fun things to do with kids in south africa   Travel for Kids

South Africa

South Africa is teeming with so many creatures it would be hard for kids not to experience a close encounter – from a swim with penguins at the Cape of Good Hope to the town of St. Lucia with hippos roaming the streets. Family-friendly safaris abound in all corners of the country and South African hospitality towards kids is genuine and personal, especially in guesthouses and game lodges.
Before you go on your trip, learn about the South African natural world to help children appreciate the animals you'll see. From majestic lions and Cape buffalo to the tiny dung beetle, South Africa’s creatures are abundant and revered.
    Western Cape
Cape Town
    Eastern Cape
    Limpopo & Mpumalanga – Kruger National Park
    Tip: You can rent a car and drive around South Africa, the highways are good. However, a South African parent writes that it's best to use designated rest stops and if you have to stop at a lonely spot at the side of the road for children to pee, don't dawdle. Another option to self-driving is to hire a tour guide who will take you all over the country in a van.

Fun food


Hand pies are typical South African fast food that can be picked up at most any fuel stop or farm stall. They are a variation of hot, British meat pies, with gravy or curry, and come in a variety of meat options including local wild game, in addition to beef and lamb. Or for a great snack, try biltong. Incredibly popular in South Africa, it's like beef jerky, only better, and comes in varieties such as ostrich and kudu.

family tours south africa

Southern Africa is a fantastic cultural and nature experience that will stay with your kids forever. Whether it's swimming with penguins in Cape Town, guided bicycle tour of Soweto, white water rafting at Victoria Falls, or sleeping out in the bush on safari, having private guides is a real plus. Here's our editor's choice for a family tour company that will design a custom itinerary:

    Quivertree Family Expeditions
kids books south africa
who was nelson mandela  
Who Was Nelson Mandela?
Pam Pollack, Meg Belviso, Stephen Marchesi

Illustrated biography of Nelson Mandela and his historic role in South Africa. When Mandela was born, South Africa was a British colony, whites and blacks segregated and ruled by a white minority. Mandela trained as a lawyer, protested to end apartheid, was jailed for twenty seven years, emerged from prison to become president of South Africa in 1994. (Chapter book)


Nelson Mandela
Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara, Alison Hawkins.

Story of Nelson Mandela, who changed South Africa. He grew up a traditional village, went to jail for fighting against apartheid, spent twenty seven years in prison, and became South Africa's first black president. (Picture book)


nelson mandela little people big dreams
The White Giraffe - south africa kids adventure
The White Giraffe
Lauren St. John

Martine comes to live with her grandmother on a game reserve in South Africa. In legend, a child who can ride a white giraffe will have power over all the animals, but no one has seen it.  Drawn to the bush, Martine discovers the white giraffe and a secret valley.  (Chapter book)


Mama Africa!
Kathryn Erskine, Charly Palmer

Miriam Makeba grew up in segregated South Africa, where beaches were for only for white people, but Miriam could sing. In her songs, though exiled, she fights for equality, she sings "Free Nelson Mandela," appeals for everyone to join her in song, and sings in celebration when South Africa is free. (Picture book)


mama africa
south africa kids poetry My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken, and Me  
My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken, and Me
Maya Angelou, Margaret Courtney-Clarke

Poetic photo story of children in a Ndebele village –  painting colorful house designs, listening to mothers' stories as they string and sew, changing colorful beaded clothing for uniforms to wear to school, and a good friend, the chicken. Irresistible! (Picture book)


The Viper's Nest
Peter Larangis

Amy and Jack land in Pretoria on the trail Shaka Zulu and a hidden message from Winston Churchill in an abandoned mine shaft. In book seven, will Amy and Jack find the real burial place of Shaka Zulu and the next clue?  (Chapter book)


The Viper's Nest adventure kids south africa
living in south africa  
Living in ... South Africa
Chloe Perkins, Tom Woolley

Kids can read for themselves about South Africa, home to fifty million people with many different cultural backgrounds. Spend the day with David, meet his family, go to school, find out about landscape and cities, learn about the history of South Africa and apartheid, play rugby and eat typical South African food. (Easy reader)


travel for kids | south africa
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