Do you have a family of budding explorers? Don’t waste your holidays ‘slothing’ in front of the TV. Head for the outdoors and enjoy an amazing family adventure holiday. South Africa is simply teeming with adventures for the young, and young at heart. From toddlers to tweenies, teens to grandparents, Dream Hotels & Resorts shares some of its favourite family activities these holidays…
There are few prouder moments than seeing your six-year old catching his or her first wave. Don’t wait till your kids are teenagers to introduce them to the world of surfing; even the little ones will absolutely love the sensation of floating across a cresting wave.
You can hit the surf at almost any seaside destination in South Africa, but Mossel Bay really stands out as the ideal place for children to learn surfing the right way. Here, kids will learn the ropes from Llewellyn Whittaker, former Triple Crown surf champion. Talk about earning surfing bragging rights!
Worried about safety? The first thing kids will learn during a surfing introduction are the five golden rules of the sea: never swim alone; always have a fixed marker on the beach; keep your feet on the ground; stay between safety flags; and always wait at least 30 minutes after eating before you go swimming.
Where to learn? Waves School of Surfing in Mossel Bay
What will it cost? A two-hour lesson costs R250 per child.
Where to stay? Stay at Dream Hotels & Resorts’ Hartenbos Lagoon Resort, the perfect base for an unforgettable surfing holiday with the family.
An underwater wonderland
Introduce your kids to the wonders of the underwater world and watch their natural sense of curiosity and adventure come alive. Children as young as 10 can experience the thrill of venturing beneath the waves to explore the vibrant underwater colours of the Indian Ocean.
Are your kids younger than 10? No worries. You don’t need tons of diving equipment or expertise to see under the sea. Invest in some snorkels and take the family on a snorkeling trip. There is no ‘best age’ for kids to learn snorkeling. As long as your kids are comfortable in the water, they should really enjoy the activity. If they’re very young, it may be a good idea to practice snorkeling in the bath-tub first – it’s sure to elicit a few giggles.
Where to learn? Two Oceans Scuba Academy in Scottburgh
What will it cost? A Padi Discover Scuba Diving course costs about R920. This include a theory and pool session as well as a supervised open water dive as well as equipment hire.
Where to Stay? Dream Hotels & Resorts’ Blue Marlin Hotel in Scottburgh
Get your ‘spelunk’ on…
Do you want to add a really exciting element to your next holiday? Are you looking for an out-of-the-ordinary and adventurous outing for kids and parents alike? Take your kids cave exploring and introduce them to the magical places under the earth’s surface.
There’s no denying it: caves are cool, dark and mysterious and just beg to be explored by budding little adventurists. There are no pirates, dragons or hibernating bears, but they’ll see a lot of other really cool things underground.
Hands down the best place in South Africa to take your kids adventure caving is at the Cradle of Humankind. The Bat Cave is the perfect ‘starter’ adventure caving experience. You’ll abseil 17m through the roof of the cavern, before embarking on a guided excursion through the cave. Young adventurers, accompanied by an adult, must be over eight years of age.
Where to go caving? Wild Cave Adventures, based in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage area
What will it cost? Budget about R350 for adults and R250 for kids
Where to stay? Dream Hotels & Resorts’ Mount Savannah Game Reserve in the Cradle of Humankind
Rough and ready down the dunes
We don’t have a whole lot of snow in South Africa, but that doesn’t mean we can’t hurtle at full speed down a slope. Sandboarding down the dunes is South Africa’s answer to snowboarding. The great thing is, it’s easier to learn than snowboarding, and you don’t need to worry about being weighed down by gloves, beanies, shawls and the like.
Experts will show off and tell you they can reach considerable speeds on the sand and will be able to perform all kinds of tricks, twists and jumps. But, if it’s your first time on the sand, you might want to opt for less hazardous ventures and simply bum-board down the slopes.
Don’t be surprised if your kids find their balance a lot quicker than you do. Children are naturals at sandboarding with a low centre of gravity being a great advantage. There are some sandboarders as young as four years old. But, the best way to know if your child is old enough is to consider whether they could do a one-hour walk. If they can’t, they’re probably a bit too young to sandboard.
In Cape Town:
Some of the better sandboarding locations are the dunes in Atlantis, the Silver Sands in Betty’s Bay, Dragon Dune in Vleesbaai, Lagoon Dunes at Langebaan, Nautilus Bay Dunes, as well as the Fish Hoek sand dunes.
Cost? Downhill Adventures and Sun Scene Outdoor Adventures offer a full day of sandboarding for about R700 per person.
Where to stay? Dream Hotels & Resorts’ Peninsula All-Suite-Hotel is ideally located less than an hour’s drive from the Cape’s most amazing sand dunes.