Whether you're staying at home or going to the coast or bush, we've got you covered with our family outings guide. By Licia Selepe
Spend some quality time with your family at one of these great family-friendly venues.
This scaled-down model of Durban is a popular beachfront attraction for kids. They will love examining the airport, complete with aeroplanes, and the realistic harbour scene featuring a working miniature tugboat and ship. One of the most popular features is a rail network, with trains continually on the go. Braai areas and magnificent sea views from the deck make this an excellent family outing.
For more information, call 031 337 7892.
Crafty Duck Village
Crafty Duck Village is not just a fun place for the kids, but a wonderful experience for the whole family. It offers an amazing farmyard with opportunity to feed the animals, an under-fives play area, a monster jungle gym, snake and reptile park, as well as donkey and train rides for little ones. There’s also a farm-style family restaurant so you can make a day of it.
For more information, call 033 940 0295 or visit craftyduck.co.za.
No matter what type of board sport you enjoy, you’ll find it at the Wave House in Gateway’s Theatre of Shopping. This popular venue offers the opportunity to surf and skate. Wave House features the mighty D-Rex, a double-point break standing wave, and two beach-break flow riders for beginners. There are live bands and other events for entertainment as well as an indoor climbing rock and restaurants and refreshment kiosks to keep hunger and thirst at bay.
For more information, visit gatewayworld.co.za.
Funky Monkey caters for kids from two to 12 years, who are supervised by trained childminders, allowing you time to relax at the café. The venue also offers a “drop and shop” option for a maximum of two hours, so parents can catch a movie or go for a meal while their little one is well cared for by the team. The party packs are a huge hit with the kids and take the stress out of planning a celebration.
For more information, visit funkymonkey.co.za.
Cedar Junction Train Theme Park
Take your kids to Cedar Junction in Pretoria for a train trip around the scenic park. The train travels through tunnels and over bridges, taking about seven minutes to complete the trip. The park has a miniature 1.2km train track with three different train replicas (steam, diesel and petrol). There are other activities for both little ones and adults, including pedal boats, a zipline over the lake, jungle gyms, mini bike tracks, mountain biking, a swimming pool with a slide, jumping castles, a trampoline, a sandpit and walks.
For more information, call 012 811 1183 or visit cedarjunction.co.za.
FreeRange Lifestyle Centre
Take your kids to FreeRange Lifestyle Centre for a fun-filled day of playing, eating and shopping. Here, you can sit and relax or browse the shops while the kids enjoy themselves in safe, age-appropriate play areas with childminders. The centre houses a restaurant, coffee roastery, bakery, ice-cream parlour, deli, arts-and-crafts activity centre, toy store, baby boutique, clothing stores, gift shops, as well as Clamber Club Fourways. It is fully secure and designed with children in mind.
For more information, call 011 465 5193 or visit freerangelife.co.za.
Acrobranch allows you and your family to swing from tree to tree doing fun exercises to test your balance, strength and focus. The activities are for all ages, starting with a yellow course where the little ones can learn the ropes and enjoy a variety of fun obstacles, including an exciting monkey bridge and four different ziplines. Older kids can enjoy the more challenging and speedy Sprinting Cheetahs, located 3m above the ground, that offers 37 different challenges and an exciting 20m zipline at the end. There’s also the more advanced Stalking Leopards course where balance is tested on the Tarzan swing. You’ll find branches in Cape Town, Centurion and the Garden Route, too.
For more information, visit acrobranch.co.za.
Gold Reef City
Gold Reef City offers a combination of fun, fantasy and history. Go underground into a genuine goldmine and take advantage of the theme park’s more than 30 adrenaline-filled rides, as well as entertainment offerings – if your stomach can handle it. It also offers historical attractions, restaurants, kiddies’ rides, street entertainment and other fun activities for those too young, too old or too scared for the thrill rides.
For more information, visit goldreefcity.co.za.
Valley of Waves
Valley of Waves offers water activities that appeal to adventurers of all ages. Whether you stay at Sun City Resort or opt for a day visit, you can enjoy exciting attractions with a designated children’s area and lifeguards on duty. The main feature is the Roaring Lagoon – a a huge wave pool with hydraulic mechanisms that generate 2m-high waves every 90 seconds.
For more information, visit suninternational.com.
Perry’s Bridge Reptile Park
Visit one of the largest reptile parks in South Africa. Expect to see some of the most venomous snakes in the world, including mambas, rattlesnakes and cobras as well as reptiles such as Nile crocodiles, lizards, iguanas, tortoises and frogs. The knowledgeable guides at the park reveal fascinating facts about the cold-blooded inhabitants, such as their eating, hunting and sleeping habits. The pot-bellied pigs, goats and other farm animals will be a source of fascination and fun for your kids.
For more information, visit perrysbridgereptilepark.com.
Flying Dutchman Funicular
Taking the Flying Dutchman Funicular at Cape Point saves visitors a long uphill walk from the car park to the old lighthouse and is a fun way to enjoy the panoramic views. The line leaves from the lower station every three minutes. In addition to its time-saving and scenic advantages, it offers families an enjoyable, exciting travel alternative that’s especially appealing for those with restless young kids.
For more information, visit capepoint.co.za.
Ratanga Junction Theme Park
This long-time family favourite has more than 30 attractions, including 24 rides for both adults and kids, to keep everyone entertained. Snake and bird shows are guaranteed to catch the attention of your little ones while thrill-seekers can test their mettle on the Cape Cobra rollercoaster. There’s also a climbing wall for mini-adventurers, a more sedate carousel and even a skating rink. When you need a break from the excitement, or to plan your next activity, find some refeshment at the Food Court.
For more information, call 021 550 850 or visit ratanga.co.za.
Little artists will have an absolute blast at the Clay Café in Hout Bay where they can paint masterpieces on bisques and have the fired before taking home their personalised, unique crockery. After design time, little ones can run around in the garden and playground, while you snack on delicious cakes, cookies and sandwiches from the restaurant.For more information, visit claycafe.co.za.
East London Zoo
Located in the Queen’s Park Botanical Gardens near the city centre, the East London Zoo is home to more than 300 animals. After learning about the tigers, chimpanzees and crocodiles and other creatures, kids can have fun in the play park, which is conveniently situated close to the refreshment kiosk.
For more information, call 043 722 1171 or visit el-zoo.co.za.
Areena Riverside Resort
This little slice of paradise is located on the scenic Wild Coast on the banks of the Kwelera River, only 23km from East London. The resort offers unsurpassed views of the river, wildlife, birds and surrounding coastal vegetation. Cruises to the river mouth and beach can be arranged. There is a range of other exciting activities available, including a two-hour zipline tour with guides, horse riding, fishing, canoeing, paintball, quad-bike safaris, a children’s play area with a pool as well as a petting farm. There’s also a family-friendly restaurant and pub.
For more information, visit areenaresort.com.
Mangela Animal Touch Farm and Tea Garden
Your children will love getting to know Jacob the donkey and the miniature ponies, Maya, Misty and Pepe, at the Mangela Animal Touch Farm and Tea Garden. After being in the company of the animals, you can enjoy home-made Mangela pancakes, delicious cakes and desserts or just relax in the beautiful tea garden.
For more information, call 015 304 3290.
The Farmyard Trading Post Restaurant
Enjoy the splendour of this restaurant’s tranquil setting, which offers the perfect backdrop for quality time with family and friends, and where your kids can run free in a secure outdoor environment. The Farmyard produces a fresh variety of home-made foods on the premises – from a variety of gourmet cheeses and breads to delectable pastries. The patio overlooking children’s playground is ideal for leisurely breakfasts and lunches for the whole family.
For more information, call 015 263 6452 or visit thefarmyard.co.za.
Geluksfontein Goat Cheese Farm
At Geluksfontein Goat Cheese Farm, families can enjoy a guided tour of the working 400-acre ranch, which is situated in the heart of the Waterberg. Here, Swiss-style goat’s milk cheese is made traditionally using the milk from goats that are reared on the farm. Little ones will enjoy watching the animals being milked and seeing how the cheese is made, while you will enjoy a cheese tasting and a breakfast or lunch at the farm’s Goatino Pub and Grill.
For more info, visit geluksfontein.co.za.
Naval Hill Planetarium
Escape the heat and take your family to the first digital planetarium in sub-Saharan Africa. The planetarium sits on top of Naval Hill with its exquisite panoramic views of Bloemfontein. The digital dome holds a 12m aluminium screen and the theatre also offers a powerful surround-sound system and multiple data projectors to transport you to the outer reaches of the galaxy.
For more information, call 051 401 9751.
The Dell Cheetah Centre
Meet and interact with cheetahs at the Dell Cheetah Centre. You’ll have the opportunity to stroke the big cats, let them lick your hand, hear their unique purr and capture truly unforgettable photos. Children under 12 are not allowed into the enclosures, but they are welcome watch them run at phenomenal speeds on the purpose-built speedway.
For more information, visit dccafrica.co.za.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day. Learn more about Xanet Scheepers.