South Africa is a great country for family holidays. There is so much to do with kids and extended families, and it is easy to travel around with a car. There are many great child-friendly hotels in South Africa. They have activities and facilities to keep your little ones...and older ones... entertained. Give the old tried and tested destinations a miss on your next holiday and go somewhere different. Discover more of our beautiful country with your family. Here are 15 fabulous family-friendly hotels that our family has visited and enjoyed -where you can enjoy great South African holidays with kids.
Nestled in one of the world’s oldest mountain ranges, Cathedral Peak Hotel is renowned for the natural beauty of its surroundings. It also ranks high in child friendliness. There are several different options for family rooms as well as indoor and outdoor play areas. If there are enough children at the hotel, they get their own dining room and menu. There are baby sitters and child minders who keep the kids occupied and entertained with customised activity programmes, movie nights, pony rides and many more on-site activities. Read more here or book here.
Lelapa means family and parents and children will be pampered like royalty at this luxurious safari lodge. Family suites have bunk beds for the kids. The lodge has a beautiful swimming pool with a slush machine. Young safari enthusiasts will be entertained and educated at the Eco-House, where there are loads of activities (like arts and crafts), live creatures (like tarantulas) and remains of creatures (like cool skulls and horns) to keep them occupied. Field guides will take them on bush walks, teach them bush skills like dung-tracking and nurture their love of the bush in other ways too. Read more here.
This is a lovely family resort with a lot of activities for children. They can go on canopy tours, play miniature golf, swim, have fun in the games room and much more. Children have their dinner in a separate dining room adjoining the main one, with child-friendly food and movies to entertain them. Oh, and the hotel has an award-winning spa which offers unique spa treatments for 4-12 year olds at the very appropriately named “Babes and Dudes” salon. Read more here or book here.
Jaci’s Safari Lodge, is one of the most child-friendly safari lodges in South Africa. Over 5-year olds are permitted to go on the normal game drives and those under 5 are taken on their own shorter “jungle” drives. Children are made to feel special and are taken on activity walks where they can do their own animal spotting. The motto at Jaci’s is that children are celebrated here – not just tolerated. Read more here.
This lodge is situated in a Big Five game reserve, and it is much closer to Johannesburg as well as right next to Sun City. It feels more like a family-friendly resort than a bush lodge though. There are more than enough facilities and activities to keep the adults and more importantly, the kids, occupied. They include floodlit tennis courts, outdoor chess, huge swimming pools, a putt-putt course, a climbing wall, and a children’s playground. There is a junior rangers program for the kids too. One could easily spend a week here without getting bored. Read more here or book here.
If you are looking for a five-star holiday with your children, then indulge your family at the 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa. It is the first choice for many celebrities, VIP’s, and royal families from all over the world, when they visit Cape Town. Children are pampered with mini-towelling gowns, their own range of toiletries, sweet treats, and cookies and milkshake at bed times. There is a private cinema in the hotel with complimentary popcorn, milkshakes and hot chocolate at their - and your - disposal. And they may spot some seals and dolphins in the ocean from the balcony too. Read more here or book here.
Golden Gate Hotel and Chalets is located within the picturesque Golden Gate Highlands National Park. There are hotel rooms and chalets. The full-length glass sliding doors provide amazing views of the golden mountains and rocks. The kids will love the space. The park has several hiking trails and nature trails. It is also home to many species of plains game but with no dangerous predators around, it makes a great family getaway.
Legend Golf and Safari Resort offers world-class golf and safaris, a museum, a spa, a wildlife centre which houses white lions and other endangered creatures, and a rhino orphanage where orphaned baby rhinos are cared for. The Little Legends programme caters for smaller children, where they are taken care of while parents enjoy some quiet time. There are also segway rides, quad-biking, bush walks and a wide variety of sports facilities. The whole family could easily spend a week here without getting bored. Read more here.
Zebula Golf Estate and Spa is a golf, spa and wildlife destination with an activity centre that will keep the kids busy for a long time. The sports centre offers a fully-equipped gym, squash, tennis and volleyball courts. The accommodation includes chalets and free-standing houses, aptly named African Dream Houses, where you can sit on the deck with a drink in hand and a braai in progress, and watch the non-predatory wildlife roam freely. The children will love all the open space. Read more here or book here.
The Tsogo Sun group is known for its family-friendliness and Riverside Sun is no exception. The resort lies on the banks of the river. The gardens are covered with tall willow trees and boast a large swimming pool, play areas for the kids, and picnic areas. My kids looked for every opportunity to play in the large swimming pool. The restaurant has a clay oven and my kids were delighted to get freshly-baked pizza for supper. Read more here or book here.
Irene Country Lodge is a delightful venue for the family. The rooms are huge and you can get an inter-leading room for the kids. There is a kiddies activity room with a staff member to keep them entertained and hotel nannies can be booked to babysit them while Mum and Dad take advantage of the spa. You can also take them to the 122-year old Irene Dairy Farm across the road where they can pat the calves and watch the cows grazing or being milked in the afternoons. Read more here or book here.
All kids love theme parks and Gold Reef City is South Africa’s favourite theme park. Stay at the Tsogo Sun Hotel on the premises and enjoy yourself at the theme park from the morning of the day you check in till the evening of the day you check out. It’s great value. You can also take them on a tour of one of the deepest underground mines in the world, a gold pouring demonstration, an opportunity to pan for gold and a visit to the old gold miners’ houses. If you have little children, you can take them to the room for a nap when they’re tired. Read more here or book here.
This beautiful resort is a great place to enjoy some family time in the heart of the picturesque Mpumalanga Lowveld. It has a great golf course, a spa, 5 swimming pools for the kids and a host of other sporting activities. It is also minutes away from Kruger National Park and other Mpumalanga attractions. Kids will love all the open space they have to run around in. The Sabi River runs through the resort and is home to some hippos and crocodiles. Accommodation consists of modern self-catering chalets and recently refurbished hotel rooms. Read more here or book here.
This is a blissful mountain sanctuary in Mpumalanga. Outdoor activities include tennis, chess, jungle gyms, and mini golf under the shade of the trees. There are four swimming pools on the premises, of which two are deliciously heated. Indoor activities for kids include a games room with electronic and board games, a pool table and table tennis. A kiddies entertainment programmes with structured activities is handed to you on arrival during the school holidays. Accommodation is provided in spacious self-catering chalets. Read more here or book here.
This is the only child-friendly lodge in the Sabi Sabi portfolio and it is incredible. We stayed in a stunning family villa. Kids are allowed on game drives from the age of 6. At breakfast, there is a special kids corner with child-friendly breakfast treats. The Elefun Centre is a vibrant children’s facility within the lodge grounds which offers hands-on, interactive activities. Professional child-minders take care of the kids and inspire them to learn more about nature. Read more here.
Another option to consider is a timeshare resort. If you own a timeshare, you can use the RCI exchange services to book a luxurious timeshare resort. An RCI timeshare is usually larger than a hotel room and comes equipped with a kitchen and at least one private bedroom. If you would like to exit your timeshare, then a timeshare cancellation can also be arranged.
What are your favourite family-friendly hotels in South Africa?
For tips on travelling with children, click here.