Top 5 Family Friendly South African Safaris

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A South Africa safari is the go-to safari option for many travelers looking for family friendly safaris, for many reasons.Many luxury lodges throughout South Africa and the Greater Kruger National Park region were designed and are managed with children in mind, including babysitting services, family suites and even playgrounds to ensure that your safari is as enjoyable for the children as it is for the parents. South Africa has great infrastructure, meaning that travel to and throughout South Africa is very manageable for families.

South Africa is also filled with malaria-free safari options, so your children and family can enjoy a healthy and risk-free safari vacation. Whilst planning a safari vacation for your family is an incredibly fulfilling and exciting experience, it can be incredibly daunting to plan a family friendly safari vacation. The responsibility of ensuring the safety of your family whilst traveling to Africa is top of mind for many of our mothers and fathers thinking of embarking on a family vacation to Africa. We are here to help. Below you will find our top 5 family friendly safaris for the ultimate inspiration and guidance you need to plan the dream South African safari for the whole family.

Top Family Friendly Safaris in South Africa

1. 7 Day Madikwe & Cape Town

Zebras in Madikwe Game Reserve
Madikwe Game Reserve looks much like its neighbouring country Botswana, boasting open savannas and a semi-arid Kalahari ecosystem.

This one-week safari is the perfect trip for small or big families looking to experience both the wildlife and city life of South Africa. The family safari kicks off in the Madikwe Game Reserve. This Big 5, malaria-free private game reserve is situated in the North East of South Africa near the border of Botswana. Madikwe provides an excellent opportunity to provide your children with insight into the incredible effects of conservation efforts in Africa, as Madikwe is known as one of the top conservation areas in all of Africa.

Madikwe Safari Lodge offers two family suites with a second bedroom, bunk beds and a sleeper couch. Madikwe really does provide an incredibly family safari experience with family game drives (which is unique as many safari lodges don't allow children on game drives at all), bug CSI, dung tracking, bush orientation, star gazing, games night and more. There is no doubt that any family visiting Madikwe Safari Lodge will have a family vacation to remember.

From Madikwe you will be transferred to Cape Town - one of Africa's most visited destinations by families from around the world. Cape Town truly provides a complete family vacation experience. The unique combination of the ocean, mountain and city life means that there is no shortage of experiences for the whole family.

Your stay in Cape Town will be at More Quarters Hotel - a 5 star apartment style hotel perfect for families. The hotel provides babysitting services as well as of the amenities that you can expect from a 5 star hotel. More Quarters provides the best possible retreat after a day of exploring Table Mountain, Cape Town's beaches, Cafes and shopping malls, the V&A Waterfront, aquarium and more as a family.

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2. 12 Day Garden Route, Cape Town & Eastern Cape Safari

cheetahs at Shamwari Game Reserve - family friendly safaris
Shamwari Game Reserve sustains a healthy population of cheetahs - one of the rarer big cats to be seen on safari.

Many families believe that if you're going to go through all of the effort to get the family prepared, organized and all the way to South Africa, then you may as well stay a little longer. If that's you then this 12-day South African vacation is the perfect excuse to stay a little longer.

What makes this safari vacation special is the variety of experiences for the family. The garden route provides incredible views with quaint stops and the opportunity to discover South Africa's pristine coastline, Cape Town provides city life, mountain adventures and ocean fun whilst an Eastern Cape Big 5 safari ensures that no bucket list item is left unticked.

It is no surprise that families that complete this epic journey leave feeling as though they've seen it all.The journey starts in Cape Town. Enjoy two full days of touring throughout the Cape peninsula whilst staying at the incredibly beautiful Kensington Place in Gardens, Cape Town. These day tours ensure you get to see the famous penguins of Boulders Beach, the many incredible beaches of the Western Cape region, coastal villages as well as ensuring you see the incredible Winelands that South Africa and the Western Cape are so well known for.

From Cape Town travel to Oudtshoorn, a lesser-known destination in South Africa but one that children absolutely love due to the local ostrich farm and world-famous Cango caves.Continue onto the absolutely picturesque town of Knysna where, besides from simply staring across the turquoise waters of the beautiful bay of Knysna the family can enjoy a visit to the Tsitsikamma Forest, cruises on the lagoon, a visit to an elephant sanctuary and much, much more.

Finally, you will reach the highlight of this incredible vacation: a Big 5 safari in the Shamwari Private Game Reserve. This malaria-free game reserve in the Eastern Cape of South Africa hosts amazing wildlife experiences including game drives, walking safaris as well as visiting and learning about the great conservation work taking place on the reserve.

View pricing and availability for the 12 day Garden Route, Cape Town & Eastern Cape Safari vacation.

3. 7 Day Madikwe & Sun City Family Package

Aerial view of Sun City Resort - Family friendly safaris
Sun City is located between the Elands River and the nearby Pilanesberg Game Reserve - offering a unique surf and safari experience.

Many families with younger children prefer to travel to easy to reach destinations that offer plenty of activities to keep the kids busy! With no real need to book additional flights, families can enjoy a classic road trip experience and enjoy the beautiful scenery. This 7 Day Madikwe and Sun City Family Package starts in the city of Johannesburg where you and your family will be met by a professional driver-guide and driven approximately two hours to the famous Sun City Resort which nestles in the North West province.

The cabanas at Sun City are a family favorite - offering a relaxed atmosphere, rolling lawns for the kids to play on and a short walk from the Sun City Waterworld Lake where families can enjoy parasailing, jet skiing, wakeboarding and tube rides.  Besides the lake, Sun City has so much to offer families in terms of entertainment - the largest maze in the southern hemisphere, scratch patch, puzzle challenges, mini quad biking, a crocodile park, Valley of the Waves Waterpark and an extensive entertainment complex with a cinema; theatre and arcade. It is even possible for families to visit the nearby Pilanesberg National Park for a Big 5 safari or venture out on a hot air balloon ride.

After an exciting time spent at Sun City, you travel approximately three hours to a lesser-known game reserve known as Madikwe. The beauty of Madikwe is the untouched wilderness, fewer crowds and exceptional Big 5 game viewing. It is also one of the best destinations to see endangered wild dogs.

Tau Game Lodge is an incredible family-friendly lodge, accommodating families with young children in one room, along with special children's menu, babysitting services, bumble drives after breakfast for kids under six years of age, a fun playroom; and a unique children's programme that includes safari gifts, treasure hunts, arts and crafts. The kids learn and have fun all at the same time.

View pictures of the lodges and availability for 7 Day Madikwe & Sun City Family Package

4. 8 Day Durban, Bayala &  St Lucia Family Getaway

balcony and ocean views at Fairlight Beach House
The balcony at Fairlight Beach House is the perfect dining location and relaxation area, with dolphins and whales often seen playing in the breakers.

If your family is torn between spending time on the beach or venturing into the bushveld for a safari then this 8-day tour is a perfect choice - combing beach, safari and a visit to a unique wetland reserve.Your journey begins in the vibrant coastal city of Durban where families get to enjoy beachfront accommodation, warm hospitality, an incredible climate and plenty of outdoor activities. The family-run Fairlight Beach House nestles in the upmarket residential area of Umdloti, just 10 minutes drive from King Shaka International Airport. Only a few meters away from a safe swimming beach, families can take early morning walks to pick up seashells or stay out late and watch the sunset.  Everything you need is within easy reach - fine restaurants, tidal pools, fuel station and a convenience store.

After some relaxation on a sunkissed beach, the adventure begins as you travel along the northern coastline to Bayala Private Safari Lodge & Camp - another family-run lodge that offers family friendly safaris. The pristine game reserve is home to all members of the Big 5 and offers its guests private morning and afternoon open-vehicle game drives, as well as guided bush walks.

The final stop on this incredible family getaway is St Lucia - a coastal town that forms part of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. St Lucia boasts a pristine beach and an estuary which hosts the highest concentrations of hippos and crocodiles in Southern Africa. Families can venture out on cruises along the St Lucia Estuary, horse riding, guided night drives in the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park to spot four of the Big 5 (no lions), spend the day on the gorgeous Cape Vidal beach, visit a crocodile center and a butterfly house. There is so much to see and do in St Lucia.

Take a closer look at this unique adventure in KwaZulu Natal - 8 Day Durban, Bayala &  St Lucia Family Getaway

5. 15 Day Cape, Winelands, Whales & Garden Route Family Getaway

Dining deck at Mont Rochelle Hotel
The outdoor dining deck at Mont Rochelle Hotel boasts a relaxed atmosphere and unrivaled mountain views.

This exceptional 15-day self-drive tour is perfect for those families who enjoy the freedom of an open road and want to take an adventure, exploring the beautiful countryside and pristine coastline of the Cape.

The journey begins in the mother city of Cape Town; a destination consistently voted as one of the world's best cities and home to attractions loved by families - Table Mountain, Cape Point Nature Reserve and Boulders Beach where African penguins are seen up-close in the wild.

The next stop on this tour is the beautiful town of Franschhoek where families can not only enjoy family-friendly accommodation but tons of activities - from visits to a chocolate cafe and child-friendly wine farms to horse riding, cycling, museums and walking.

Heading towards the coastline, the next stop is a real treat for the kid. Besides the sensational beaches, Hermanus is one of the best places to see whales from June to December. Families also enjoy mountain biking, picnics, horse riding and visits to the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary near Gansbaai.

Gondwana Game Reserve is the second to last stop on this exceptional journey and is a top choice for family friendly safaris because there is no malaria threat. The reserve caters to the needs of families and offers an exceptional Big 5 safari experience.

The final stop is Plettenberg Bay where the greatest adventures await! Families can visit these top attractions in the town itself or nearby - Monkeyland, Birds of Eden, Plett Puzzle Park, Horse riding, Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre, Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary and Radical Raptors.

View pricing and availability for the 15 Day Cape, Winelands, Whales & Garden Route Family Getaway

South Africa is a destination that has so much to offer families who enjoy the outdoors and out of the ordinary experiences. If these tours aren’t exactly what you were looking for then let us help you plan a South Africa family getaway that best suits your travel style and interests.

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