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Fact File

  • Flight time: 11 hours to Jo'burg
  • Best time to go:  Year round. Best time to visit the Cape is October - March, best time to visit the North is May-October
  • Time difference: GMT +2 hrs
  • Currency:  Rand
  • Visa requirements: Not required for UK passport holders
  • Innoculations: In certain parts

South Africa Family Holidays

South Africa combines the sophistication of Europe with the intrigue and tradition of Africa. For a family's first trip to Africa this is a wonderful introduction. It is Africa but without the remoteness of many of the other countries. There are safari areas without Malaria for younger children and lovely beaches in the south. There is also no jet-lag! South Africa's diversity ranges from the excellent bush safaris of the Mpumalanga to the urban-chic of Cape Town and the beauty of the Winelands. Mpumalanga is home to the Kruger National Park, prime-viewing for the big five, and a number of private reserves that border it. Come here for the most luxurious lodges in Africa: think cottages, not canvas, your own private pool and pampering spas. They also have some of the best safari guides in Africa who really know how to enthral and fascinate children. The camps are really the ultimate kids club but one where parents can join in and will have just as much fun. Learn about all the animals and which tree makes a good tooth brush as well as tracking lions and how a dung beetle makes its home! Cape Town, one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, is the perfect place to start or finish your holiday with its fantastic hotels, excellent shopping and delicious restaurants. The Winelands are within easy reach and a must-see for the stunning scenery, historic towns, wonderful Cape-Dutch architecture and the world-renowned vineyards.

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When to Travel

South Africa has three main climatic zones with their seasons opposite to ours so their winter is our summer.

The High and Lowveld areas around the Kruger and up to Madikwe and the Waterberg have hot summers which are famous for spectacular electric storms.  The rains come in November,  December and January.  October in the Kruger can be very hot and dry just waiting for the first rains.  And in their winter months (April – September) the weather is warm during the day with lovely cool nights – ideal for sitting around a camp fire.  We personally love September in the Highveld which can have hot days with not a cloud in the sky and warmer nights.

Cape Town and the Garden route have a climate which is very similar to the south of France.  Summers for them are lovely and hot (running from October to April) with the chance of occasional rain.  And at this time there is a strong wind through Cape Town which can help keep the temperatures pleasant.  Late summers are dry and warm with less wind.  And their winter between May and September can be cool and wet. 

The east of the country, in KwaZulu-Natal, has a sub-tropical climate which ensures hot, humid summers along the coast with more rain than in the winter.  Winters are pleasantly warm during the day and cooler at night.

  • January - Good
  • February - Good
  • March - Best
  • April - Best
  • May - Best
  • June - Best
  • July - Best
  • August - Best
  • September - Best
  • October - Best
  • November - Good
  • December - Good


We maybe biased as we spent a great deal of our younger days on holiday in SA but for us there isn’t a better destination for families.  To start with there is little or no jet-lag and the overnight flights mean children can get a full 8 hours of sleep before arriving as fresh faced as any long haul destination can be.  And then, often most importantly, due to the English presence in SA for over 200 years, everything is as you expect in the UK.  Shops have the same food, speak the same language, have the same medicine and baby paraphernalia.  They drive on our side of the road, eat similar food and understand how to make a good cup of tea!  In many ways it is very similar to the UK but with better food and wine, better weather, cheaper and most importantly its one huge safari park.  They have whales, elephants, sharks, lions, spiders – in fact just about everything children love (or love to hate) Here parents can actually do things with their children that they all enjoy.  Finger painting may not unite fathers and daughters but watching elephants swimming certainly does.  We spent 3 months in SA travelling around with our daughters and it is an experience we will never forget.  Watching their faces as they see a lion in the wild for the first time is just incredible.  We learned along the way that, unlike hotels, you really need safari lodges that genuinely cater for families not just accept families.  It’s no good producing dinner at 8 pm for the whole camp because your nippers will have lost the will to live by then.  And safari drives can’t be 3 straight hours if you don’t want children to start bouncing out of the back.  But we have found some true gems and here you will have the family holiday of a life time.

Country Info

Flights: Overnight direct flights with Virgin, British Airways and South African Airways to Johannesburg and Cape Town.  From where you catch connecting internal flights to the Kruger (45 minutes) Durban (1 ½ hrs) and George Airport (45 minutes from Cape Town) on the Garden route.

Food and Drink

South Africa doesn't really have a national cuisine, and most of what you eat will be international dishes, but cooked with local produce, which is excellent. You will notice a lot of meat on the menu including game meats such as Kudu and springbok.  The South Africans are great meat eaters and you will find their tradition ‘brai’ is the most elaborate BBQ you will ever go to.  They even build their own outside bomas for such occasions with a huge fire in the centre and lanterns hanging from every tree.

And the beer isn’t bad either (I would say that as my great grandfather started South African breweries) The wine is also delicious and wins world wide praise.  You will note when you are there that the smaller vineyards don’t allow their wine to be sold out of the country so the best SA wines are often only to be found there.

Children wont struggle finding things they love to eat.

Things to do

Please find below a range of activities available in South Africa: Safaris.

Suggested Itineraries

We know it is often difficult, with the huge number of hotels out there, to know which one to go for, which combines with which and what sort of costs they are going to be. Here we have put together a few of our favourite options to give you a starting point. Any of these options can be changed, tweeked or added to so please do ask. The prices are per person and include international flights and private transfers. As the rates at all hotels change a great deal from their High Seasons (i.e the most popular times of the year to be there) to their Low Seasons (they often have great discounts at this time) we have based the 'From' costs on a good time of year to be in the country, the dates are included in the text at the bottom. Please do call us for a quote based on your dates.