?