If you have a family, you know how difficult it can be to choose a holiday activity or destination that pleases everyone. However, an outdoorsy, adventurous holiday is sure to tick all the boxes of a young family looking for some exciting fun.
Choosing outdoor activities allows your children to spend time in the sun and breathe in fresh air, while allowing you to spend less money on something could go towards a family goal, such as funding a recreational vehicle for more adventurous holidays. Below are some unique ideas for exciting family holidays.
If you have access to a dam or a camping site, taking your family for a weekend away to get back in touch with the simpler things is a must. Look for camping sites that offer electricity points if you have smaller children, as you may need to provide them with a night-light in the stark darkness of the area.
Going camping allows a family to bond over shared experiences, such as watching dad catch a fish or helping mom cook dinner over a fire. Be sure to pack enough food for the entire time you are there, and remember to bring a can opener, matches, a lighter and eating utensils with you to make the trip easier and more enjoyable. Always ask the owner of the camping site if there are animals nearby that you will need to be wary of, especially at night.
Surfing is a highly popular activity in South Africa, with our stunning beaches in Durban and Cape Town. If you or your children are beginners, try out one of the many professional surfing schools on offer at main beaches. Here you will be taught the basics of how to catch the perfect wave.
For those who are more experienced surfers, take this time to teach your children how to stand and paddle on their boards, but be sure to choose safe and easy waves for the younger ones. During the December holidays, you will find ‘surf camps’ available in Durban, which you can enrol in based on age and experience. Surfing is a fun family activity for those who enjoy the beach and all it offers.
Hiking and adventure go hand-in-hand, so taking your family for a hike is sure to tick the box of ‘exciting family activity’. If you have younger children, look for local trails that are not too tiring or tedious, such as game reserves with bird trails or parks with trails to a waterfall.
For those with older children who are more active, you can look into going on a day or two-day-long hike to a secluded spot or a hike combined with camping stops. Depending on your fitness levels, you should choose how long the hikes last for and how far you will be walking each day. If you do not feel safe going it alone, many game reserves offer guided walks among their stunning surroundings.
This activity is perfect for cyclist families, and may already be on your holiday activity list. If your children are beginners in mountain biking, start off the holiday with simpler trails, without too many harsh obstacles or uneven paths.
If you are taking your children on a mountain biking extravaganza, be sure that they are kitted out correctly in protective gear and understand how to ride a bike safely up and down a path. For more experienced children or teenagers, you can make a competition out of the day, with the prize being something along the lines of the winner chooses where to have lunch or dinner for the day.
South Africa is home to many beautiful and unique animals, many of which can be found in game parks dotted around the country. If you have easy access to one of these game parks, why not take your family to visit one and take a game drive to spot the various animals on offer?
In some of the smaller provinces, the game parks allow you to go on self-drive game drives and even make use of the trails for bird watching and animal spotting. These smaller game parks also have braai and picnic areas for families to relax and spend time exploring. Many of these game parks have educational centres where children can learn more about the animals they may see, turning the trip into an enriching experience.
Some children may groan in despair when they hear the words ‘family vacation’, but if you include some exciting outdoor activities, you can change their minds about what to expect. Younger children will relish time at the beach learning how to surf and simply playing in the waves, while older children and teenagers will enjoy the independence of mountain biking and hiking. Always be sure to follow safety procedures and ensure the correct gear is word at all times.