When you’re planning your next family getaway, skip Disneyland and the ski slopes and opt for South Africa instead. The country plays host to dozens of family-friendly activities (think: safaris and camping), but also offers much more with it’s varying climates across the region.
Visiting South Africa: Cities to See & Planning the Perfect Family Vacation
Johannesburg: From Safaris to Beachside Resorts and Theme Parks
From sub tropics to arid to Mediterranean, there is so much for a family to experience. Fly into Johannesburg, and from there you’ll be a stone’s throw from the biggest and most prestigious game farms: don’t miss the world famous Kruger National Park. Being one of the largest parks on the continent, it contains all the impressive wildlife a family could wish to see on a trip to Africa — lions, zebras, giraffes and more. The camps have plenty of activities for kids, as well as traditional African restaurants and sporting activities.
For families looking for a lux vacation, visit the resort of Sun City. Sizable swimming pools and water parks keep the kids occupied while casinos, golf courses and spas are there for the parents. Try its safaris, paragliding, water skiing, theater, sports and hot air balloon rides for a truly unique South African experience. Love to surf? Don’t miss the Valley of the Waves, a man made beach with artificially generated waves. In general, safari destinations are best accessed via Johannesburg, but eating out in ‘Joburg’, you’ll find cuisines from all over the world. If you’re really craving a Disneyland day, take the day trip to Gold Reef City, a theme park that has fun rides for all ages.
Durban: See the Aquarium and the Valley of 1000 Hills
Moving east people might enjoy a visit to the sub-tropical city of Durban. Most attractions here revolve around aquatic interests. uShaka Marine World is a fantastic aquarium that has a massive array of marine life on display, and don’t miss the famous dolphin show. Get your tan on North Beach, which always boasts warm temperatures. And score a lesson in culture: the Valley of 1000 Hills an opportunity to witness authentic Zulu influenced African living.
Cape Town — the tourist’s go-to — is a buzzing metropolis sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and Table Mountain. It’s surrounded by beaches making day trips to various strands easy and accessible. Hike Table Mountain, visit Robben Island, go shark cage diving, explore the V&A Waterfront and interact with penguins in Simons Town. The city itself also has cool areas, such as Long Street in the CBD and the markets in Hout Bay and Woodstock. For first time visitors, Cape Town is a must.
If you want to mix up your trip and go even further off the beaten path, visit the countries to the north that offer a more niche experience for travelers. Namibia has some the most breathtaking arid landscape known to man. Red sand dunes stretch for hundreds of miles, and keep your eye out for antelope trekking through the dunes. There are reserves, such as Sossusvlei, that allow you to check out the landscape with a 4×4 (recommended for the adventurer). Quad bike trips are also popular in Namibia, especially closer to Swakopmund. This city lies on the Atlantic Ocean and is known as the entertainment hub of the country. The Mermaid Casino is a main attraction because things like online poker and MobileCasinoCanada.ca hardly exist there. With wildlife rife, the Etosha National Park is the best for game viewing. It is also famous for its large salt pan and lies relatively close to the Angolan border in case you feel like visiting another African country.
On the eastern seaboard of southern Africa you’ll find the country of Mozambique. It has access to dolphin sighting adventures along the coast and scuba diving and surfing is prime here. Perhaps the most popular attraction is the MSC Cruise of the Portuguese Island. A cruise ship takes you around the tropical paradise for 360- views of the landscape.
Visit Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls
A trip to Zimbabwe’s northern border to Zambia gives you access to majestic views of the Victoria Falls. Known as the largest waterfall in the world, you’ll get an up close experince of the water’s impressive energy and force. There’s a wide array of resorts close to the falls. Jeffrey’s Bay is best for surfing, the Drakensberg Mountains best for hiking, Franschoek best for wine, Windhoek best for beer, and the Zambezi best for river rafting.
No matter how you cut it, Southern Africa has it all for a family planning an adventure vacation. The magic the area provides is something that can only be experienced first-hand.