South africa travel with children

South Africa travel with children

South Africa is a country rich in children and particularly child-friendly. South African families with 3 or 4 children – rather the exception with us – are not uncommon in South Africa. The offers for children are correspondingly large, although the large garden with extensive play equipment and swimming pool is of course the top priority. It is usually also available to many children from less wealthy families. Traveling with children during school holidays and at the "Long weekends" (long weekends with non-working Friday and / or Monday) is also a matter of course. Either you drive into the sea or into a car "Game reserve", for example in the Kruger National Park or in the Kalahari. The children are used to accepting long car journeys without complaint.

Child-friendly South Africa as a travel destination for the whole family is basically a good choice. Compared to some other long-distance travel destinations (e.g. USA), the distances between the individual attractions are not too great, even for less experienced children. Of course, the great and diverse South African animal world, which always leaves lasting memories, is particularly interesting for children. The numerous beautiful beaches and many other destinations also contribute to South Africa’s attractiveness for children.

South Africa is particularly recommended for families who travel as self-drivers and put together their destinations and accommodations individually or hire competent travel providers (e.g. Khashana Travel). Children are welcome in most guesthouses, hotels and lodges, whereby toddlers under 3 years are usually free and children up to 12 years are charged 50% of the adult price. However, there are also accommodations that do not accept children (or only from 12 years). Often it is houses that do not have a fenced swimming pool or whose premises offer too little soundproofing for guests without children.

There may also be restrictions in the game reserves. Especially in private reservations "Big5" Game stocks (lions, leopards, elephants, buffalos, rhinos) are often only permitted to children from the age of 12 on game drives in open land rovers. However, exceptions are made in many cases if the parents insure that they take good care of their offspring throughout the journey.

There are also many Big5 reserves that smaller children expressly accept on safaris and even game reserves with a special children’s program.

One should refrain from reservations without fenced lodges or without well secured camps. If the game can get directly to the accommodations, the safety risk for small children is too great, since they basically fall into the prey scheme of big cats.

Arniston Beach – a sheltered, gently sloping beach, ideal for families with children

South Africa offers some sheltered beaches that are also suitable for small children, such as the Arniston beach on the Overberg coast, the beaches of Kraalbaai and Langebaan on the West Coast or the famous one "Penguin beach" Boulders Beach on the Cape Peninsula. There are also some beaches on the Garden Route and on the coasts of KwaZulu-Natal that are very suitable for small children. However, caution is advised on most beaches in South Africa as the surf can be relatively strong. Here the constant vigilance of the parents is required.

Caution is also advisable for accommodations with swimming pools. Although South African children learn to swim very early, many children drown in the swimming pool every year. If your child is not yet able to swim, do not leave them alone near the pool. Fenced-in pools also often go unnoticed, for example because the gate was not carefully closed.

By the way, South African parents don’t let their children run around naked in public, either on the beach or at the swimming pool. Swimwear is a must, even for toddlers.

The malaria question
The question is whether you should travel to malaria areas with children and whether you should do chemoprophylaxis beforehand. Ultimately, this question has to be discussed with a tropical doctor. Some doctors advise against visiting regions with a high risk of malaria with small children (under 5 years). The overall risk of malaria in South Africa is significantly lower than, for example, in the countries of East Africa (e.g. Tanzania). Nevertheless, the risk in Kruger Park and in northeastern KwaZulu-Natal cannot be denied, especially not during the southern summer months (December to April).

Entry to South Africa with children
South Africa has required birth certificates for children upon entry since June 1, 2015. In addition to a valid passport, all accompanying visitors under the age of 18 must also present a birth certificate (with English translation). The multilingual international birth certificates, which have been issued for some time by the registry offices and citizens’ offices, are sufficient. Unless both biological parents of a child are traveling, a declaration of consent from the parent who is not traveling must also be submitted, also in English. Every child also needs their own passport. An entry in the parental passport is not recognized. The new regulation aims to put a stop to child trafficking. Whether this can be done in this way is more than doubtful. Since the number of visitors has declined significantly since the regulation was introduced, particularly among families with children, the government is currently considering to drop the provision again.

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Christina Cherry
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