South Coast Family Getaway
Spend 16 days road tripping along South Africa's south coast as a family and stop to safari, sandboard and sip wine as you go.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Meet the cast of the Lion King on safari from one of our favourite family friendly lodges
- Go sandboarding, whale spotting and rock pool swimming in the De Hoop Nature Reserve
- Cycle around the lush winelands and stop to sip wine or grape juice
- Spend three days exploring vibrant Cape Town
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When To Travel
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Day 1: International Flight
Your South African family adventure begins this evening as you head to the airport for the direct overnight flight to Johannesburg. Don't forget the children's birth certificates, which are required under South African law! The flight time will be around 11 hours so make sure the iPads are fully charged.
Day 2: Arrival
After flying through the night you'll land in Johannesburg early this morning to be assisted with the transfer onto your onward domestic flight to Port Elizabeth.
The flight time is just under two hours so you'll be landing and on the ground in the Eastern Cape before you know it. In Port Elizabeth you'll pick up your pre-booked hire car and can set off to start your South African family road trip. The first leg of the trip is nice and short as the drive to your family friendly safari lodge in one of the Eastern Cape's private reserves is only around an hour.
We're sure excitement levels will be through the roof by the time you arrive so the rest of the afternoon is yours to settle in, explore and get some much needed sleep before tomorrow's activities.
Day 3: Safari
Get up bright and early today to go out on your first family game drive. Your little Lion King fans won't believe their eyes when your expert family guide starts pointing out their favourite characters and Mum and Dad might well be equally enthralled. Only rumbling stomachs will drag you all back to the lodge for breakfast.
Spend a few hours relaxing or playing at your lodge in the heat of the day, with plenty of facilities to keep the children entertained.
This afternoon, join your guide for another game drive. Spot more animals and this time also stop to watch the sun set over the bush with that safari staple, sundowner cocktails - or mocktails for the children. Dinner is then served back at the lodge with more drinks around the boma (enclosure) firepit.
Day 4: Educational Element
A safari is the perfect opportunity to sneak in an educational element to a holiday itinerary and today you'll do just that. Instead of the morning game drive, today visit your reserve's Animal Rehabilitation Centre, where a team of specialist vets care for orphaned, abandoned or injured animals who are going to be re-released back into the wild. As well as teaching the family about the importance of wildlife conservation in Africa, visiting the centre is a great opportunity to get up close and personal with the wildlife.
There will be some time for a few hours of fun at the lodge - perhaps in the pool or at the kids' club - and then it'll be time for the afternoon game drive. With your new knowledge from this morning the wildlife will seem all the more amazing and your guide will hopefully also help you spot some new species. Following sundowners, dinner is back at the lodge.
Day 5: To Plettenberg Bay
With one last morning game drive to enjoy before you go, say goodbye to your new-found wildlife friends and leave your safari lodge behind. Your next stop is Plettenberg Bay, which is four hours west along the coast. There are also plenty of lovely beachside towns to stop at along the way if you prefer to take the journey at a slower pace.
Once you arrive settle into your new surroundings with a dip (or dive bomb) in the pool and then drinks and supper in the main area which overlooks the Matjies River Gorge.
Days 6-7: Exploring Plettenberg
With your hire car on hand to make getting around easy the next two days should be spent exploring the area surrounding your hotel.
Split your time between the beach and the lush forests just away from the coast, either swimming in the sea and building sandcastles, or getting lost on one of the many forest walking trails. You might also like to visit one of the many excellent wildlife sanctuaries in the area, such as Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary.
- Visit one of the wildlife sanctuaries which include Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary, The Birds of Eden, The Elephant Sanctuary, Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre or Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary
- Go paddle boarding along the Keurbooms River
- Set out on horseback for a family ride
Day 8: To The Beach
It's back on the road today as you make your way further west along the coast to the De Hoop Nature Reserve. The World Heritage Site reserve is made up of 139 square miles of conservation area with rich biodiversity and over 30 miles of pristine coastline - essentially, it's the ideal family adventure playground.
The drive to get to your lodge is around five hours long so make sure the kids have their iPads charged and stop at several points along the way for you all to stretch your legs.
When you arrive the little ones will no doubt want to run straight to the beach, which is just across the dunes from your lodge. Accompanied by your guide, get the adrenaline pumping after the car journey with some sandboarding fun. Beware, the thrill of speeding down the dunes is pretty addictive and you're almost guaranteed to go back to the lodge with sand in your socks.
- Get competitive and play a couple of beach-based team games like volleyball or cricket
Day 9: De Hoop Nature Reserve
Wake up bright and early this morning to see what the day ahead will bring. Depending on the weather and what time of year it is your guide will choose two shared activities that are most suited to you as a family, as well as the other guests at the lodge.
You'll perhaps start with a guided marine walk which will give you all an insight into the amazing marine life living in the rock pools right by your lodge. Then, after a few hours exploring, head back to the lodge for some time in the pool.
This afternoon, if you're travelling between July and October then head to the beach for a spot of land-based whale watching. De Hoop Nature Reserve is reckoned to be the ultimate place in South Africa to see southern right whales, so you have pretty good odds, while dolphins, sharks and seals also call the waters here home.
- Go snorkelling in the protected rock pools
- Spot wildlife in the reserve on a game drive with your guide
- Sip sundowners atop the sand dunes
- Go on a guided mountain biking excursion
Day 10: To The Winelands
After your fill of beach-based fun the family adventure continues eastward today. Pile back in the car for the three-and-a-half-hour drive to the legendary Cape Winelands region.
When you arrive, stretch your legs with a stroll around your hotel grounds or go for a swim in the pool. Afterwards Mum and Dad will be eager to sample some of the local produce and there will freshly squeezed juices for the kids. Dinner can then be enjoyed in your hotel restaurant or in the fun town of Franschhoek.
Day 11: Wine Wanderings
Spend today exploring the lush Winelands at your leisure. This might not at first appear a particularly family-friendly day, but we work with guides who make the vineyard visits fun for parents and children alike, including spooky cellar tours and grape juice tastings for the young ones while Mum and Dad sample South Africa's finest.
Depending on what the family want to do, the guides can also arrange for a lovely nature walk or a visit to meet a best-selling painter pig and generally ensure that the family have a fun time in the Winelands. You might like to make use of the bikes at your hotel and go out for a family cycle, or even do some canoeing.
By the afternoon you'll have worked up an appetite and can reward yourselves with a big lunch. The Winelands are not just about wine and the local, often organic, grub is also particularly delicious. Of course, a large glass of wine (or grape juice) does pair very nicely with a long lunch and hearty dinner.
Day 12: To the City
Make the last drive of the trip today as you leave The Winelands behind and head to Cape Town. The drive will take around an hour so set off after a late breakfast and you'll be checked into your hotel by lunchtime.
The afternoon is then yours to spend exploring the city at leisure. You might like to head to the Waterfront, full of fun shops and cafes.
For dinner, ask our Concierge to book you a table at a great family-friendly restaurant in the city.
Days 13-14: Cape Crusaders
The next two days are yours to spend in Cape Town as you please. With so much to see and do you'll be spoilt for family fun choice and we can book and arrange any activities you want to do in advance.
One must-do is taking the revolving cable car up Table Mountain
for incredible views and for the children to spot hyraxes (like
oversized guinea pigs) basking on the rocks. Another must is a
visit to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, home to some remarkable
plant and tree species only found in South Africa, but also to the
great fun Boomslang (tree snake) treetop canopy walkway, fun
adventure playgrounds and acres of woodland and dens for youngsters
The next day, we'd recommend escaping the city altogether on a guided Cape Peninsula tour, where the family can try boogie boarding or surfing on the super safe beach break at Muizenberg, see the cute penguins at Boulders Beach, spot baboons, sea lions and ostriches and enjoy enormously fun treasure hunts in the dunes.
- Count the number of different fish you can spot at the aquarium
- Visit Robben Island to learn more about the prison and its political history
Day 15: Home Time
After a fun two weeks of family adventure it's sadly time to say goodbye to South Africa today. Make the most of your last day with some last-minute exploring and then drive to the airport to drop your car off and check in for your direct 12-hour overnight flight home.
Day 16: Arrive Home
Your flight will arrive back in London early this 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.