Holidays with the kids are all about fun-filled days and memories that last a lifetime. We have hand-picked our top family-friendly activities to make special memories, soak up the outdoors and expose kids to nature, without breaking the budget.
A true taste of summer holidays involves picking a punnet of juicy strawberries. Families can wander the fields at Redberry Farm on Geelhoutboom Road, in Blanco and let the kids do all the work. Find the biggest, juiciest berries and scoff them warm, straight off the runners. This is excellent fun for kids. Small people can board the Redberry Express mini-train for an exciting 800 meter miniature railway ride. Older children love to navigate the tricky hedge maze. Its 10km of winding track is a firm favourite for energetic kids. Seven secret stations are hidden within the labyrinth of passageways. Acrobatic teens can show off their moves in the inflatable bubble balls which float on the farm dam.
Redberry Farm’s range of eateries will satisfy all budgets and palates. The deli-style farm stall is perfect for picnic treats while the Red Shed Coffee and Berry Bar serve a selection of strawberry themed beverages. The Noshery Pizzeria offers gourmet pizzas from their wood fired oven. Outdoor ambience is plentiful in the tea garden overlooking the kid’s playground and rabbit hutch.
Stop at the Framboos Handcrafted Ice Cream parlour to sample their artisan gelato served in crisp sugar cones. Kids can design and build their own ice cream sandwiches from a selection of freshly baked biscuit and flavoured gelato. Sumptuous sundowners are offered at the elegant Houtbosch Wine and Craft Beer tasting room. Sample their flagship Pinot Noir with a cold meat and cheese platter and finish with the phenomenal fudge and wine pairing.
There isn’t a better way to experience George’s by-gone days than to relax on the Outeniqua Power Van and chug back in time. The power van remains one of George’s most popular tourist attractions. It leaves daily from the Outeniqua Transport Museum. This rail trip is an absolute must for train fans of all ages and offers an unbeatable insight into our fascinating local rail heritage. Climb aboard the vintage rail inspection trolley and ascend the Outeniqua Mountains. Kids can sit next to the driver and enjoy panoramic views of the sheer mountain slopes, dripping forest, cascading waterfalls and purple heather.
The Outeniqua Transport Museum itself holds an epic collection of trains, ox-wagons, vintage fire engines and even a funeral hearse from the last century. The enormous museum also houses a fantastic array of private collectors' vintage cars, all in beautiful condition, including a Model T Ford, restored Italian supercars, as well as the MG Midget! A visit to the train museum is a brilliant idea for the rare rainy day in George. Energetic children can climb aboard some of the superbly preserved locomotives and even sit in the dining carriage of the Royal White Train.
The Garden Route Birds of Prey Rehabilitation Centre, at the George Wildlife Park, offers a fantastic educational opportunity for animal lovers. Falconers, Bertus and Lizette Beukes, opened the centre with the aim of rehabilitating injured, sick and orphaned birds of prey. Guided tours offer a rare insight into the lives of these magnificent birds. Inquisitive minds can learn fun facts about falcons, owls, buzzards and their unique adaptations. Tour guides introduce guests to over 30 rescued raptors and there is even an opportunity to hold a friendly Cape Eagle Owl. The birds of prey centre is a non-profit organisation and operates under Cape Nature Conservation regulations. Grab a coffee or fresh pizza at the on-site Italian restaurant, Caspita. There is a large jungle gym for little kids to play on.
Join Andrea and Neo at Black Horse Trails for a firm family favourite. They offer outrides from their farm into the indigenous forest at the foot of the Outeniqua Mountains, in Wilderness National Park. Cowboys or cowgirls of all ages will enjoy their gentle horses, many of whom are rescue animals. The family-owner ranch outside Hoekwil has horses to match all levels of experience, from beginner to expert rider.
The Rock Pool Ride is a firm favourite for family groups. The three and a half hour trail ventures through the cool indigenous forest and offers glimpses of the Knysna Loerie, Vervet Monkey, as well as baboons and bush buck. Riders can enjoy a head-clearing, cheek-flushing trot through the forest with its hanging roots, bright toadstools and winding streams. Riders can savour a lunch break by a cool waterfall and take a refreshing dip in the rock pools. This trip is ideal for teenagers and offers several awesome ‘Instagram worthy’ photo opportunities.
Spectacular glimpses of rock pool life are on offer at Swartvlei Beach, close to Sedgefield. Families can take a starlight stroll on the beach with biologist and ex-teacher Judy Dixon on for a Moonlight Meander. Tours are held every spring tide at full moon and new moon (once every two weeks). The moonlight beach walks are ideal for multi-generational families and involve a relaxing stroll to Gericke’s Point. Judy combs the rock pools to allow families a glimpse of intriguing sea creatures. Billed as ‘the best fun you can have after dark on the Garden Route’, these torchlight tours allow eager kids to watch an octopus hunt and cuttlefish dart through the shallows. Judy introduces nature lovers to the local plough snails, limpets, chitons, barnacles and sea urchins, with fun stories and fascinating facts.