Looking for family-friendly activities that won't test your patience or break the bank? For the creative and crafty critters, to the adrenaline adventurers and wildlife wanderers, here is a list of 10 places to visit in the Garden Route:
Known as the biggest show cave system in Africa, the Cango Caves are an iconic cultural and natural landmark in South Africa. While these formations are one-of-a-kind, the actual formation is unique too, as it, ordinarily, would not have formed in this area. Hence, for the last 20 million years, nature has defied expectations and sculpted the limestone caves, shaping a spectacular 4km art-work right under our feet at the Swartberg mountain range.
To explore these natural marvels safely, remember to book a tour or request a private visit. The Heritage Tour offers an easy walk through the first six largest and most spectacular halls and continue through to the "African Drum room".
🎫: Adults: R 170 | Children: R 120
Step into the world’s largest free-flight sanctuary and travel through 2-hectares of indigenous forest with over 3,500 birds. The dome is a beautiful place to learn about the 220 species of birds, and allows families the walk through the nature at their own pace, or request a guided tour. It's also a lovely opportunity to provide insight into sustainability and animal rehabilitation as the award-winning sanctuary provides a forever home, for previously caged birds, and a new life of free-flight in a habitat as large and natural as is possible. Amongst the flocks of local and exotic birds, be sure to look out for the Knysna loerie!
🎫: Adults: R 320 | Children: R 160
Get your creativity flowing, at the Pottery in George. This newly-renovated spot allows you to paint ceramics, craft modern mosaics, enjoy the vibey atmosphere, and tuck into something delicious off the menu. Being a family-oriented place, there are lots of additional activities for the little ones to try: including ping pong, board games, foosball, trampolines and a jungle gym. Be sure to keep an eye out for their weekly restaurant specials, and tune in for the Friday evening live music!
🎫: large range of ceramics to select from
A family-destination that grew onto a commercial strawberry farm - Redberry Farm is an awesome place for berry-lovers, fun-seeking families and outdoor enthusiasts visiting the Garden Route. From picking your own strawberries, and navigating through the largest permanent hedge maze in the Southern Hemisphere, to riding on the RedBerry express train and zooming by on the go-cart tracks, there's so much to do on the farm. There's also no entrance fee and all activities tend to be under R50, and bookings are not required, making the visit all the more pleasurable on the patience and pocket! For the parents, be sure to visit the Tea Garden and Farm Stall, or have a toast at the Red Shed Coffee & Berry Bar.
🎫: Free entrance | Activities are <R50
Check out some of the offerings below:
Experience the majestic forests of the Garden Route National Park like never before with a trip to Acrobranch. This outdoor adventure allows everyone to slide, balance, jump, swing and crawl through the trees and action-packed course(s). It's a great way to get moving and marvel at the natural beauty around you. For the little ones between 3-6 years old, the Acro-twigs course is suitable: a safe set of 18 obstacles guided through by the staff. For those with kids 7 years and older, the Monkey Moves options is a great level up. (Both previously mentioned obstacles are <R200) And for the more daring groups, take a look at all the adrenaline pumping courses available to you, while the others can enjoy the stalls at the Timberlake Organic Village.
🎫: Depending on the course: R150-R280
Situated on the R102 in Hartenbos, the Harmony Distillery offers a fun afternoon for both the kids and the parents! The restaurant, Salt & Copper, has a kiddies menu and tasting available, along with lovely outdoor play area to enjoy with a jungle-gym and giant chess set. While the adults, on the other hand, can relax in the Copper Lounge and try the handcrafted gin tastings and craft their own cocktails. Here you can try from the first South African Distillery to produce gins using Honeybush and Aloe ferox as the signature ingredients.
As product of inspiration in lockdown, owners of the Ruiterbosch Lodge decided to create a safe haven for all the beautiful and endangered species of butterflies. A visit to the sanctuary is a magical one; from fluttering through the butterfly space and smelling the many different flowers, to hearing about the insects' lives and how to better understand their conservation, Ruiterbosch is a great spot for learning! The facilities also have a large play area, encouraging families to relax at the restaurant and enjoy some time in the outdoors. For those looking to stay a little longer, give the Lodge a look!
Embark on the adventure of a lifetime aboard the Knysna Pirate Ship through the Lagoon! Join the captain on Zamani, the Black Pearl - his ship built at Praslin Island (Seychelles) in 1968. Book the 90 min Lagoon Cruise on the authentic Pirate Ship to sit back and relax, breath in the fresh ocean air, while the pirate crew (Captain Fish and Crew Mad-Matt) entertain the little ones. This is also a high chance that you'll sail past some playing seals and dolphins and you approach the Knysna Heads.
🎫: Adults: R 450 | Children: R 250
For the families that love moving and exploring the outdoors, Robberg Nature Reserve is a wonderful place to discover together. Some of the reserve's activities include spotting the rare blue duiker (the province’s smallest antelope), walking alongside the coast-line dunes to spot dolphins and whales, hiking to the lighthouse for higher view points etc. It is also a wonderful place to pack a picnic and some games to enjoy a laid-back lunch in the sunshine. For those that would like a longer stay, check out the over-night options with Cape Nature.
🎫: Adults: R 60 | Children: R 40
One of the best places to get lost in the beauty of nature - exploring Knysna by water is a great way to get a feel of the environment. Join Dune Adventures on their kayaking journey down the Knysna river and through the Estuary. Here you can float on the cocacola water as the forests tower over you. It's a great adventure for kids >5 years old as it allows them to spot the wildlife flying over head, and swimming below, while also exerting some energy and getting fresh air! The 3-hour guided journey is action packed and a great bonding option for families.
🎫: R 500/person