Every SAA Vacations package, says von Guilleaume, can be customized by changing hotels or day tours to better meet the needs of each family. “My advice to families with school-going children is to look at adding KwaZulu-Natal, especially if they are traveling in June, July or August,” he states. “KwaZulu-Natal has the best weather at that time of the year and the family-friendly activities are bountiful, whether it is uShaka Marine World, riding the sky car over the WC Stadium, swimming at the beaches, exploring the Drakensberg mountains, exploring Lake St. Lucia, or visiting the battlefields [of the 19th-century Zulu-Boer-British wars]—all of the aforementioned activities are great for families. You can take it from me—I was just in South Africa and dragged my family all over the country for a month. Our stop in KwaZulu-Natal was rated as one of the best times of the trip by my wife and three kids.”
continental holidays Backpackers and outdoor types with little ones as young as 6 might want to consider Kumuka Worldwide’s Cheetahs, Dunes & Waterfalls from the company’s Family Adventure Tours, which visits Namibia, Botswana and Zambia.
This is not for pampered souls, though, who can’t live without their poolside chaise longues and spa treatments. In fact, this 14-night tour features 11 nights of camping—a true adventure the kids will be all giddy about—with help from a camp assistant/cook and a tour guide. It’s wise to let clients know that their tents will not be of the luxurious variety—although they are outfitted with mosquito nets—and that they need to pack a sleeping bag. Also, the modes of transportation are truly exhilarating: 4×4 safari vehicle, boat, on foot and mokoro (a type of canoe).
The tour company stresses that, “Children and adults alike can gain so much more outside the world of stay-put, package holidays with their kiddie clubs that isolate children from the local culture and people.”
Starting in Namibia, visitors explore the sand dunes of Sesriem National Park and Sesriem Canyon, visit with cheetahs and seals and greet elephants and other wildlife in Etosha National Park. They’ll also spend time in the town of Swakopmund, a seaside resort area with lots of German colonial architecture. Here, clients can participate in optional excursions such as sand boarding or quad biking in the desert, game fishing, skydiving or taking a cultural tour of the township.
In Botswana, they’ll stop by the famous Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park—going on a game drive and cruising down the Chobe River—before hopping on a ferry to end their trip at Zambia’s imposing Victoria Falls. Should they choose to extend their stay here, they’ll find many action-packed activities centered around the falls, including helicopter tours, canoe drifts and white-water rafting. Rates start at $2,475 pp dbl.