fun things to do with kids in eastern cape south africa   Travel for Kids
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Eastern Cape

As if South Africa weren’t already diverse enough, the Eastern Cape adds deserts, snow-peaked mountains and golden coasts chock full of exotic seashells. The region is easily accessible from a quick connection to Port Elizabeth or an 8-hour drive from Cape Town.
    Jeffreys Bay – Just west of Port Elizabeth, J-bay, as it’s known locally, is home to “the perfect wave” and the Billabong Surfing Festival each July. At Dolphin Beach, there's always a lifeguard and the surfers put on a free show. Jeffreys Bay Shell Museum houses the largest collection of seashells in South Africa, and Park Lane Entertainment Centre offers bumper cars for a mid-vacation break.
    Port Elizabeth – The largest city on the Eastern Cape’s Sunshine Coast, Port Elizabeth is an easy connection from Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban and offers a great starting point or home base for Eastern Cape game reserves. Port Elizabeth is known as a port town and industrial hub, but it boasts some super city beaches and enough beachfront lodging to round out your safari with a beach holiday.
      Seaview Game & Lion Park – This small, private game park offers some of the best close-up, fenced (albeit nerve rattling) views of lions and cubs, as well as giraffe, zebra and plains game.
      Tip: Even in managed or fenced game parks, rules aren’t too strict and parents should always keep an extra eye on their children and use good judgment.

Wild Coast – The aptly named Wild Coast, a rugged and scenic shoreline, this is where animal watching hits a pinnacle. For several weeks, usually in June or July, kids can view tens of thousands of dolphins, sharks, whales, seals and birds diving and surfacing and feasting on masses of sardines trekking northward to Mozambique. Port St Johns is a good spot to book a boat for an up-close view of this natural phenomenon.

      The countryside is dotted with traditional Xhosa rondavel huts on farmland and is also a good place for a family to get a sense of traditional Xhosa rural life through a private guide.
      Since the Wild Coast lacks a highway system, access to many of the beaches and resorts is via small gravel roads winding to the Indian Ocean. Quaint, but full-service guest lodges, most of which are colonial in spirit (complete with experienced Xhosa nannies), are located on fantastic remote beaches.
      While the swimming is at your own risk (but available in some netted areas and lagoons), the scenery for hiking and horseback riding is superb on the Wild Coast.
Elephants - Addo National Park
  Addo Elephant National Park – About an hour’s drive inland from Port Elizabeth, Addo is home to 300+ elephants. It’s a malaria-free park that provides viewing of black rhino, Cape buffalo, lion, zebra, even the revered dung beetle (found almost exclusively in Addo), in addition to the exciting elephants. A tour through the 490,000 acres of Addo is either self-guided with your own car (preferable if you have kids under 6), or as part of a paid game-tour (for kids 6 and up).
    Safaris and Private Game Lodges – The Eastern Cape is the ideal safari destination for families. The range of safari experiences is endless for families, and not all safari lodges are elaborate or expensive. You can choose either single day trips with a guide, or overnight lodge excursions in the bush at private game reserves. The private game reserve experience is one that is fantastic for families with small children. Members of the family can take advantage of continuous day and night drives (depending on the children’s ages) with a private guide who will teach kids and adults fascinating facts about the animals and their habitat.
travel for kids | south africa | eastern cape
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