Our favourite kid friendly resorts
There are those (very hardcore and ever-so-patient) parents who take their kids on big overland camping missions from a young age. We salute you. For most parents though, traditional family hotels and resorts, that offer them a break and have loads of activities for the kids to do, are the holiday go-to.
Here is a handful of our favourites:
Fish River Sun
The Fish River Sun between East London and Port Alfred is an old favourite among East-Coast holidaying families.
It offers a range of activities for young and old – from the Body and Skin Clinic, to the top-rated 18-hole golf course and watersports on the nearby Great Fish River.
Activities are weather-dependent and facilities both indoor and out mean the kids will run wide open from sunrise to sunset. Oh, and make sure your stay includes a Saturday night – the seafood buffet is legendary.
Wild Coast, Eastern Cape
Long since the holiday destination of discerning travellers, the Wild Coast has seen a fair amount of commercialisation over the past decade. It remains a magical region however and Wavecrest Beach Hotel and Spa – situated where twin mangrove-lined estuaries meet and mouth into the sea – is one of its gems.
It’s a full family affair with a spa for mom, tennis and squash courts, kayaks free for use, and, seemingly endless surrounded expanses of beach. If the kids’ jungle gym and sandpit doesn’t keep them busy for hours, the babysitters will.
Did we mention the pool(s)? Without pretence, it is the place where kids are allowed in the deck jacuzzi… And, if fishing is your game, this is the place, offering light-tackle action in the estuary as well as a variety of rock-and-surf options all within walking distance.
The food is good and staff warm. The bar warmer with a separate children’s DSTV lounge close to that. What else could a parent ask for?
Kwa Maritane Bush Lodge
Pilanesberg National Park, Gauteng
There are a few things kids (and their parents, of course) are likely to remember from a Kwa Maritane bush break, but the underground hide overlooking the waterhole is bound to be at the top of the list.
Less flashy and, dare we say pretentious than the nearby Sun City and Lost City, it offers all the amenities – think games rooms, two swimming pools with baby pool and slide; tennis courts; bush-style mini golf; trampolines and a playground – as well as Big Five game viewing (either self-driven or on the back of open game-viewers)
Dinners and breakfast are classic family hotel buffet style and the traditional bush braais are a classic.
Pumula Beach Resort
KwaZulu-Natal South Coast
Pumula Beach Hotel is about an hour’s drive south of Durban on the KZN South Coast. It is the ideal base from which to explore what the ‘holiday coast’ has to offer. Or – in classic resort style – to simply stay put.
The hotel is hemmed in by indigenous coastal vegetation and offers spectacular views out over the Indian Ocean. Guests have exclusive access to a secure ‘blue-flag’ beach, and, perhaps most importantly, in peak season the holiday club offers a daily menu of different activities for kids.
There’s also babysitting if you want to enjoy a quiet meal at night or let the kids eat in the separate kiddies’ dining room with a special kids menu.
If the nine-hole adventure golf course, pools, jungle gym and trampolines are not to your kids’ fancy (on the day), then the slides and swings, tree-house or Sony Playstations and indoor games may just be.
Cathedral Peak Hotel
First opened in 1939 by the Van der Riet family, any list of classic South African family hotels would be incomplete without the inclusion of Cathedral Peak Hotel.
Situated within the uKhahlamba Drakensberg Park, a World Heritage Site, it lies some 250 kilometres from Durban and 400 from Johannesburg.
Keep the kids entertained with horse rides, quad and mountain bike trails, mini adventure golf, a playground, jumping castle, heated paddling pool and a trampoline.
For parents, the hotel has a golf course and three different bars and offers crackling wood fires and Glühwein in winter and hearty South African fare in the elegant dining room year-round. Babysitting services are available.
Words: Jazz Kuschke | Images: supplied