Family Adventure South Africa
Enjoy a snapshot of South Africa's beauty on this twelve day family adventure. Starting on safari, tick off the Big Five before heading to Cape Town to enjoy water sports and wine tasting. End the trip on the coast of the Cape, where there's time to explore marine habitats, caves and beaches.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Explore the Cape Peninsula in an AUV (Adventure Utility Vehicle)
- Family-friendly wine tasting in the Cape Winelands
- Whale watching trips from Hermanus
- Big Five Safari
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When To Travel
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Day 1: International Flight
Depart from London this evening on an overnight flight to Johannesburg. The flight takes around 11 hours and the good news is that there's a minimal time difference of one or two hours, dependent on season, so no risk of jet lag.
Day 2: Start your safari in Madikwe Game Reserve
Upon arrival in Johannesburg this morning, you will be met at the airport by an Original Travel representative for your transfer north to the Madikwe Game Reserve - the family are starting on safari! The journey by road takes around four hours, with a rest-and-stretch-the-legs break halfway through. There is a domestic flight option available for travellers who would prefer to spend a little more to avoid the road transfer. Arrive at your safari lodge in time for lunch out in the sunshine.
After a little down time, your family are ready to head out on your first game drive in search of the Big Five! Please note that for most of our partner lodges, only children aged 6+ are allowed on game drives. If your children are younger, some of our favourite family-friendly lodges have plenty of activities on hand to amuse the tots while parents head out on safari. Your expert safari guide will have their eyes peeled for signs of movement in the bush and any wildlife tracks in the dust. Pulling up next to some lion tracks it's time to hop out (provided the coast is clear!) - there's some Plaster of Paris in the vehicle which the kids can use to create a mould of the tracks. Leave it to set - you'll be back to pick it up later.
Day 3: Morning safari & Afternoon relaxing
After morning cookies, your family are ready to head out on an early morning game drive in search of more amazing species to tick off the kids' checklist. Look out for giraffe heads poking out above the bush, the snapping of twigs as an elephant emerges out of the undergrowth or herds of graceful impala grazing on the plains.
Returning to the lodge, the kids can muck in (literally) and help their ranger wash the safari vehicle so it's sparkly clean for this afternoon. Once it's looking like new, there's plenty more for the kids to do; the ranger is on hand to teach them all manner of bush skills from how to find their way in the bush, how to find water and even how to fashion a toothbrush! Alternatively, the little ones may like to join the kitchen team and bake some cookies to be served at Afternoon Tea later on. This is the perfect time for parents to slope off for some R&R poolside - or an undisturbed nap! Enjoy a further game drive this afternoon. For tea, the kids can join the lodge chefs to make some homemade pizza.
Day 4: Family time in Madikwe Game Reserve
Arrange a babysitter for this morning so the little ones can have a lie in while you depart on an early morning game drive. Once they've awoken and had some healthy snacks, a ranger will be on hand to lead a Bug CSI, identifying various bug species, tracks and interesting plants - mini Attenborough's will love keeping notes and sketches as they explore.
After lunch and family time this afternoon, head out on your final afternoon game drive in search of more wild and wonderful species. For your final safari meal enjoy a traditional "boma" dinner al fresco, complete with fluffy marshmallows for the little ones to toast over the open fire. After dinner, enjoy some stargazing - the rangers are on hand to teach the family all about the constellations that can be spotted in the night sky here.
Day 5: Flight to Cape Town
After a final breakfast at the lodge - and one last game drive for those keen to tick of a few more species - it's time to return to Johannesburg airport in plenty of time for your direct flight to Cape Town. It's a two hour flight, so you'll arrive into Cape Town late this afternoon.
Day 6: Cape Adventure
Enjoy an action packed adventure around the Cape Peninsula today, travelling in an AUV - that's Adventure Utility Vehicle to you and me. Your AUV is packed to the fills with toys, games and even a tuck shop to keep little ones entertained and well fed as you explore. First stop is the Tree Top Adventure park at the Kirstenbosh Gardens to discover the canopy walkway which weaves its way between the trees of the Arboretum. From here, it's off to the Kalk Bay Fish Market, where you'll be able to spot some of the friendly seals that congregate here and cast a line over the sea wall to see if you can get a bite.
Next up, you'll travel to a 'secret' penguin beach. While large crowds of travellers and locals gather at the main penguin colony, we'll instead head to the quieter beaches to track down what locals fondly call the 'rogue' penguins who like to escape the crowds. There's time to hop on the SUP's (stand up paddle boards), or don your fins and mask to snorkel in the rock pools. Our secret penguin beach also makes the perfect picnic stop. After refuelling on the beach, you'll continue your journey to Cape Point, where you're in search of the 'Cape Five': ostrich, mountain zebra, tortoise, baboons and bontebok (a type of antelope). You'll explore the sheltered coves of the reserve, paddling and discovering shipwrecks. Could there be treasure here? After a full day of Cape Adventures it's time to head back to your hotel in the city for a well-earned rest.
Day 7: Wine Tasting in the Cape Winelands
Having the kids in tow doesn't mean parents need to forego tasting the finest grapes in the cape. Today you'll enjoy a full day of wine tasting at some of our favourite family-friendly estates in the Cape Winelands. First up you'll travel east to the Spier Wine Farm, under an hour's drive from Cape Town. And don't worry parents, a designated driver is very much included today.
Another favourite family-friendly wine farm is Middlevlei. This makes a great lunch spot too, as the kids will love the boerebraai (South African BBQ) where they can cook their very own 'stokbrood' (bread) over the open flames. There's plenty of space for the nippers to run around outside and feed the farm animals as the adults sip the Middlevlei Pinotage / Shiraz blend. Next up you could visit a third family-friendly winery, or instead call in to the Franschhoek Motor Museum, where is home to over 220 classic vehicles ranging from a 1898 Beeston Motor Tricycle to a 2003 Ferrari Enzo supercar. The day is yours to tailor based upon your specific interests - and grape preferences! Return to your Cape Town hotel late this afternoon.
Day 8: Hermanus & Walker Bay Nature Reserve
After breakfast your hire car will be delivered to you at your hotel. Pack the cases and the kids in the car and set off for the two and a half hour journey to Hermanus and the Walker Bay Nature Reserve. On route you will pass by the town of Grabouw which is the home of super-sweet Appletiser, as well as some great little Farm Shops. Stop off at Peregrine Farm Stall to pick up jars of Fynbos Honey, locally grown fruit and delicious fresh baked goods to keep the little ones quiet in the car. Arriving to your hotel or lodge near Hermanus, the rest of the day is at leisure to relax.
Day 9: Beach & Horse Riding in Hermanus
Head to the beach this morning, to play in the waves, build sandcastles and even explore a stone-age cave - perfect for little adventurers. We'll arrange a picnic lunch for you to enjoy on the shore before returning to your hotel. This afternoon, the family can head out on a horse riding trip to explore the fynbos, an extraordinarily diverse ecosystem. We can source steeds for experienced riders, and ponies for the tots.
Day 10: Whale Watching
Migrating whales from July to November are a highlight for many visitors to this region, and today you'll head out by boat to spot the Southern Right Whales which have migrated north from Antarctica to calve and raise their young in the more temperate waters of Walker Bay. While aboard, keep your eyes peeled for dolphins, penguins, seals and even Great White Sharks, too. Should it not be the season for whale watching, we've got plenty more activities up our sleeves, from hiking to ATV trips through the forest.
Day 11: International Return Flight
After a leisurely morning along the coast it's time to pack up and return to Cape Town. You will drive for around two hours back to Cape Town international airport where you will drop off your car hire and check in for your international flight back to the UK, which leaves late this afternoon. The flight will take between 11 and a half and 12 hours.
Day 12: Arrive back into the UK
Arrive back into the UK in the early morning.
Isabel, Matt and Charlotte C are our experts for this itinerary and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.