Almost all places will be good if it is your first safari. It is a matter of budget, time and taste. On the lower and, other than Addo Elephant National Park, Schotia is a good option. Then there are a number of mid range options like Kariega, Lalibela, Pumba etc and ending with high end places like Shamwari, Kwandwe and Gorah.... etc. That said, the private reserves are rather big, but enclosed, that doesn't mean that the animals are neither real nor wild, but they are not free to roam. With three weeks you could roughly do 1 week Capetown,10 days Garden Route and the Winelands and 4-5 days safari. How many daughters and what are their ages... this will be important, because safari lodges don't take children at all ages and not all have family rooms etc. Also it will be very important for the activities and places we can recommend.Edited: 09 January 2013, 14:47
Thanks. My daughters are 14 and 11. In terms of timings, your suggestion was roughly what I had in mind. I'd be interested in any tips as this is my first visit!
All of the safari lodges mentioned are east of Port Elizabeth, though not too far to drive to. Even Addo National Park is east. Be sure and look for a Family suite or chalet. There are not so many of these.
So, your trip would need to be safari first, then backtrack through Port Elizabeth toward the Garden Route and Cape Town. In the same area as the Elephant place, there are also birds and all kinds of monkeys. The young ladies are the perfect age to enjoy all of these! I suppose you know about the ostrich ranches around Oudtshoorn, north of George.
Dave Patterson - Owner - The Africa Safari
I am thinking here of what the girls might enjoy.
You could break your journey from Kynsna to CT at Oudtshoorn. As well as the Ostrich farms mentioned above there are great caves (Cango). I can recommend a stay at the Yotclub. The highlight of our stay at Oudtshoorn was the Meerkat Adventure.
Between Kynsna and Plettenberg there is the world's highest bungee jump, there is a viewing platform if you are not brave enough for the jump. In the same area is Monkey World and Birds of Eden. At Storms River, there is a boat trip up the gorge , a lovely little beach and a nice suspension bridge to walk over. Not far away is the BIg Tree . From Kynsna harbour there are boat trips to the Featherbed nature reserve and boat trips at Keurbooms. Kynsna is a good place to base yourselves as the attractions are all within 30 mins. or so drive. There is a nice small beach on the Kynsna lagoon on Leisure Island .
In between Stellenbosch and Franschoek there is vineyard that appeared to be geared up for children. The name escapes me but it had a lovely little picnic spot overlooking some water and you could get up close and personal with the rescue cheetahs.
Depending on when you are going, you could detour down to Hermanus and Kelders to see the migration of the whales .
In CT there is of course the cable car up to Table Mountain , baboons and ostriches see at cape Point ,together with a funicular railway to the lighthouse. At Hout Bay there are boat trips to see the seals, you will see them just hanging around the harbour as well.
The V&A waterfront complex has a nice aquarium and shopping opportunities. Just outside Simonstown , at Boulders Beach ,there is a penguin colony. There are of course the beaches around CT ,but even in Feb. we found the water freezing.
As for safari, I would say that the private reserves are as much about luxury as animals and therefore eye watering expensive and would be wasted on the 11 year old . Next time I would go to Addo. Some of the private game reserves allow day tours, I think Amakhala where we stayed is one of them.
mmm, I think its time I checked out the air fare for next winter!!!.
first the winery gem means is probably Spier. It has a lot of activities geared for families, you might even consider to stay there. As for the activities for you and your daughters, I lack the expertise what an 11 and 14 year old girls might like, however gem's suggestions are excellent. Do you daughters enjoy hiking? If so Storms River Mouth and Robberg Nature Reserve as well as the Table Mountain National Park are great.
There is the Knysna Elephant Park worth mentioning. Hermanus is also worth considering for the whales. There are so many things for kids/teenagers to do in Cape Town, the Garden Route and safari, however, again, I don't have children. Even a township tour in Knysna is worth considering. It is not as bad as others (e.g. Langa in Cape Town) and your children might get an idea what it means to be a (black) child in post apartheid South Africa. Two Oceans Aquarium might be nice for kids, but I hven't been there. Also Canal Walk Mall in Capetown will probably be a very pleasant trip for your daughters.
Safari.... mmmh. It is a question of budget. I don't know about safari lodges or other accomodations in the Eastern Cape that do children programs, maybe someone else can help, but I can imagine with the right program for children, this might be the highlight of this trip for your daughters.
However you decide, with the right program, this is might be the trip of a lifetime for you and your daughters!!! Have fun planing!
We loved Lalibels Game Reserve. They have three camps and we stayed at Lentaba Lodge. However the only camp permitting children is Marks Camp and they have special activities for uner 12's. and also family rooms. I don't know if they will allow an 11-year old on the main safari. Perhaps you could check with them. Other than that, having no children, I can only confirm that Knysna is a central place to stay - we have stayed there twice - as it is close to loads of great activities.
My kids of similar ages loved Oudtshoorn which is a good half way point for you, consider spending a few days there. There is a nice self catering family room at De Denne. The tour of their working ostrich farm was a highlight for my kids. We skipped the big shows. Click on my name and look for my reviews from August 2011 for some help with other lodging and activities that worked for my kids. I can't recomend a Safari as we did ours in the Kruger area.
Thank you - this is so helpful. I booked flights this morning. I will arrive in Port Elizabeth around lunch time and plan to head straight to safari/elephant park/ lodgings just outside. I want to make it as straightforward as possible as we'll have just got off a long flight and this is my first visit to Afirca and Safari. Any more guidance welcome!
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