As much as I like pretty accommodation and travel websites that are there to provide information and “sell” their offerings, I very seldom go to a place without reading reviews that are usually organic and unpaid-for, and are brilliant indicators if you can measure the good and the bad, and get an overall picture.
A colleague recently asked me for my top family resort recommendation for Umhlanga, and then someone asked me where her family should stay in the Eastern Cape where she could have as much of a holiday as her kids. And while I don’t have all the answers or recommendations, I turned to my favourite review site, Tripadvisor for the 20 best rated (by Tripadvisor travellers) holiday resorts in South Africa. Whether you still need to plan your December holiday, or might only be looking for a family holiday in the far future, here are some top picks around the country that seem like winners for parents and kids.
The one thing I like to save on is flights. I have found this website as a great resource for reasonable and cheap flights. You can find and compare local and international flights, and I’m currently using it to source the best flights for my honeymoon in December.
Set in the beautiful Wild Coast, this award-winning establishment is set on a beach, and there are ample facilities like pool, tennis court, gym and spa.
This resort has lots of activities such as pools, tennis courts, bicycle hire, an 18-hole golf course, Putt-Putt course, wellness centre and nearby horseriding.
Sun City is an “institution” for entertainment, whether it’s gambling or shows for the parents, or games, Kamp Kwena and the Valley of the Waves for the kids.
With restaurants, kids’ entertainment at Kamp Kwena, a golf course and pool bar, there’s plenty at the resort, but there’s also lots out such as fishing, hiking and trails.
Forever Resorts Swadini is a great base from which to explore the area – enjoy boat trips on the Blyde Dam, and visit Bourkes Luck Potholes, The Pinnacle, Mac Mac Falls and God’s Window. The resort is also 75km from the Kruger Park.
Situated next to the Kruger Park, this five-star lodge has luxury accommodation, and Big Five offerings.
Situated inside the Zimbali Coastal Estate, the luxurious Zimbali Resort is close to Balito and Umhlanga. Facilities include a golf course, spa, gym and Y-Univers Kids Club
Koffylaagte Game Lodge in the Karoo has thatched-roof tents overlooking the Nyala Valley. Activities include game drives and guided quad bike tours.
Protea Hotel Hunters Rest is a country hotel with a nine-hole golf course and bowling greens, restaurant, wellness centre, nature reserve and children’s farmyard.
Close to the Kruger Park, Pine Lake Resort has self-catering chalets (there’s also a hotel), plus tennis and volleyball courts, spa, canoeing on Lake Longmere, a games room and pool.
Garonga Safari Camp is part of the greater Makalali Conservancy
situated west of the Kruger National Park. Each luxury tent has a wooden deck, hammock and beautiful views.
This isn’t a “resort” per se, but it makes the list because it’s rated as a great establishment for families, and is a good base from which to explore Cape Town.
Sondela Nature Reserve is a private game reserve with a choice of accommodation – 4-star self-catering chalets, a caravan park and tent camp, and 5-star Country House.
Monkey Valley Resort is in the Milkwood forest at the foot of Chapman’s Peak, and has magnificent views of the beach. Guests can take advantage of the area’s hiking, swimming, beach walks and horse riding.
Situated on the beachfront, Breakers has kiddies’ pool and slides, swimming pool, lap pool, water volleyball pool, jungle gym, trampoline, action cricket, volleyball, plus hair and beauty salons.
This resort is a unique base-camp village for a host of holiday pursuits and it offers superb accommodation, fine cuisine and excellent conference and wedding facilities. Sports enthusiasts can indulge in a multitude of activities nearby ranging from horse riding and fishing to high adrenalin sports including quad biking, paintball and canopy tours. There’s also a fantastic variety of children’s entertainment and a daily adult activity programme as well.
At Badplaas, you can expect a popular Mpumalanga resort with with game viewing, horse riding, supertubes, hot mineral pools, play parks and river rides.
Schotia Safaris is the oldest private game viewing reserve in the Eastern Cape, and it’s malaria free. There are more than 40 mammal species and around 2000 animals.