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South Africa for Families A Complete Travel Guide

South Africa for Families: A Complete Travel Guide

South Africa is a child-friendly destination, with diverse landscapes and family-friendly attractions like wildlife safaris and interactive museums. From beautiful beaches to cultural experiences, this country has it all!

Check out our travel guide for an unforgettable family adventure in South Africa.

Time Zone

South Africa Standard Time (SAST) (GMT+2)

Best Time to Go

If you want to enjoy South Africa without the crowds, the best months are May to September. The weather is cold in the mornings and evenings, but you can see a lot of wildlife, especially in September. 

South Africa is very popular with tourists in the summer, from November to March, when it is warm, sunny and bright. The beaches and cities are full of life and activities. 

Things to Know

Currency: South African Rand (ZAR)

Languages: English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Zulu, Sotho, Tswana, Tsonga, Ndebele, Pedi, Swazi, and Venda

Calling Code: +27

How to Get Around

By Car

South Africa’s good roads make car and bus travel easy, with many enjoying scenic bus tours. Driving is ideal for those seeking independence, with well-marked roads and easy accommodation finding.

Driving is on the left, seatbelts are required, and an English driving licence is accepted, or obtain an international licence. Early car bookings are wise, especially during the busy season from December to February.

By Bus or Coaches

Using buses in big cities like Johannesburg and Cape Town is good. But, for longer trips, it’s better to choose reliable companies like Greyhound or Translux. 

Use caution with minibus taxis as they can be risky; opt for them only if seeking adventure or having no alternative.  If you need a taxi, ask your hotel or guide to call one for you.

By Train

South Africa offers luxurious but expensive train options, Rovos Rail and the Blue Train. For a more affordable yet pleasant experience, the Premier Class train is also available.

The Gautrain in Gauteng is fast and safe, connecting places like the airport, Midrand, Sandton, Rosebank, Centurion, Pretoria, and downtown Johannesburg. It’s a good choice, especially for airport travel.

Top Child-Friendly Cities in South Africa

Cape Town is the most visited city in South Africa and for good reasons. It has stunning scenery, rich history, vibrant culture, and plenty of attractions for families.

Where to Eat in Cape Town

Stables at Vergelegen


Address: Lourensford Rd, Somerset West, Cape Town, 7130, South Africa

Phone: 021 847 2156

Operating Hours:

  • Open daily – 8 AM to 5 PM

Stables at Vergelegen in Somerset West is a cosy family restaurant with a cool menu. There’s a fun outdoor play area for kids with slides and a maze.

The little ones get their own menu featuring yummy stuff like cheeseburgers and milkshakes. They have changing facilities, but no babysitters.

Zevenwacht Restaurant


Address: Langverwacht Rd, Kuils River, Cape Town, 7579, South Africa

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Saturday – 7:30 AM to 11 PM
  • Sunday – 7:30 AM to 5 PM

Zevenwacht Restaurant is a calm spot with a cute country-style restaurant in an old house. You can enjoy modern continental food with a beautiful view of the lake and gardens.

It’s kid-friendly with a play area and a special menu for them, offering things like fish and chips. They have changing facilities, but remember, there are no childminders around.

Mont Marie Restaurant


Address: Blaauwklippen Rd, Stellenbosch, 7600, South Africa

Phone: 021 880 0777

Operating Hours:

  • Wednesday & Sunday – 8:30 AM to 4 PM
  • Thursday to Saturday –  8:30 AM to 10:30 PM

Mont Marie Restaurant, found in Stellenbosch, serves up a genuine South African menu, perfect for the whole family. For families with kids, there’s a play area for the little adventurers, and parents can relax nearby.

The kids’ menu features delightful options like kiddie pizzas, burgers, and waffles, ensuring everyone leaves with happy taste buds.

Where to Stay in Cape Town

12 Apostles Hotel & Spa


Address: Victoria Rd, Camps Bay, Cape Town, 8005, South Africa

Phone: +27 21 4379000

12 Apostles Hotel & Spa sits snug between Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean, giving you killer views and a hop to the city’s hotspots. Your little ones, aged 4 to 12, are covered with the Kids Club—think games, movies, and snacks.

While the kids are sorted, you can treat yourself at the top-notch spa or savour a meal at one of the hotel’s restaurants. And hey, they’ve got your back with a free shuttle to Camps Bay and V&A Waterfront.

Blaauwberg Beach Hotel


Address: 106 Beach Blvd, Table View, Cape Town, 7441, South Africa

Phone: +27 21 205 7555

Blaauwberg Beach Hotel is a cool spot for families in Cape Town. It’s right on Bloubergstrand, giving you awesome views of the Atlantic Ocean and Table Mountain.

They’ve got spacious rooms, a pool, a kids club, and a tasty family-friendly restaurant. You can also try out surfing, kite surfing, golf, or hiking nearby. It’s just the right place to chill and have a good time with your kids in Cape Town.

Ikhaya Safari Lodge


Address: Constantia, Cape Town, 7806, South Africa

Phone: +27 21 794 3463

Ikhaya Safari Lodge is in Constantia Valley, a beautiful spot with vineyards and mountains. They’ve got luxury tents, thatched cottages, and a main lodge for a real African safari vibe.

You can do game drives, horse riding, and golf nearby, or just chill by the pool or fireplace. Families will love it – there’s a play area, trampoline, jungle gym, and even a petting zoo with special rates for kids under 12.

Child-friendly Activities in Cape Town

See the amazing marine life at Two Oceans Aquarium


Address: Dock Rd, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town, 8002, South Africa

Phone: +27 (0)21 418 3823

Operating Hours:

  • Open daily – 9:30 AM to 6 PM

The Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town is a super cool place to check out marine life. It’s got over 3000 sea animals, like sharks, turtles, and penguins, from the Indian and Atlantic oceans.

You can also do fun stuff like puppet shows and scuba diving with fish. You’ll find it at the V&A Waterfront, where there are lots of other fun things to do and places to eat or shop.

Join The Little Optimist Sailing Academy


Address: Battery Park, Dock Road, V&A Waterfront

Phone: 060 750 5370

The Little Optimist Sailing Academy, run by Greg Bertish, is a cool place for kids to try sailing on Optimist dinghies—small, easy, and fun boats. They teach valuable life skills and welcome all ages for lessons and birthday parties.

Located at Battery Park in the V&A Waterfront, the fees help sponsor underprivileged kids for a sailing adventure, and there are other water activities like paddle boarding and kayaking too. 

Ride the Table Mountain Cableway


Address: 5821 Tafelberg Rd, Table Mountain (Nature Reserve), Cape Town, 8001

Phone: 021 424 0015

Table Mountain Cableway is a must-visit in Cape Town, taking you to the top of the iconic Table Mountain. This rotating cable car gives you amazing views of the city and ocean on the way up.

Once you’re at the top, enjoy the panoramic views, take a guided tour, spot some wildlife, or grab a bite at the Table Mountain Café.

Johannesburg is the largest and most populous city in South Africa and the economic powerhouse of the continent. It has a rich and turbulent history, a vibrant and diverse culture and a lot of attractions for families.

Where to Eat in Johannesburg

Spur Steak Ranches


Address: Shop 166, Clearwater Mall Cnr Christiaan De Wet & Hendrik Potgieter St. Roodepoort

Phone: 011-6752264

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Saturday – 8 AM to 9 PM
  • Sunday – 8 AM to 8:30 PM

Spur, a well-known South African franchise, is the go-to spot for family-friendly dining in Johannesburg, especially the Clearwater Mall branch. Kids will love the diverse menu and play areas, making it a great dining experience for the whole family.

If you’re into burgers, ribs, and steaks, Spur has got you covered and is a top choice for families with hungry little ones.



Address: Rustic Timbers Garden Centre, 42 Witkoppen Rd, Fourways, Johannesburg, 2191, South Africa

Phone: 064 695 0079

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Saturday – 10 AM to 9 PM
  • Sunday – 10 AM to 6 PM

Picolinos is a cosy Italian restaurant with a family-friendly vibe, serving mouth-watering pizzas. It’s an ideal spot for family gatherings and events. The play area has everything from jungle gyms to a garden for kids to enjoy.

The kids’ menu is filled with their favourite dishes, and there’s a convenient baby changing station in the bathroom. Keep in mind, though, that there are no childminders on site.

Nostimo by Mythos


Address: Corner Country Estate &, Waterfall Wilds, Waterfall Dr, Jukskei View, Midrand, 2066, South Africa

Phone: 062 422 9964

Operating Hours:

  • Open daily – 11 AM to 10 PM

Nostimo by Mythos is a fantastic spot for families, serving up tasty food and providing a fun experience. They have a pottery studio for kids to get creative and paint their own ceramics.

The outdoor play area and jungle gym add to the family-friendly vibe. Don’t miss the kids’ menu, featuring Greek spaghetti bolognese, chicken souvlaki with chips, and ice cream parties for dessert.

Where to Stay in Johannesburg

Gold Reef City Theme Park Hotel

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Address: Shaft 14, Northern Parkway Rd, Ormonde, Johannesburg, 2159, South Africa

Phone: +27 11 248 5000

Gold Reef City Theme Park Hotel offers thrilling rides, entertainment, and attractions for the whole family.

The hotel has spacious rooms, a swimming pool, and a restaurant. You can also enjoy free access to the theme park during your stay.

Protea Hotel By Marriott Johannesburg Wanderers


Address: Corner Corlette Drive And, Rudd Rd, Illovo, 2196, South Africa

Phone: +27 11 770 5500

Protea by Marriott Hotel is situated in the green suburb of Illovo, close to the Wanderers Stadium and Golf Club. The hotel has modern rooms, a fitness centre, and a poolside bar.

You can also take advantage of the complimentary shuttle service to nearby shopping malls and restaurants.

Houghton Place

Address: 2198, 51 7th St, Houghton Estate, Johannesburg, 2198, South Africa

Phone: +27 11 880 7438

Houghton Place Guest House is a cool spot in Houghton, perfect for tourists exploring Sandton. It’s in a leafy area near Rosebank, close to the Gautrain in Rosebank’s shops and restaurants.

The guest house has three modern rooms with good WiFi and private bathrooms. Breakfast is included, offering fruits, cereal, eggs, toast, fresh juices, tea, and coffee. 

Child-friendly Activities in Johannesburg

Embark on thrilling rides at Gold Reef City


Address: Corner of Northern Parkway & Data Crescent, Ormonde, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

Phone: +27 11 248 5000

Gold Reef City is one of the most popular amusement parks in South Africa, and for good reason. It has over 30 rides and attractions for all ages, from roller coasters and water slides to carousels and bumper cars.

You can also experience the thrill of gold mining by taking a tour of an old mine shaft, where you’ll learn about the history and techniques of gold extraction. Gold Reef City also has a theatre, a museum, and a variety of shops to keep you entertained.

Play arcade games and win prizes at Fun Company


Address: Shop SH13 Menlyn Park Shopping Centre, Cnr Atterbury Rd and Lois Ave, Menlo Park

Phone: 087 164 9459

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Thursday – 11 AM to 11 PM
  • Friday & Saturday – 10 AM to 12 AM (Public Holidays & School Holidays)
  • Sunday – 10 AM to 10 PM

Fun Company is a family entertainment centre that offers a range of games and activities for kids and adults alike. You can play arcade games, bowling, laser tag, bumper cars, mini golf, and more.

You can also enjoy some delicious food and drinks at the café or the bar. Fun Company is a great place to have some fun with your kids, especially on rainy days or when you need a break from sightseeing.

See exotic birds and reptiles at Monte Casino Bird Garden


Address: Montecasino, 1 Montecasino Boulevard, Johannesburg, 2055, South Africa

Phone: +27 11 511 1864

Operating Hours:

  • Wednesday to Sunday – 9 AM to 5 PM

Monte Casino Bird Garden is a beautiful and tranquil sanctuary for birds and other animals. You can see over 100 species of birds, from flamingos and parrots to owls and eagles.

You can also encounter reptiles, mammals, amphibians, and insects. You can walk along the pathways and bridges, admire the waterfalls and ponds, or watch the spectacular bird show that features trained birds performing amazing tricks.

Durban is the third largest city in South Africa and the main port on the Indian Ocean coast. It has a subtropical climate, a cosmopolitan culture, and a lot of attractions for families. 

Where to Eat in Durban

Circus Circus Beach Café


Address: 1 Snell Parade, North Beach, Durban, 4063, South Africa

Phone: 031 337 7700

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Saturday – 6 AM to 5 PM
  • Sunday – 7 AM to 7 PM

Circus Circus Beach Café offers fantastic sea views and a perfect spot for family fun in the sun. The beach area has a secure play zone with a jungle gym and sand pit for the kids.

There’s the kids’ menu featuring light meals such as toasted sarmies, pizza, and milkshakes. While there are no childminders, the tables are strategically placed for parents to keep an eye on their little ones.

La Piazza


Address: 1 Albertina Way Ballito, 4420, South Africa

Phone:  032 946 1527 / 032 586 3565

Operating Hours:

  • Monday to Saturday – 8 AM to 9 PM
  • Sunday – 8 AM to 4 PM

La Piazza is a great place for family-friendly Italian dining. They’ve got a cool play area with both indoor and outdoor options for the little ones, including a giant palace to climb and slide on the grassy lawn.

The kids’ menu offers mini pizzas, burgers, and ribs. There are changing facilities in the ladies’ bathroom, and they have full-time child-minders on-site.

Olive and Oil


Address: Oceans Mall, Lagoon Drive, Umhlanga Rocks, 4319

Phone: 031 561 2618

Operating Hours:

  • Monday – 11 AM to 9 PM
  • Tuesday to Thursday – 9 AM to 9 PM
  • Friday & Saturday – 9 AM to 10 PM
  • Sunday – 9 AM to 8 PM

Olive and Oil is a top spot in Durban, especially for Mediterranean lovers. Parents can enjoy delicious pizzas while their kids stay entertained in the playroom with a TV, DVDs, foosball, and more.

The kids’ menu offers pizza, pasta, calamari, and mac and cheese for those under 12. However, there are no changing facilities, but the Olive & Oil staff will keep an eye on the little ones.

Where to Stay in Durban

Dolphin Point B&B


Address: 31 Wavecrest Rd, Athlone Park, Amanzimtoti, 4126, South Africa

Phone: 031 904 3592

Dolphin Point B&B is a top-rated Amanzimtoti Bed & Breakfast with 10 guest rooms, perfect for South Coast tourists. Accommodations include amenities like TV with DStv, Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and more. 

At Dolphin Point B&B, you’ll find a welcoming atmosphere and stunning sea views. Conveniently located near King Shaka International Airport, it offers easy access to major transport routes and attractions in Durban.

Riverside Hotel

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Address: 10 Kenneth Kaunda Rd, Durban North, Durban, 4065, South Africa

Phone: +27 (0) 31 563 0600

The Riverside Hotel is a top-notch Durban North accommodation spot with 100 guest rooms, perfect for tourists exploring the Durban area. This spot offers quality service, three restaurants, a cocktail bar, and four-star accommodations.

With stunning river views, nearby golf courses, and easy access to attractions like the International Convention Centre and Gateway Shopping Centre, it’s a prime location for a Durban visit.

PheZulu Safari Park


Address: 190 Old Main Rd, Bothas Hill, Outer West Durban, 3610

Phone: +27 31 777 1000

PheZulu Safari Park, a top game lodge in KwaZulu Natal, offers an outstanding wildlife experience in the picturesque Valley of 1000 Hills. The lodge, equipped with a fantastic curio shop, offers comfortable accommodation and breathtaking views. 

Accommodations include the Main Room with a private lounge, Standard Lodge Rooms, and charming self-catering chalets like the Plane Tree, Acacia Tree, and Cabbage Tree, each with unique features.

Child-friendly Activities in Durban

Visit the Moses Mabhida Stadium


Address: 44 Isaiah Ntshangase Rd, Stamford Hill, Durban, 4023, South Africa

Phone: 031 322 9955

Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban isn’t just for sports enthusiasts; it’s a fantastic family destination. You can ride the SkyCar for views, explore the stadium with the Stadium Tour, or add excitement with the Adventure Walk or Big Rush Big Swing.

For a leisurely option, try the Segway Gliding Tour, or simply enjoy a picnic at the family-friendly People’s Park. It’s more than a sports venue – Moses Mabhida Stadium is Durban’s all-in-one family hotspot.

Explore the uShaka Marine World


Address: 1 King Shaka Ave, Point, Durban, 4001, South Africa

Phone: +27 31 328 8000

uShaka Marine World is one of the largest and most exciting marine parks in Africa. You can see over 10,000 aquatic animals, including sharks, dolphins, penguins, seals, and turtles.

You can also enjoy the water slides, pools, and rides at Wet ‘n Wild, or explore the shops, restaurants, and entertainment at Village Walk. Don’t miss the spectacular dolphin show and the seal show that will delight your kids.

Marvel at the miniature replicas at Mini Town

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Address: 114 Snell Parade, North Beach, Durban, 4001, South Africa

Phone: 031 337 7892

Operating Hours:

  • Open daily – 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Mini Town is a miniature replica of Durban that will make you feel like a giant. You can walk around and see the landmarks, buildings, bridges, and trains that are scaled down to 1:24.

You can also watch the planes take off and land at the airport, or see the ships sail in and out of the harbour. Mini Town is a fun and educational way to learn about Durban’s geography and history.

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