Being a parent may mean lots of changes and adjustments in order to fit in time for your little ones, from the amount of time you spend at the office to where you choose to live, nothing stays the same.
Apart from all the other things that will have to change or fall off your list of priorities, you will now also have to plan your holiday breaks to suit everyone – with the little ones being the most important, you’ll need to ask yourself questions such as, will they have fun and be engaged, are there enough activities to keep them occupied etc. Thus so that everyone can enjoy a break away.
With December holidays coming up it means that some well-deserved family time is approaching and what better way to enjoy this time than with a relaxing holiday get away with the family and what better place than right here in Mzansi. Let’s take a look at what five provinces have to offer for relaxation for all age groups:
Although small in size, Gauteng Province more than makes up for its lack of space with its very sophisticated and modern infrastructure, art and cosmopolitism, apart from being a big contributor to the country’s GDP, it also offers unique getaways and holiday spots for families.
You can start off on a Red Bus Tour of Johannesburg central which will take you through some of the most interesting areas in and around the CBD and beyond.
Visit stops such as Gandhi Square, the Roof of Africa at the Carlton Centre, the Apartheid Museum and Gold Reef City, plus the Mining District amongst others.
Soweto is another must see for both young and old, it’s a vibrant township that’s risen from its not so pleasant history that is deeply intertwined with the country’s dark past and fight for freedom.
You may want to get away from the hustle and the bustle of the busy city with an overnight stay at the Cradle of Humankind in Maropeng. Archaeological finds abound and a learner centre is also available to teach you and your little ones interesting things about the area and the discovery of early humans.
Take your children on a tour of The Ngwenya Glass Blowing Factory situated in Muldersdrift, where they will see how glass is made and learn why it’s important for them to recycle glass.
Mpumalanga offers adventures of a different kind thanks to its vast mix of bush, veld and savannah plus the many forests with mountainous ranges. Enjoy the great outdoors by exploring the different natural wonders of this amazing province, from the spectacular God’s Window situated on the Panorama Route surrounded by the towns of Hazyview, Sabie, Graskop and Hoedspruit.
You can also take your little ones on a tour of the Lone Creek Caves in Sabie by candlelight. Yes, candlelight, this tour ditches the powerful lamps and goes exploring the dark caverns with nothing but candlelight and it’s tailored for kids.
For the more adventurous, Four Crawl trails provide an alternative route to the main path – however be warned that you will have to get down on all fours, you’ll be wet and you will get dirty but it is all worth it. End your tour at the historic town of Pilgrims Rest, which has been declared a national monument.
Situated less than 2 hours’ drive from Johannesburg, the North West province has been nicknamed the platinum province because of the vast amounts of the mineral deposits buried deep underground. Despite the rage of the platinum craze this province remains a great family holiday destination.
Popular holiday spots for families include the majestic Sun City Resort, where everything has been thought of and provided for, the Pilanesburg Nature Reserve, home to the big five and a whole lot of other animals for you to discover, the Magaliesberg Dam and the Motseng Cultural Village which is sure to educate both young and old about the local Batswana Cultural practices and traditions.
Hartebeespoort also offers interesting things to do for young and old, take a ride up the Hartebeespoort cable car and pull in just in time for lunch high up in the mountains or use the time to get some amazing photos of the area and of your loved ones, learn about the history of the North West and the local tribes at the Mafikeng Museum while the Klerksdorp Museum will interest those who are keen to find out about a time when the province attracted millions and millions of gold prospectors from far and near to its once busy gold mines.
Dubbed the Zulu kingdom, Kwazulu-Natal is home to the amaZulu tribe. The province is home to spectacular beaches which overlook the warm Indian Ocean as well as the Drakensberg Mountains, known in isiZulu as the UKhahlamba, which spread approximately 1000km north-eastwards towards the southeast of the province.
Start your holiday fun by visiting the People’s Park at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, visit Fun World where kids will be entertained for hours on end, take a splash around the uShaka Marine World where you’ll be treated to spectacular sea creatures of all kinds fun for both the young and old for something old world take a trip on the Umgeni Steam Train which travels through the wondrous Valley of a 1000 Hills.
There’s also the Isimangaliso Wetland Parks which are home to extensive fauna and flora as well a unique bio-diversity that’s made up of eight eco-systems – there are plenty of interesting things for young kids to learn. Should the need for a safari trip suffice, you can always visit the Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve, home to the big five and more.
KwaZulu-Natal boasts a warm coastal climate which is warm all year round a place for families to visit even in the winter time so there is no excuse not to visit this province which is a complete mix of surf and safari.
The Western Cape offers a little bit of European splendour in an African setting, from the off the beaten track towns of the Klein Karoo, through to the Garden Route and Oudtshoorn, dubbed the Ostrich Capital, to the magnificent Wine Route in Stellenbosch, there’s lots for family’s to see and do.
Get to the city of Cape Town and a lot of activities also await, Cape Town has a little bit of everything from Ratanga Junction for the little ones to the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens for adults and nature lovers, learn about the stars and their formation at the Iziko Museum Planetarium; visit the Two Oceans Aquarium, home to more than 3000 species of sea creatures; let your little ones discover their inner Jamie Oliver’s at Little Cooks Club, and don’t forget to check out the Warrior Toy Museum where vintage toys, such as model cars, miniature dolls, teddy bears and more are kept.
Once you have explored the city you can relax with a cable car ride up the table mountain or a relaxing afternoon siesta or swim on one of the many beaches that dot the city and surrounds.
Our country makes for a wonderful experience that’s waiting to be explored, wherever you may decide to go. Ensure that you prepare for the journey ahead by packing sufficiently for the little ones. Remember to service your vehicle and to have it inspected ahead of a long journey. Also remember to check that your Auto & General insurance is up to date as you can never be too prepared for a long journey.