Get your children off screens and into nature this school holidays

2018-09-21 18:00 - Selene Brophy
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family road trip tips

Avoid the headaches on your next family road trip with these tips on how to keep everyone entertained. (Photo: iStock)

If your home is anything like mine, with a pair of boys under 10-years, then Fortnite dances and v-bucks need no explanation. Nor how painful the updates can be. While Word Search games, Knife Hit or the mesmerising balloon game Rise Up make the wi-fi password a powerful bargaining tool, we know all too well our kids are missing out with so much time spent on screens and devices.

The upcoming school holidays between 29 September and 8 October sees the welcome change from winter to spring - it's the ideal time to get out and about with your family. The mention of the word device-free might have them writhing initially - but with these fun, get out in nature holiday suggestions, they'll no doubt be over it soon enough. 

Keep in mind there's time enough to book that December - January family chill time too.

NB: Don't miss the Cape Nature Free access week ending this Heritage Day on 24 September

Finfoot Lake Reserve is everything you could want from a family holiday in the bush. Bring your bike, go for a canoe trip out on the Vaalkop Dam, try a bush walk or game drive. Delight in a sunset barge cruise, try a Segway safari, or just relax by the pool. Finfoot is only a 90-minute drive from Johannesburg and within a malaria-free area. Two activities, dinner and breakfast are included in the rate, based on two adults and two children sharing

Off-peak midweek from R2,920. Off-peak weekends, R3,200 per chalet* 

Peak midweek rates from R3,500. Peakweekends, R 3,840 per chalet*

ALSO SEE: From concrete to jungle: Your nature escapes in Joburg

Award winning Samara Private Game Reserve is the ideal place to go for a luxury family experience in the bush. Samara welcomes children of all ages and has a dedicated kids programme as part of its offering. Situated approximately 270km or a 2h30min drive from Port Elizabeth and 53km from the nearest town of Graaff Reinet, this is an Eastern Cape adventure just waiting to happen.

Off Peak from 12 October until 5 November 2018, Samara is running a special offer whereby guests who stay for 4 or 5 nights will receive a discount. 

Peak season pricing varies click here for more detail. Samara's child policy sees children 0 - 2 years stay free, 3 - 13 years pay 50% of the sliding scale rate

ALSO SEE: Wind your way through these Dorpies of the Eastern Cape: Graaff Reinet

Near the charming town of Citrusdal, Piekenierskloof Mountain Resort has uninterrupted views of the Cederberg, with free activities like hiking and mountain biking. While kids enjoy the pool and playground area (complete with jungle gym, trampolines, and an outdoor chess set) parents can enjoy the well-stocked bar, relaxing lounge area, and an indoor heated pool. Breakfast is included in the room rate quoted below based on two adults and two children sharing.

Off-peak midweek rates for family rooms from R 1, 560. Off-peak weekends,R 2,330*

Peak midweek rates for family rooms from R1,760. Peak weekends, R2, 620*


 ALSO SEE: Cape Town Hiking: All the best nooks and crannies to explore

After a fun-filled day of game viewing or exploring the Crocodile River, return to your comfortable self-catering luxury tented camp and enjoy a dip in the pool. Make use of the on-site braai facilities while the kids spend time in the play area, which is equipped with jungle gyms and trampolines. Keep an eye out for zebra, warthog and nyala that wander through the camp.  

Off-peak midweek self-catering, R640. Off-peak weekends, R 800*

Peak midweek self-catering, R800. Peak weekends, R1000*

ALSO SEE: Dive head first into Durbs outdoor adventures

When not exploring Hluhluwe or the St Lucia estuarine lake system, there is plenty at Nibela to keep little guests entertained, including play areas, a games room, and two swimming pools. The main lodge has a lounge area with a variety of wildlife books and board games, leading out onto a wraparound viewing deck. The Lakeview Restaurant is an excellent spot for sundowners or milkshakes. Dinner and breakfast is included in the rate.

Off-peak midweek is from R2,460. Off-peak weekends, R 2,760*

Peak midweek rates per room are from R 2,760. Peak weekends, R 3,075*  

Mhondoro is the ultimate big sky destination, with stunning unimpeded sunrises and sunsets over the Waterberg mountains and valleys. A mere 2h45-minute drive or a 50-minute flight from Johannesburg, they are child-friendly for children of all ages. Guided walks with the endangered white rhino are very popular with guests, as is watching the ‘resident’ herd of elephants who visit the lodge’s waterhole daily. They will also be celebrating World Rhino Day on 22 September 2018 through a sponsorship of a life-size rhino sculpture that forms part of the The Rhinos Are Coming!!! (TRAC) initiative - which can be seen in Cape Town's ever-popular V&A Waterfront. 

Off-Peak season from R5 303* per person sharing. 

Peak Season from R6 869* per person sharing. Minimum stay of 3 nights between 19 December and 10 January  

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