Experience the Northern Cape, South Africa

The Northern Cape is home to six national parks, each offering distinctive adventures and experiences. With spring almost upon us, it’s a good time to start thinking about fun and outdoor activities for the whole family – including visiting a national park or some of the private game lodges in the province.

Whether you plan to explore the rugged plains of the Tankwa Karoo National Park or feast your eyes on the blooming spring wildflowers in the Namaqua National Park, we have some insights for a smooth sho’t left to a safari adventure with the kids.

The Northern Cape offers loads of fun activities to enjoy with the kids, including leisurely days of game spotting – from lion, wildebeest and hyena to many types of antelope and cheeky meerkat – in the fast Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. On the other end of the scale, you might take the family to discover the history of diamond mining in South Africa at the Kimberley Mine Museum.

As any parent will tell you, going on vacation with the little ones can be quite a task, and it needs proper planning and thought. Well, rest easy – here are some ideas to help ease you through your next safari trip with the kids ...

The first step is knowing your kids

Self-driven game excursions can be a great way of introducing children to nature and wild animals. As a start, consider a short weekend trip with the kids to a game park as an introduction.

A short weekend trip, as opposed to a prolonged 10-day stay in a game lodge, will guarantee that you’re back home before the kids get bored and lose their enthusiasm for the wilderness.

Consider your kids’ ages

Your trip depends on your children’s ages as well. Young kids under the age of 10 have short attention spans and therefore won't enjoy being in the car for long periods at a time.

Have loads of car-friendly activities for the road trip on the way to your destination to keep them entertained, because it won’t be long before someone says “I’m bored”,  and “Mommy, how much longer?”.

If you have young children, choose accommodation that is geared towards smaller kids, so that you’re able to drive back should they get restless in the car during the game drive. Remember to pack enough drinks and snacks as well.

Eliminate risk factors for car sickness

Do your research and preparation to reduce the chances of your children getting motion sickness before you embark on the road trip.

Pack wholesome snacks and enough water. Greasy and spicy foods can contribute to triggering car sickness in young children. Pack any medication your little ones may need, and have some planned activities to distract them on your drive.

Use your own car or rent a vehicle

Think about your kids, their ages and how well they cope in spaces where they will encounter strangers. To be on the safe side, use your own car or a hired vehicle for your trip. Having your own space and transport will contribute to relaxed family time, plus you will be the masters of your own destiny.

Zebra In  Karoo  National  Park 1
At one with Mother Nature. (Image: Libby Peacock)

More family fun

The Northern Cape offers a variety of family activities. Pick the things you enjoy doing together (bearing in mind your kids’ ages).

Are your children fans of horse riding? Would they enjoy donkey cart rides instead? Or simply try one of the many hiking trails that showcase the province’s vast landscapes and tranquil countryside.

Choose the right sort of lodge for your family

There are plenty of accommodation options in the Northern Cape, from guest houses and self-catering cottages to resorts and lodges, many of which are child friendly.

It is vital to consider your budget and based on that to choose the right sort of lodge for your time away with the family, to avoid a stressful experience away from home.

The Augrabies Falls National Park is great to visit with kids as there are lots of animals to see during a drive around the park, and you can visit the majestic Augrabies Falls.

Cameras and binoculars

Trips and holidays are more fun when you can document all you do and see. So, pack the camera, buy extra batteries, and bring some binoculars for spotting game. Even better, bring two pairs to avoid potential bickering over sharing!

Remember to charge your phone and take as many pictures as you can. We hope to see you in our province soon!

Karoo Winding Road  Libby  Peacock
Being in a natural environment away from the noise of the city reduces stress. (Image: Libby Peacock)