Kidsontheroad – south africa with children or: the perfect parental leave

South Africa with children or: The perfect parental leave

South Africa Strangely enough, I never had it on my bucket list.

Too European? Too racist? Too touristy? I’m not sure why.

But when it came to finding a suitable destination for our second parental leave, the much-vaunted country at the southern tip of Africa suddenly appeared more and more often. And before I knew it, we already had 3 1/2 flight tickets to Cape Town on the computer.

How did this decision come about??

What speaks for South Africa as a travel destination with babies and toddlers?

  1. no time difference = no jet lag
  2. wonderful, healthy climate in our winter
  3. good tourist infrastructure (easily accessible by rental car)
  4. fantastic accommodations for families (always with a large outdoor area)
  5. many animal experiences without much effort
  6. no malaria (at least in the Cape region that we wanted to travel)
  7. Enormous dream beaches
  8. Dream landscapes en masse
  9. Cape Town, one of the most beautiful cities in the world
  10. English as the official language (suddenly becomes important: buying baby food, visiting a pediatrician etc.)
  11. good value for money

To start with: All of these points have been proven.

The two months in South Africa exceeded our expectations and I can warmly recommend the Cape region as a perfect family destination.

Here are our most important tips:

  • British Airwayshas a fast connection between Frankfurt-London and Cape Town and is one of the few airlines that also offers cots for children up to 2 years old. It is a kind of lashed baby seesaw in which our 9-month-old daughter slept for most of the night flight. Reserve in good time by phone!
  • The northeast (Johannesburg, Kruger National Park) is malaria area i.e. less recommended with babies and toddlers.
  • The country is so big anyway that one should limit itself to one area. We traveled comfortably from Cape Town to the Wild Coast and back in 2 months. The Cape region is certainly the best destination with small children and simply beautiful.
  • Super locations for longer stays (always recommended with small children) Cape Town and Knysna or Plettenberg Bay on the Garden Route.

We spent almost 3 weeks in Cape Town

and it never got boring. Children’s attractions there is literally like sand by the sea: city tour with the double-decker bus, cable car to Table Mountain, aquarium on the waterfront, the waterfront in general (sea lions, playgrounds, boats, ferris wheel …), Kirstenbosch (perhaps the most beautiful botanical garden in the world, with playground), countless dream beaches e.g. Camps Bay (for sanding, less for swimming), the promenades of Green Point and Sea Point (parks, children’s railway, playgrounds with sea views …), the Company Gardens full of exotic vegetation and squirrels …

Rarely parents and children get their money’s worth as much as in Cape Town and the surrounding area!

In Knysna We spent 10 days on the Garden Route,

and that should have been more too. The area is ideal for family vacations: dream beaches, Monkey land, Birds of Eden, highest bungee jump in the world (fascinating to watch, you can even go on the bridge), feed elephants in the Elephant Sanctuary or Elephant Park… As in Cape Town, there are playgrounds everywhere, child-friendly restaurants and endless space to run around!

The spectacular boat tours last 2 hours or more and are therefore more suitable for older children. But in Hermanus – this is the real highlight of this pretty town – the giants can also be observed from land e.g. from the beautiful cliff path. Even outside the whale season (approx. July-November) we saw jumping (!) Whales from there. And – parents, hold on! – there is even a playground with a view of the whale!

Have you ever been to South Africa with children? What can you recommend there?

(If you also want to travel with a baby child: in my guest post you will find practical tips on "diaper logistics".)

If you would like to live abroad with your children for a few weeks, this article may be of interest to you.

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Christina Cherry
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