Editor’s note: Jennie, one half of the dynamic duo over at RedBoxGifts.com.sg, took her boys on an unforgettable South African family safari tour in the summer of 2014. She shares with special memories of the special family vacation.
South Africa has been on our to do list for some time and with our boys now aged 8 & 10, this summer vacation (2014) seemed like the perfect time to go.
Our trip started with direct Singapore Airlines flights from Changi to Johannesburg. You have to stay on the aircraft for 1 hour in Johannesburg while it is serviced and then onto Cape Town, a short 2 hour flight.
On arrival in Capetown we breezed through the airport to be collected by our transfer driver and taken to the One & Only at the Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront. The V&A is a great place to stay especially with kids as there are a number of restaurants, shops and activities on your door-step. The One & Only did not disappoint.
We choose a one bedroom island suite which had loads of room for the family with two beds set up in the living room for the children and doors to close off the master. The kids club at the One & Only was conveniently located near the reception so we could drop the kids off and enjoy an nice coffee or afternoon drink. The kids club offered onsite activities craft, wii, computers and offsite activities including visits to the aquarium and scratch patch too.
There are many Family activities in Cape Town, but my top picks include:
The day started with our guide greeting us at our hotel reception. As the weather is very changeable in Cape Town at this time of the year (winter), we took advantage of the clear skies and headed straight for Table Mountain (which we had been looking at directly from our breakfast table!) The trip up in the cable car offered amazing views of the peninsula and with our tickets we received two fact finding booklets for the kids which kept them busy, and learning, on the top of the mountain.
Next we went to the Houses of Parliament, the Castle (built between 1666 and 1679, South Africa’s oldest building), the lively Greenmarket Square with its daily market, the Company Gardens, and Bo-Kaap – home to the Cape Malay community, with its cobbled streets and brightly coloured houses and the Museum.
Our guide was superb. As he also had young children he kept the information age appropriate and interesting for our kids. The boys loved the hearing the history, seeing the weapons! No surprises there.
Such amazing scenery! Traveling at our own pace we headed towards the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve along one of South Africa’s most scenic routes, passing Hout Bay, stopping to enjoy a cruise to Seal Island, to view seals and sea birds at Duiker Island. We continued to Cape point where we stopped to admire the amazing scenery and take photos at the southern most point of Africa.
We passed Baboons and Ostriches’ literally outside our window and headed up to the car park to for a delicious lunch as Two Oceans Restaurant. After lunch we walked (or in my youngest sons case a run) up the light house (which is the most powerful in the world beaming an incredibly electric light of 19 million candle power across the ocean).
On our way back, we stopped at the penguin colony at Boulders Beach.
We spent Day 4-7 at Limpopo – Ant’s Nest.
After a flight to Johanesburg we were greeted at the airport by our guide for our 3-4 hour transfer to Ant’s Nest. This was a bit of a drive especially for us folk used to Singapore and the last part was very bumpy. But it was worth the trip. Situated in the central Limpopo province, the malaria free Waterberg Biosphere is a scenic and wildlife rich area. Ant’s Nest is set on an area of extensive lawns with indigenous plants and a large heated pool, trampoline all overlooking an area which is frequented by a variety of game. We stayed in the main house and our room had an adjoining twin bedroom, large sitting, dining, living room and verandah. This was perfect as after the boys were asleep we sat and enjoyed wine by the huge open fireplace.
Ant’s Nest was special as we were able to view game from open safari vehicles, on guided bush walks or on guided horseback safaris. They had horses of all levels and took our children in the arena to teach them how to ride before heading out on the Safaris.
Oh yes, and the white rhinos. Seeing the white rhinos in close range was incredible.
We were also treated to a special treat of sundowners at the owners lodge were we had the most amazing view and interaction with the protected white rhinos.
The final leg of our journey was spent at Madikwe Game Reserve. We spent Day 7 – 10 at this beautiful reserve.
The drive from Ant’s Nest to Madikwe took much longer than the recommended 3 hours and if we were to do it again we would prefer to fly, or even travel back to Johannesburg and take the light aircraft to Madikwe Game Reserve .
Madkiwe is situated in the malaria free North West Province, bordering Botswana. This “Big Five” Reserve spans 75,000 hectares, making it one of the largest game reserves in South Africa. We saw several of the “Big Five” on our drive to the Madikwe Safari Lodge Lelapa.
At Lodge Lelapa, each suite features a lounge area with fireplace and a bedroom leading out to a private deck with your very own plunge pool. As we booked a little late we were not able to book one of the rooms with the separate bunk beds for the kids (which I would recommend you request for). Instead the boys slept on the fold out sofa bed.
While in Madikwe, we did morning and afternoon game drives and, for the adults, bush walks. Our ranger was amazing with the children and really kept them captivated on the 3-4 hour drives; they even stopped in a safe location to select a track and make a model of it with plaster.
As for the scenery and animals I don’t think I can adequately describe it in words, it was truly amazing. I think our photos tell the story…..
Our tour was organised by Light Foot Travel. We loved our South African Family Safari trip and would recommend their services heartily!