Caroline Hurry
3 minute read
7 Nov 2017
3:38 pm

5 family-friendly holiday destinations in SA

Caroline Hurry

Kids can enjoy Africa's largest play gym, go mountain biking or see the wild dog.

Run or hike amid spectacular scenery at Trail’s End in Grabouw.

Wondering what to do over the holidays? Here are five family-friendly suggestions.

Lake Umuzi, Secunda


Children playing at Lake Umuzi.

A hit with children, the Lake Umuzi waterfront in Secunda offers Carnival Square, Africa’s largest play gym, the Aquazone Waterpark filled with slides, tubes, and pools, a miniature golf course, snooker tables, bowling, cricket, soccer, and an indoor netball court. With restaurants, and even a brewery for Dad, there’s laughter, adventure, and fun to be had!

Accommodation options range from two hotels to a ‘village’ of 45 four and six-sleeper chalets. For those on a budget, the camping/caravan park has modern ablution blocks, pools, braai facilities and electricity.

About 32 km from Delmas, take the road to Trichardt and follow the signposts.

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Trail’s End, Grabouw

trail's end 2

Cycle amid spectacular scenery at Trail’s End in Grabouw.

Hiking and cycling tracks snake through fynbos-festooned mountains, forests, and rivers, making Trail’s End in Grabouw perfect for those with energy to burn.

Think climbing wall, long swimming pool, wellness centre with a pilates studio, physiotherapist, chiropractor, and beautician. Reward yourself with homebaked blueberry pie and a craft beer from the open-plan relaxing area afterwards.

From the N2, follow Worcester Road past a three-way stop, white bridge, and the Oude Molen Brandy Distillery, to find the Trail’s End Bike Hotel sign.

Big on recycling, this solar-powered bike hotel offers private en-suite rooms for couples, bunk beds for children, or dormitories for school friends. Meals and nutrition coaching available, but after all that adventure you’ll probably appreciate the shower and bed.

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Umkhumbi Lodge, KZN

Umkhumbi Lodge

The Umkhumbi lapa.

Explore wildlife and beach activities from Umkhumbi Lodge, 18km outside Hluhluwe on the R22. Safari in the Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Game Reserve, cruise St Lucia’s lakes, kayak in Kosi Bay or scuba dive in Sodwana Bay.

Within easy driving distance are the Zulu Croc Reptile Park, Emdoneni Lodge for cheetah, and Bayala for elephants. Blending into sand forest and surrounded by the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, Umkhumbi offers 12 air-conditioned en-suite rooms.

Three-course evening meals are served on the lapa’s wooden deck with views of the free-ranging antelope and abundant birdlife in the reserve. There’s a fridge to cool your beers, board games at the bar for rainy days, and activities coordinated on request.

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Penhill Manor, Toontjiesrivier

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Penhill Manor in Toontjiesrivier.

History unfolds at Penhill Manor in Toontjiesrivier on a farm in the Nuy Valley beneath the Langeberg Mountains, established 300 years ago as a refreshment station en route to Stellenbosch, Swellendam and Graaff Reinet.

A scenic 90-minute drive on the N1 from Cape Town, you can play tennis, swim, fish in the dam, ride horses, taste olives, and enjoy fine wines from the valley.

The 1800s ‘brandy boom’ atmosphere – former Penhill Manor owner Jacobus Kloppers was a distiller – still lingers in the restored 1 840 Cape Dutch Manor House that sleeps eight.

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Tau Game Lodge, Madikwe

Tau Lodge Madikwe

Children on a game drive in Madikwe.

With fewer than 3 600 wild dogs left in the world, you’re more likely to encounter them in the Big Five Madikwe Reserve than anywhere else. Watch them drink and splash in the Marico River at sundown.

The child-friendly philosophy at Tau Lodge with accommodation for 60 guests, encourages young people to preserve our heritage. The Tau Cubz Club includes a children’s game drive after breakfast, bush-related craft activities, and gift packs.

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