If your family loves a blend of outdoor adventure and cultural experiences, you’re sure to adore South Africa. Get ready to spot incredible wildlife on safari, while also connecting with Indigenous cultures such as the Xhosa and Shangaan. It’s simply the perfect place for a thrilling cultural holiday that’s fun for the whole family. From meeting penguins on Boulders Beach to riding a cable car to the top of Table Mountain, here are some of the best things you can do on a trip to South Africa.
Go on safari and spot wildlife
From spotting the animals of the Lion King to sleeping in tented camps, kids will love going on safari in South Africa. There are endless opportunities for wildlife spotting. Head to Kruger National Park, South Africa’s most iconic national park, to spot the Big 5, the Little 5 and everything in between. For more Big 5 action and incredible rhino conservation, go to Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, the oldest park in South Africa. You’ll ride in safari vehicles that are specially-modified, giving everyone the best view to spot the wildlife.
Another great place for safari is in Karongwe Private Reserve. Experience the wonders of the bushveld as you go in search of the Big 5, including elephant, lion, leopard, rhino and buffalo.
Experience Karongwe like a local on Essence of South Africa
Visit a Shangaan village and taste worms
Visit a local Shangaan village where your family will learn about Shangann traditions and customs. You’ll get to taste a meal of grilled chicken, pap, Shangaan style cabbage. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try mopane worms – a local Shangaan delicacy! This not only puts the ‘culture’ in your cultural holiday, but it also supports the Eco Academy and their work in the local community providing eco and wildlife education. We’re sure it’ll be one of the most memorable experiences of your trip.
Meet penguins on Boulders Beach
South Africa offers so much more wildlife beyond the bushveld. Head to the stunning coastline and you can also discover the Marine Big Five: the southern right whale, bottlenose dolphin, great white shark, cape fur seal, and african penguin. We’ll take you along the scenic Cape Peninsula from Camps Bay to Cape Point, to see the Atlantic Ocean, the 12 Apostles, the Cape of Good Hope, and the extraordinary coastal road. We’ll also visit Boulders Beach where you’ll meet the adorable resident penguins on the golden sands.
Ride a cable car to the top of Table Mountain
Table Mountain is the towering star of Cape Town and you’ll experience it in the most exciting way – riding an aerial cableway to the top. Soak up the magnificent views as you glide through the air, then hop out and explore the unique landscape of the vast flat mountain top. Wander around the rocky paths and spot cute furry dassies (hyrax) scurrying among the thick Cape fynbos. You can also take in the views and spot iconic landmarks such as the City Bowl and thundering Atlantic Seaboard.
Experience Xhosa cuisine and music in Knysna
If you’re looking for a cultural holiday full of enriching experiences for your kids, Knysna is a great destination. Start your day with a walk beneath the lush canopy of Tsitsikamma’s ancient Yellowwoods. Arrive at Storms River Mouth where you can look down into the plunging depths of the gorge. Later, spend time with a local in Knysna, meeting Ella who will share her life story and introduce you to local Xhosa culture. You’ll learn some Xhosa phrases, see traditional dress, and learn the meaning behind some local music and songs, all while enjoying a delicious meal. It’s a truly memorable experience for kids and your visit will help support Ella’s work in the local community.
Get up close to hippos and crocodiles on Lake St. Lucia
If your kids can’t get enough of the wildlife, we’ve got another exciting experience on Lake St. Lucia. You’ll have the chance to board a boat and cruise across the St. Lucia Estuary spotting hippos, crocodiles, and birdlife along the way. Learn about the sounds and movements of the animals, and if we’re lucky, hear the stirring cry of the fish eagle or even watch it dive into the water to catch a fish.
Enjoy a delicious South African braai
Food is at the heart of any cultural holiday, and you can’t miss out on a real South African braai. After going on a thrilling 4×4 game drive in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi National Park, you’ll return for a delicious meal. Gather around the barbecue and tuck into a variety of grilled meats and tasty side salads. It’s the perfect end to a classic day in South Africa.
Soak up braai culture on Best of South Africa