Your family vacation for December
Lifestyle Oct 08, 2018
It’s time to start planning your family vacation. We’re now in October, and time has been flying faster than an F1 driver on nitro boost. Soon, it’ll be mid-December, the Friday of the months of the year.
Most people already have their trips planned out, but if you’ve been holding out due to the current state of the currency, we have some less expensive but definitely family-friendly fun options for you.
This would be the default answer to most Joburgers prayers for a nice holiday break without breaking the bank balance. But it is worth reminding you all, in case you thought to forgo the voyage this year. Durban is cheap compared to Johannesburg. It’s basically a Dorp with City-sized aspirations. Plus, there’s plenty to do. Up North, you can stay at various holiday homes by Durban North, without having to shell out for actual hotel stays. You’ll still be close to the gorgeous beaches.
The great thing about a Durban vacation is how hot the Indian ocean is. Sure, Cape Town has its charms, but turning into an iceberg while wading the waters of the Atlantic Ocean is not one of them. Meanwhile, Durban lets you happily surf, swim, or simply sway with the waves in perfectly comfortable temperature.
Not to mention a bunch of family-fun activities in the city. Like uShaka Marine World, an aquarium extraordinary indeed with some of the most exotic and beautiful marine life in the vicinity. Then there’s always the local Durban music scene, when the kids are in bed, with a sitter playing parent – you can go out and about to the city’s alternative clubs with your partner to enjoy some sub-culture unique to the city’s strange celebration of coastal life and urban aspirations.
The Kruger National Park.
Sounds strange right, being the off-season of one of our greatest national assets? But prices are a steal. You can get almost half-price on certain lodges at this time of year. And with how the droughts of yesteryear mean the park is still recovering, waterholes will still be an attractive for the wildlife even in December.
The only con is you really want to ensure your anti-mosquito precautions are up. Lotions, hats, thick clothing, and definitely anti-malarial medication.
Outside of that, the park beckons with less traffic than usual. You’re more likely to find sightings that don’t have 100 and one tourists camped out by them. There’s opportunity to get your kids, with decent cameras, the chance for YouTube fame: after all, one of the most extraordinary wildlife videos was caught by an amateur at Kruger, the well-known “Battle at Kruger” featuring a brawl between lions, buffalos, and an unlucky crocodile, all trying to get at a buffalo calf. (Spoiler: it has a happy ending.)
Traditionally, Kruger has been seen as a dry / winter season safari, but there’s plenty to be gained by visiting in the lush, summer time. You have more chance of seeing new-born calves and cubs, for one thing. And many of the unique bird life make their way back to Kruger during summer, perfect for any bird-watcher.
How about a taste of luxury at family-affordable prices? Sure, December is Sun City’s on-season, but the Cabanas, the most affordable of Sun City’s hotels, has prices that won’t pinch the purse.
While there, you have a range of fun activities to do. The Valley of the Waves will have you forgetting you’re far from the coast. The water rides are riveting for the kids. There’s golf if you want to improve your swing, bush trails for experiencing South Africa’s wilderness up-close-and-personal, quad biking – a great family activity for adventuring into the veld, a close-by animal sanctuary, and of course entertainment galore. The kids may not be old enough to play the tables, but you and your partner can once they’ve gone to bed. Just remember: it’s entertainment only: the House always wins.
As long as you’re having fun, you’ll be winning too.
Finally, the Pilanesberg game park is next door, and you can go directly from Sun City on tour. It’s a Big Five reserve, so see what you can spot.
Parys, the Town of Love.
Named, of course, after Paris, South Africa’s version doesn’t quite live up to the City of Love’s hype. But in other ways, this small, but fun-loving, town has more going for it. Firstly, it’s only two hours away from Joburg. And secondly, it has an overabundance of family fun activities.
Go over a cliff-face and abseil down like a special forces soldier rappelling the side of a building. There’s something special about flirting with gravity as you step vertically backwards.
Or drive a 4×4 trail through a World Heritage Site. The Vredefort Dome is an ecological experience, showing you the true beauty of this country through savannahs, grasslands, mountains, and the bush. All in one six hour trip, approximately, though you’ll need your own navigational officer – it’s not a guided tour. But it is family fun.
There’s also the Carryblaire River, perfect for fly-fishing. There’s something special about a lazy afternoon swinging the snared hook into a river and trying to catch tonight’s dinner, while teaching the kids about the importance of patience… who knows, you may impart a life lesson they need to one day snag the deal of the century… hook, line, and sinker.
You can also go white river rafting down that same river. Nothing quite like bonding over rapids threating to overturn the whole boat! (Wear your life jackets.)
And plenty more besides in this charming town, including bird-watching, paint-ball gaming, and hikes.
Just start booking your holiday now. We’re reaching the end of the year fast.