Tourism Teacher

South Africa with a Baby (+ a baby bump)

Disclaimer: Some posts on Tourism Teacher may contain affiliate links. If you appreciate this content, you can show your support by making a purchase through these links or by buying me a coffee . Thank you for your support!

Travelling to South Africa with a baby is a fantastic experience as there is soooo much to do! With animals to spot, lush oceans to swim in, African music to listen to, exotic foods to try and exciting sand dunes to play on it is literally the best sensory experience for kids!

South Africa is a fantastic choice of travel destination and one of the best places to travel whilst pregnant ! In this post I will give you a brief outline of our trip and why I would recommend South Africa to any travelling family!

Planning a Family Trip to South Africa

Flights to south africa, accommodation in south africa, transport in south africa, vaccinations and documentation, south africa with a baby: our itinerary, cape town with a baby, knysna with a baby, addo elephant park with a baby, gansbaai with a baby, to conclude: should you travel to south africa with a baby.

Travelling to any destination with children requires a little more planning than it did pre-kids, but that doesn’t make it any less fun (just a few extra hours on Google).

Travelling to Africa also needs some research and planning , since some parts can be unsafe etc. If you are planning a trip to any country in this part of the world it’s worthwhile checking out which are the safest countries in Africa to travel with a family.

South Africa with a baby

We had wanted to travel to South Africa for several years, but as hubby and I both work in education we have always been limited to the school holidays- when flights are SUPER expensive! My go-to has always been Skyscanner, which I have been using for years to check flight prices, times etc. I find that this comparison website always finds me the best deals and I also like that it gives you an all-inclusive price for the family in the search results.

If you’re looking for a great deal then it is often a good idea to think ahead of time. We actually found our flights 11 months ahead of our trip to South Africa! These were not cheap but less than half the price than I had seen previously (it was the Christmas holidays) so we booked them as soon as possible! If you’re looking for good deals on flights you can visit Skyscanner here .

Alongside getting a good price for your flights, you will also want to make sure that you can find appropriate accommodation. This is important when travelling to South Africa with a baby a not only because you will want it to be good value for money, but also because there is so much to consider when travelling with infants! Some things to be weary of include stairs, pools and baths. Want to know more about my accommodation recommendations when travelling with a baby or toddler?

When booking accommodation I will generally rely on Booking.com for hotels or Air b’n’b. For our South Africa with a baby trip we stayed in Air b’n’b accommodation, which was perfect! We generally spent 3-4 nights in each location and made sure that we had enough space for all three of us (even if it did mean hubby and to sleep in the spare bed because Isla wouldn’t sleep alone! haha).

The last major element that should be involved when planning any trip with kids in tow is how you will get around once you arrive. Our transport method of choice is almost always to hire a car. This allows us the ease and flexibility that we need to comfortably travel around with baby Isla. Are you thinking of hiring a car?

In South Africa we had a little car that allowed us to travel from Cape Town through the garden route to Addo Elephant Park and back again. The car was fine, although it wouldn’t have had space for a second child and the air con didn’t work very well! Oh, and it didn’t have central locking, despite being a brand new car!! My advice is to check the specification of the car that you hire before you book it, unlike us! *hand on head*

You might find it difficult to find out about what vaccinations/medication etc you need for South Africa because it’s such a large and varied country! If you visit the north of the country (e.g. Kruger National Park), you will need to take Malaria tablets. Whilst young children can take small doses of Malaria medication, I have personally avoided Malaria areas with baby Isla to date. It is also important to avoid Malaria areas when pregnant.

In terms of vaccinations, this will really depend on how old your little one is. It is recommended that you have the basic travel injections (Hep A, typhoid etc), although babies can’t have these until they reach a certain age. Breastfeeding can help with this as you will pass much of your natural immunity on to baby through your milk. Otherwise, just make sure that you are careful with what you eat and drink and wash hands regularly. Please not that I am not a medic and that it is best to discuss medication and vaccinations for your family with your healthcare provider.

One thing that is super important when travelling to South Africa with a baby or children is that you pack their birth certificate as well as their passport! This is something that I had never heard of before and I have never experienced in any other country. Apparently it’s something to do with lots of kidnappings and children being taken out of the country?! Anyway, if you don’t have the birth certificate you won’t be allowed in or out, so make sure you pack it! You can find more details about this legislation here .

South Africa is a huge country and it would take several weeks, if not months, to explore fully. It is for this reason that we selected to travel only a small section of this beautiful country. We were limited by time, as we only had the school Christmas break, which lasted two weeks. We were also restricted from visiting the north of the country, where there is Zika virus present (I was 28-30 weeks pregnant).

South Africa with a baby was the perfect travel destination for our family Christmas! The weather was beautiful, without being too hot. The country was easy to navigate and everyone was super friendly. Despite many people’s concerns over safety, we did not feel unsafe at any time. Although it is, of course, important to remember those little safety measures such as locking the car doors (easily forgotten when your car is no central locking!) and setting the alarm in your accommodation. Lastly, South Africa was the perfect place to travel with baby Isla because there was sooo much to do and sooo much to stimulate her senses!

Here is our 10 day itinerary-

As our flight landed into Cape Town, this was the natural starting point for our South African adventure. Despite spending ages packing for our South Africa trip, unfortunately our luggage did not arrive with us (and South African Airlines are refusing to respond to any of our e-mails about the compensation that they promised us-I DO NOT recommend you fly with them!), so we spent our first afternoon exploring one of the city shopping malls to stock up on essential items such as toiletries, sun creams and clothes for Isla.

The following day (whilst eagerly awaiting the arrival of our luggage) we explored the city, where there is so much to do !

We started the day by taking the ferry over to Robben Island to learn a little bit more about Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment and the history of Apartheid . The tour was really interesting, even if I did miss half of it trying to get Isla to sleep!

South Africa with a baby

Next we took the cable car up to the top of Table Mountain- a right of passage when visiting Cape Town! The views were spectacular from the top! Ordinarily we would have climbed to the top (did I tell you that I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro last year??). However, the prospect of a steep 5 hour hike when 29 weeks pregnant, whilst carrying a toddler on my back in 28 degree heat was a bit too much for me! Maybe next time!

South Africa with a baby

We also spent some time wandering around the Victoria and Albert waterfront. This was a fantastic example of how great travel can be for children as Isla was in her element! On paper this part of the day didn’t sound like the most toddler-friendly activity, however there was so much to stimulate her! From the huge model elephants that she could touch, to the giant chess, the African drummers, the dancing skeletons, big wheel and city centre playground, there was sooo much for her to see and do! We spent a good couple of hours here playing and exploring.

South Africa with a baby

The following day we went for a drive South of the city centre. Our first stop was Boulders Beach to see the African penguins. Whilst we were slightly disappointed that we couldn’t actually go on the beach with the penguins, we could watch them from a platform and get very close. I had never seen penguins in a warm climate before so this was a special experience. You can read more about visiting Boulders Beach here .

South Africa with a baby

Our next stop was Table Mountain National Park. This is home to the famous Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope. It was pretty pricey to drive into the park, but it was worth it because the scenery and views were simply stunning! Many people think that this is the most southerly point in Africa, but this is actually not true (it is Cape Agulhas)! The area is well worth a visit though, regardless.

Cape Point is home to the famous lighthouse and a funicular which can take you to the top (again we would usually have climbed, but I didn’t fancy this whilst pregnant). There are beautiful views and there is a restaurant to eat at here too.

South Africa with a baby

A few minutes drive down the road is the Cape of Good Hope. You leave your car in the car park by the beach and climb up to see the views. Isla was sleeping and I didn’t particularly fancy the climb, so I relaxed on the beach and asked hubby to take lots of photos for me from the top for me. Isn’t it funny how kids sleep at the most convenient times!

The park is home to a variety of nature. I could see sea lions on a rock in the distance from the Cape of Good Hope, some monkeys ran in front of our car a few minutes drive along the road and we saw ostrich footprints on the beach!

Talking of beaches… Table Mountain National Park was also home to the most spectacular beach that we visited on our trip to South Africa! There are lots of secluded beaches in the area and we decided to pay a visit to Platboom Beach- and it was fantastic!

Platboom beach had super soft sand and was deserted, we saw only a couple of other people during our two hours there. We had read that there could be under currents so we didn’t take Isla in the water to swim, but we had soooo much fun running from the waves and rolling down the sand dunes! The beach really was like the kind of beach that you dream about: Clean, quiet and completely natural. It was absolute bliss!

South Africa with a baby

The next day we began our road trip along the garden route.

Knysna (pronounced Nice-na), was around a five hour drive so we stopped off half way at Mossel Bay. Whilst we knew we would stop somewhere, we had no plans as to exactly where, so we were pleasantly surprised when we arrived in Mossel Bay to find there was a really cool swimming lagoon!

South Africa with a baby

This was basically an area of the ocean that was separated by rocks to allow for a swimming area to be created. It was very picturesque and also exciting as there were some pretty big waves and a current to contend with. There were also some diving boards for the bigger kids and adults. Isla has a little swim and play along the rocks and we stopped here for some lunch and an ice cream. This made for a great afternoon and it broke up the drive perfectly.

Travelling South Africa with a baby or young children? I would definitely recommend Mossel Bay.

Knysna itself is a pretty little town about half way along the garden route. It is a very relaxing peaceful place and is famous for its lagoon. This is where we spent Christmas Day, chilling on the beach and playing in the water. In the morning, when the tide was out you could walk from one side of the lagoon to the other and the water was no higher than your waist. This made for the perfect playground for babies and toddlers!

The next day we scheduled in a couple of stops on route to Addo Elephant Park, which was around a three hour drive in total. To start, we visited a wild animal refuge. There are lots of these along the main road and their aim is conservation, rather than being simply a zoo. Here were saw a white lion and lots of different types of wild cats including leopards and cheetahs. We also learnt about the conservation programmes in the area. This was great as we were able to see animals that would be extremely difficult to spot in the wild! Whilst it is a shame that they are kept in enclosures, for many this is the best or only option for them, since they were rescued from a range of different difficult or dangerous situations such as poaching, being orphaned or being seriously injured.

South Africa with a baby

Our second stop was Tsitsikamma National Park, which is home to the famous Storms River Suspension Bridge. Here there was a picturesque walk through the jungle-type terrain and across a small sandy beach ending at the large suspension bridges which hand across the mouth of Storms River. This is a moderate walk and those with limited mobility might find it challenging. I carried Isla the whole way, which took us around an hour return, which I was pretty proud of at 30 weeks pregnant… especially given the number of red faces and panting that we heard from some of our fellow tourists ! It seems I must have retained some of my Kilimanjaro fitness through pregnancy after all!

south africa travel with baby

Addo Elephant Park is the perfect safari when travelling in South Africa with a baby or children! Whilst it isn’t quite as adventurous as a ten day safari in Krugar National Park, you are almost guaranteed to see animals and you can take it at your own pace- which is perfect for kids!

We stayed a five minute drive from Addo in an Air b’n’b in a small Town called Colchester. This was perfect as after several hours driving around the safari park the last thing we wanted was a long drive back to our accommodation!

Addo Elephant Park is a self-drive safari park. This means that you take your own car and drive around in search of animals at your own pace. Unlike many safaris, which offer organised drives early in the mornings and late afternoon (when the animals tend to be most visible and active), people drive around the park at all hours of the day. This worked much better for us as we could schedule our drives around Isla’s routine!

As the name suggests, there are lots of elephants in the park. In fact, there are sooo many elephants that you would be hard-pressed not to find some! We saw elephants bathing in water holes and marching in lines across the plains. We saw big elephants and baby elephants. The word elephant soon became a part of Isla’s limited vocabulary and I think that’s pretty good going as it’s not the easiest word for a 22 months year old to say!

There are also lots of other animals to search for including lions, ostriches, tortoises, zebra , buffalo, monkeys, eland and more. At the main gate, and again at the main picnic site, you will find maps of the park where visitors mark recent animal sightings. This was really helpful as it gives you some direction if there is a specific animal that you are looking for!

South Africa with a baby

We spent two days driving around the park and took a packed lunch with us. We let Isla ride up front so that she could see all of the animals, which we felt was safe as we were generally driving very slowly! She would get so excited every time we spotted a new animal and she was often the one who pointed them out to us!

Whilst staying in Colchester we also visited the local sand dunes , which was a real hidden gem! We had no idea that these spectacular sand dunes were here and we were only made aware of them because our Air b’n’b host told us they were worth a visit!

Visiting the Colchester sand dunes was a real highlight of the stay here. The dunes are located at the Sunday’s river mouth and they were several metres high! The dunes are only a five minute drive from Colchester and you pay a small entrance fee to enter the park. Once in you will find unspoilt sand that stretches for miles.

The sand dunes were so impressive, hubby and I actually felt reminded of our experiences in the Sahara Desert a couple of years earlier!

South Africa with a baby

You can just explore, as we did, or you can sign up to do sand boarding or sand hiking with a local tour operator. Isla had so much fun here and I would highly recommend to anybody visiting Addo Elephant Park and the surrounding areas!

The next day we started our drive towards Gansbaai. Once again, we wanted to break up the journey, so we opted to visit the famous Ostrich town of Oudtshoorn.

Visiting Oudtschoorn was a slight detour off of our route, but one that we deemed worthwhile. It is a town that is filled with Ostrich farms and is a highlight for many visitors who are travelling the garden route.

We had read a lot about tourists visiting Oudtshoorn with the intention of riding the Ostriches, which concerned me slightly, given that this is a form of animal tourism. I have taken part in many types of animal tourism on my travels over the years, but that was when the public awareness of this type of tourism wasn’t very good and I was ignorant and naive. Nowadays, we avoid any form of tourism that we feel is likely to have a negative impact of animals, the environment or the host community.

Fortunately we found that most ostrich farms are there for educational purposes- to teach the tourists about the farms and the animals. Some did still offer rides, but these did appear to be strictly managed with maximum weight limits and rides only offered in cooler weather. Most farms did sell ostrich meat- you can make of this as you will, I guess. My view is that if it’s ok to eat chicken, duck, pork, beef etc and we visit all of these animals at farms, them it should be ok to eat ostrich. But I know some people will disagree with this!

South Africa with a baby

Isla absolutely loved her time at the farm. She was able to feed the ostriches and to hold the eggs. The farm that we visited also had a little kids playground and resident giraffe! This was an animal that we hadn’t seen at Addo, so it was great to be able to show Isla another animal that she had previously only seen on the TV!

South Africa with a baby

The only negative to our visit to Oudtschoorn was the heat. Whilst for the rest of our trip across South Africa with a baby we had enjoyed modest mid-high twenty degree temperatures, Oudtschoorn was hot, seriously hot! Temperatures peaked this day at around 40 degrees celcius. Whilst I am a lover of heat, this was too hot for me, especially given that I was 30 weeks pregnant by this point! It actually made me feel quite faint and I had to sit under a tree while hubby and Isla fed the ostriches (note- this was definitely pregnancy-related as I don’t normally suffer from the heat in this way).

From Oudtschoorn, we continued our journey back towards Cape Town and eventually reached our destination of Gansbaai. There isn’t an awful lot in Gansbaai, especially for children, but my husband was desperate to go great white shark diving- and Gansbaai is the place to do it!

So the following day hubby went off on a boat trip and we had a relaxing day at our lush Air b’n’b . I considered taking Isla out on the boat so that we could spectate, but I read reviews of sea sickness and figured that she would quickly get bored, so opted against.

Instead, we spent a few more Pounds on our accommodation, which was a fantastic find! We stayed in our own private villa that had it’s own small pool and overlooked the ocean. Isla and I had a lovely day on the beach looking for shells and relaxing in the warm sunshine before daddy came home to report on his shark adventures!

South Africa with a baby

Whilst there wasn’t a lot to do in Gansbaai, we really enjoyed spending our last two days here. We relaxed and enjoyed the quiet beaches of the area. We were also well positioned for our drive back to Cape Town, which was around two hours.

My answer is absolutely, yes! Whether you have a small baby, a toddler or older children, South Africa is a fantastic destination for kids. From spotting wild animals, to climbing sand dunes on deserted beaches, to experiencing the Victoria and Albert waterfront, there is so much to stimulate your baby and the rest of the family! If you’re travelling with older kids, check out this post !

Psssst! By the way, I have recently designed a flight log book to allow your kids to record all of the journeys! If you’re looking for a special way to record your children’s travel memories then head over to Amazon to take a look!

Liked this article? Click to share!

  • Search Please fill out this field.
  • Manage Your Subscription
  • Give a Gift Subscription
  • Sweepstakes

I Brought My Baby on an African Safari — Here's What I Learned on the Adventure of a Lifetime

It turns out a 10-month-old baby makes an incredible companion on a safari in South Africa — if only for the reminder to slow down and savor the wild moments.

When I imagined our first family safari , our 10-month-old daughter in tow, I never pictured releasing her onto the wild red Kalahari Desert sand to join a mob of 15 meerkats. (And yes, that's the proper term.) But there we were, watching Indah crawl curiously toward a trio of the diminutive mammals, reaching out her chubby hand in a choppy wave as they stared, frozen in myriad meerkat poses — one standing, leaned back on its kickstand-like tail, another crouched. With a longtime researcher overseeing the adorable interaction, she was so excited and they, too, were interested. This was the first human baby the clan had ever seen. We know this for a fact since they're habituated in Tswalu, a 111,000-hectare private reserve with a maximum of 28 guests.

I thought our guide, OB Medupe, was joking when he first mentioned we sit Indah amid all these funny little not-quite-foot-tall creatures. But he delivered, on that and so many more stunning moments while we lived our best lives at Tswalu, The Motse in January, followed by Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge — both in South Africa, a place with a seemingly universal love for babies. The adventure was planned in flawless detail by Extraordinary Journeys ' CEO, Elizabeth Gordon , and her team — several of them moms — using their encyclopedic knowledge of the most kid-friendly (not to mention low-malaria-risk) safari destinations on the African continent.

Before I continue, I'm aware that taking an infant on safari sounds out there. My past exploits were always hyper focused on wildlife photography, but I was eager to be more present and soak up the bush through fresh eyes. My husband, Keith, and I are adventurous travelers and wildlife lovers, and we want to expose our daughter, Indah, to the world early, layering in typical baby experiences with extraordinary ones, too. We feel it's important for her to hear other languages and accents, and be loved by others who are not her family. She won't remember waving at giraffes and jabbering at elephants, having her diaper changed 20 feet from a leopard, or eating biltong in the bush during sundowners, but I'm confident those experiences will wiggle into her subconscious and positively affect her world view and sense of connection.

In contrast to her small COVID bubble at home, Indah's safari sphere was infinite. The magic began the moment we touched down in Tswalu's sleek eight-seat aircraft and stepped into The Nest, living architecture where hundreds of sociable weaver birds flitted between their homes woven into the thatched roof. (The Fireblade Aviation hangar in Johannesburg was a lovely prelude, with a large kids' playroom, snacks, and wine.) They captivated our baby birder, her eyes dancing trying to follow them. We hopped into a Land Cruiser with OB and our tracker, Piet, who laughed when I joked that Indah had been waiting her whole life for this. "Her whole 10 months," cracked Keith. And with that, our safari — a Swahili word meaning journey — began, filled with rare species signature to the Kalahari Desert.

There, amid iconic orange sand with painterly layers of green, pink, and blue adding depth to the landscapes, we saw pygmy antelopes called steenbok, a slick black sable running like a mythical creature, and cheetah brothers, fur wet from the morning dew, walking coolly and sniffing around before stretching out on their backs in typical cat style. Our first giraffe sighting made a major impact, and Indah waved maniacally, pointed, and talked up a storm. These giant animals full of grace seemed to notice our tiny Dr. Dolittle, who spoke to them exuberantly.

The nickname stuck at Sabi Sabi, where our soft-spoken yet knowledgeable guide, Andries Ndlovu, responded to Indah's evocative chatter aimed at a sea of impalas with, "Who knows, they might understand you!" As a soon-to-be first-time dad, he loved her enthusiasm. But Indah's spirited full-body communication made us nervous at times, too, like while watching a thick-maned male lion nurse a fresh forehead wound. Andries knew from experience that this cat had no interest in us, but my heart nearly jumped out of my chest when he sat up just as Indah started voicing her hangry cues. I quickly begin nursing her as he walked past, a few nail-biting feet away. In contrast, I didn't worry at all when we rolled up on a maternal lioness that Andries called "a tough cookie" as she dozed in a sandy riverbed with her two girls.

Be prepared for your child to occasionally scare off wildlife, like when Indah's excited yelp frightened a beautiful cheetah before I could lift my camera. Overwhelmingly, however, she seemed to have little impact on the wild, though she made an impression on visitors surprised to spot a human baby. Animal babies weren't a rarity, though, like when we saw an elephant family of mamas, daughters, aunties, and sisters, the little ones running playfully and adults using their trunks to bathe in sand that looked like shimmering gold in the morning sun. I'd typically be all over that moment with my telephoto lens, but Indah was still waking up and I happily tended to her. A bonus? I got to take the magnificent parade in with my eyes instead of through a camera.

Our protective instincts flared up again amid an idyllic scene of dazzling zebras, wildebeest, a spectacular saddle-billed stork, and more elephants, including the animal world's version of a six-ton bodybuilder on steroids: a male musth. The strong earthy smell washed over us in the breeze, signaling an aggressive guy who moments later charged, looking positively ginormous beside another vehicle. In the excitement, Indah fell asleep, soothed somehow by the deafening cacophony of birds. She was still out when we met a leopard, legs and tail dangling from a high tree branch — the picture of chill yet amazingly alert with yellow eyes.

A monumental mama white rhino with her precious baby most engaged Indah as they grazed their way closer to us, munching on grass and clearly curious about this outrageously loud yet petite creature gesticulating and calling in a tiny Sabi Sabi safari hat. Rhinoceroses balance bad eyesight with superior smell and hearing, so when Indah did what babies do best, she played right into their senses. Mama, a mere 15 feet from our vehicle, actually jumped, turned, and trotted away. Yes, our child's number two ended this most intimate rhino encounter.

Fortunately, she didn't frighten away Tswalu's full-time baby whisperer (a.k.a. child minder), Sanna, a sweet South African Mary Poppins who Indah immediately hopped to like a lemur. It was a trip to have someone swing by and snag our baby, then return her smiling and clutching a flower or seed pod. On one occasion, when looking for our daughter, I was told, "Indah's in the spa having a treatment and Sanna says she's not done yet." I laughed and headed over to find Indah sitting on Sanna's lap eating a cookie, her feet being lovingly rubbed by a masseuse. Sanna's fun watch enabled Keith and I to get a massage, and also have the culinary adventure of a lifetime at Klein Jan , the surprising restaurant by Michelin-starred South African chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen. A fellow diner aptly described it as the "James Bond of dining experiences."

At Sabi Sabi, our housekeeper, Busi, doubled as a babysitter. When we returned one night to our stunning suite — a two-bedroom with three bathtubs, including a pair in the glorious glass-encased primary bathroom — at 9 p.m., we were shocked and amused to find a dazed-looking baby tied around Busi's back. It was a hilarious cultural exchange moment for Indah, who'd apparently woken up hours earlier and didn't want to go back to sleep. (The concept of letting a baby fall back asleep unassisted does not seem to translate.)

Gordon had promised these properties would cater well to Indah, and she was spot on. Sabi Sabi has a vibrant, vast kids' camp, dubbed EleFun Centre. Chefs at both camps happily prepared special meals for Indah at the odd times we needed them — say 4 p.m. so she could eat dinner on the road. Our first attempt was somehow smoother than in a high chair, despite bumping along corduroy roads. (Pediatricians recommend babies have good head and neck stability for these rough rides, and sit in a rear-facing car seat.) We also stashed croissants and rusks for a mid-drive snack to keep Indah occupied.

A few more practical tips: Pack lots of layers for multiple seasons in one day. (We'd also sprayed Indah's clothes with permethrin in advance, and none of us got a single mosquito bite.) Give yourselves a few days before starting the safari to adjust to South Africa time. Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff, Johannesburg — wonderful with baby amenities — makes a lovely first stop for resetting internal clocks and circadian rhythms plus spending relaxed days at the pool and lush grounds.

Above all, be comfortable with flexibility. It's amazing how a little one's enthusiasm for exciting newness can trump exhaustion. Our guides were adaptable to our timing, plus we had a private vehicle. And we alternated nights keeping Indah up later with ones where we put her down early with a sitter so we could have adults-only drives. The first evening, I tried putting her to sleep in the car seat while we spotted wildlife and a nest of sweet just-hatched birds, but she cried so loudly that OB said she sounded like a distressed cob. So, defeated, we stopped for gin and tonics as Indah sat in the tracker seat, jubilant despite her tired red eyes.

Even at 10 months, Indah seemed to come into her own in Africa, as so many adults do. Observing her being as social, trusting, and fearless toward animals, as she was with all the guides, trackers, hosts, servers, and housekeepers, was a pure joy. Her beautiful unbridled energy rubbed off on everyone, especially me — I actually found myself waving to a group of impalas when she wasn't around. "When you stop looking and just enjoy, it's like the animals come to you," Andries said at one point, enjoying our baby-led pace, too. It was a wonderfully chill vibe with less pressure than on previous safaris. I felt connected: to the wildlife, to the landscapes, to Africa, and to Indah, who nursed a ton and took incredible naps, including one for nearly two hours in my arms as we cruised through the Kalahari calmly looking for rhino tracks.

Being outside all day long in fresh air helped lull Indah into slumbers I know had to be filled with the fantastical wildlife we were seeing. And no, she won't recall actually seeing them, but I believe those memories will infiltrate her dreams for a long time to come. Mine, too.

By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.

The best things to do in South Africa with kids

Roxanne de Bruyn

Sep 1, 2023 • 7 min read

south africa travel with baby

Find the right activities for all age groups with this family guide to South Africa © BlueOrange Studio / Shutterstock

South Africa is an excellent destination for family trips.

With its diverse wildlife , delightful beaches , exciting theme parks and fascinating museums, there are many attractions that are perfect for both adults and children. The country is particularly well-suited to older kids who can make the most of the many outdoor experiences.

What makes South Africa good for kids?

Traveling with kids in South Africa is relatively easy, with child-friendly facilities and accommodations. Most larger hotels will provide a cot for babies and toddlers, and sometimes there are extra beds available, but it pays to check when you book. There are apartments with kitchens available for rent as well as holiday homes.

Many family restaurants and cafes have high chairs and offer kids' menus that include dishes such as pizzas, burgers, pasta, toasted sandwiches and fish and chips. Some restaurants and cafes serve variations on local dishes for children. If you want healthier options, there's usually something suitable in the entrée or sides section of the main menu. 

Public transport in South Africa  is limited, so hiring a car is recommended when you're traveling as a family. You’ll find all major car rental brands in South Africa, including Avis , Hertz , and Budget , and there are desks at the airport, although you’ll usually get lower prices if you book in advance. Tourist destinations are safe and you should be able to visit the places on this list independently without any issues, however taking tours through Soweto and downtown Johannesburg is recommended.

One important thing to know before you go: bring your child's full birth certificate as well as their passport when traveling to South Africa. If both parents are not traveling with the child, you will also need additional documentation, including a letter from the other parent and potentially a court order. Contact your South African embassy for more information about these requirements.

A toddler looks at penguins from a wooden walkway, Boulders Beach, South Africa

Where is the best place to go in South Africa for kids?

The larger cities of Cape Town , Johannesburg and Durban are great for kids, with facilities for young children, excellent food and accommodation options. They also have a wealth of family-friendly activities, including theme and water parks, indoor and outdoor play areas, and museums and zoos. Children will also love seeing the animals and flowers in the nature reserves and national parks. The smaller towns along the coast are the places to go if you're looking for a relaxing beach vacation.

Best things to do in South Africa with babies and toddlers 

Take the cable car up table mountain, cape town.

Table Mountain dominates the skyline in Cape Town, and seeing the view from the top is remarkable. If you’re traveling with young children, take the cable car to the top – children aged four and under travel for free. Prams and strollers can be wheeled straight on too, but if you're planning on doing any walks at the top of the mountain, you might prefer a baby carrier or sling.

The cable car ride itself is an adventure as the car slowly rotates as it travels up the mountain, offering panoramas of Cape Town and the surrounding region. Once at the top, drag your eyes away from the views to look out for a dassie, a small, guinea pig-type animal, or take one of the accessible hikes and walking routes.

See the penguins on Boulders Beach, Cape Peninsula

This white sand beach dotted with huge boulders is home to a colony of endangered African penguins. Children can see the penguins up close and watch them waddling on the beach, swimming in the clear waters, and interacting with each other.

The water is cold, but the beach itself is sheltered with gentle waves and shallow waters, making it perfect for young children to play and splash around. Just remember that the penguins are wild animals and you should keep your distance. Other activities to keep babies and toddlers entertained include rock pooling and exploring the boulder formations.

A teen stands on the hood of a safari truck looking out towards some wildlife

Best things to do in South Africa with young children

Go on a safari.

Easily one of the best things to do in South Africa is going on a safari . While some younger children may find the drive times a bit challenging, most will be enchanted by seeing wild animals in real life.

Take an organized game drive to have the best chance of seeing the Big Five – lions, leopards, elephants, rhino and Cape Buffalo – up close. If you have younger children, consider doing a game drive in a private reserve, as the smaller area means you can see more animals in a shorter amount of time. For older children, head to Kruger National Park to see animals living in their natural habitat and get a snapshot of what the country (and much of the continent) would once have been like.

Visit Gold Reef City, Johannesburg

This gold-mining-themed amusement park has rides and entertainment suitable for all age groups, from toddlers to adults. You can also learn about Johannesburg’s gold-mining history, and go on an underground mine tour (suitable for children over six). If you’re visiting with older kids, you may want to combine a visit to Gold Reef City with the nearby Apartheid Museum .

Explore the Cango Caves

If you’re spending a few days in the Cape Winelands or driving along the Garden Route , take a detour to the Cango Caves . Kids will love exploring the vast underground chambers, tunnels and fascinating rock formations, some of which are millions of years old.

The basic guided tour of the caves is accessible to all ages, and the knowledgeable guides are great at keeping kids engaged and entertained. On the way to the caves, a couple of other attractions are also worth visiting – an ostrich farm  and  Cango Wildlife Ranch where kids can meet cheetahs, snakes, crocodiles and more.

Spend a few days at Sun City

The popular resort of Sun City in South Africa's North West Province offers a range of exciting activities for children of all ages, including water parks, game reserves and adventure parks. The Valley of Waves , with its thrilling water slides and wave pool, is a favorite among kids.

Supervised activities are available for younger children, including mini-golf, outdoor movies and arts and crafts. The resort's game reserves offer the opportunity to see Africa's Big Five, while the zip line and Segway tours provide adrenaline-pumping adventures for older kids.

See fossils at the Cradle of Humankind

The Cradle of Humankind in South Africa is an excellent destination for kids who are interested in history and science. This Unesco World Heritage site is home to some of the world's most important hominid fossil discoveries, including the famous "Mrs Ples" and "Little Foot." Kids can learn about the evolution of humankind through interactive displays and exhibits and take a guided tour of Sterkfontein Caves , where some of the fossils were discovered.

A multigenerational family stroll along a beach together

Best things to do in South Africa with tweens and teens

Learn about south africa’s history.

Older kids and teenagers can learn about apartheid through some of South Africa’s excellent museums and tours. In Johannesburg, visit the Apartheid Museum or go on a historical walking tour of Soweto to learn about the events that shaped the country’s history.

If you’re in Cape Town, take a trip to Robben Island , a former prison for political activists, including Nelson Mandela . Tours take you to various historic sites around the island as well as through the prison, giving you a glimpse of Mandela's cell. The boat ride with views back towards the beautiful city are a bonus.

Explore Johannesburg’s street art

Known as the street art capital of Africa, Johannesburg’s vibrant and colorful street art scene is not only visually stunning but also offers insight into the city's past. Johannesburg's street art evolved out of the city's degeneration in the 1980s and '90s, and is part of the city center's regeneration today. The Maboneng Precinct, in particular, is known for its street art, with some (although not all) of the major works commissioned by the government.

Teenagers can learn about the significance of the city’s murals, graffiti, and street art on  guided street art tours of Johannesburg . These tours also highlight the works of established and emerging artists, and some offer opportunities to engage with local creative communities. If you're short on time, you can also get a taste of local street art while learning about local history. Most Soweto tours include a visit to the impressive Orlando Towers. The artwork on the old power station makes for a great photo opportunity, and adventurous teens can climb the towers or even bungee jump down from them.

This article was first published May 2023 and updated September 2023

Explore related stories

Beach huts at Muizenburg

Jan 28, 2022 • 11 min read

South Africa's windswept coastline is packed with superb beaches. From family favorites in Cape Town to world-famous surf spots, here are the very best.

Features - family looking through binoculars at the city

Feb 22, 2019 • 8 min read

The famous beach of Muizenberg (also known as surfers paradise), with its colorful beach boxes.

Sep 28, 2016 • 5 min read

Dunes at iSimangaliso Wetland Park

Apr 13, 2015 • 6 min read

Features - Backpack--budget---750

Feb 17, 2014 • 11 min read

Four Seasons Explorer Palau

Dec 8, 2023 • 6 min read

Where-Locals-Go-South-Africa.png

Nov 30, 2023 • 5 min read

A man and woman smiling in the back of a truck on a safari in Kenya

Nov 30, 2023 • 9 min read

south africa travel with baby

Oct 29, 2023 • 12 min read

2BM779R This photo was taken in the Chobe National Park, Botswana

Oct 27, 2023 • 8 min read

Cape Town with a Baby: Family travel in South Africa!

This post may contain compensated links. Find more info in our disclosure policy

south africa travel with baby

We traveled to Cape Town with baby J when he was just 8 weeks old and loved our family time in one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Cape Town is the perfect choice for a family holiday and it was the first international city we flew to with J. Together we explored its iconic sights from Table Mountain to Robben Island to the surrounding world-class vineyards and the stunning coastal drives. Here’s our guide to traveling to Cape Town with a baby!

south africa travel with baby

Traveling to South Africa with a baby

As well as a passport, there is a requirement for all children entering South Africa to travel with the original or a certified copy of their birth certificate which lists both parents.

If a child is traveling with only one of the parents listed on the birth certificate they also require a parental consent affidavit which is less than 4 months old or a letter of special circumstances issued by the director general of home affairs if this cannot be supplied.

Make sure to read the latest complete rules here .

Cape Town with a baby tip: please, please don’t overlook this requirement as you will not be allowed to enter South Africa without the necessary documents

Where to stay in Cape Town with a baby

As we were spending a week in Cape Town and a month in Africa we wanted somewhere spacious with laundry facilities and a kitchen. Our picks are:

  • Protea Hotel Cape Town North Wharf: choice of 1,2 and 3 bedroom apartments, we spent 8 nights in a one bedroom apartment in this amazing family option. Highlights were the fully equipped kitchen with washer/dryer and huge living space – check prices now!
  • V and A Marina Waterfront Apartments: these spacious and modern apartments are a great option by the V&A Waterfront – check prices now!

If you prefer hotel room style accommodation, we love these hotels from previous Cape Town visits:

  • The Bay Hotel: a baby-friendly Camps Bay gem just one minute from the beach with beautiful views of the ocean – check prices now!
  • The Capital Mirage Hotel: between the city and the trendy De Waterkant neighborhood this is a great value option in Cape Town – check prices now!

Click here for the best Cape Town hotel prices

Getting around Cape Town with a baby

Cape Town is a great city to explore by car: it’s easy to get around, the traffic isn’t crazy and there’s plenty of inexpensive parking. A car is also great for the numerous day trips from the city to popular spots including the Cape of Good Hope, the Cape Winelands, Chapman’s Peak and everything in between! We rented a car from Cape Town International airport and brought our car seat from home.

south africa travel with baby

Uber is a popular option in Cape Town although the UberFamily cars only have forward facing car seats suitable for 12 months and above.

Hop on, hop off tours and various other group tours are available if you prefer to use public transport.

Cape Town with a baby tip: we always take our own car seat for trips lasting more than a few days as the cost of a car seat can really add to the expense of a car rental.

south africa travel with baby

Things to do in Cape Town with a baby

Babies are great travelers and don’t really impact sightseeing activities provided it’s a baby friendly activity. As long as J was cuddled, fed and comfortable he didn’t really mind what we got up to so our itinerary was almost identical to our pre-baby trips!

Our favorite things to do in Cape Town with a baby include:

1 | Table Mountain

Table Mountain is a Cape Town icon and, as soon as the skies are clear, make a beeline for the Cable Car. The queues for the Cable Car can get very long so book your tickets in advance on the official Table Mountain website to save some time.

Baby Tickets: Kids under 4 travel free on the Table Mountain Cable Car

Cape Town with a baby tip: both the Cable Car and the top of Table Mountain are stroller friendly so both a pram and a baby carrier are great options.

south africa travel with baby

2 |  Robben Island

Nelson Mandela was held in the prison on the island for 18 of the 27 years he was imprisoned before the fall of apartheid and Robben Island is a huge part of both Cape Town and South Africa history. Robben Island tours need to be booked well in advance and only operate when weather conditions permit the ferry crossing.

Baby tickets: babies (including an 8 week old!) require a paid ticket to Robben Island. Children’s ticket run at a little over half the price of an adult ticket.

Cape Town with a baby tip: The tour to Robben Island takes around 4hours including the ferry to and from the Island so make sure to bring all your baby essentials for the duration of the trip. We brought our stroller as our tour coincided with nap time, but the frequent alighting and disembarking of the tour bus meant we would have preferred to use a baby carrier for convenience. You can check out what we carry in our diaper bag when travelling here !

south africa travel with baby

3 | V&A Waterfront

The V&A Waterfront is a tourist hub in Cape Town and is full of cutesy souvenir shops, food options (our favorite is the V&A Food Market with 40 street food stalls), street performers and great views of Table Mountain.

south africa travel with baby

4 | Signal Hill

Signal Hill is an ever-popular Cape Town sunset spot the views are epic from the hillside vantage point.

Cape Town with a baby tip: bring a picnic blanket and a jacket with a hood for the little ones as it does get chilly and is often quite windy.

south africa travel with baby

5 |  Bo-Kaap

The colorful neighborhood of Bo-Kaap in the Malay Quarter of Cape Town is lovely to walk around and is where the streets are lined with brightly painted houses of all colors.

6 | Camps Bay

Camps Bay is a bustling Cape Town suburb with lots of restaurants and beautiful beaches nestled by the Twelve Apostles and the Atlantic Ocean. The Camps Bay tidal pools are great for a dip and are well protected from the ocean.

south africa travel with baby

7 | Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens

Kirstenbosch is a short drive from Cape Town, the magnificent botanical gardens are a beautiful escape from the city. The sculpture garden and the Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway are fantastic and the tea rooms are delicious.

south africa travel with baby

8 | Boulders Beach

Boulders Beach is   home to an African Penguin colony which lives on its shores. Who can resist a baby photo with thousands of penguins going about their daily business in the background!

south africa travel with baby

9 | Muizenberg Beach

Muizenberg Beach is a family-friendly stunning white sandy beach with blue flag status. As a bonus, the brightly colored beach huts are adorable!

south africa travel with baby

10 | Chapman’s Peak Drive

Chapman’s Peak Drive is a spectacular drive which captures the ocean road at its finest. It begins in the fishing village of Hout Bay and winds its way up to Chapman’s Point before ending at Noordhoek.

south africa travel with baby

10 | Cape Town Photo Frames

Six giant yellow photo frames are dotted around Cape Town which perfectly frame the spectacular Table Mountain. Keep an eye out for them at popular spots like Signal Hill and the V&A Waterfront.

11 | Cape of Good Hope

The Cape of Good Hope is a great day trip option to the Cape Peninsula, a rocky headland jutting out over the Atlantic Ocean. The highlights are the Cape of Good Hope and the dramatic cliff faces and ocean views will make you feel like you are at the end of the earth. The drive will also take you through the Cape Floral Region, one of the richest plant areas in the world.

12 | Woodstock

Woodstock street art: Woodstock is a hip and gritty Cape Town neighborhood where the tiny side streets hide colorful murals and fascinating street art on the slopes of Devi’s Peak. There is everything from superheroes, political statements and some incredible wildlife depictions.

Cape Town with a baby tip: we did our own tour by car on a relatively traffic free weekend morning so J hung out in his car seat.

13 | Old Biscuit Mill Market

Old Biscuit Mill : a courtyard of boutique shops and cafes in an old red brick factory, the Old Biscuit Mill transforms into the Neighbourhoods Market on Saturday mornings with artisan food and drink offerings.

Cape Town with a baby tip: the market gets quite crowded so we’d recommend using a baby carrier rather than a stroller to navigate.

south africa travel with baby

13 | Cape Winelands

Cape Winelands: Stellenbosch and Franschhoek are the Winelands two most popular stops and are just 45minutes outside Cape Town. If you prefer somewhere closer, Constantia is only 15 minutes away & has some of the oldest & very best wineries in South Africa. We took J for a picnic at Boschendal in Franschhoek and it was incredible!

south africa travel with baby

14 | Lion’s Head

One of the most iconic Cape Town landmarks, Lion’s Head is a challenging hike and an awesome spot to enjoy views of Table Mountain, Camps Bay and the Ocean. The full Lion’s Head hike is too dangerous to bring a baby to the very top but a shorter route, returning to the base around halfway, is manageable.

south africa travel with baby

15 | District 6

A fascinating insight into Cape Town history, the District 6 museum documents a time when 60,000 people were forcibly removed and relocated to derelict areas and their houses in District Six were destroyed . The District 6 Museum website mentions that it doesn’t cater to children under 10 but we can’t confirm as we visited pre-baby so it might be worth a try!

16 | Kloof Corner

Kloof Corner is a super easy 30minute hike which rewards with magnificent views of Lion’s Head, Camps Bay. The hike is fine for taking a baby in a carrier, however, there are steep drops at Kloof Corner itself so don’t get too close to the edge.

south africa travel with baby

Tips for Cape Town with a baby

Cape Town is a world-class city and, as a result, we had no concerns traveling there with a baby. There is an extremely high standard of accommodation, transport and hygiene and the tap water is good quality and drinkable.

Other considerations include:

  • Travel insurance: always purchase travel insurance for the baby so you have access to private healthcare in the event of illness.
  • Healthcare: the standard of healthcare is excellent in Cape Town. Mediclinic is a good option if you do need to access private health care.
  • Eating out: Cape Town is baby friendly although not everywhere is equipped with high chairs so we preferred to bring our stroller for meals.
  • Supplies: supermarkets and pharmacies are well equipped with baby essentials and anything else you might need.

south africa travel with baby

2 thoughts on “Cape Town with a Baby: Family travel in South Africa!”

Hi. Very nice and detailed report.

What is the degree of safety in Cape Town, while with a baby?

And which areas would you recommend to stay, where you can walk safely in the evening/night?

We had no issues with safety. We like the waterfront area or around where the Mount Nelson is (I guess it’s the foot of Table Mountain). We weren’t out after dark much but we stuck to the busy areas where there were lots of restaurants/bars. Elaine

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Disclaimer:  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Show Them The Globe is a family travel and lifestyle website inspiring you to travel more with your kids.

Signup to our Newsletter

© 2022 All images and content on this website are subject to copyright by showthemtheglobe.com

Full Suitcase Travel Blog

South Africa with Kids: Where to Go, Trip Itinerary & Travel Tips

By Author Jurga

Posted on Last updated: May 11, 2023

South Africa with Kids: Where to Go, Trip Itinerary & Travel Tips

Thinking of visiting South Africa with kids and wondering if it’s a good idea, what to expect, or where to go? This guide is for you!

In case you doubt if you can travel to South Africa with kids, let me tell you that South Africa is a great choice for a family trip. It was the first destination that came to mind when we decided that our kids were old enough for a long-haul flight and a non-European trip, and it was an amazing trip!

I understand if you are hesitant and worried to travel to South Africa with kids. Hence this post – to share our experience and to tell you to go for it. South Africa is a beautiful destination for a family holiday and I’m sure you and your kids will love it!

Don’t immediately think that we are irresponsible parents for taking our 2-year-old twins and a 4-year-old on a family trip to South Africa. It’s true that it’s not the safest country in the world (is yours?), but it’s also one of the most beautiful ones.

Ask anyone who’s traveled to South Africa and they will all tell you that they fell in love with the country. And so did we, years ago when we spent two weeks exploring the best of South Africa . If you know us a bit, you know that we practically never travel to the same place twice, but we would make an exception for South Africa at any time!

In this post, I share our day-to-day itinerary for the South Africa trip with kid s, tips for family-friendly activities , and accommodation advice . It turned out longer than expected, but it has all information you might need in order to prepare for your family trip to South Africa with kids. Read on!

Why Visit South Africa with Kids

Here are the main reasons why we think that South Africa is a great country for a family trip:

  • South Africa is one of the most beautiful and unique destinations in the whole world.
  • There is a lot to see and do in South Africa for and with kids.
  • You can see a lot without having to cover huge distances and sit in a car for hours every day.
  • South Africa is relatively cheap and also family-friendly.
  • South Africa is in the same time zone as Europe.
  • You don’t need extra vaccinations or malaria pills in the Southern part of the country.

Where to go & what to consider when visiting South Africa with kids

We recommend Cape Town, Cape Peninsula, and the Garden Route for your first trip to South Africa with children.

That’s what we did for our 2-week family trip to South Africa and there are good reasons for it. When preparing a road trip itinerary to South Africa with kids, we adjusted it to our little travel companions. That meant skipping all the malaria areas and avoiding big distances to drive every day.

We stayed at only three hotels over a 2-week period. But because we chose our locations well, we still visited so many amazing places! We had such a good time during this trip that we are planning to repeat the exact same trip again.

There is so much to see and do in the area around Cape Town or the Garden Route that you can stay at one place for a week or even two and not get bored for a second! You don’t have to travel long distances or change hotels every night in order to see a lot. So the Southern part of South Africa is an ideal destination for traveling families. 

Furthermore, Western Cape is malaria-free, yet there are plenty of possibilities to watch wildlife. On top of that, Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world with enough to do for young and old. Add the most magnificent landscapes, good food, some of the world’s best wines, nice weather, and you have a perfect destination for a family vacation.

READ ALSO: Best Places to Visit in South Africa

We chose November for our visit as it’s springtime in South Africa (and it’s wet and cold in Europe). We had days with 18°C (64°F) as well as 30°C (86°F) in the two week period, but most of the time the weather was very pleasant.

We flew from Europe to Cape Town and this was our South Africa trip itinerary with kids: 3 nights in Cape Town, 7 nights in Knysna (Garden Route), 4 nights in Cape Town. See the day-to-day itinerary below.

Traveling with three children under 5 makes it difficult to plan and foresee everything, so we kept our schedule completely flexible . We had a good idea of what we wanted to see and do on this trip, but we didn’t plan anything in advance. We rented a car and booked the hotels before we left and that was it.

We ended up doing a lot more than expected, but there were also some activities that we passed because we realized that it would be too difficult for young kids.

South Africa travel children at Cape Point

Cape Peninsula and Garden Route Family Trip Itinerary

Here is our day-to-day itinerary of what we actually did in South Africa with kids. If we could do this trip with three kids under 5, then it’s something any family can do!  

Actually, you can do much more than this if your children are older as they can cope with longer driving times, more strenuous hikes, stay up longer, etc.

TIP: Rent a car when visiting Cape Town with kids. It’s a big city and most landmarks and attractions are outside of the city center. Renting a car is much cheaper than going on organized tours and it gives you more flexibility, certainly when traveling with children. Here you can find the best deals for car rental .

South Africa family trip itinerary Cape Town and Garden Route

DAY 1: Cape Town – Table Mountain and Signal Hill

We arrived in Cape Town in the morning and drove to our hotel. As the time zone is practically the same in South Africa as it is in Europe and we had a good night’s sleep on the plane, we were all surprisingly awake. We let the children play in the garden of our hotel and then decided to go and do some sightseeing.

The weather was good and we could see that the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway was open, so we headed there.

TIP: Table Mountain is not always easy to visit and you can’t really plan this in advance. This is because the top of the mountain is often hidden in the clouds or the wind is too strong and the gondola doesn’t run in bad weather. So if you are in Cape Town for just a few days, you should keep an eye on the mountain and go there as soon as you get the chance.

You can hike to the top of Table Mountain (3-4hrs) or take a gondola as we did (hiking is not really an option for young kids). There are several viewpoints on top, as well as a restaurant and bathroom facilities. Some pathways on top of the mountain are accessible by a stroller, the rest we did on foot. Our boys loved running around, climbing on the rocks, and chasing rock badgers.

TIP: Buy Table Mountain gondola tickets online for better prices and faster access. Here is the link to the official Table Mountain website . Alternatively, you can also book this hop-on-hop-off bus deal that also includes Table Mountain gondola tickets .

After our visit to Table Mountain, we drove all the way up to the nearby Signal Hill where we enjoyed wonderful views of the city at sunset.

South Africa family trip with kids Cape Town

DAY 2: Simon’s Town Penguin Colony, Cape Peninsula and Cape of Good Hope, Chapman’s Peak Drive

We started our day with a visit to the Simon’s Town penguin colony at Boulders Beach .

A large group of penguins live here all year round and you can admire them from very close for just a small entrance fee. Seeing penguins in the wild while wearing t-shirts and shorts is not an experience you will quickly forget. This is a must-do in Cape Town and certainly with children!

TIP: Simon’s Town is a popular destination that’s also included in the most popular organized day tours to Cape Peninsula. So you may want to arrive here first thing in the morning.

Penguins at Boulders Beach in Simon's Town, Cape Peninsula, South Africa

After this short visit, we headed towards the Cape of Good Hope .

On the way there, we stopped at several viewpoints and had our first picnic of this trip with the most beautiful view. Our kids love to picnic and picnics have become an unmissable part of all our road trips ever since.

At the end of the Cape Peninsula, you have two main points of interest – the Cape of Good Hope and the Cape Point , a short distance from each other.

We first went to the Cape of Good Hope where we took some pictures with the sign (a must!) and made a short walk up the hill. The views were just amazing and we also saw a couple of rock badgers. While the landscape doesn’t say much to the kids, wildlife is always a big success with them. They also loved watching the big waves hit the cliffs.

Family trip to South Africa with kids

Our last stop today was Cape Point . Standing here, you truly feel like you reached the end of the world.

You leave the car at the car park from where you can either walk up to the lighthouse or take the Flying Dutchman Funicular. We took the funicular up and walked down. All three children could do this walk without any problems. Great experience and wonderful views!

Cape Point at the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa

On the way back to Cape Town we took the scenic route – Chapman’s Peak Drive , for the most amazing views. It was even more spectacular because we were there at sunset.

Chapman's peak drive - one of the favourite places in South Africa

DAY 3: Drakenstein Lion Park, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch wineries

We started our day with a visit to Drakenstein Lion Park near Cape Town. Please note that this is not a safari park and lions live in closed areas, a bit like at a large zoo. It’s definitely not a must-visit, we only went here because it was along the way and we thought that it was easy for kids to see animals from close-by.

There are more than 30 lions in the park, but we hardly saw any as they all seemed to be either sleeping or too far away from the side.

It was a hot day and the children got tired and bored with nothing very spectacular to see. Just when we were about to leave, one of the people working at the park came up to us and said she could take us closer to a lion. She just saw one near the area where (in principle) only overnight guests could come.

And indeed, a few minutes later we stood within a hand’s reach of an old lioness. We’ve never been this close to a lion so it was a very special experience, and not just for the children!

Close-up of a lioness in South Africa

After this short visit, we continued to South Africa’s most famous wine region – Franschhoek and Stellenbosch .

We really liked the little village of Franschhoek and the surroundings. We also stopped at an old winery in the Stellenbosch area and bought some wine to take with us. We never made it to the town of Stellenbosch itself, somehow the part we saw didn’t look very inviting so we drove by.

Mountain landscape at South Africa's wine region between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek

DAY 4: Cape Town to Knysna and Bontebok National Park

This was one of the two long driving days in our itinerary. We had to cover more than 5 hours driving distance between Cape Town and Knysna. We took an entire day for this drive and stopped a couple of times as there is a lot to see on the way.

We contemplated going all the way to Cape Agulhas along the way as we did on our previous trip in South Africa. However, it was such a long detour that in the end we decided against it – we have been there before, and for the kids, the drive would be too long.

Instead, we stopped at Bontebok National Park where we had a picnic lunch, made a couple of short walks, and saw some bontebok antelopes. We also stopped at Sir Lowry’s Pass and a few other places just to break the long ride.

Bontebok National Park near Swellendam, South Africa

DAY 5: Knysna

We spent most of the day at the playground of our hotel and went to the center of Knysna for dinner where kids could not resist trying some oysters. They were at that age when they ate everything – now they wouldn’t touch an oyster from afar.

Young child eating an oyster in Knysna, South Africa

DAY 6: Knysna Elephant Park and Tsitsikamma National Park

Knysna Elephant Park was the highlight of our trip to South Africa for the kids! Today they got to feed the elephants ! How cool is that!

It turns out that our youngest could be a good elephant whisperer as one of the elephants went to lay on the ground allowing to pet him! The guides said it hardly ever happens!

Feeding elephants at Knysna Elephant park was one of the highlights of South Africa for the kids

We spent the rest of the day at  Tsitsikamma National Park . We had a picnic at the beautiful coast amongst various wildflowers and even saw some whales in the distance.

Tsitsikamma NP coast on our family trip on Garden Route in South Africa

Afterwards, we made our first long walk of the trip – a 2km hike to the mouth of the Storm River . It’s a pretty easy walk, but there are some stairs involved, which made it all even more fun for the kids.

The walk leads to several suspension bridges. Very impressive, but also dangerous for young children because of the way they are made. We were certainly not at ease here and made sure we didn’t let our boys’ hands loose for a second. Apart from that, an amazing experience, just watch your kids!

After the walk, we bought some ice cream and the kids played at the beach. We could have stayed much longer here as it was so beautiful. On the other hand, there were not many more walking trails in Tsitsikamma which were suitable for young children.

Storms River suspension bridge in Tsitsikamma National Park on the garden route

DAY 7: Noetzie Beach and Knysna Heads

We had read about this secluded beach area famous for its castles along the coast and decided to pay a visit to the beautiful  Noetzie Beach , just outside Knysna.

The road to the beach leads through a township and it felt really strange – the contrast between the villas, the castles, and the poverty next door was tremendous. You see that more in South Africa, but here it struck us more than ever before.

There were some steep stairs to negotiate from the parking lot down to the Noetzie beach, but it was totally worth it. It was too cold to swim (I’m not even sure if you can swim here), but the coastline was just gorgeous and we spent a few hours walking along the coast.

Young boy walking on a coastal path of Noetzie Beach near Knysna

Afterward, we went for lunch at Knysna Heads and made a short walk there in the afternoon.

We considered visiting Featherhead Nature Reserve which we really liked on our previous trip, but decided that the beautiful walk there would be just a bit too difficult for our boys.

But if you are traveling with older kids (or fewer kids), definitely check it out!

Knysna Heads Garden Route South Africa

DAY 8: Monkeyland and Birds of Eden, Plettenberg Bay and Brenton Beach

Another highlight of the trip for the children was a visit to Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary and the free-flight bird sanctuary Birds of Eden .

The two places are just next to each other and they are both worth a visit. It’s not a zoo – the animals and the birds roam free in the park and you can get really close to an amazing variety of monkeys, birds, even turtles. Highly recommended for any age, not just families exploring Garden Route with kids!

Update: Since our trip, a new attraction has opened in this area – Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary. It’s a shelter for big cats, with a no-touch, no-breed policy.

TIP: Here you can find more info, read reviews, and get tickets for one, two, or all three of these attractions. Kids between 3 and 12 pay half the price.

At the end of the day, we made a short stop at  Brenton Beach where we made a short walk and enjoyed a beautiful sunset.

South Africa travel with kids Garden route

DAY 9: Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve

Today we took our kids on a safari ride in Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve and really enjoyed our time there. It was a very cold and rainy day and we were worried about sitting in an open jeep, but the kids handled it well and at the end of the drive we could all warm up at a giant fireplace and some warm drinks at the reception.

We saw quite a big variety of animals in this game reserve. Some animals were close enough to keep young children interested. Despite that, they all fell asleep after an hour on the bumpy ride and we had to wake them up when we finally got to the lions and rhinos. 🙂

Going on safari rides with very young kids is not the best use of your time and money. However, if your kids are at least 5-6 years old, they should be able to handle longer drives much better already.

TIP: Want to learn more about taking young kids on safari? Read this post: Safari With Kids: All Your Questions Answered .

Family safari trip - rhinos at Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve

DAY 10: Map of Africa Lookout, Wilderness and Knysna Downtown

A very relaxing day in our itinerary today. You need a couple of those ‘rest days’ when traveling with kids!

We drove to the Map of Africa lookout  in Wilderness town and stayed there for hours watching groups of paragliders.

In the afternoon, we went for some tapas on Thesen Island in Knysna . There was a playground for the kids there as well and so at the end we stayed much longer than planned. A really nice place!

Paragliding above the beach of Wilderness, Garden Route

DAY 11: Knysna to Cape Town

Today was another long drive back to Cape Town (but that meant staying at fewer accommodations and that worked out well for us).

This time, we limited the stops to one or two (to watch ostriches) and spent the quiet evening in the area of our hotel in Sea Point, in Cape Town.

Curious ostrich head close-up. South Africa

DAY 12: Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and The Two Oceans Aquarium, Cape Town

For the first time during this trip, we left our car at the hotel for a day.

The hotel shuttle dropped us off at The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront .

You can easily spend a day here and not get bored: there are plenty of shopping and dining options, a crafts market, a playground, and of course the Two Oceans Aquarium – one of the best places to visit in Cape Town with kids.

There are also many day trips and short excursions available: scenic flights above Cape Peninsula , boat tours to Robben Island , but the majority of these activities aren’t ideal with very young children.

Victoria and Alfred Waterfront Cape Town

DAY 13: Hout Bay, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, and Camps Bay

Hout Bay is a very scenic place, and so is the drive from Cape Town to Hout Bay. There are some restaurants and a crafts market at the harbor where you can take a boat to the seal island. It’s a very affordable short trip and it’s totally worth it.

Another pleasant surprise of this trip was the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens . What a great place to spend a day! We saw a great variety of the most exotic plants and flowers, but also birds and even owls! There are three restaurants in the park and plenty of places to picnic and you will see many locals doing just that. Great way to escape the heat of the city.

TIP: Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens are on the hop-on hop-off bus route. So if you want to take it easy and not have to drive, it might be a good option for exploring the area.

Pincushion Proteas at Kirstenbosch botanical garden in Cape Town

On the way back to our hotel, we took a scenic drive along the coast, passing the Twelve Apostles and Camps Bay .

Twelve Apostles drive near Cape Town

DAY 14: Whale Watching in Hermanus

Hermanus is known as one of the best places in the world to see whales.

We didn’t book a tour in advance because we were not sure if we could do it with such young kids (there was little info available online at that time). But there was a tour available and the kids could go on the boat too, so we decided to try.

TIP: Book your whale-watching tour in Hermanus in advance if you want to be certain that you can do it. We were there in a low season and availability was very limited. In high season, it’s often fully booked!

Unfortunately, I forgot to take motion sickness medicine and got really sick on board. You’re warned – the seas are rough here!

Despite that, it was one of the best whale-watching tours we have ever been on!  We saw plenty of whales, most of them very close by, and also some seals and dolphins. The kids didn’t show much interest in the whales which were jumping just next to the boat. I think they were also feeling a bit sick, so maybe this wasn’t such a good idea with young kids after all. I could hardly take any pictures of the whales too. Feeling sick and having to take care of three little kids on a boat is about as much as one can handle…

Group of dolphins in Hermanus South Africa

After the boat ride, we took our picnic lunch and walked along the coast of Hermanus. I still remember this as one of the most beautiful experiences of our trip.

Hermanus is a really nice place, the coastline is spectacular, and you can see whales and dolphins straight from the shore. Not as close as from the boat, but close enough. We didn’t want to leave! Next time we would definitely plan to stay a night or two in Hermanus.

TIP: If you don’t mind switching hotels more often, stay in Hermanus for at least 1 night. You can find the best deals for Hermanus accommodation here.

South Africa travel with young children

DAY 15: Cape Town Waterfront, going home, and the adventures of traveling with kids

We spent our last day in Cape Town with a short walk downtown and ended our trip at the Belgian restaurant at the waterfront. My husband had missed Belgian beer and the kids were more than happy with Belgian fries with mayo… And in the evening we would board the plane back home…

Our South African adventure almost got extended as one of our younger sons sprained his arm at the airport and they almost sent us to hospital. Paramedics were called (they were not allowed to do anything, btw, they couldn’t even give a painkiller!), our suitcases were unloaded from the plane and the captain was hesitant to let us board.

Luckily, we had some pain relief medicine with us and after a few minutes our son felt a bit better. So at the very last moment, we were allowed to board the plane. When we went to the hospital in Belgium the next morning, the doctor said that his arm was completely in order again.

Once you are ready to go home, the very last thing you expect is having to look for a hospital and a hotel in the middle of the night in a strange country, having to change your flights, etc. And that with all the baggage and three tired toddlers. I still get anxious when I think of it… So yes, traveling with kids is not all moonlight and roses. Needless to say, we had many more similar experiences over the years, luckily most of them at home.

More family-friendly activities in Cape Town and Garden Route with kids

We had such a great time in South Africa with kids and that’s why I wanted to share our experience with you!  There are many more places to visit and family-friendly activities in the area which we didn’t get the chance to do during this trip.

Here are a few other ideas of what to see and do in Cape Town Peninsula and on the Garden Route with kids: visit an ostrich farm in Oudtshoorn , go on safari in Addo Elephant Park near Port Elizabeth, meet the big cats at Tenikwa Rehabilitation Centre , see old shipwrecks on Cape Peninsula, go hiking in Robberg Nature Reserve, do water sports, or simply spend a relaxing day on the beach… You can spend a week in this area, but you can easily fill a month if you want to.

If you haven’t been to South Africa yet, then the province of Western Cape is a good place to start. 

Where to stay in Cape Town with kids

The best place to stay for visiting the Cape Peninsula is of course the Cape Town itself. Here is the list of our  hand-picked Cape Town accommodations for families :

  • Ultimate luxury: Taj Cape Town . This is one of the best 5* hotels in Cape Town that also has big family rooms and suites.
  • More affordable luxury: Pepperclub Hotel and Spa . This 5* hotel has various suites that can accommodate a family of pretty much any size.
  • Mid-range: Lagoon Beach Hotel & Apartments . This very popular 4* hotel offers direct beach access, has a beautiful pool, and suites and apartments of up to 4 bedrooms.
  • Excellent price-quality: Peninsula All Suite Hotel . This is the hotel where we stayed at on the last trip to Cape Town with kids. The location is perfect for sightseeing by car and they also offer a free shuttle to the city center.
  • Budget: 91 Loop Boutique Hostel . This is a well-located budget accommodation with private ensuite rooms for families.

Where to stay on the Garden Route with kids

Knysna area is by far the best place to stay on the Garden Route.  Knysna is a nice lively town with lots of cafes and restaurants and it’s very well-located for day trips and excursions on the Garden Route.

Here are some of the best accommodations in Knysna for families:

  • Luxury: The Lofts Boutique Hotel . 4* hotel with lofts, sites, and apartments of up to 2 bedrooms.
  • Mid-range: Knysna Hollow Country Estate . This is the hotel where we stayed when we visited Knysna the very first time. It was absolutely amazing. However, their rooms can only accommodate up to 4 people, so you may have to book two rooms if you are traveling with a bigger family. This is the case in most Knysna hotels, so you may want to look for self-catering options instead.
  • Budget: Knysna Inn . This is a simple accommodation with budget studios and suites for up to 4 people.
  • Best value (at the moment of the latest update): Strode House . This amazing 5-bedroom house with a private pool offers excellent value for families in Knysna!
  • Our pick: Brenton On Sea Cottages , where we stayed with kids. Brenton-on-Sea is located just a bit outside Knysna, but still very easy to get everywhere. The area is stunning and the beach is just nearby as well.

So, this is our guide and itinerary based on our trip to South Africa with young kids. Of course, you should adjust it for your family and interests, but it should give you a good idea of how child-friendly South Africa is and how much there is to see and do with kids.

Africa, in general, might not be the most obvious choice for a family trip, but if you travel well prepared and know what to expect you will have an experience of a lifetime!

If you are still doubting about which African destination to choose for a family trip, make sure to also check our post about  traveling in Namibia with kids .

More travel inspiration for South Africa:

  • Where to go: Best Places to See in South Africa
  • Best-of itinerary: South Africa Itinerary (Most complete itinerary for 2 weeks)
  • Safari: Safari Tips & Best Camera and Lens for Safari
  • Travel inspiration: Our favorite photos from South Africa

Do you have any questions about traveling in South Africa with kids? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment or ask a question in the comments below.

If you found this post helpful, don’t forget to bookmark it and share it with your friends. Are you on Pinterest? Pin this image!

South Africa with kids. Trip itinerary, tips and accommodation advice.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed .

Sunday 26th of February 2023

How long it was your trip to South Africa in total ? How old were your kids ? I read some “ glamping” accommodation do not allowed younger kids. Did you stay inside Kruger NP ?

Hi Lucy, we have been to South Africa a few times. Here you can find our detailed 2-week itinerary that included Kruger NP. There are plenty of accommodations in/near Kruger that allow kids as well, but younger kids may not be allowed on safari rides. So there is a lot to consider. With young children, the southern part of South Africa (as described in this article) is definitely much easier. Good luck with the planning!

Friday 12th of February 2021

We have been to SA a few years ago and loved it. We plan to go back with our child soon. Love your trip ideas. I hope you and others reading will also consider not visiting places that have poor animal welfare standards. This includes any place offering elephant back riding and numerous lion parks. Please do your research beforehand so that you can avoid supporting these places with your money and thus perpetuating their existence. This of course happens in many countries but is prevalent in SA, especially with lions. Please enjoy tourism responsibly :-)

Monday 15th of February 2021

Thank you for your tips, Laurie. I never even heard of any place in South Africa where you could ride an elephant and always thought this was just something that happened in Asia. Anyway, thanks for the heads-up. As for the lions, I know that there are many places that offer activities that aren't really best for the animals, so that's indeed a big issue. We haven't been to any such place ourselves, so I cannot comment on that. The one lion park that we visited was already a bit special to me as they had so many lions in cages, but they seemed to be taking care of old animals that wouldn't survive in the wild on their own... I have to agree with you that it's important to do your own research in advance and also see if things have changed. Our own visit is from quite a few years ago and I haven't checked the situation at any of the places we visited since then. I would hope that things only change for the better, but who knows. Anyway, thanks again for making this great point. Happy travels!

Friday 30th of October 2020

Awesome trip. I am planning a trip post covid for my wife and I. My main concern is safety. I have read so many different places that it is VERY dangerous and keeps getting worse. I just wanted to get your take. My wife and I are have traveled a decent amount, so we are aware of being aware of your surroundings, do not walk at night, etc.

What do you think, will it be safe post covid? When did you travel

Hi Mark, I really honestly don't know how the situation will develop. One thing I know is that South Africa has always had this reputation. I can also say that we absolutely loved every single trip there and would go back in a heartbeat. The first time we visited South Africa 14 years ago, we were told that it was 'very dangerous'. It was the same when we visited with kids for the first time ('are you guys crazy gong to South Africa with kids?!'), which is now 7-8 years ago; and also a few years after that when we were traveling in the region. We heard exactly the same thing when we were thinking of going there this summer. And no, it didn't stop us from planning, but we all know how those plans ended ... I met someone who lives in Cape Town recently and she also said that things were 'tense' at the moment. But isn't this the case pretty much anywhere in the world? Sure, there are unsafe places in South Africa and yes, you may get really unlucky and get into trouble. But, once again, there are unsafe places in pretty much every country in the world and bad things happen to good people in Western Europe and the US every day too. I cannot really tell you how it will be or whether you should travel there. Only you can make this decision. As for us, we are definitely going back to South Africa now that the kids are older. But I wouldn't dare to plan a trip just yet. Not because of safety concerns, but because of all the uncertainties with the virus. Which - for a big part - also depends on where you are from and how the situation is in your home country. Sorry if this is not really helpful. But as someone who has traveled a lot, as you say you did, I am sure you can understand that a question like this is impossible to answer.

Melanie Savage

Wednesday 21st of August 2019

Thank you for such a fantastic blog, you have helped me plan an incredible 2 week trip which I never thought we would ever do! I have booked our vacation for April next year for the four of us (9 yr old & 18 yr old) with such an age gap between our two children (I’ve just realised my 18 yr old won’t be so much of a child!) it’s never easy to please everyone but I think I might have come pretty close this time! This will be the furthest we have ever been, we have never been outside Europe as a family, We start in Cape Town staying in an apartment on the V&A Waterfront and hopefully will take the cable car up Table Mountain and perhaps the aquarium, the next day to have a private Cape Peninsula Tour. We then pick up our car and drive to Oudtshoorn where we will go to an Ostrich Farm and an early morning visit to watch the Meerkats. We then move along to Knysna where we will have a tour in the Featherbed Reserve. We move along again to Tsitsikamma where we will be visiting Monkeyland and Birds of Eden and then Plettenberg to walk ‘hand in trunk’ with the elephants! Our last stop is at Pumba private game reserve for three nights for our safari to finish our trip before flying back home from Port Elizabeth. I can’t quite believe that we are actually going to do this trip but have plenty of time to read blogs and daydream about it! I have booked all accommodation and activities already so all i need to think about is the bundle of tickets I have but my question to you is considering we will be a group of 3 adults and 1 child how much spending money we might need a day? (the game reserve is full board so we won’t need to worry about those days) Also are credit cards widely used or will we need to take more cash with us? Thanks Mel

Thursday 29th of August 2019

Hi Melanie, it will be an amazing trip, no doubt. And South Africa is something the whole family will enjoy, so great choice! It's really hard for me to say how much money you'll need - it depends on what you do, where you eat, etc. Most hotels, restaurants, attractions, and shops do take credit cards. So I wouldn't carry much cash around. Maybe get an equivalent of 500-700 USD from an ATM upon arrival and then after a few days you'll get a better feeling how much cash you actually need and can decide to get more if necessary. Consider that more rural areas are the ones that likely won't take cards, so keep your cash for those places and pay as much as you can by card when you are in bigger places like Cape Town and Knysna. Enjoy it! I'm constantly on the lookout for affordable flights to that part of the world - would love to go back again...

limor laufer

Tuesday 25th of June 2019

Hello, Your blog is beautiful and very helpful. We will be traveling to SA in this coming October for two weeks with kids ages 8,11 and 14.. We are doing all the accommodation booking this week. I was wondering how much more adventurous it would be and would it make a better safari experience if we stay at an hotel inside the Plettenberg Game Reserve. I know you haven't actually stayed there but perhaps you know from other's experience? Otherwise we would just book another night in Knysna. Thank you in advance for your advice! limlim

Friday 28th of June 2019

Hi Limor, yes, indeed, we haven't stayed there and I have no idea what kind of accommodation they have. If you are looking to stay at a more 'safari' type of place in that part of South Africa, I think I'd rather look at Addo Elephant NP. Take a look at this place, for example. That's incomparable with Plettenberg... Something your whole family would remember for a long time I think... Enjoy your trip - I'm a bit jealous now. Can't wait to go back to South Africa!

Wanderlust Storytellers – An Inspirational Family Travel Blog

Best Things to do in South Africa with Kids

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN COMPENSATED LINKS. FIND MORE INFO IN MY DISCLAIMER.

Home » Best Things to do in South Africa with Kids

Most people who think of South Africa conjure up images of wild, safari adventures, large animals, and beautiful landscapes.

Well, we can tell you it’s all true! And, what makes it even better is that you can experience all of South Africa with kids.

From spending time in Cape Town and seeing the famous Table Mountain to up close and personal encounters with wildlife.

Your family will make memories that last a lifetime. Trust us, our kids loved it.

Travel South Africa with Kids Guide

Here, we share some of our favorite things to do and places to visit while traveling in South Africa with kids (also perfect for those visiting on their familymoon !).

Pick a few options from this guide for your next family vacation and you will not be disappointed.

Kirstenbosch Gardens - Travel South Africa with kids

4 Best Things To Do In South Africa With Kids

There’s so much in South Africa kids will enjoy doing. It has a lot of family-friendly activities and attractions on offer. We’ve lined up a few of the most beautiful and exciting things to do in this country to help you decide.

1. South Africa Safari With Kids

No trip is complete without a safari. At first, you might be a little hesitant about taking your little ones to see the wilder side of this continent. But, for kids, it’s super exciting.

SELF-DRIVE SAFARI IN KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, SOUTH AFRICA

There is nothing more satisfying than seeing your kids teetering on the edge of their seats, their eyes peeled for wildlife.

You’ll laugh at the number of rocks that are called out as Buffalo or Rhino. And at your kids’ happy expressions when they see the real thing.

Visiting Kruger National Park

There are a number of different safari parks you can visit – many of them have the famous Big Five and amazing, diverse landscapes.

One of the greatest things about traveling in South Africa with kids is that it’s so easy. Renting a car (with a child’s seat) is simple, so you can enjoy your own freedom and set your own pace.

Kruger National Park Bookings

This is great if you want to pop into a park for a few hours for a self-drive safari.

Another family-friendly option that promises a real African experience is a guided walking safari.

What to see in Kruger National Park on Your Self Drive Safari

You can enjoy a safe walk in the bush with your children. They’re conducted in an area without the “scarier” animals, ensuring your family’s security.

Click here to check out a price for a walking safari in Mtubatuba South Africa !

2. Check Out Table Mountain With Kids

Next up in child-friendly South Africa is the famous landmark, Table Mountain. It’s located in one of our best places to visit on a family vacation in this country: Cape Town.

It offers incredible views of the city, mountains, and the ocean.

Table Top Mountain with Kids, Cape Town with Kids

You haven’t visited the Mother City unless you’ve captured a picture with this flat-topped beauty in the background.

If you have kids who have excess energy to burn, then walking up the mountain can be great fun.

But, if you all have varying degrees of fitness, a ride in the cable car might be a better option.

Tabletop Mountain with Kids, Cape Town

You can also mix and match – hike up the mountain and ride the cable car down. This way your family gets the best of nature, exercise, and the views.

Once you reach the summit, you can enjoy the flat trails and scenery. And grab a bite to eat at the restaurant, if you can get a seat.

Top-Things-to-do-in-Cape-Town---See-Table-Mountains

If you have a youngster under 5, you’ll need to organize a carry pack if you intend to hike.

You may also want to book a private hike if you’re traveling with kids in this age range.

Click here to book your tour in Cape Town to do a Table Mountain hike with a local expert!

Tip: Are you interested in wine? Check out our blog post on the best Cape Town wine-tasting tours .

3. Garden Route With Kids

The Garden Route is a gorgeous 190 mile stretch of coast that extends along the south-eastern coast of South Africa.

Garden Route with Kids

The best thing about this stretch of road is the wealth of eco-diversity. You’ll see lush forests, tropical beaches, and some great attractions, including Addo Elephant Park and the Bloukrans Bridge.

It’s a great family destination as there is so much to do and see. For the more adventurous family, you can explore Tsitsikamma forest from the tree-tops 30 meters in the air.

The best Garden Route itinerary including Tsitsikamma National Park

Click here to book your tour in Tsitsikamma to do your Zipline Canopy Adventure!

The Garden Route stretches between Mossel Bay and Storms River, but we recommend checking out the route between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.

Knysna Heads on the Garden Route in South Africa

It’s a matter of convenience as both these cities have airports. So, you can start by flying into one city as a starting point for your road trip.

Then, end your road trip with a flight back home out the other. The Garden route is perfect for kids of all ages, so if you are planning on visiting South Africa with a baby (or toddler), make sure to include the Garden Route on your itinerary.

Check out our Best Garden Route Itinerary to help you plan your trip!

4. Panorama Route With Kids

If you like a vacation with a bit of culture and history, the Panorama route is great for traveling in South Africa with kids. This route connects several points of interest and beautiful viewing points on one scenic road.

Blyde River Canyon Viewpoint - Panorama Route with Kids

The road begins close to Nelspruit and ends near the Kruger National Park in the Limpopo Province. It’s a stunning drive – ideal for nature lovers and history buffs.

The route has some impressive waterfalls dotted along its course and lots of landmarks.

God's Window - Panorama Route with children

Hazyview is a misty and romantic town along the route that serves as a gateway to Kruger Park. This town is positioned well to make the most of the Park. It’s also nearby attractions along the Panorama Route, such as Mac Mac Falls, God’s Window, and Pilgrim’s Rest.

Click here to book your tour in Hazyview to see the Panorama Route.

4 Best Places To Visit In South Africa With Kids

We’ve looked at the best things to do. Now, let’s dive into the best places to visit in this amazing country. You’ll see that there is so much in South Africa for kids.

1. Kruger National Park With Kids

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Kruger Park is one of our top family adventure spots.

SELF-DRIVE SAFARI IN KRUGER NATIONAL PARK, SOUTH AFRICA (DETAILED GUIDE)

Here are some tips on what to do and where to stay for your safari trip!

What to do in Kruger with kids:

Follow a game ranger as he guides you through the sounds and sights of the bush on a walking safari.

Self-Drive Safari in the Kruger National Park, South Africa

Enjoy an open-top game drive while your kids ooh and ah at every four-legged creature. Or, indulge in some 4x4ing and mountain biking before camping out for sundowners and lemonades at sunset.

For some real family quality time, try a DIY safari. See our self-drive safari guide for the Kruger National Park .

Where to stay in Kruger with kids:

The Park has a vast range of accommodation for you to choose from. Whether it’s glamping, lodges, or self-catering chalets you prefer, there’s something for you.

Kruger National Park Lodges Prices

We love Rio Dos Elefantes River Camp with its family-friendly features, swimming pool, restaurant, and incredible breakfast buffet.

Check out the current prices for the Rio Dos Elefantes River Camp here !

2. Drakensberg With Kids

Fresh air and breath-taking views of the stars – these are just two of the reasons why the Drakensberg is one of the best family getaways in South Africa.

Drakensberg with Children

Located on the border of Lesotho and South Africa, the mountain range is a natural wonder.

What to do in the Drakensberg with kids:

There are plenty of fun activities to do in the Drakensberg with kids.

Visit the famous three-mile-long Amphitheatre, one of the country’s most spectacular cliff faces. Hike to the Tugela Falls and soak up the sight of the world’s second-largest waterfall.

Drakensberg with Kids

And, tell your kids stories in front of a campfire before falling asleep under the star-studded sky.

Where to stay in the Drakensberg with kids:

Emafweni is located in Dragon Peaks in the central Drakensberg mountains. It offers a true mountain experience complete with a small private lake and magnificent gardens.

Where to Stay Drakensberg with Kids

Check out the current prices for Emafweni here !

3. Addo National Park With Kids

Addo Elephant Park is in the Eastern Cape of South Africa and is filled with the world’s largest land animals.

Addo Elephant Park with Kids

Taking your kids to see elephants is such a magical experience because they have such strong family values. It’s a meaningful experience to watch these herds interact and see how they look after one another – it’s something all families can strive to do.

What to do in Addo with kids:

Go on an exhilarating hike up the Zuurberg Mountains. Check out the birdlife by taking a quiet 20 minutes in the Red Bishop Bird Hide.

Addo-Elephant-National-Park-Self-Drive-Tour

Our family had tons of fun playing Addo’s animal sightseeing game while on a self-drive safari tour . Be careful though, things can get heated when you’re spotting animals for points!

Where to stay in Addo National Park:

When traveling with kids in South Africa, you’ll want to stay in a malaria-free area. River Bend Lodge meets that condition and also provides space and all the great-to-have facilities you could need.

The lodge even has a games room and kids’ club so your young ones will be entertained.

Check out the current prices for the River Bend Lodge here !

4. Cape Town With Kids

You’ll never have to wonder: what is there to do in Cape Town for kids? Cape Town has a great number of child-friendly attractions and places to visit.

Camps Bay Cape Town

From marine life and watersports to Ferris wheels and wine farms, your family will have the time of their life. The greatest part is that it’s a place both parents and kids enjoy.

What to do in Cape Town with kids:

The stunning white sand of Camps Bay is a must-visit for the family. Dip your toes in the water and check out the lively beachfront strip.

Boulders Beach Penguin Colony Cape Town

Cape Town also has some incredible markets (which are free to enter). Some of these have kids’ play areas. You can also cycle along the Sea Point Promenade and breathe in the fresh sea air.

Check out our Ultimate 4-day Cape Town Itinerary here !

Where to stay in Cape Town with kids:

For uninterrupted views of Table Mountain, the famous Robben Island , and the Atlantic ocean, the Bliss Boutique Hotel is a wonderful option.

It’s nine miles from the city center and close to Cape Town International Airport. Your family can also take part in windsurfing, golfing, and hiking nearby.

Check out the current prices for the Bliss Boutique Hotel here !

Best Time To Visit South Africa

South Africa is a great destination to visit at any time of the year. But, if you have some preferred activities in mind, these might be better suited to a specific time of year.

Tsitsikamma National Park Storms River Hike

For instance, if you’re looking at getting the most of the sun and splashing around in the ocean with your kids, then summer will be your best bet.

Although be careful, the African sun is very harsh so take sunscreen and long sleeves to protect yourselves.

Keep in mind that summer is the peak season for tourism, especially in the national parks. It falls between December and March. Accommodation and other things will be more expensive at this time.

Meeringspoort Pass Western Cape

If your family is leaning more towards safaris than beaches, then May to September would be a better time to plan your trip. This is the dry season when animals are more likely to crowd around the waterholes.

This makes for some excellent game viewing. If you plan your trip for June or July, pack some warmer clothing as these are South Africa’s coldest months.

Tip: Check out how to get a South African visa here .

Enjoy Your Family Vacation In South Africa

There are plenty of family-friendly places to visit and things to do in sunny South Africa. You and your kids will have a blast in this lively and diverse country.

Whether it’s sandy beaches (in Cape Town, the Dolphin Coast, or beaches such as Uvongo and Margate on the Hibiscus Coast), mountain hikes, or wildlife spotting that takes your fancy.

St. James Beach Colorful Beach huts

Grabbing a rental car makes traveling to South Africa with kids surprisingly easy.

All you need to do is pick a few fun activities from our travel guide to make your trip a hit.

Wondering how to get to South Africa? Check out our handy guide on the safest airlines in Africa .

And if you are traveling to see Victoria Falls, make sure to check out our blog post on when to visit South Afica and Victoria Falls here .

Photo of author

Jolene Ejmont

2024 - Wanderlust Storytellers. All Rights Reserved.

About Us  |  Contact Us  | Work with Us  |  Privacy Policy  |  Disclaimer

* Disclaimer: Wanderluststorytellers.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com and other Amazon sites.

TraveLynn Family

South Africa with kids: BEST things to do

Posted on Last updated: 23 November 2023

South Africa with kids: BEST things to do

Want to get a feel of what adventures can be had in South Africa with kids? Then read on…

South Africa boasts a beautifully wild coastline, impressive predators and jaw-droppingly stunning landscapes. Whilst the history remains raw, this is the modern and progressive face of Africa with a well-maintained infrastructure, world-class eateries and wineries, and an explosive art scene.

It is an excellent choice for those who want to experience the adventurous side of Africa with kids without having to venture too far from the beaten track. Plus there is no worry of malaria and there is a good range of malaria free safaris to choose from.

Our African overland adventures may have begun and ended in Johannesburg , but we only scraped the surface with all there is to do for families travelling to South Africa. I therefore reached out to some fellow travel bloggers who have explored the country to help me compile this list of top 18 things to do in South Africa with kids. From horse-riding in the Drakensburgs, to self-drive safaris to spot lions and elephants, to family-friendly wineries, South Africa offers the perfect concoction for that adventure family holiday. especially if you are considering a South African road trip .

Here is our list of things to do in South Africa for kids.

1. Table Mountain

Callan, Singapore n Beyond

Here’s a no-brainer when visiting Cape Town with the little ones, ascending Table Mountain. Why? Well, apart from being the number one tourist attraction and list of things to do in Cape Town, it really is an amazing experience.

Once you reach the top, you’re welcomed to a vast array of flora and fauna, with indigenous plants and wildlife you can see nowhere else in the world. Ever seen a dassie before? There is also a restaurant and snacks up top, so you can take in a side of fresh coffee with your view while the kids frolic safely at dizzying heights.

things to do in South Africa with kids

The ride up the rotating cable car is super fun and the view over the Peninsula is spellbinding for both young and old. Cape Town is known for having fluctuating weather, so if the forecast is good, don’t think twice and get up there.

But a word to the wise, get there as early as possible or in the late afternoon, as the crowds do pile up fast. Book online for convenience.

2. V&A Waterfront

Christine Rogador, Tripsionista

V&A Waterfront is the most visited South African destination. With over 24 millions visitors annually, this waterfront in Cape Town is considered as one of the must visit places and one of the most iconic spots in South Africa.

things to do in South Africa with kids

Aside from the charm of the harbour and European architecture, the complex is set to the magnificent background of mountains and ocean. The entertainment harbour complex boosts world-class shopping malls, museums, restaurants, bars, tourist attractions, and the gateway to boat cruising activities in Cape Town.

The complex has something to offer to everyone and even if you are travelling with kids, you won’t run out of things to do here. The complex has aquariums where kids can enjoy the underwater world, historical museums where one can peek into South African’s colourful past, Cape Wheel to enjoy the 360 views of the city and playgrounds for them to run around.

3. Cape Town Boat Trip

Leona, Wandermust Family

Cape Town is perhaps one of my favourite cities by the sea and the best way to see it is from the sea. Taking a boat from the Victoria and Alfred dock is a great way to see the city and some its best wildlife.

On our wildlife boat tour we saw dolphins, seals, sun fish and much much more. It was amazing how close we got to the wildlife and the diversity we saw!

things to do in South Africa with kids

It is the perfect summer day activity for the whole family whether you are interesting in seeing panoramic of the city or just want to get up close and personal with some of the cities fantastic aquatic life!

4. Muizenberg beach

Kathryn, Becoming You

I’m lucky enough to live in Cape Town, South Africa so I am able to enjoy most of these amazing activities with my kids on a regular basis, but one of our families favourites is to head down early on a weekend morning to Muizenberg beach. With it’s multi-coloured beach huts and amazing views across False Bay, this beach is one of the most iconic in South Africa.

I love Muizenberg beach as it has something for every age group – soft sand for building castles and rock pools to explore at low tide with the toddlers, amazing restaurants and coffee shops for the adults and fun waves for kids of all ages.

things to do in South Africa with kids

The great waves here make this one of the best beaches in the world to learn how to surf and there are plenty of surf schools lining the strip eager to take you and your kids out into the waves for your first taste of “the stoke”! You can hire surfboards and wetsuits and sign up for a group class or get a one-on-one lesson. The surf schools have great changing facilities, hot showers and coffee or hot chocolate to warm you up again after your lesson.

Just be sure to keep your ears open for the shark siren – this beach is known as a Great White Shark hotspot – but most of the locals head out into the breakers anyway and it’s not likely you’ll be that far out on your first lesson!

5. Boulders Beach Penguins

Jurga, Full Suitcase

South Africa is one of a few countries where you can easily see penguins in the wild without much effort. You wouldn’t immediately expect Antarctic wildlife in Africa, but Boulders Beach penguin colony in Simon’s Town near Cape Town proves you wrong. A big group of penguins lives here all year round and for a small fee you can see them up close and personal from wooden boardwalks along the coast.

Our kids were still very young when we visited and at that age wildlife has to be right in front of their nose in order to appreciate it. No worries here – you could almost cuddle the penguins if you wanted to – they are that close to you.

things to do in South Africa with kids

If you visit South Africa, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to see a big variety of wild animals, but Simon’s Town is the only place where you can see penguins in the wild. Don’t miss!

6. Stellenbosch

Keri, Our Globetrotters

Located 50km east of Cape Town is the stunning university town of Stellenbosch. It is surrounded by the Cape Winelands, one of the premier wine regions of the world and also one of the most spectacularly beautiful places on earth. 

Don’t be mistaken in to thinking Stellenbosch is just about the grown ups though. With over 150 ‘wine farms’ you certainly won’t be short of a tasting or three, but there are plenty offering far more than just wine to keep the whole family entertained.

things to do in South Africa with kids

A family favourite is Vredenheim which offers the chance to tour their big cats sanctuary before tucking into your grape tasting. Or nearby Spier which has Eagle Encounters, a birds of prey rehabilitation program.  If farm animals with your tasting are more your kids thing and an amazing weekend braai (South African barbeque) Middlevlei is just what you need!

Those with a sweet tooth might want to try a chocolate and wine matching experience. Kids can sit with you while you take a ‘chocolate flight’, perfectly paired with the right grape varietal, or for kids, it’s sparkling grape juice! Two of the best for delivering this experience are Lanzerac and Spier. You can see all of our favourite regional recommendations here .

7. Fairview Vineyard

Elaine & Dave, Show Them The Globe

Tucked away in the heart of wine country and located around a one hour drive from Cape Town is one of the most unique vineyards in the world. Fairview Vineyard is first and foremost a working farm which houses a number of micro-businesses who produce incredible wines and cheeses for visitors to experience.

However, the highlight for both adults and kids, is the Goat Tower and the herd of goats which live on the vineyard. We spent ages watching the goats at Goat Tower, a large tower which serves as a playpen and climbing route for the vineyard’s resident goats.

things to do in South Africa with kids

Kids can take selfies with the goats, there’s a yoga class with the goats (yep, seriously) or just simply watch them play on the tower. After enjoying the goat fun adults can enjoy a wine tasting while the kids can indulge in the delicious cheeses and other treats at the on-site deli, bakery and restaurant. Overall it’s the perfect day out for families from Cape Town.

8. Babylonstoren Farm

Nancy, We Go With Kids

Babylonstoren is a historic Dutch farm that dates back to 1692 and has one of the best preserved farmyards. With over 8 acres of gardens, kids will enjoy walking the gardens and learning about fruits, vegetables, berries, bees for pollinating, indigenous plants, fragrant laws, and more.

The gardens themselves are reminiscent of “The Secret Garden,” and visitors of all ages will enjoy the jumping chickens pop up and down for their food.

things to do in South Africa with kids

There are also bikes available for use, if the kids tire of walking and it truly is a beautiful way to enjoy the outdoors, while appreciating the historical preservation of the farm and its trajectory into the modern world.

9. Ostrich farm, Oudtshoorn

Nicky, Go Live Young

One of our most amusing visits during our four weeks in South Africa was to an ostrich farm in Oudtshoorn. Don’t miss the chance to encounter ostriches if you are in South Africa. Our two hour tour around this working ostrich farm taught us all about ostrich faming and indeed ostriches. Did you know that the ostriches egg is the largest laid egg of any animal? Our kids could stand on the eggs without breaking them!

things to do in South Africa with kids

After learning all about ostriches it was time to feed these majestic birds. Feeding these huge birds involves holding food in your hand for the ostrich to violently gobble with its large beak. Not for the faint hearted but great fun.

The highlight however was riding an ostrich. What is it like? It only lasts a few seconds and is a fast, bumpy ride where you hold on for dear life! And yes, there’s a chance you may fall off. These animals are fast, the fastest birds on land, able to run at 40mph. After your visit try an ostrich burger at the farm cafe. Delicious.

10. Cango Caves

Campbell & Alya, Stingy Nomads

Cango Caves in Oudtshoorn is one of the places where both children and adults will have fun exploring caves and tunnels. The caves can be easily visited from Mossel Bay as a part of the Garden Route trip. It’s not just one cave, it’s a system of chambers connected by tunnels and some of them are very narrow you have to crawl through. 

The caves can be visited only in group with a guide. There are two different options; Heritage tour, a short one hour tour that will take you through the biggest and the most impressive chambers with massive stalactites and stalagmites around.

things to do in South Africa with kids

If you’re children are old enough (6+) you can join a 1h30min adventure tour, that includes climbing ladders, squeezing through very narrow passages like Devil’s Chimney (30cm high) or Leopard Crawl (27cm high).

This tour is a journey to a magic world of gnomes and trolls, even the names of some rock formations and tunnels sound like something from a legend or a fairy tale; King Solomon’s Mines, The Ice Chamber, Crystal Palace, The Ice-cream Parlour, The Devil’s Workshop etc.

11. Knysna Elephant Park

Ting,  My Travel Monkey

What drew me to  was the fact that the park has dedicated the last 20 years to elephants, and is internationally recognised as one of the best captive elephant facilities in the world.

More than 40 elephants have been rescued and/or relocated there and it has also played a vital role in formulating regulations and guidelines for captive elephants throughout South Africa.

things to do in South Africa with kids

Not only did we get to feed them with buckets of fruit and vegetables, but we also go to get up close and stroke their ears. It was a heart-stopping moment.

And then later, walking with elephants meant that my young son was able to ask the ranger all sorts of questions about the mammals and his interest was just so amazing to watch. It is something that we will all cherish for the rest of our lives because it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Plus, knowing that we contributed to a project that will keep protecting these animals well into the future, was a comforting thought.

12. Birds of Eden

Jessica, Longest Bus Rides

Birds of Eden is a zoo you’ve never imagined. There are no cages, but instead a massive net dome containing all the birds. Inside the dome visitors walk on boardwalks, bridges, and paths—some really high off the ground! It’s fantastic for bird watching, which is of course what you’re observing. With no signage, but birds from all over the world, it’s a place for spending time with family and friends.

Colourful birds are on the ground and in the air—some big and others small. Some eat at the feeders along the pathways, so you can observe them at closer range. It’s practically a wild animal park for birds. There are a few mammals wandering the grounds. The paths are mainly in a loop, so older kids can walk ahead on their own safely, while younger kids won’t get lost.

things to do in South Africa with kids

There are so many interesting places in this area for learning about wild animals or having an adventure with your family. Directly next door to Birds of Eden is Monkeyland.

And, nearby is Lawnwood Snake Sanctuary, an elephant sanctuary, and Tenikwa Wildlife Rehabilitation & Awareness Centre.

All of these are easy drives from Kynsna, as is Plettenberg Bay (observe great white sharks from a boat or get in the water and learn all about their habitat and life as surface feeders!), and Stormsrivier (horseback riding, bungee jumping).

13. Ziplining at Storms River

Rachel, Adventure and Sunshine

We spent a lot of time on the road in South Africa so we were looking for something extra fun for the kids. Ziplining near Tsitsikamma National Park definitely delivered!

With 8 slides in the course to complete, the longest a whopping 211 metres, it was the perfect mix of adventure and fun.

As we stepped into our harnesses the kids were nervous. Thankfully we had a great guide who helped the kids clip in and out of each slide and gave them wonderful encouragement.

things to do in South Africa with kids

The slides ran up high, past small waterfalls and across pretty gorges. After a couple of slides the kids shook off the nerves and were gleefully ziplining through the trees. The time flew by and they were begging to do the course again – a great morning out for the whole family. Check out their YouTube video here .

Do note that tandem ziplining is required for kids aged 3-7 years. From 8 years they can zipline independently.

14. Addo Elephant National Park

Jenny, TraveLynn Family

If you’re kids love elephants, you must take them to Addo Elephant National Park, just a one hour drive from Port Elizabeth, as you are guaranteed to see dozens in their natural habitat.

Established in 1931 as a sanctuary for the eleven remaining elephants in the area, the park is now home to over 600 elephants and many other mammals (including buffalo, warthogs, zebra, hyena and lions).

South Africa with kids

The park has good tarred roads, so a standard 2wd is sufficient, and the main rest camp even has a swimming pool to cool off after your self-drive safari .

15. Horse riding in the Drakensberg

Natasha & Cameron, The World Pursuit

One of the best kid friendly things to do in South Africa is go horse riding in the mountains. The best place to do this is in the Drakensberg mountain range.

Montusi Mountain Lodge near the amphitheatre lets visitors and guests of the lodge take part in this special experience. Any level rider can join as long as they are comfortable around horses.

things to do in South Africa with kids

Riders can take in all new views of the natural beauty while on top of the horse. It’s so special to do this here as there is quite a lot of ground to cover and on horseback you can wander in a less intrusive and quieter way. We were even able to get very close to wild animals on the horse. Antelope and other wildlife don’t see the horse as a threat allowing you, as a human, to get much closer than ever before.

Enjoy the views, wildlife, and experience as a family!

16. Bourke’s Luck Potholes

(Emily, Kids and Compass )

If you’re visiting the Kruger National Park then try to make room for a day trip along the Blyde River Canyon; a spectacular natural wonder which has plenty of things to see and do with kids.

Bourke’s Luck Potholes are a great stop for kids along this route. The potholes are thousands of years old and have been carved into the soft sandstone of the canyon wall by the Blyde River.

things to do in South Africa with kids

Kids will love walking on the bridges high over the river and splashing in the river. Watching the water swirl around in the colourful potholes is hypnotic. There is no gold here, so sadly Mr Bourke (a gold miner who the potholes are named after) was all out of luck.

You won’t need to spend the whole day at the potholes so you can also look at a some incredible viewpoints at God’s Window and the Three Rondavels nearby and visit the former gold mining town of Pilgrim’s Rest (now a protected heritage site).

This is a great place to enjoy the natural beauty of South Africa with kids in tow.

17. Spotting the rare white lion in Timbavati

Kellie, 4WornPassports

There are few adventures more exciting for kids than going on an African  safari . Safaris are perfect for families because the mornings and evenings are filled with game drives, but there is plenty of time in the middle of the day for napping by the pool and relaxing.

The Timbavati region of South Africa offers an exciting opportunity beyond spotting the Big Five: searching for the über-rare white lion. White lions have a rare genetic marker resulting in a beautiful white coat.

south africa travel with baby

Less than a dozen white lions are living in the wild in the entire world…and they all live in the Timbavati and Kruger Park regions of South Africa. Unless these beautiful cats are granted endangered status soon, they will likely be hunted to extinction. 

For more information on planning your own amazing safari, be sure to read how to plan a  family-friendly, budget safari .

18. Kruger National Park

Kruger is perhaps South Africa’s most well known parks, and rightfully so. This is a game-rich park with a good chance of ticking off the big five.

We love that you can self-drive as it means you can be self-contained with your little ones and feed them snacks when needs be. Plus the roads are well-marked and very well maintained, meaning that you can even explore the park in a 2wd, and there are lots of safe picnic sites dotted around the park.

Southern Africa overland itinerary with kids

Accommodation (including camping) does get booked up, so book in early on the asnsparks site . Some of the rest camps even have swimming pools, which our boys particularly loved for cooling off after a morning game drive.

If you are looking for accommodation just outside Kruger, we recommend staying at the family-friendly Southern Sands near Hoedspruit .

You may also like to read: Malawi itinerary with kids Mozambique itinerary with kids Medical kit list for families travelling Africa

Yebo south africa logo

  • Travel , Travel Tips and Hacks
  • July 17, 2021
  • No Comments

traveling with baby

Traveling with baby is hard, but it is not impossible. With a few tips, tricks, and the right mindset, anyone can do it. 

This is a comprehensive list of tips that we have learned over the years. Most of them are very easy to implement, and they are almost guaranteed to make your life easier as a traveling parent. 

The post has been broken down into simple categories so that it’s easy to follow.

34 Practical tips for traveling with baby

Planning your flight and accommodation, 1. babies need passports too.

If you are planning to leave the country, make sure you apply for a passport for your baby. The process may take a little while, so make sure you start the process a few months before you plan to travel with your baby.

2. Check if you need a visa

US citizens are very lucky—we can go almost anywhere without a visa. But don’t take this privilege for granted. As you plan your trip, take a minute to do a quick google search and check if you need a visa or not.

3. There may be a fee, even if your baby doesn’t get a seat

This differs from airline to airline but usually, if you are flying with a baby on your lap, there is no fee for domestic flights. Depending on the airline, that may change for international flights. Check with your airline to see what fee they charge for an infant.

4. You could buy a seat for your baby

Keep in mind, not every car seat can be used on an airplane. There has to be an FAA sticker on it that declares it is approved for use on an airplane.

The pros of bringing a car seat

  • You won’t have to hold your baby through the entire flight.
  • If your baby is used to sleeping in the car seat, he/she will be able to sleep comfortably on the airplane. This is a great benefit because some babies don’t sleep well on airplanes.
  • It’s safer for babies—a baby in a car seat is safer than anyone else on board.
  • You’ll have a car seat at your destination. This is wonderful if you are renting a car because the baby car seats in the rental cars are usually terrible.

The cons of bringing a car seat

  • It’s expensive. You’ll have to pay for a seat for your baby.
  • It’s cumbersome. In the airplane and in the rental car it is great, but moving from place to place is quite cumbersome.

5. Get the bassinet seat for long haul flights

6. fly during nap times.

For shorter, domestic flights, this strategy is great. Simply book flying times that coincide with your baby’s nap time. This is a good strategy but it may also backfire if your baby is so distracted by the new environment, and cannot sleep.

7. Get two aisle seats in the front

Two aisle seats across from one another offer excellent (and a much-needed) change of scenery for an infant-in-arms. As your baby gets passed from one parent to the other, your baby gets reintroduced to a new environment and new neighbors. This simple strategy can keep your baby entertained for a good stretch.

Another benefit is that if your baby gets a little antsy, it is easier to get up and walk the baby up and down the aisle.

8. Breastfeeding? Get a window seat

If you are breastfeeding, a window seat offers much-needed privacy.

9. Get travel insurance and travel health insurance

Things could happen. Be prepared for any eventuality by getting insurance. Travel insurance typically covers you for flight or booking cancellations. However, not all travel insurance offers health insurance—look for travel insurance that covers everything.

Even if you have health insurance in the USA, you may not be covered once you cross the US border. Check your policy to see if your coverage remains the same worldwide as it does in the USA.

Travel insurance may be cheaper than you think. However, read the fine print before you commit. Plans vary. Some plans may not cover ER visits or medical evacuations or illnesses caused by a pandemic.

10. When booking accommodation, ask for a crib

Whether you are booking into a hotel or an Airbnb, ask if they have a crib or a pack ‘n play. This is not always available but it definitely does not hurt to ask.

Helpful tips for traveling with baby

11. wear your baby if possible, 12. strap your baby to the luggage, 13. strap the car seat to your luggage.

If you are going the car seat route, carrying that car seat around will quickly become a hassle. Solve the hassle by strapping it to your luggage.

Traveling Toddler Car Seat Travel Accessory

14. Be prepared for diaper blowouts

Diaper blowouts happen when your baby poops, and the diaper cannot contain the poop. As a result, you will have baby poop up your baby’s back and legs. It’s not a fun experience, but it happens… often. Be prepared for it by always packing at least one change of clothes for your baby in your carry-on.

15. Take a portable high chair

The problem with traveling with a baby is that not all restaurants have high chairs, particularly if you are traveling abroad. Solve that hassle by being prepared with a small, portable high chair.

Inglesina Fast Table Chair - Award-Winning Baby High Chair for Eating & Dining - Compact, Portable & Foldable - Leaves No Scratches - for Babies 6-36 Months & 1-3 Year Old Toddler - Black

16. Breastfeeding while traveling

Hallelujah to breastfeeding because it makes traveling with a baby so much easier! If you are a breastfeeding mom, you don’t have to worry about any of the hassles that go with formula feeding. You can literally feed your baby anytime, anywhere.

17. Formula feeding while traveling

If you cannot breastfeed your baby, the next best thing is baby formula. However, it comes with a few hassles like needing to warm baby’s milk. Make sure that you are booking a hotel or Airbnb where you can warm bottles.

18. Have a plan in the event of illness

Check how you can get in touch with your baby’s pediatrician while you are abroad. Keep in mind that you might be in a different time zone, so check if they have a 24-hour line you can call? Also:

  • Check to see where the nearest hospital and urgent care is to where you’ll be staying. Write it down and keep it with your other important documents, and also save it on your phone for easy access.
  • Find out what the emergency phone number is in the country you are visiting. For example, in the US it is 911, in the EU, it is 112.

19. Bring cheap entertainment

This is an important hack for traveling with baby. You could go to the Dollar store and pick up a few things that your baby may find entertaining. What you get will depend on your baby’s age.

20. Bring a travel crib

If the hotel or Airbnb you are staying in does not have a crib or pack ‘n play, bring a travel crib. However, get it well before your trip and have your baby sleep in it for a few weeks before you leave. This way, your baby can get used to it. Otherwise, your baby is going to refuse to sleep in it.

2 in 1 Travel Crib & Bassinet – Lightweight, Pack Play-Yard for Infants & Toddlers. Simple Assembly & Easily Collapsible. Portable Crib, Baby Bed. Mattress & Fitted Sheet Included

How to pack when you're traveling with a baby

21. travel light.

It is exhausting to haul around stuff that you don’t need, unpacking it, then repacking it as you go from place to place. Save yourself the trouble and travel light.

Don’t pack for “what if’s.” All the extras (that you probably won’t need) take up valuable space. Keep in mind that unless you are going to the middle of nowhere, you should be able to pick up incidentals fairly easily.

22. Pack efficiently

Make sure every item of baby’s clothes pairs with another. 

Also, check the weather forecast for when you are traveling. If you are traveling with baby for longer than a week, check the average annual temperatures for the time of year you will be traveling. That way, you are only packing what you really need.

23. Consider a backpack diaper bag

Seriously, there are so many benefits to using a backpack diaper bag:

  • A backpack diaper bag can double as a carry-on, which means you will have fewer bags to carry;
  • You won’t have annoying bag straps sliding off your shoulder every two minutes, and importantly;
  • You’ll have free hands, which is a helpful commodity when you are traveling with a baby.

Tactical Baby Gear Daypack 3.0 Tactical Diaper Bag Backpack and Changing Mat (Coyote Brown)

24. Don’t overdo it on the diapers

Diapers are important and you cannot do without it, but you also don’t need a lifetime supply of diapers while you are traveling. Keep track of the diapers your baby goes through per day or calculate it with a diaper calculator . Pack what you need and if you run out, you can always pick up more.

25. Consider your luggage carefully

Will you be wearing your baby or pushing your baby? If your hands are occupied with pushing a stroller, you’ll be better off with a backpack. However, if your plan is babywearing, you could get away with a rolling suitcase.

But there’s more. How will you be getting from place to place? If you are renting a car, you’re probably good with a suitcase that you can easily put in the trunk. If you’ll be catching busses and trains, a backpack would work best for you. Consider where you are going, how you will move, and make sure your luggage fits into your plans.

26. Pack a first-aid kit

It can be hard to find medicine in a different country. If you’re in the US, you know you can go to CVS, Walgreens, etc to get what you need, but if you’re in a foreign country, you don’t know where to go. The added stress of communicating with people whose native language is not the same as yours, and needing to get medicine for a baby, is downright nerve-racking. Avoid that unpleasant scenario by packing a first-aid kit in your carry-on. It should include at least: infant pain reliever and fever reducer,  antihistamines, and diarrhea medicine. 

Flights and Airports

27. arrive early at the airport.

From personal experience, I cannot emphasize this enough. Unforeseen things happen if you are traveling with a baby, and leaving early seems to solve most of those hassles. These include insane traffic on the way to the airport, a diaper blowout at the airport, a ticketing problem, lost infant tickets, the list goes on.

If you are not convinced, consider this:

  • If you are flying international, you’ll need to park your car at a long-term facility, which is usually not right by the airport. You will need enough time to get from the parking garage to the airport;
  • Even if you are packing light, you’ll have baby gear in tow. It will therefore take you a little more time to get around.
  • Sometimes there are long check-in or TSA lines. If they are not long, they may move slowly.
  • As you go through TSA and security, the process takes way longer if you are traveling with a baby. If you have a stroller, you have to take your baby out of the stroller and collapse it before it can go through an x-ray. If you are wearing your baby, you’ll need to take your baby out, then back in again.

By leaving your house early, you reduce risks. But even if there are no hassles and you end up being early, you have time to regroup, grab a meal, do a diaper change in the terminal, or buy a book that you won’t be able to read .

28. Ask to be put next to an empty seat

If you are on an international flight and you’ve requested (and received) the bulkhead seat, you’ll want to stay where you are. However, if you did not get that seat and you are flying “infant in arms,” the next best thing is to ask that you be put next to an open seat. That way, you have a little more room for your baby. Keep in mind, there may not always be an extra seat available on the flight.

29. Be prepared for security

When you go through customs and security, people with children will often be allowed to go through the shorter lines. This is great, but it’s not offered at every airport.

The protocol for going through security differs from airport to airport. If you have a stroller, they will usually ask you to take your baby out and collapse the stroller before it is taken through the x-ray. If you are wearing your baby, they may ask you to take your baby out before you walk through the metal detector. This is never any fun but you can make the experience easier by being prepared before you get to security.

  • If you have liquids, put them in a zip-lock bag and keep them separate for inspection.
  • If you have a laptop, separate it ahead of time so that you don’t have to open bags to go find it.
  • It is always a great idea to wear slip-on shoes when you go through security.

30. Take advantage of priority boarding, or don’t

When it is time to board, parents with small children usually get priority boarding. This allows you to board first. This is a great perk of traveling with babies but think about it before you take advantage of it.

The benefits of priority boarding when traveling with baby:

  • If you board early, you don’t have to pass all the other passengers, which can be a little uncomfortable if the flight is full and you are carrying a baby;
  • You get to choose the best spots for your carry-on, instead of merely taking what you get;
  • You get to settle in with your baby before most other passengers get on.

While that sounds great, consider that it could take up to 30 minutes for everyone else to board. This means you will have to sit and entertain your baby in a cramped seat for all that time.

Another option could be that you and your partner board separately. One parent could board early to check the stroller, stow the carry-ons, and disinfect the seating area. The other parent could walk around and entertain the baby while everyone else boards ahead of him/her.

31. Check strollers at the airplane gate

If you are traveling with a stroller, be sure to check it at the gate as you board the airplane. This is very convenient because you get to use your stroller right up till the very end. Once the airplane lands and you disembark, be sure to pick it up as you leave.

32. Feed your baby during takeoff and landing

You've reached your destination, 33. eat dinner early.

By going to restaurants early, you can avoid the rush. This is the ideal situation if you are traveling with a baby. The wait staff are also less stressed and they can comfortably tend to your needs.

34. Consider baby-sitting services

There are many vetted, reputable nanny services around the world. If you need one night with your spouse, you may want to consider one of these services.

We take our 5 children everywhere we go. They literally do everything we do, except when we go to big sporting events. We go to the Rugby World Cup every 4 years and regardless of where in the world it is, we’ve always been able to find great nanny services for the nights we go to the games. (Because we have 5 kids, they usually send over 2 nannies.)

We make it very easy for the nannies. During the day, we do lots of things to get the kids tired. We feed them, bathe them, and give each a melatonin (sleeping) gummy before we leave. We also make sure their tablets are fully charged in case they don’t go to sleep. That way, they give the nannies no problems at all.

LOVE THIS POST? SHARE IT...

RELATED POSTS

South African customs

Customs South Africa: What are you allowed to take?

South Africa Weather

South Africa Weather From Region To Region

south africa on a budget

How to travel to South Africa on a budget

driving in south africa

A Traveler’s Guide To Driving In South Africa

Leave a comment cancel reply.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

south africa travel with baby

About The Author

Hi! We’re the Cheltens’. We visit South Africa 1-2 times per year. We want to share our experiences with you so that you may make educated decisions when you plan your next trip to the rainbow nation.

Time now at South Africa (GMT+2)

See average climate in South Africa

Upcoming festivities/holidays in South Africa

January 2024

Ceptics South Africa Travel Plug Adapter (Type M) - 3 Pack [Grounded & Universal] (GP-10L-3PK)

  • Small Travel Size - 3 Pack
  • Standard: Type M plug, South Africa CEE 7/16. Grounded 3-Prong plug.
  • Accepts plugs from all countries including USA.
  • New conductivity design - internal metal interfaces provides better Conductivity
  • Grounded 3 Round Prong plug. Max Capacity Up to 3000 Watt (max 250 Volt, 13 A)

Money Belt for Men Travel Security Belt with Hidden Money Compartment Pocket, Cashsafe Anti-Theft Wallet Non-Metal Buckle

  • PATENT PENDING ; (🔥 KEEP YOUR CASH HIDDEN FROM YOUR WIFE / GF!🔥 ) Travel Security Money Belt
  • 🔒 BYE BYE PICKPOCKETS 💵 - DESIGNED FOR TRAVEL TSA 🧳 - keep your cash safe from pickpockets; equipped with an easy-to-use hidden zippered...
  • 💪 DURABLE - Made with Premium YKK Zipper with reinforced non-slip buckle, Adjustable wear-resisting nylon materia for waist sizes 26 to 42 inches....
  • ✅ Easy access and storage; quickly stash and remove your bills, coins, and keys with ease
  • ✅ NOT JUST A NORMAL BELT - It is a Long-lasting companion; made of premium quality top-grade webbing, YKK zipper, and a reinforced buckle; this...

TRAVELREST Nest Memory Foam Travel Pillow/Neck Pillow - Advanced Neck Support for Long Flights - Patented Design for Optimal Relaxation - Long Travel - Unmatched Sleep - Machine Washable - Blue

  • OPTIMAL SLEEP IN THE SKIES - TOP AIRPLANE NECK PILLOW FOR 2018 - 2023: ENDORSED BY THE NEW YORK TIMES WIRECUTTER. After undergoing multiple...
  • SLEEP INNOVATION: The Travelrest Ultimate shines with its distinctively angled back that stays flat against the seat, ensuring impeccable...
  • REVITALIZE YOUR TRAVEL EXPERIENCE: Engineered with thermo-sensitive memory foam, our flight pillow delivers optimal support for neck, shoulder, and...
  • EFFORTLESS RELAXATION EVERYWHERE YOU GO: Our neck pillow is your ultimate companion for long flights, car trips, train journeys, buses, couch...
  • SEAMLESS TRAVEL CONVENIENCE, STYLISH CHOICES: Explore our flight pillow, featuring sophisticated gray and vibrant blue options. This package includes...

INIU Portable Charger, Slimmest 10000mAh 5V/3A Power Bank, USB C in&out High-Speed Charging Battery Pack, External Phone Powerbank Compatible with iPhone 15 14 13 12 11 Samsung S22 S21 Google iPad etc

  • ✅【From INIU--the SAFE Fast Charge Pro】Experience the safest charging with over 38 million global users. At INIU, we use only the highest-grade...
  • ✅【Market's Thinnest 10000mAh】 The market’s one and only 0.5-inch power bank that breaks the limit of 10000mAh, easily slipped into any travel...
  • ✅【Only 5% Got USB-C IN&OUT】INIU is the only 5% of power banks got a USB-C IN&OUT port. Unlike others only recharge via USB-C port, INIU can...
  • ✅【3A High-Speed Charging】3A fast charging fuels iPhone up to 78% in just one hour. INIU's AutoFit identifies and meets your device's ideal...
  • ✅【15-Layer SAFE Charging】INIU's unique 15-Layer SmartProtect system shrugs off any unusual charging at the start. Take overheating risk and...

potjiekos

Potjiekos – A South African Tradition

Helpful airport tips

Seriously helpful airport tips from experienced travelers

surf in south africa

All you wanted to know about surf in South Africa

Funny questions about Africa

Hilarious tourist questions about Africa

Mala Mala Game Reserve

All you wanted to know about Safari in South Africa

self drive safari

What to know before you go a self drive safari

BushBaby Travel

South Africa

south africa travel with baby

  • Itineraries
  • Where to Go

Travel Essentials

  • Where to Stay
  • Other Destinations
  • Inspiration

It’s easy to fall in love with South Africa – it offers much beyond an exciting safari holiday, with wildlife spotting an adventure in itself! Access to pristine beaches framed by lush mountain scenery, culture in abundance, world-class wine, a selection of restaurants to appease even the most demanding foodie, creates a strong contender for that elusive ‘perfect’ holiday. Safaris in South Africa are also ideal for a first wildlife-spotting experience, with malaria-free game reserves offering some superb lodges featuring child-friendly accommodation.

Our Favourite Itineraries

Circle of Africa

Kwa Zulu Natal Explorer Self Drive

Bush & Beach

Classic South Africa Self Drive

A Week in the Bush

south africa travel with baby

In our Client's Words...

“We have now had two fantastic experiences with Bushbaby - you have made the whole process of thinking about and then booking our holidays a pleasure! You have listened to what we think we want, provided suitable options and supported us through every step so there is no stress! We would highly recommend you to any family wanting to tailor make a special holiday, we can’t wait to organise our next adventure - thank you to all the team!”

Weller Family, South Africa

100% of our clients leaving feedback on AITO.com (the Trip Advisor of Tour Operators) have rated us 'excellent'

Where to Go in South Africa

Cape Town & The Western Cape

Cape Winelands

Garden Route

Eastern Cape

Kwa Zulu Natal

Kruger National Park

Johannesburg

The Cape is the place to be for wine connoisseurs and gourmands with plenty of award-winning restaurants, many housed in fabulous examples of Cape Dutch architecture and enjoying stunning views.  Nature buffs should try to visit between July and December when you can take a boat trip to see the Southern Right Whales, although the African penguins are present all year – the kind of beach companion children are sure to love.

The Garden Route , a few hours east, is all wild beaches and animal sanctuaries and makes an ideal stop en-route to the Eastern Cape , home to the Big Five and malaria-free. With excellent game reserves to suit every style and budget, whether your preference is an elegant colonial lodge or a more rustic tent by a river, incorporating a safari holiday into your South African itinerary is generally a key highlight.

Kwa-Zulu Natal is a fascinating province; home to fabulous wildlife but also to the historic Anglo-Boer and Zulu Battlefields, as well as the Drakensburg Mountains with some dramatic wild beaches.

North of Johannesburg , those in search of a little glitz should stop off at the famous Sun City Resort, with its wonderful water park.  For some truly excellent game-viewing, there are several options for your next stop – Pilanesberg National Park, Madikwe Game Reserve , or the Waterberg (malaria-free) or Kruger National Park (malarial). Whichever you choose, have your camera at the ready for your South Africa Safari Holiday!

Whilst a safari holiday to South Africa, perhaps across two different Lodges, makes for a great trip in itself, do consider combining with at least  Cape Town which is often represents a good value add on considering the contrasting experiences it offers.  It’s also  worth bearing in mind that regular onward flights to Mauritius and the Seychelles and the option of stop-overs in the Middle East , mean there are plenty of opportunities to create a once-in-a-lifetime multi-country adventure!

Get In Touch

Feeling inspired? Start planning your next adventure by contacting us today.

south africa travel with baby

South Africa is truly a year round destination, whether you are seeking a winter sun or safari holiday with plenty of wildlife viewing.

The Cape has a different weather pattern to the rest of South Africa. Whilst it typically rains elsewhere from November to March , the weather in the Cape is usually hot, sunny and dry at this time of year, perfect for escaping the depths of a British Winter, as long as you bear in mind Cape Town’s famously unpredictable and changeable climes. From May – September the weather becomes cooler and wetter, although it is also a good time to see the migrating Southern Right Whales and of course you are likely to benefit from reduced rates at some beautiful hotels. October/ November is a lovely time to visit with the days warming up, the whales still in situ and stunning spring flowers.

In the northern area of South Africa the heaviest rains fall December to March . Whilst June – September can bring cold nights, you can expect clear blue skies and warming temperatures during the day, with the added benefit that the dry conditions usually provide the best game viewing opportunities as there is less vegetation.

south africa travel with baby

Flights: Flights to Cape Town take just under 12 hours, with flights to Johannesburg at 10.5 hours. BA fly direct to Cape Town and Johannesburg whilst Virgin fly to Johannesburg with a seasonal flight offer to Cape Town. There are many other non-direct options via Europe and the Middle East. Typical carbon emissions for a return flight (Economy) per person: 730 kg.

Health: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/country/201/south-africa

FCDO travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/south-africa

Time Zone: GMT+2

Local Currency: South African Rand

Capital City: Pretoria

Where to Stay in South Africa

Coot Club - Overberg

The Palace of the Lost City - Sun City

Cascades - Sun City

The Winchester Boutique Hotel - Cape Town & The Western Cape

Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel - Cape Town & The Western Cape

Kwandwe Melton Manor Villa - Eastern Cape

Makakatana Bay Lodge - Kwa Zulu Natal

Thonga Beach Lodge - Kwa Zulu Natal

Our Beliefs

south africa travel with baby

Enriching Experiences

south africa travel with baby

Accessibility

south africa travel with baby

Transparency

south africa travel with baby

Sustainable Travel

south africa travel with baby

Destinations in Africa You Might Also Like

Our articles about south africa.

Safari with a difference?

Up the adrenaline for a more Active Safari

Inject some foodie fun into your holiday!

Five Ways to Make Your Holiday Delicious

Expanding your horizons

And making your holiday count

Trendy Cape Town

February half term bliss

Abi’s Favourite Places to Stay

With friends and family

How to keep Safari’s sensible

Advice for Saving on Safari

Evie visits South Africa

My First Safari

South Africa Visa » Traveling to South Africa with Children

Traveling to South Africa with Children

travel south africa children

Traveling to South Africa is set to become much easier now that the government of South Africa has introduced the South Africa tourist visa online, an electronic visa which eliminates the need to apply for a visa from an embassy or consulate .

However, although the South Africa eVisa application facilitates the process of obtaining a tourist visa for the country, it is still be necessary to comply with the requirements for supporting documents for a visa.

Those planning to travel to the country with kids should be aware that there are strict entry requirements for children traveling to South Africa .

The travel documents for children for entry to South Africa depend on a variety of factors, including how many parents are accompanying the child , the child’s nationality , and whether or not they are resident in some form of alternative care.

Read on to discover travel advice for bringing children to South Africa and find out exactly which documents you will need.

What Documents Does a Minor Need to Fly to South Africa?

Before coming to the country with a minor, travelers should check the South Africa Visa requirements and the South Africa child policy . The table below details the necessary documentation required depending on the nationality of the child and who they are traveling with.

This documentation will be requested at the port of entry and exit in South Africa for children with South African nationality or foreign visa-exempt children.

Those who are required to apply for a South Africa visa will be required to provide the same documentation as a visa-exempt child, but during the visa application process instead of at the port of entry.

Do children traveling to South Africa need to produce their birth certificate upon arrival?

  • South African children traveling on a South African passport do need to carry their unabridged birth certificate to enter the country
  • Foreign visa-exempt children will no longer need to present their birth certificate nor parental consent letters
  • Foreign visa-required children will have their birth certificate processed during their visa application, and no longer have to produce the document for inspection at the airport upon arrival

This confusion is due to the fact that unabridged birth certificates were introduced as a travel requirement for minors arriving in South Africa in 2015. This document was initially required to help prevent child trafficking.

However, on Friday, November 8th, 2019, South African government officials announced that birth certificates and consent letters are no longer required for foreign children traveling with their parents to enter the country.

The birth certificate requirement for South Africa is eliminated when children visit the country with their mother and father carrying a valid passport on which the child’s parents are registered as such.

Can a Child Travel to South Africa with One Parent?

As outlined in the table above, it is possible for children to travel to South Africa with one parent so long as they carry their valid passport.

Exemptions for South Africa Entry Requirements for Children

Although it is necessary to present supporting documentation in most cases when traveling with children to South Africa , there are some exemptions where certain South Africa child policy requirements for children do not apply :

  • Children with a South African passport may travel to South Africa without birth certificates
  • Supporting documents are not required for children in direct transit through an international airport
  • Children with a valid South African visa are not required to produce the documents already submitted as part of their visa applications when travelling through a port of entry in South Africa
  • A child with a passport containing the details of his or her parent(s) is not required to produce a birth certificate or equivalent document
  • Children traveling as part of a school trip are able to replace the parental consent letter and other additional documents with a letter from their school principal confirming that all consent letters are held by the school. This arrangement applies to all schools registered with the Department of Basic Education in South Africa and its equivalent abroad.

In cases where the parent(s) of the child are unable to consent to their child traveling to South Africa, due to recent death or mental or physical disability , persons acting on behalf of the child may apply for a special exemption. In such cases, it is necessary to submit a request explaining the situation , alongside supporting documentation such as a treating medical practitioner’s certificate, to Office of the Director-General of Home Affairs of South Africa.

This final exemption only applies to cases of parental incapacity , and not to cases where a parent is either unwilling to consent or unable to be located due to separation or divorce. In cases where a parent refuses to give consent , it is possible to present a court order in terms of section 18(5) of the Children’s Act, 2005 (Act No. 38 of 2005) as an alternative.

Recent Posts

  • South Africa eVisa eligibility extends to 20 new nationalities
  • South Africa Traveller Declaration: A Comprehensive Guide
  • South African eVisa launched in 14 countries
  • Traveller Health Questionnaire to Enter South Africa
  • South Africa Visa Photo Requirements
  • Tourism in South Africa
  • Travel to South Africa

South African visa types

  • Tourist Visa
  • Critical skills visa
  • South Africa Tourism
  • South Africa Hotels
  • South Africa Bed and Breakfast
  • South Africa Vacation Rentals
  • Flights to South Africa
  • South Africa Restaurants
  • Things to Do in South Africa
  • South Africa Travel Forum
  • South Africa Photos
  • All South Africa Hotels
  • South Africa Hotel Deals
  • Last Minute Hotels in South Africa
  • South Africa
  • Things to Do
  • Restaurants
  • Vacation Rentals
  • Travel Stories
  • Rental Cars
  • Add a Place
  • Travel Forum
  • Travelers' Choice
  • Help Center

Safe to travel with a 6mo baby? - South Africa Forum

  • Africa    
  • South Africa    

Safe to travel with a 6mo baby?

  • United States Forums
  • Europe Forums
  • Canada Forums
  • Asia Forums
  • Central America Forums
  • Africa Forums
  • Caribbean Forums
  • Mexico Forums
  • South Pacific Forums
  • South America Forums
  • Middle East Forums
  • Honeymoons and Romance
  • Business Travel
  • Train Travel
  • Traveling With Disabilities
  • Tripadvisor Support
  • Solo Travel
  • Bargain Travel
  • Timeshares / Vacation Rentals
  • Africa forums
  • South Africa forum

' class=

<< Is it safe to travel with a young baby>>

As someone who lives here, has visited Australia and also has lived in the UK, Thailand, and Italy, I'd say that Australia is about as similar to SA as countries get.

south africa travel with baby

As a matter of fact, except for Clarens, we have been to all these places with a baby. You will find nappies etc. readily available everywhere, like you probably would in Australia. Most airlines allow to take strollers and baby car seats in addition to the regular luggage, but check.

When we traveled for the first time with our baby, we were really worried, especially heath wise. We saved the 24h emergency number of Netcare (a private hospital/medical service provider) 082911.

For safari, you will probably self drive in Pilanesberg. It is quite easy and safe. It is a great reserve with a baby, because it is malaria free and provides a lot of always nearby places where you can get out of the car , to change napppies, take you baby on the arms etc. (as opposed to e.g. Kruger ). You will find that best times for game drives are early mornings and late afternoons. Depending on the sleeping habits of your baby, it might not always be possible to be on the road at these times. Many times the baby will happily sleep in the car seat. When our baby boy was awake, my wife took him on her lap during game drives. It is fairly safe. You usually never drive faster than 40km/h (25mph) with virtually no traffic.

With a baby so young, it is hard to tell how the baby will take the long car journeys by then. Our baby didn't like them.

Maybe you will find this helpful

https://www.tripadvisor.co.za/ShowTopic-g293740-i9186-k8010404-South_Africa_with_a_baby_trip_report-South_Africa.html

To AuntieFr0mJ0zi, that's what we said when we traveled to South Africa with a baby for the first time. "How can you bring a baby to a place like this?". "Well, there are lots of babies in South Africa already." Discussion brought to an end!

Sorry Dudel and OP - it obviously behoves me to stop posting that comment. There's just such a glaring contrast between the world imaged by the question and what I see out and about.

That's interesting, thanks so much for your perspective.

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity.

  • Lionshead to Table mountain 9:22 am
  • Food souvenirs from Cape Town & food tour. 8:34 am
  • Please avoid pass through no-go-zone areas 8:21 am
  • Restaurant recs - 1 night Stellenbosch & 3 nights Cape Town 7:53 am
  • Sea Point restaurants & safety 1:39 am
  • Kruger safari: budget with teenagers - options? 12:12 am
  • How to join guided safaris/tours in this case yesterday
  • Franschoek NOT fine dining restaurant recommendations yesterday
  • AMI Travel and Tours yesterday
  • Election 2024 yesterday
  • Hot Air Ballon yesterday
  • Durban city tour yesterday
  • Car rental 4 people plus luggage yesterday
  • Hi is there anyway to get from eswatini to lesotho by land ? yesterday
  • Go2Africa-has anybody used them 41 replies
  • yellow fever vaccination price 3 replies
  • Sort of a warning about Rentalcars.com vs CarHire3000 68 replies
  • Using an iPad with a prepaid micro sim card 29 replies
  • road trip from Johannesburg to Cape Town 6 replies
  • Review: Rhino Africa Safari travel 6 replies
  • Bid2stay/City Lodge Hotel 3 replies
  • Safaris near Johannesburg 2 replies
  • Lion World Tours or SAA Vacations 11 replies
  • Nude Beach in Umhlanga 6 replies

South Africa Hotels and Places to Stay

  • What to do/see in South Africa
  • A guide to booking and staying in Kruger National Park
  • Animal Interactions and Ethical tourism.
  • How to approach corrupt traffic officials
  • Under what circumstances do I need to take Malaria Prophylaxis in Kruger area
  • The reality of lion cub petting
  • -Responsible_Tourism

south africa travel with baby

IMAGES

  1. Cape Town with Kids: Enjoy a fun-filled day at Green Point Park and Sea

    south africa travel with baby

  2. Best Things to do in South Africa with Kids

    south africa travel with baby

  3. Travelling With Children To South Africa In 2019

    south africa travel with baby

  4. 14 Reasons to go to South Africa (with kids). Feed the elephants, walk

    south africa travel with baby

  5. How to safari with kids in Africa: Top 10 family tours

    south africa travel with baby

  6. Travelling to South Africa with Kids : FAQ & MORE

    south africa travel with baby

VIDEO

  1. South Africa

  2. South Africa travel transition ✨💕

  3. A PLACE YOU MUST VISIT IN AFRICA

  4. TRAVEL WITH ME ✈️ NIGERIA 🇳🇬 TO SOUTH AFRICA 🇿🇦 CAPE TOWN

  5. FINALLY I WENT TO SOUTH AFRICA! (SHOCKED) 🇿🇦 .. #vlog #southafrica #amapiano #johannesburg

  6. South Africa Travel Facts

COMMENTS

  1. Traveling to South Africa With a Baby or Toddler (What To Know!)

    South Africa is a baby-friendly destination, with plenty of opportunities for parents to enjoy an exciting vacation with their little ones.. We spent 5 weeks traveling around South Africa with our toddler and she just enjoyed it so much! Adventure activities such as safaris are both safe and enjoyable, and there are many family-friendly hotels, resorts, and attractions.

  2. South Africa With A Baby (+ A Baby Bump)

    Travelling to South Africa with a baby is a fantastic experience as there is soooo much to do! With animals to spot, lush oceans to swim in, African music to listen to, exotic foods to try and exciting sand dunes to play on it is literally the best sensory experience for kids! South Africa is a fantastic choice of travel destination and one of ...

  3. South Africa with a Toddler

    South Africa is a beautiful country filled with rich culture, great food, gorgeous nature, architecture, activities and so much more. You will love visiting ... On Baby Can Travel, all our posts are written by myself or other traveling parents who want to share their travel experience. You can trust that you'll get the best advice on ...

  4. I Brought My Baby on an African Safari

    It turns out a 10-month-old baby makes an incredible companion on a safari in South Africa — if only for the reminder to slow down and savor the wild moments. By Kathryn Romeyn Published on ...

  5. The best things to do in South Africa with kids

    The popular resort of Sun City in South Africa's North West Province offers a range of exciting activities for children of all ages, including water parks, game reserves and adventure parks. The Valley of Waves, with its thrilling water slides and wave pool, is a favorite among kids. Supervised activities are available for younger children ...

  6. Safari with a Baby: the ultimate guide!

    1 | Game drives or self-drives. When planning a safari with a baby you'll need to decide between a self-drive safari and guided game drives. If you haven't been on safari before this means you have the choice of: self-drive: drive your own car through the park in search of wildlife. guided drives: on a safari truck in the same parks you can ...

  7. Cape Town with a Baby: Family travel in South Africa!

    4 | Signal Hill. Signal Hill is an ever-popular Cape Town sunset spot the views are epic from the hillside vantage point. Cape Town with a baby tip: bring a picnic blanket and a jacket with a hood for the little ones as it does get chilly and is often quite windy. Watching and dreaming about the sunset at Signal Hill!

  8. Kruger National Park with a Baby or Toddler

    In fact, Kruger is bigger than some European countries. If you are planning an African safari with a toddler or baby in Kruger NP, it's likely you won't have enough time to see the whole park in one visit. The maximum speed limit in the park is 50km per hour (30 miles per hour) and you'll be doing plenty of stopping for wildlife viewing.

  9. South Africa with Kids: Where to Go, Trip Itinerary & Travel Tips

    DAY 1: Cape Town - Table Mountain and Signal Hill. We arrived in Cape Town in the morning and drove to our hotel. As the time zone is practically the same in South Africa as it is in Europe and we had a good night's sleep on the plane, we were all surprisingly awake.

  10. South Africa With Kids: Two-Week Itinerary and Tips

    Here's Our Two-Week South Africa Itinerary With Kids. Day 1-4 Cape Town. Days 5-9 Wilderness. Day 5 - Cape Town to Wilderness. Day 6 - Fun on Wilderness Beach and Map of Africa View Point. Day 7 - Lunch at Plettenberg Bay and walking with elephants at Knysna Elephant Park. Day 8 - A fun day at Redberry Farm, George. Days 9-12 Knysna.

  11. What are the requirements for travelling with children?

    All minor children travelling through any South African port of entry must have an unabridged birth certificate or an equivalent document. This forms part of South Africa's fight against human trafficking. For more information go to: new requirements for children travelling to or from the Republic of South Africa explains what exemptions exists ...

  12. Best Things to do in South Africa with Kids

    2. Check Out Table Mountain With Kids. Next up in child-friendly South Africa is the famous landmark, Table Mountain. It's located in one of our best places to visit on a family vacation in this country: Cape Town. It offers incredible views of the city, mountains, and the ocean.

  13. South Africa with kids: BEST things to do

    15. Horse riding in the Drakensberg. One of the best kid friendly things to do in South Africa is go horse riding in the mountains. The best place to do this is in the Drakensberg mountain range. Montusi Mountain Lodge near the amphitheatre lets visitors and guests of the lodge take part in this special experience.

  14. Travelling with Infants

    Travelling with Infants - South African Airways. United States. Democratic Republic of Congo. Hong Kong, China. SAA strives to ensure comfort for all passengers, regardless of age. If you plan on travelling with infants, ensure that you are prepared. Read more here.

  15. South Africa with a baby or toddler? The place to be!

    With the birth of our daughter, our world changed completely. Regularity, tranquility and cleanliness won out over impulsiveness and thoughtless actions. But one thing remained unchanged, the travel bug! We wanted to keep traveling, discovering the world and gaining new experiences, but adapted to our new life, with a baby. For our first long-distance trip with our baby of 9 months, we were ...

  16. South Africa with Kids

    Day 15 to 20 South Africa Family Trip. Driving back to Cape Town for our 4th base, with an overnight stop at Mosselbay to break down the journey. Driving time and distance to Mosselbay :: 370km / 4h along the N2 with a stop at Tsitsikama / Storm Rivers Mouth. Accommodation :: B&B The Cove Guesthouse.

  17. 10 days South Africa Itinerary with Kids

    South Africa travel with kids. This 10 day itinerary for South Africa with children served us well. If I was planning this same South Africa family holiday again I might start with two nights in Camps Bay and skip staying in Cape Town city. That would have suited our family better as we prefer more natural environments to the city.

  18. How to travel with children into and out of SA

    On 23 October 2015 the South African cabinet eased some of the immigration regulations for travelling with children.This factsheet has been updated to reflect that. In June 2015 stricter requirements were put in place for children under the age of 18 and travelling to or from South Africa, whether they are citizens or from abroad.

  19. 34 Practical tips for traveling with baby

    Traveling with baby is hard, but it is not impossible. With a few tips, tricks, and the right mindset, anyone can do it. This is a comprehensive list of tips that we have learned over the years. Most of them are very easy to implement, and they are almost guaranteed to make your life easier

  20. South Africa Family Safari Holidays 2024/25: Travel with Bush Baby

    Travel Essentials. Flights: Flights to Cape Town take just under 12 hours, with flights to Johannesburg at 10.5 hours. BA fly direct to Cape Town and Johannesburg whilst Virgin fly to Johannesburg with a seasonal flight offer to Cape Town. There are many other non-direct options via Europe and the Middle East.

  21. Travel to South Africa with Children: Documents Required

    Travelers intending to visit South Africa in the company of minors, or family members sending unaccompanied minors to South Africa often wonder whether they will need to present the child's birth certificate.. This confusion is due to the fact that unabridged birth certificates were introduced as a travel requirement for minors arriving in South Africa in 2015.

  22. travel with a baby?

    Travelling with a baby is no problem. Hire a car make sure you hire or bring with you an appropriate Car Seat or Car Cot and have a great holiday. It will be quieter and easier to get around during the Confederations Cup as this is a much smaller competition it is only in the Northern part of the country so you can find a base - I would suggest ...

  23. Safe to travel with a 6mo baby?

    Hi there, don't worry, your planned trip is totally safe. We have been to South Africa with a baby and there are 2 areas to avoid - malaria areas in the Northeast and very remote areas w/o access to sanitary installations and medical service. All your destinations are fine! As a matter of fact, except for Clarens, we have been to all these places with a baby.