Where to go for a last-minute getaway during the school holidays

Haven't booked a holiday yet for the upcoming school break starting on 23 October and ending on 7 November? Here's a few options which still has accommodation available.

The kids are officially on holiday for three weeks from this coming Friday, and parents are most likely looking for easy, convenient and affordable school holiday destinations for the whole family.

It’s been quite the experience for them, from being under hard lockdown due to the global pandemic, to going back to school under new rules and schedules, and they deserve time out.

Here are some convenient school holiday destinations for families.

Sun City

The city of the sun awaits you in this scorching sun.

Get away from the bustle of the city for a relaxing weekend, filled with water and sand. The Sun City Resort is home to the Valley of Waves and it’s a sure favourite for those that love the water.

The pools and water slides offers endless fun for families. It’s the perfect school holiday destination for the kids.

Sun City’s Valley of Waves. Picture: Sun International

Travel time: 2 h 26 min (181,9 km) via R556 from Johannesburg

Accommodation options: Try The Kingdom Resort or the Sun City Resort

Recommendations: Book a BnB in Pilansberg at Kwa-Mosele

Pricing: A luxury stay near the resort for a family of three will cost a minimum of R4000 and a BnB costs R1500 for a family of three

Warm Baths

Situated in Bela-Bela, in Limpopo, Warm Baths gets its water from the hot springs of water in the area.

The Forever Resort guarantees to be a fun school holiday destination, offering both water fun and a bush-veld experience.

Forever Resort, Warmbaths. Picture: Places

Travel time: 1 h 54 min (171,2 km) via N1 from Johannesburg

Accommodation options: Try Forever Resort in Warmbaths or Bergsig Eco Estate 

Recommendations: Enjoy a bushveld experience by booking a bundu hut at the Bersig Eco Estate, which has a playground nearby for kids and bunkbeds for 2 children.

Pricing: Accommodation for a family of four would cost R880 per night

Magoebaskloof mountains

If your ideal school holiday destination is filled with greenery and mountains, the Magoebaskloof Pass is the perfect spot for you and your family.

Also situated in Limpopo, between bird watching, scenic hiking trails, fishing, and mountain biking, it offers a jam packed itinerary of endless family fun. 

Magoebaskloof. Picture: Afristay

Travel time: 4 h 32 min (393,5 km) via N1 from Johannesburg

Accommodation options: Try Graceland Eco Retreat or Lind End Guest Farm

Recommendations: For the fishing family, Cheerio Trout Fishing Rainbow Cottage offers self-catering cottages that are close to mountain biking trails and other mountains offering other thrilling activities, such as quad biking and kloofing.

Pricing: Self-catering cottages will cost a minimum of R900 for a family of three.


Standing as one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, Magaliesberg is a scenic but short road trip from Johannesburg.

It is the perfect school holiday destination for camping. If not, there are numerous options for lodges, as it prides itself on quality hospitality for families that are are in need of a relaxing holiday.

Magaliesberg. Picture: Annie’s Guesthouse

Travel time: 1 hr 20 min (70,7 km) via Hendrik Potgieter Rd/M47 from Johannesburg

Accommodation options: Self-catering cottages in Woodland Gardens or a farm house in Thaba Manzi Ranch

Recommendations: Book a chalet at Woodland Gardens – Loerie Chalet (sleeps 3) which is private & secluded.

Pricing: On average, accommodation for a family of three will cost R930 per night.

The Vaal River 

Situated in the deep south of the Gauteng province, the Vaal is home to the Vaal river, perfect for cruises, camps and other leisures. Families have options of visiting the famous Emerald Casino or even visiting a game ranch to escape the busy city.

The Vaal River. Picture: Vaal Explorer

Travel time: 51 min (71,2 km) via Sybrand Van Niekerk Fwy/R59 from Johannesburg

Accommodation options: Try Little Eden Guest House in Vanderbijlpark or Koi sun Hotels Beverly Hills Inn

Recommendations: Visit the Karma Game Ranch which has on site accommodation and offers scenic game drives to see wonderful sites and animals.

Pricing: Accommodation for a family of three will cost R1800  for two nights.

Badplaas Forever Resort 

Also known as eManzana, in Mpumalanga, Badplaas is located in a scenic mountain range and the resort houses numerous options of hotels and self-catering accommodations and camping stands.

This means that it can cater to families with different needs, and offer fun activities within its vicinity, including adventures and water slides. Its the perfect school holiday destination.

Badplaas Forever Resort. Picture: Forever Resorts

Travel time: 3 hr 13 min (288,5 km) via N12 from Johannesburg

Accommodation options: Try Badplaas Forever Resort

Recommendations: Book a 4-sleeper rondavel with two bedrooms, suitable for a family of four.

Pricing: The cost for a rondavel is R4800 for three nights for a family of four.

Dinokeng Game Reserve

Is your family a fan of the Big Five? Are you looking for a trip that does not go beyond Gauteng? Then the Dinokeng Game Reserve is the perfect holiday destination for you and your family.

According to the reserve’s main site “the reserve is the only wildlife sanctuary in Gauteng that offers Big Five game, free walks, and is available for visitors to explore”. 

Dinokeng Game Reserve.Picture: Dinokeng Reserve

Travel time: 1 hr 14 min (101,0 km) via N1 from Johannesburg

Accommodation options: Try Kwalata Game Lodge

Recommendations: We recommend families to opt for a self-catering option at the Bush Spa @ Tranquillity Day Spa Lodge

Pricing: The self-catering will be R1 440 for two nights for family of four at Bush Spa @ Tranquillity Day Spa Lodge.


A quick one hour short left from Johannesburg, Hartbeespoort is favourite convenient getaway for families.

Famous for its dam, it is perfect for river rafting and other water activities. Those looking for more laidback activities can go for horseback riding, hot air ballooning, or go on a game drive.

Hartbeespoort. Picture: Tourism Friendly.

Travel time: 1 hr 10 min 74,6 km) via R511

Accommodation options: Aksante Lodge

Recommendations: We recommend booking a lodge at Villa Paradiso Country Manor for a family of three 

Pricing: A two night lodge at Villa Paradiso Country Manor for a family of three will be R3 298.

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