5 Fantastic family-friendly slackpacking trails

2015-09-23 08:42 - Louzel Lombard
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My favourite family holiday is without a doubt the time my parents took us hiking along the Wild Coast in 2009. 

We weren’t slackpacking - it was a full-on backpacking experience that I can only compare to a brutal, American army movie scene where people are running through mud and rain with logs on their shoulders. 

It really felt like we were in the army. We hiked through rain and mud and we carried heavy backpacks, but I can only remember crying with laughter

Even though I had been living with my parents and brothers for 18 years then, I never knew them the way I knew them after that – we became friends. 

Going on an outdoor excursion with your family doesn’t have to be brutal like ours, but it’s worth exploring South Africa on foot. There is something memorable about being active and outdoors in a stunning, new environment that makes family bonding even more special. 

That’s why Traveller24 has sourced the best family-friendly slackpacking trails in the country – so you can enjoy the wonderful scenes SA has to offer, while still relaxing and bonding with your family. 

ALSO READ: 13 Easy-to-book family holiday ideas across SA
NOTE: We recommend the trails for families with children older than 10 years, as hiking distances average more than 10km per day. There are, however, no age restrictions on any of the trails below. 


Giant’s Cup Slackpacking Trail

Why it’s perfect for your family:  Experiencing this iconic part of South Africa on foot, while spending your nights in comfortable lodges with log-fires, eating hearty country cuisine and gazing over the spectacular mountain vistas (Giants Cup & Hodgson’s Peak) is about as good as it gets. The hike also has great swimming holes in the mountain streams and the swinging bridges are a definite highlight. 

Duration: 3 Days 

Location: Southern Drakensberg, KwaZulu-Natal 

Accommodation: Farmstays and 3-4 Star equivalent Guesthouses and Bed & Breakfasts

Technicality: Easy, but the distance (average 13km per day) might be a challenge

Cost: Price quote dependent on group size, but based on a min group of 4 persons - from R3 400 per person 

Book:Email or phone 084 240 7277 

A photo posted by Jurie Adendorff (@jurie97) on

Kosi Bay Hiking Trail 

Why it’s perfect for your family: The camp manager and ground operator for the trail is a young dad who goes out of his way to help everyone enjoy the trail. 

The trip is also more of a holiday than a taxing hike. There are a number of activities which can be enjoyed by all ages – from swimming, snorkelling, turtle tours (in season: Nov – Mar), canoe trips, birding, fishing and boat trips on the lakes. 

What makes this hike great is its flexibility. Extra nights can be spent at any of the trail camps, depending on your groups' preference. 

ALSO READ: iSimangaliso Wetland Park: Wild place of superlatives

Duration: Standard Hikes are 4 nights and 3 hike days, but you can also do a more laid-back 6 nights/5 day hike. Extra hike days can be included.

Location: Kosi Bay, Maputaland

Accommodation: Rustic Lodges and Safari Style Tented Camps. There are hot water showers & communal dining areas. 

Technicality: Very easy 

Cost: 4 night/3 day hike: R4200 per person  or  6 night/5 day hike: between R5900 and R6100 per person

Book: Email or phone 084 240 7277 


Oystercatcher Trail

Why it’s perfect for your family: This is one of the most popular slackpacking trails in South Africa for a reason. The trail ensures hikers learn about the fragile and beautiful environment, while being pampered at the same time. 

The best part of this trail is the way they tailor individual groups’ specifications to meet special requirements. They’re known for hosting large school groups and can easily tailor a tour to meet your family’s needs. 

The daily distances vary from 13km and are normally completed in about 6 hours.

Duration: Standard trails are 4 nights and 3 days 

Location: From Mosselbay to Grourtiz mond, Garden Route

Accommodation: Luxury and Rustic Accommodation 

Technicality: Easy, but the distance (average 13km per day) might be a challenge 

Cost: From R6 100 per person  

Book:Email or phone 044 699 1204

(Photo: Supplied by Oystercatcher Trail)

Beachcomber’s Perlemoen Trail

Why it’s perfect for your family: The trail focuses on interpreting the natural, unspoilt coastal environment. Highlights include seeing the 3000-big seal breeding colony, Quoin Point light house, the Buffelsjag fishing village, the Ghost town - a deserted holiday village buried in sand, seeing two shipwrecks and walking on the deserted white sandy shore.  

The longest trail is four days, but you can opt for a shorter trip too. 

Duration: 4 Days 

Location: Pearly Beach, Overberg

Accommodation: The luxury fully catered trail option accommodates the hikers in one of the areas''recommended local guest houses. 

The Self-Catering option is more rustic fisherman’s style cottage.  

Technicality: Moderate 

Cost: Bewteen R3 900 and R5 400 per person for the standard 4-day trail

Email the guide, Jason Stonehewer 

A photo posted by Kobi Bothma (@kobibothma) on

Donkey Cart Route on the Cederberg Heritage Route 

Why it’s perfect for your family: This route allows you to walk when you want and then hop onto a traditional donkey cart to explore the area when you feel like you need a break. 

The Cederberg is most famous for the unique rock formations, the San rock paintings in the mountains and the spectacular wild flowers in spring (early/mid August to early September). With this laid-back slackpacking route, you'll get to experience this unique part of SA up close and personal. 

Duration: 3 Days

Location: Cederberg, Western Cape

Accommodation: Comfortable guesthouses and/or community-based guest cottages

Technicality: Very easy 

Cost: March 2015 – February 2016 (Accommodation: in homestay at Kleinvlei) - between R2 600 and R4 525 per person or March 2015 – February 2016 (Accommodation: in tent at Kleinvlei) - between R2 500 and  R4 400 per person. 

Book:Email or phone  027 482 2444. Ask for the Donkey Cart Route specifically. 

(Photo: Suzanne Wilson-Smith)

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