Monday, December 12, 2011

Family-friendly South Africa!

South Africa is definitely a family-friendly destination and both Johannesburg and Cape Town offer fun activities for the whole family. To create a complete family itinerary, New Frontiers Tours suggests pairing these activities with a stay at the Cape Grace in adjoining rooms and consider Kwandwe and Madikwe (maybe the exclusive-use Farm House at Morukuru) for malaria-free spots or Sabi Sabi for a great kid-friendly safari program. For more information on any of these activities or lodges, please contact the Kusini Collection or New Frontiers Tours.

Kid-friendly activities in Jo'burg:

Gold Reef City
The name Johannesburg is synonymous with South Africa's gold-mining industry, after all, this is the city that was founded way back in 1886 as a miner's village on the Witwatersrand goldfields. Today, the Gold Reef City theme park and museum - built around the original No.14 shaft of Crown Mines - recreates the city of Johannesburg as it was during the early days of the gold rush.
On arrival you will meet your guide, who will conduct your tour through the complex. You'll delight in the myths and magic of gold, the glimpse into the lifestyle of those early pioneers, the excitement of traveling 220 meters (720 feet)below the surface to see first-hand how precious gold is extracted from the earth and then watching the liquid yellow metal being poured into ingots. Enjoy the remarkable recreation of Victorian Johannesburg and the legendary characters that featured in the world's greatest gold discovery. A stunning experience, not to be forgotten!

Lesedi Cultural Village
Lesedi African Lodge is a multi cultural village set amongst the pristine bushveld and rocky hills less than an hour's drive north of Johannesburg. Live the experience - experience the vibrant and colourful traditions of the Basotho, Ndebele, Pedi, Xhosa and Zulu people on a short tour, be part of traditional Africa for just a short while. You will never forget it!
The morning program at 11:30 is known as the Monati experience and the late afternoon program at 16:30 is known as the Boma experience. Both experiences follow this programme:
* Arrive in the car park to a vibrant traditional African welcome and a refreshing welcome drink;
* Browse in the Ndebele village and African craft market where Ndebele murals decorate the walls and courtyard;
* Attend a multi-visual theatre presentation on the history and origin of our peoples;
* Guests are divided into smaller groups and taken on a guided tour of four homesteads - Zulu, Xhosa, Basotho and Pedi;
* After a few drinks in the bar, guests and the families meet back in the Boma for traditional song and dance of all the villages. The dance culminates in communal dancing with the guests around the fire.

Lion & Rhino Park
* A Pan African Feast is served in the Nyama Choma restaurant with delicacies from North, East and Southern Africa.
* This tour is recommended for families with young children
* Game viewing is conducted in the Wilro Tours vehicle.
The Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve is a privately owned, unsubsidised game reserve situated on the north western outskirts of the Johannesburg metropolitan area. Founded in 1985 and opened to the public in 1990, the reserve covers some 1 600 hectares on typical Highveld ground. The reserve now boasts 600 head of game representing 25 different species, including rhino, wildebeest, hippo and a variety of antelope, such as gemsbok, eland and springbok. The reserve falls within the Sterkfontein Valley World Heritage Site, which is world renowned in archaeological circles as the "Cradle of Humankind".
The tour includes access to the Lion and Predator Camp - where cheetah, lion and the endangered wild dog may be seen - as well as the crocodile enclosure. The unique Animal Creche has animals available to touch and have a photograph taken with (optional extra). These include Lion and Tiger cubs & Zebra foals, subject to availability at the time of your visit.

Kid-friendly activities in Cape Town:

The beaches!

Kayak to the Penguins at Boulders Beach
This activity is ideal for the summer months in Cape Town and is best for slightly older kids. The kayaking is an easy, fun paddle to the beach.

Spier Wine Estate
At Spier Wine Estate the adults can relax and go wine tasting or enjoy a meal at the gourmet restaurant, Eight, while the kids can enjoy a farm walk, a visit to the cheetah outreach center or the eagle encounter.

The Two Oceans Aquarium
The Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town is a highlight for any family. The Two Oceans Aquarium is named for the vast Indian and Atlantic Oceans which meet near Cape Town. Enjoy the delightful underwater nature reserve with over 3000 living sea animals, including sharks, fish, turtles, and penguins on display. The Two Oceans Aquarium is without doubt one of the most exciting attractions in the city, particularly if you have children!

Photo courtesy Morukuru and Lyndsay Harshman/The Kusini Collection.

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