Last week I attended an on-line seminar entitled the Variety of South Africa through GoWay Travel. It is a destination that I’d love to travel to with my children in the future, so I thought it would be good to find out a bit about the country and options available. It sounds like it would be a good place to take kids as long as they can handle the long plane ride from North America (17.5 hours from New York) . I couldn’t imagine doing this with a young child but older children could probably handle it. Currently South African Airways flies from NY and Washington via Senegal to Johanesburg. Other alternatives are via London then Johannesburg or flying Emirates to Dubai ( 12.5 hours) and then another 8.5 to Cape Town.
Once you’ve arrived, there are several game parks to choose from. The Kruger National Park is the most popular, however you must take anti-malarial medication if you choose this one. A safari in many of the large game parks, would be thrilling for children of any age but many only accept children over the age of six such as Manyatta Rock Camp that offers elephant back safaris. You will see, lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, hippos, zebras, as well as many bird species. Some of the parks located near the Eastern Cape and Madikwe region are in a malaria free zone and therefore do not require that you take anti-malarial medication. Some parks in the Eastern Cape will only accept children age 6 and over but the lodges and safaris in the Madikwe area are very family friendly, such as Jaci’s Tree Lodge. Some lodges have packages where the first child stays free.
In Capetown, Table Mountain stands over the city and can be visited by a revolving cable car. There are penguins to visit at Cape Point, beaches nearby and lots to see in the city itself. The Garden route is an area with beautiful countryside and lots of physical activities to do. There is whale watching, Oudsthorn has ostridges that you can ride and Cango Caves to visit. St. Lucia Wetlands, further up the coast are a breeding ground for turtles, so if you plan your trip right you may be able to witness this event.
Overall, this seminar was informative, although ofcourse they were discussing primarily the accomodations which they sell on their site. The information about the country was good and it was a quick and easy way to get an overview and talk directly to people who’ve been there before. I’ve booked through this company before as they often have really good deals on long haul flights. Recently they advertised Buy 1 Get 1 Free tickets from NY to South Africa at $1099 for 2 tickets! ( plus many taxes and surcharges) Still a really good deal.