Need time out with the family to rejuvenate mind, body and soul? We’ve found five unique spots where you can do just that. From luxe tents to family-size tree houses and fun train retreats, there’s something for everyone.
This unique, self-catering tree house accommodation is nestled amongst lush vegetation along the Garden Route, in Knysna.
The resort is a wonderful place to relax with a large entertainment area and two swimming pools, plus a heated jacuzzi. If you’re feeling adventurous, take the family for a scenic walk through the indigenous forest and down to the river, where the kids can collect acorns, leaves and flowers along the way. There are plenty of restaurants to choose from along the garden route. Families can also enjoy the spectacular beaches, mountain biking or hiking facilities and nearby markets, including the Wild Oats Market in Sedgefield.
For the kids:
Besides having the chance to live in a tree house, your kids will also love the large playground that features jungle gyms and a trampoline. The hotel staff have also hidden little fairies in the forest nearby- so make sure to point them out when you see them!
From R1 700 per night for a two-bedroom, four-sleeper tent. Rates vary depending on the season. For more information, visit teniquatreetops.co.za.
If you’ve always wanted to take the kids on a boating adventure, why not book a houseboat and sail blissfully along the Kariba, the largest man-made dam ever built?
The main aim of sailing around on a houseboat is to relax and put your feet up while enjoying quality time as a family. The boat lends itself to doing just this, as the upper deck has a covered dining and bar area with a splash pool for warm afternoons and evenings. There’s also a braai facility on board, or catering services are available on request. You can also explore the surrounding islands.
For the kids:
When you’re on a boat, the fun and games never stop for kids, who will have a chance to enjoy the best of what Mother Nature has to offer. From fishing to bird watching and game viewing, there’s always something to see and do. You may even have the chance to spot giraffe, elephant, hippo, rhino, crocodile, turtles and even lions, leopards and cheetahs from the boat.
Price available on request. For booking information, call +263 772 249 040 or visit karibahouseboat.co.za.
Mac Nicol’s Caravan Resort
Always loved the idea of caravanning with the kids, but you don’t have a caravan? No sweat, simply book your own family caravan through Zebra Caravans and set off for Mac Nicol’s, one of SA’s best beach caravan resorts.
Take a stroll around the park, or head to the Bazley Trails that are situated throughout the beautiful Mpihti trail area. The trails are multi-use and perfect for hikers, runners and cyclists. There’s also a variety of sporting activities, inlcuding volleyball, baseball, swimming galas, table tennis and pool competitions that take place throughout the day. For a traditional feast, take the family to the popular Vetkoek evening.
For the kids:
Boasting some of Kwa-Zulu Natal’s top beaches, kids will love splashing in the waves and building sandcastles. The staff at the resort are always planning something fun for children of all ages, including scavenger hunts, crab spotting in the evenings, fun obstacle courses and even a disco for the teens.
The caravan park rates vary, but expect to pay around R170 per adult per night out of season and R280 per adult per night in season. Kids rates range from R85 to R140 per child, per night. For more information, visit macnicol.co.za.
Africamps Boutique Camping
If you love the freedom of the great outdoors, but don’t enjoy roughing it in a tiny tent, why not go “glamping” (camping in luxury). Africamps is the ideal camping choice as the tents are large enough to fit a family of five.
Choose from a variety of Africamp locations in the Cape, all with their own unique facilities – including Oudtshoorn, Swellendam, Robertson and Standford.
Enjoy sundowners on the private wooden deck outside your tent while the kids play in the wide-open space around you. There’s also a fireplace for colder days and a braai facility – perfect for family meals.
For the kids:
Because each Africamp is situated on a farm in the Cape, kids will get to experience all the joys of farm life. Activities vary depending on the location, but kids will be able to interact with the animals on the farm and learn how to take care of them, as well as seeing what fresh local produce there is and, of course, they’ll relish the chance to spend time outdoors in nature.
Rates vary depending on the camp you choose. Call 063 170 4222 or visit africamps.com for more information.
No need to head to Europe for a train adventure, SA has its own Train Lodge where families get to experience staying on a train. One of Cape Town’s best-kept secrets, Train Lodge is situated in the middle of Cape Town’s city centre and has a wonderful old-world charm about it with 10 vintage railway coaches to choose from.
The cocktail lounge has two flat-screen TVs, plus comfy couches and a fireplace for late-afternoon sundowners. For warmer days, there’s also a fabulous swimming pool and braai area that are ideal for Sunday lunch with the kids. The award-winning restaurant is the Train Lodge’s pride and joy and offers a choice of delicious meals, day and night.
For the kids:
Little one’s will love the thrill of staying on a train, enjoying reading and board games or playing hide-and-seek between the cabins. Plus, there’s a chance to explore beautiful Cape Town right on the Lodge’s doorstep.
From R700 per night for a four-sleeper cabin. Children 0-5 years stay for free. For booking information, visit
Tammy is a wife, mom and freelance writer with 15 years’ experience in the media industry. She specialises in general lifestyle topics related to health, wellness and parenting. Tammy has a passion for fitness and the great outdoors. If she’s not running around after her daughter, you’ll find her off the beaten track, running, hiking or riding her bike. Learn more about Tammy Jacks .