est.1990
Kids On Safari With Binoculars Ss
Kids On Safari With Binoculars Ss

Top 20 Family Activities in South Africa

What To Do In South Africa With Children?

South Africa's diverse landscapes, rich wildlife, and vibrant cultures make it a dream destination for families seeking unforgettable adventures.

From thrilling safaris to captivating cultural experiences, the Rainbow Nation offers a myriad of activities for every age group.

We’ve chosen twenty of the best that immerse you in the culture, wildlife and beautiful places of this remarkable country.

  • Walk with a bushman at Tswalu
  • Zipline through the Tsitsikamma forest
  • Watch cricket at Newlands
  • Photograph the Big Five
  • Relive the epic battle of Rorke’s Drift
  • Drift above the Blyde River by hot air balloon
  • Stand on the summit of Table Mountain
  • Swim with turtles on the Wild Coast
  • Take a galactic safari
  • Make a pizza on safari
  • Visit Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was prisoner
  • Take a horseback safari at Ant’s Nest
  • “Thar she blows” - Whale watching adventures
  • Play golf on a championship course
  • Meet the meerkats of Klein Karoo
  • Do it all at Phinda
  • Take an epic rail journey
  • Take a trip into Soweto
  • Ride the surf at Jeffreys Bay
  • Be part of rhino conservation at Lapalala
Bushman Walk
1. Walk with a Bushman at Tswalu
Tswalu is a huge private reserve on the edge of the Kalahari – home of the San Bushmen. Over decades, the exhausted land has been conserved into a haven for lion, antelope, meerkats and all kinds of desert-adapted animals.

Your family can take a fascinating walk on the reserve with San Bushmen. You will track animals and learn as they share their age-old understanding of this fragile environment.
Zipline Family Tsitsikamma Forest Marco Derksen Flickr
2. Zipline through the Tsitsikamma Forest
The Tsitsikamma Forest is a spectacular haven of giant Outeniqua yellowwoods, birds and primates in the heart of the Garden Route. The best way to explore its wonders is at canopy level ⁠— let us take you on a three hour treetop adventure, using an amazing network of ten zipline slides and platforms.

This adventure is for anyone from 5 five years of age upwards.
Newlands Cricket Match Warrenski Flickr
3. Watch Cricket at Newlands
Newlands, founded in 1888, is the home of South African cricket. With a backdrop of Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak, it has one of the most iconic settings in world cricket. The season runs through the South African summer with one-day games and regular test matches.

Let us know if you’d like to take in a game and we’ll do our best to get score some good seats.
Family Photography Molori Lodge Madikwe South Africa
4. Photograph the Big Five
At carefully chosen safari lodges, your family stands an excellent chance of seeing the Big Five. Some families even see them all in one day. The highly experienced guides have an intimate understanding of the animals. Many are expert photographers, too. See if you can capture images of elephant, rhinoceros, lion, buffalo and leopard that portray the each creature’s character.

Your guide will help you edit and pick the best images to hang on the wall back home.
Zulu Warriors South African Tourism Flickr 68636
5. Relive the Epic Battle of Rorke’s Drift
In the heart of KwaZulu Natal are famous battlefield sites including Rorke’s Drift and Isandlwana. Journeysmiths will arrange a historian guide, maybe even Andrew Rattray, who will take you around the battle sites and describe events as they unfolded. Isandlwana, where Welsh Guards were massacred by Zulus is especially atmospheric.

Personalities of soldiers and warriors and acts of heroism are brought vividly to life.
Blyde River Canyon Dawn South Africa Istock 1203545158
6. Drift above the Blyde River by Bot Air Balloon
As the golden sun emerges on the horizon, you could be silently floating above the spectacular landscapes of the Blyde River Valley. Sheltered by the towering ranges of the Drakensberg escarpment, watch as the forests are illuminated by the golden rays of dawn.

On calm days your aerial adventure could take you over the private wildlife reserves of the Kapama, allowing you to gaze down upon elephant and buffalo herds.
Mother Daughter Hike Table Mountain View Cape Town Istock 684452198
7. Stand on the Summit of Table Mountain
The top of Table Mountain gives your family one of the world’s classic vantage points. You can ascend the easy way, by cable car, or the strenuous way by a four-hour hike.

Whichever you choose your reward is to stand on the rooftop of South Africa, with Cape Town spread out below and the great ocean stretching away to infinity.
Thonga Baby Loggerhead
8. Swim with Turtles on the Wild Coast
The remote Indian Ocean coast north of Durban has unspoilt reefs, pristine beaches and coastal forest. It’s a haven for birds and marine life. Thonga is one of our favourite places where you can snorkel, dive and explore the natural underwater wonders. November to late March is the turtle nesting season and we can arrange night safaris to see leatherback and loggerhead turtles.

Next day you may encounter them as you swim and snorkel in the bay.
Leobo Lodge House Observatory Dook 35
9. Take a Galactic Safari
Far from cities and light pollution, your family can experience the wonders of the night sky as never before. Your astro-safari guide will know the planets and constellations, marvelling with you at the glory of the Milky Way spread across the night sky.

Leobo Lodge has an observatory with a powerful telescope and they will even bring in a professional astronomer to take you on a dazzling, cosmic safari.
Riverdene Pizza Making
10. Make a Pizza on Safari
Safari lodges are miracles of logistics and organisation where they provide amazing food, service and facilities amid the wilds. The cheerful team of chefs will produce delicious meals, cakes and breakfasts in their bush kitchen.

Your children might like to join them between safaris and help make a cake or a pizza to enjoy as an afternoon snack.
Robben Island Prison Ss
11. Visit Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was Prisoner
Robben Island, 5 miles off the coast of Cape Town, was a prison island from the late seventeenth century until 1996. A guided tour, especially given by a former prisoner, is a fascinating and emotional experience. The infamous island once had a whaling station and was also a fort and leper colony.

Your tour will culminate in a visit to the cell of its most famous prisoner, Nelson Mandela, who spent 18 years there during the apartheid era.
Children Horse Riding Ants
12. Take a Horseback Safari at Ant’s Nest
The Baber family have lived in the remote mountainous Waterberg since 1865. Ant and Tessa Baber of the current generation have set up two superb family-oriented safari lodges on their large private reserve. Their chief delight is to take visiting families on horseback safaris in search of giraffe, rhino, eland and buffalo.

Horses are selected to suit each rider’s physique and ability. There is nothing to quite match the thrill of cantering alongside zebra or giraffe!
Whale Lifting Head And Tail Out The Water Right Next To The Boat Dreamcatcher
13. “Thar she blows”- Whale Watching Adventures
From June to November, southern right whales and humpback whales migrate from Antarctica to the warmer waters off the southern tip of Africa. Peak calving season is in July and August. It’s possible to see them from clifftop vantage points around Cape Town and the Peninsula and near Hermanus. Sometimes they come almost to the shore.

For the best views of all, though, we can arrange a boat trip to take you up close to their breeching acrobatics.
Montague Course Fancourt Hotel
14. Play Golf on a Championship Course
South Africans love their golf. The weather, undulating scenery and a long sporting tradition combine to produce stunning golf courses in some truly spectacular locations. Some country house hotels like Fancourt on the Garden Route and Erinvale in the winelands have their own superb courses.

Fancourt, set between the Outeniqua mountains and the Indian Ocean has three courses on its estate, all of which rank among the top 20 in the country.
Tswalu Kalahari Mammal141
15. Meet the Meerkats of Klein Karoo
Heading inland from Fancourt, you pass through the Outeniquas into drier country of the Klein Karoo. We can arrange your stay near Oudtshoorn at the delightful Rosenhof country house.

Next morning, make an early start into the bush to watch meerkats as they emerge from their burrows. Some colonies of meerkats are habituated to the presence of people. You can get really close as they forage while others stand on sentry lookout for eagles.
Phinda Family Safari
16. Do it All at Phinda
Phinda Private Game Reserve, near the coast in KwaZulu Natal, is an incredible place for a family safari. There are seven distinct ecosystems, so you will encounter a huge variety of animals, including the Big Five. You can also spot some of the 400 species of birds. Your family can go on tracking walks, open vehicle drives, scuba diving excursions, canoeing trips and make a visit to the nearby Zulu tribal community.

Phinda has four exclusive lodges across the reserve and a fabulous private family villa called The Homestead.
Rvr Obsbalconygame1A Hres
17. Take an Epic Rail Journey
It only takes a couple of hours to fly from Johannesburg to Cape Town. But more fun is to turn the journey into a railway adventure. There are some rather special trains operating the line. For a 24-hour traverse of the Great Karoo, the Blue Train is luxurious and stylish.

If you can spare a little longer, the Rovos Rail train takes two days with excursion stops. A ride on Rovos is like stepping back in time and for part of the way, it’s steam hauled.
Soweto Coal Towers
18. Take a Trip into Soweto
Your family’s visit to Soweto will be a revelation and a vantage point to the recent history of South Africa. Originally set up in the 1930s as a township during apartheid, Soweto is now a lively city of two million people, with shopping malls, museums and cultural centres.

Your guide will take you to see Nelson Mandela’s home, the famous “matchbox houses” and celebrated buildings like the Regina Mundi church, each of which is the centre of its own piece of history and modern culture.
Family Girls Surfing Lessons South African Tourism Flickr
19. Ride the Surf at Jeffreys Bay
One of the world’s top surfing spots is right in the heart of the Garden Route by the sleepy little town of Jeffreys Bay. From May to September the surfing is glorious! Each beach has its amazing spots with names like Supertubes, Kitchen Windows and Boneyard, which has a near perfect break.

If daunted by the more challenging spots, you can try Point where the waves are a bit smaller and offer a smooth ride.
Lapalala Main Boma Deck
20. Be Part of Rhino Conservation at Lapalala
In the 1980s, conservationists Dale Parker and Clive Walker gradually bought up 18 ranches around the Palala river in beautiful Limpopo province. They restored the land and carefully reintroduced animals, including rare black rhinoceros. Now, thirty years later they have created a private reserve teeming with wildlife.

For them, conservation is a way of life and a vital part of the safari experience. We can arrange your family to stay in their remote, luxurious lodge and experience conservation in action all while enjoying an amazing safari.
Wildchild Safari Activities At Andbeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve 21
Start planning your family's tailor-made luxury holiday to South Africa
Have Us Take Care Of It All
Why Travel with Journeysmiths

We are a boutique family travel specialist. For over 30 years we have been creating luxury tailor-made safaris to the timeless savannahs of Africa. Your time is precious and with a world to see, we understand the importance of getting it absolutely right for you, every time.We are a boutique family travel specialist. For over 30 years we have been creating luxury tailor-made safaris to the timeless savannahs of Africa. Your time is precious and with a world to see, we understand the importance of getting it absolutely right for you, every time.

Looking for Inspiration?
Main Lodge Pool With Elephant Mhondoro Safari Lodge The Waterberg
Main Lodge Pool With Elephant Mhondoro Safari Lodge The Waterberg
South Africa Trip Idea
Malaria Free Safari in South Africa

The only country able to offer malaria-free safaris, South Africa is a wonderful choice for many looking for a luxury safari experience. Enjoy the abundance of wildlife on offer in some of the most exclusive private reserves, before exploring cosmopolitan Cape Town, where the glamour of the city meets the rugged outdoors.

Read moreMalaria Free Safari in South Africa
Table Mountan Hike Cape Town Istock 1216765189
Table Mountan Hike Cape Town Istock 1216765189
Family Trip Idea
South Africa Family Safari

See the splendour of South Africa as a family on this exclusive safari. Spend your days exploring captivating Cape Town, enjoying the delights of the Winelands and on safari, seeking out the abundant wildlife that roams the wilderness. No matter your age, this iconic safari will leave you with memories for a lifetime.

Read moreSouth Africa Family Safari
Victoria And Alfred Waterfront Cape Town Istock 1556500564
Victoria And Alfred Waterfront Cape Town Istock 1556500564
Article
Top 10 South African Activities

With opportunities to see the Big Five of both land and sea, along with incredible scenery, enormous national parks, world-class vineyards, a fascinating history and vibrant, friendly people, South Africa frequently tops the lists of the world’s best holiday destinations. Even so, less than 1% of the world's travellers make it here, so it’s a place where you’ll find yourself with a few select, like-minded and discerning adventurers who have discovered this gem of a country. It’s a place you could return to for the whole of your life and never tire of it.
We’ve compiled a list of our favourite experiences to inspire your imagination.

Read moreTop 10 South African Activities
Chitwa Chitwa Activities And Wildlife Family Walking Across From Elephants South Africa
Chitwa Chitwa Activities And Wildlife Family Walking Across From Elephants South Africa
Article
South Africa Family Safaris

If you’re looking for a country that’s got everything, choose South Africa. Renowned for the spectacular views of the Garden Route, vibrant Cape Town, malaria free safaris, fascinating history and outstanding wildlife, the whole family will fall under the alluring spell of this diverse country.

Read moreSouth Africa Family Safaris
Colourful Houses Bo Kapp Capte Townjpg
Colourful Houses Bo Kapp Capte Townjpg
Article
The Rainbow Nation South Africa

Archbishop Desmond Tutu was the first person to call South Africa “the rainbow nation”. It’s a reflection on the fascinating diversity of this country, not only in the identities of its people but in the landscapes, wildlife, cultures, and activities it offers. South Africa is a country which, because of its variety, can be all things to all people, truly a rainbow of varied opportunities and experiences.

Read moreThe Rainbow Nation South Africa
Deck Woman Royal Madikwe Safari Lodge
Deck Woman Royal Madikwe Safari Lodge
Article
Luxury and the Big Five
in South Africa

Without a shadow of a doubt, South Africa is one of the very best places to watch wildlife in the world. The Kruger National Park — a protected area the size of Wales — is certainly the most famous and popular safari destination, but with Journeysmiths you’ll escape the crowds to explore vast, wildlife-filled private reserves, in the company of the best guides.

Read moreLuxury and the Big Five in South Africa
Victoria And Alfred Waterfront Cape Town Istock 1556500564
Victoria And Alfred Waterfront Cape Town Istock 1556500564
Article
Magnificent Cape Town

Cape Town is one of the world’s great cities with a unique setting beneath Table Mountain.

Read moreMagnificent Cape Town
Beach Walk Grootbos Forest Lodge Relation
Beach Walk Grootbos Forest Lodge Relation
Article
Explore The Garden Route South Africa

To experience a little bit of everything that South Africa has to offer, you can hardly do better than to drive along the coastal road of the Garden Route between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth. It’s an extraordinary journey, and there’s wildlife on both land and shore, endless beaches, historic battlefields, and the vineyards are never far away. One day you might be whale spotting at Hermanus — renowned as one of the best whale watching locations in the world — and the next you could be learning about the Battle of Rorke’s Drift, handling antique weapons and scrambling over the British and Zulu positions.

Read moreExplore The Garden Route South Africa
Isandlwana Grave Stones Hr
Isandlwana Grave Stones Hr
Article
Battlefields And Culture South Africa

Formerly the Zulu Kingdom, the province of KwaZulu Natal runs along South Africa’s dramatic Indian Ocean coastline. The Drakensberg Mountains create a natural border between Lesotho and the Eastern Cape, and offer some excellent hiking routes.

Read moreBattlefields And Culture South Africa
Kids On Safari With Binoculars Ss
Kids On Safari With Binoculars Ss
Article
What to Do in South Africa with Children?

For families of all ages there is so much to see and do in South Africa, making it an excellent and diverse travel destination. We’ve chosen 20 of the best experiences to immerse you in the culture, wildlife and beautiful places of this remarkable country.

Read moreWhat to Do in South Africa with Children?
Lion Cubs In Kruger Singita 19138
Lion Cubs In Kruger Singita 19138
Article
Why South Africa Is Great For A Family Safari

South Africa is an excellent choice for family travel with children of all ages. Its wildlife is abundant, with a great diversity of species, including the Big Five: rhino, leopard, lion, elephant and buffalo. There are vast malaria-free reserves and it’s easy to get from safari regions to Cape Town and the beach.

Read moreWhy South Africa Is Great For A Family Safari
Care For Wild Rhino Up Close
Care For Wild Rhino Up Close
Curated Conservation Experience
Go Behind the Scenes at
Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary

Working in partnership with globally recognised conservation organisation; Care for Wild, the world’s largest rhino orphanage, we have curated a truly unique and exclusive experience giving a privileged few behind-the-scenes access to this otherwise incredibly private sanctuary.

Read moreGo Behind the Scenes at Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary
Load more
Occasional round-up of the best wild places, unique experiences and expert travel tips straight to your inbox.
Keep the Inspiration Flowing
Please confirm you are human