Wildlife Wonders: Ten-Day South Africa Vacation for Families

A 10 day trip to South Africa 
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South Africa appeals to all ages. With this ten-day vacation, there will be penguins, elephants, Table Mountain, and an abundance of safari wilderness. You will be walking, cycling, surfing, venturing on game drives, and meeting San Bushmen. Yet, for all the wildlife wonder and thrilling safari scenes, South Africa also has its relaxed vibe. Split across Cape Town and the Sabi Sands, these ten days will allow you to fully unwind while taking your whole family on an African adventure of a lifetime.

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Cape Town, Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Cape Town – A Lazy Afternoon at the Beach

Upon landing in Cape Town, you will be met by a local guide and transferred past Table Mountain to Camps Bay, which is a beachside suburb on the Western side of the city. The mountain stands proud behind your hotel, and it will be just a few steps to the beach, which is a broad sweep of white sand that is perfect for relaxing after your flight. The waters here are not safe for swimming, but they are so cold that it is very unlikely that any child can do more than simply dip their feet in the water. The beach itself is wonderful, and you can find plenty of space for yourself, even during the weekends. Camps Bay also has a promenade of restaurants for easy dining this evening.

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Cape Town – Hiking and Biking on Table Mountain

With almost all Cape Town itineraries, it is best to visit Table Mountain as soon as possible. Weather on the mountain can be unpredictable, even during the summer. Often times, it is a warm and clear day, but the mountain’s microclimate sometimes creates cloud and disappointment. That is why your guide will recommend that you visit Table Mountain first and then order the rest of your Cape Town time accordingly. Hopefully, it will be clear this morning so you can take the revolving cable car to the summit.

Once on the summit of Table Mountain, you can explore a number of different hiking trails, including short loops, which are suitable for young children, and an exciting trek to the reservoirs, which can be suitable for teenagers. After descending from the mountain, you can indulge in a mountain biking experience on the lower slopes or freewheel down on a scooter. This activity is excellent for families as the scooters are tandem, so you can accompany one of your kids on the slopes of Signal Hill and enjoy the superb views over Cape Town.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Cape Town – Customizing a Marine Adventure To Your Family

Sea kayaking is another wonderful activity that can be shared with your kids. Everyone wears a buoyancy aid, and the kayaks are tandem, so you can be with any of your children over the age of six. Out on Cape Town’s waters, you can paddle alongside dolphins, seals, sunfish, and sometimes penguins. There are a few days a year when migratory whales are spotted in the bay as well but do not count on this wildlife experience. If kayaking seems a little too adventurous, then Cape Town also has a superb aquarium, which is located at the lively V & A Waterfront. If you have older kids who are interested in sharks, then you should note that the minimum age for shark cage diving is 12. All of these activities can be arranged by your guide, and transfers will be provided.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Cape Town – Meeting Penguins and Learning to Surf

On a white beach south of Cape Town, you will find a peculiar animal as it waddles around the beach. There are many hundreds of African penguins on Boulders Beach, and they nest in the fynbos behind the beach and waddle out to large boulders, where they spend the day sunbathing and diving for fish. You will arrive at Boulders Beach, where you will first stroll along the main promenade. This will offer some humorous impressions of the penguins and will satisfy your kids’ curiosity. Then, your guide will take you along another, more hidden path. This will lead to a different piece of beach, where your kids can make sandcastles as the penguins waddle straight past you.

As part of today’s tour, you will continue your drive to Cape Point, which is the Southwestern tip of Africa. Do note that Cape Point can involve crowds and is not especially interesting for children. A more engaging destination down here is Muizenberg, where the waves are perfect for children and adults who want to learn to surf. The waters are warmer than in Cape Town and do not have strong currents. Tons of frothy white water helps everyone stand up on their first time surfing. Anyone who tries surfing will be exhausted on the journey home, which may mean that you can squeeze in a stop at one of the Constantia vineyards en route. As with every day in Cape Town, you have a private guide, so your day can be tailored as you please.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 5: Cape Town – Antelope and Bushmen on the West Coast

The West Coast is less than an hour from Cape Town but remains blissfully unexplored. Within 30 minutes of leaving Camps Bay, there is nothing but wilderness. You can walk across deserted, white beaches with the iconic Table Mountain view as a backdrop. Then, by driving inland, you will be in the company of San Bushmen. These hunter-gatherers are the original residents here although their nomadic lifestyle means that their history mostly remains unrecognized. Spending time with the San is always illuminating. A San guide will introduce you to the basics of animal tracking and a culture that used art as a means for communication.

As part of your encounter, you will explore a small reserve that is home to springbok, eland, and zebra. This will be an excellent introduction to your safari that is yet to come and marks a huge contrast to experiences in the city. Back in Cape Town, you will have another afternoon and evening to customize your experience. Perhaps, you will choose to visit the excellent planetarium or check out the local markets in the city. You can also take a drive to Signal Hill for sunset or go on a treasure hunt that is designed for younger children. Your private guide will explain a multitude of options for you as well as provide you with transportation to locations.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 6: Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve – A First Family Game Drive

An authentic African safari is completely different from a zoo. Sure, in a zoo, your kids can see some animals, but out in the wild, they can experience how these animals truly live, how they behave, and how they interact with each other in their natural habitat. Elephants may bulldoze a path through the trees as you watch them from afar. At first, they will just be gray figures, but slowly they will walk closer trunks swinging and their tusks curling skywards. Then, a dozen of the giants will stroll past your safari vehicle, meeting your eye. Later on, during your family game drive, you may encounter a zebra herd. At first, it will seem like a mass of black and white stripes, but after moving closer, you can make out thousands of intimate scenes such as romantic couples as they rest their heads on each other.

You will have a direct flight from Cape Town to Sabi Sands and will arrive in time for lunch. You can settle in before venturing out into the wilderness on a private game drive. You have four days on safari, but you never forget your first game drive. It is not just the animals that you encounter, even if the Sabi Sands is home to all of Africa’s famous giants, but the amazing atmosphere as well. You will be able to sense that this is an untouched world where wildlife can thrive, and after a single game drive, there will a dozen candidates for your new favorite animal.

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Days 7 – 9: Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve – Private Family Safari and Specialized Activities for the Children

With a private safari, you can decide on the program. A typical day can involve an early morning game drive that is followed by some downtime around the pool. Animals are mostly inactive during the middle of the day when it is the hottest. Typically, they will be resting in the shade or hiding in the trees. During these hours you can enjoy tranquility while your kids are entertained by the young explorer’s club. This special program is designed to immerse children in bush survival and the ways of the wild. Activities are tailored around age and include everything from building a shelter to tracking specific animals.

With the young explorers program, you will have some time alone. This will your time to rest and reset before returning home. Your children will discover more about the wilderness and will then have the opportunity to show off their new skills. For example, on an afternoon game drive, your kids can act as the guide or tracker, or you can be invited to their den for dinner. Only a handful of lodges have such a program. Another advantage of your safari in the Sabi Sands is the exclusivity because access to this unfenced Kruger reserve is limited, and therefore, there will never be more than two vehicles at any one animal sighting. For the most part, it will feel like you have the Kruger savannah all to yourself.

During the game drives, you can find space to come together as a family amid some of the most dazzling wildlife scenes on Earth. Leopards and cheetahs are commonly encountered here, which are two animals that are usually very elusive to an African safari. Perhaps, you will spot one hiding in the grass or follow a spotted cat as they return to their cubs. Lions are always an exhilarating highlight, and you can encounter a pride as they laze around with full bellies. You may also see a pride on the move, causing panic in an antelope herd or causing warthogs to run fearfully from the river.

Your program can also include nighttime game drives, which are an insight into a nocturnal world that is very different from the daytime drives. Short game walks may be possible, but you should note that there are strict safety regulations on the age and height of participating children. Four days on safari will be an adventure, especially as hippos meet your eye and giraffes lope elegantly past your vehicle. You will lose count of the famous animals that you see and can easily encounter more than 40 species. A Sabi Sands safari is also a very relaxed way to spend a few days, so you can sit back on your private terrace and watch the wildlife as it roams around the savannah.

What’s Included: accommodation, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 10: Sabi Sands to Johannesburg – Departure

You can choose a safari activity this morning although you will probably prefer a relaxed start and some time to ensure that everybody is ready for your flight. Plus, driving to the airstrip is also a safari and a chance for final moments with Africa’s four-legged giants. From the Sabi Sands, you will fly to O.R. Tambo in Johannesburg. Here, a representative will transfer you to the international terminal for your outbound flight.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Starting Price 

$3,995
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.