family safari in south africa

9-Day Safari to Cape Town, Grootbos Nature Reserve, and Madikwe Game Reserve

Take your family to South Africa without breaking the bank! On our Family Safari in South Africa, you will start with a visit to cosmopolitan Cape Town, which offers fun activities for parents and kids alike. Then head to Grootbos Nature Reserve, an award winning eco reserve full of fun activities for the whole family. Finally, end your trip with 3 nights in Madikwe Game Reserve. Madikwe is a family-friendly game reserve in northern South Africa home to a number of game and bird species. As a bonus, unlike many African safaris, the areas your family will visit are malaria free, adding an extra level of safety for your loved ones. Your family will come home with memories that will last a lifetime!

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Highlights

Perfect for:

  • Perfect for Families
  • Perfect for Big 5/Wildlife Sightings
  • Perfect for Cultural Visits
  • Duration 9 days
  • Departures Anytime
  • Accommodations Moderate lodge and hotels
  • Fitness Rating Easy
  • Activities Game drives, sightseeing
  • Safari Type Family
  • Style Value
  • Land-Only Price* <$4,999
  • Flight Price Call for pricing

*All pricing per person based on double occupancy. Pricing varies based on travel dates, call for a customized quotation matching your travel needs. Changes to itinerary and pricing may apply. Price includes all accommodations, meals, some drinks, transfers, vehicles, park fees, guides and activities as indicated, and a $25 donation to a worthy African charity. Price excludes international flights, visas, tips, inoculations, travel insurance, and anything not specified above. We accept Visa, Master Card, Discover & AMEX. No refunds—see Terms and Conditions for details.

Itinerary

Day 1 – Cape Town: Arrive Cape Town. Scenically beautiful, Cape Town is a compelling mix of trendy modern and old-world elegance. Glamorous hotels, world-class dining and stunning vistas merge seamlessly with dynamic student suburbs and vibrant nightlife. Malay and African heritage is evident in the cuisine, traditions, and entertainment while the architecture reveals a strong Dutch, German and English flavor and style. Contemporary art is proudly displayed in a variety of galleries and modern boutique hotels, and wine bars and brandy tasting lounges will appeal to the fashionable set. For the well-heeled, the finest in opera, ballet, drama, and music can be appreciated in style.

A short boat cruise to Robben Island, just over seven km’s from Cape Town harbor, you can experience a sense of hopelessness inside the prison cell where South Africa’s most beloved legend, Nelson Mandela spent 27 years hard labor. It is difficult to imagine how anyone could rise above the horror of incarceration to become arguably the most iconic and compassionate leader of our era.

An exciting trip up Table Mountain in a cable car provides panoramic views over the “Mother City” and other attractions include the Cultural History Museum, the Castle of Good Hope and the world-renowned Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Greenmarket Square’s local crafts markets and the Bo-Kaap’s colorful Cape Malay buildings add a sense of authenticity to your trip, and Long Street’s vibrant restaurants, bars, and clubs come alive after dark. Perhaps wander around the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, a working harbor and hub of entertainment and shopping opportunities.

Day 2 – Cape Town: Up the mountain we go, the cable car revealing the incredible vistas of the city and ocean the higher we climb. On reaching the top, we move away from the crowds, tracking a dassie (local rock rabbit) and breaking for well-earned hot chocolate and delicious baked goods. Returning to sea level, we hop on our bikes, cycling along the Sea Point Promenade on a treasure-hunt and using a map to follow in the footsteps of a San Bushman, Cape Town’s earliest inhabitants. The treasure map points to clues along our 3-5 km Atlantic Seaboard course and helps to bring to life the stories of the Cape in a most engaging way. (The cycling is suitable for all ages, and a bike-trailer will be used for the littlest of explorers.) Stopping at art installations en-route, we listen to the story of Mandela, whilst gazing out towards Robben Island where he spent so many years imprisoned. Staying safe and off road, we head into Green Point Park for a fun insight into the unique cape flora and fauna before lunch.

Once our energy levels have been replenished, it’s time to explore the city’s uplifting urban art projects, District Six and interactive sites like the Apartheid Benches which bring to life the history which has shaped our nation. (Terrific stuff for teens and older “kids.”)

Families with younger kids proceed to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, for an afternoon of running rampant within the estate. Follow a treasure map which leads between tree-top canopy walk-ways and prehistoric cycad gardens (complete with dinosaurs). Jump over stepping stones, climb Van Riebeeck’s historic hedge and barrel down lawns in search of Claud the Clawless Otter.

Slowing things down, end the day at the beach and, while parents sip sundowners with their feet in the sand, tired, happy kids burn away the last of their energy, making use of our onboard toy box to play beach games with their energetic guide.

Lunch options are a choice of local eats, fine dining, wild picnic lunch or pop-up taste experience.

Day 3 – Cape Town: Our family day starts with a treasure hunt in the acclaimed Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens as we explore the lovely grounds and walk above the treetops on the Canopy Walkway aptly named the “Boomslang” (tree snake). With plenty of space, hiking trails and a wealth of plants and birds, this is ideal outdoors time for all ages.

Next, we visit the seals at Kalk Bay, exploring this working fishing harbor, perhaps throwing in a fishing line or taking a short forest hike. From seals, we move on to their cute neighbors, the penguins. Away from the crowds, we go in search of our own rogue penguins, finding them on a secret beach only accessible to the locals. Dip your feet in the sea water, and possibly try your hand at stand-up paddling to get a different perspective of these little darlings.

All penguined-out, we continue on to the Cape Point, where we hunt for the Cape 5 (Ostrich, Baboons, Mountain Zebra, Bontebok, and Tortoise) and wander along hiking trails which lead through indigenous fynbos, past hidden coves and rocky beaches. We chat about the shipwrecks on this coastline – keeping an eye out for lost treasure – and head up the funicular to the Cape Point Lighthouse, for an incredible panoramic view over the ocean, and back along the seaboard.

On our return journey, we stop at the Cape Point Vineyards, situated on the mountain slopes near Noordhoek – an ideal place to soak in the magical views, with a glass of their excellent home-produced wine in hand.

Lunch options are a choice of local eats, fine dining or a wild picnic lunch.

Day 4 – Cape Town: Today is excellent family-bonding time. It’s the type of day which creates memories kids will refer to for years to come – but also provides parents with the full Winelands experience. Children can run free in lovely gardens and resident barn owls, farm animals, and cobweb-filled, spooky cellars add to the excitement of the day.

We start with a treasure hunt through the scenic Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve, situated in the Franschhoek Mountains. Boasting spectacular vistas over the Franschhoek Valley, the reserve is home to small animals, fynbos and a diversity of plant life. Our hunt leads us to Breakfast Rock (an easy 1 km into the reserve) where we pick up our energy levels with a break for juice and delicious home-baked treats.

Next, stop at a boutique estate, renowned for its sparkling wines. The winemaker travels to Champagne every year, and – a glass of bubbles in hand – it is clear that his time is well spent. While parents wine-taste, kids have their own iced-tea tasting, so they are never left out.

We explore the charming town of Franschhoek with its French Huguenot origins – and you can choose a more active hiking and biking option which is great for older kids. Then it’s on to a family-friendly wine estate. We have unearthed those properties where family is at the heart of things and little explorers are not only warmly welcomed, but allowed to treat the farms as a playground. This is the world where fountains have been specially designed for cooling off after a run through the vines, and milk and cookie tastings are done in a cellar courtyard.

This afternoon, old wine estate with ancient cobweb-filled cellars, reveal their secrets to wine pilgrims and young imaginations alike. Taste the flavors and vintages of the region, while kids soak up ghost stories, play in magical surrounds and wander through charming gardens.

Lunch options are a choice of local eats, fine dining or a wild picnic lunch.

Days 5 & 6 – Whale Coast: Transfer to Grootbos Private Nature Reserve Garden Lodge. Perched on the slopes of the Duineveld Mountain and gazing down at the picturesque Hermanus seascape, Grootbos Garden Lodge is surrounded by the glorious colors of the fynbos, and the verdant greens of indigenous bush. This exotic, stone and thatch retreat stylishly reflects African warmth and contemporary elegance. Eleven free-standing suites merge with the surrounding fauna and command sweeping views of mountain and sea from private wooden decks. Grootbos is an eco-reserve, a place where highly professional, specialist guides (qualified botanists and scientists) enthusiastically introduce guests to the wonders of the plants, birds and small game which inhabit this slice of heaven. It provides a memorable interactive wilderness experience for the whole family – and for the kids, it’s both fun and educational. Optional extra whale-watching, shark-cage diving, and marine eco-tours are available.

Day 7 – Madikwe Game Reserve: Tuningi is a family-friendly lodge located in the malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve. With endless views over natural bush – best appreciated from the wrap-around decks – this property is both intimate and tranquil. Four luxury & two family suites are found in the main lodge and Little Tuningi. Spacious glass and thatch rooms are decorated in an African-chic style and feature private decks with vistas over the pristine wilderness. Between game drives and bush walks, your family will love soaking in the rim flow pool overlooking the watering hole, or absorbing the peace from the comfort of the lounge, and listening out for the sounds of the animals. Savor meals as a family in the boma, under star-studded skies.

Days 8 & 9 – Madikwe Game Reserve: Between game drives and bush walks, your family will love soaking in the rim flow pool overlooking the watering hole, or absorbing the peace from the comfort of the lounge, and listening out for the sounds of the animals. Savor meals as a family in the boma, under star-studded skies.

Day 10 – End Of Itinerary: Private transfer to OR Tambo International Airport

END OF SERVICES

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