Keen to enjoy some sun, sand and special family time? The Garden Route is one of South Africa’s top family-friendly holiday destinations. From beautiful beaches and amazing hiking trails to wildlife sanctuaries, boat cruises and more – there is truly something for the whole family to enjoy. These are our top 10 things to do with kids when you visit.

SPEND THE DAY AT THE BEACH

Plettenberg Bay is famous for its pristine beaches and we are lucky that many are just a short distance from The Old Rectory Hotel & Spa. The top kid-friendly beaches in the area are Central Beach and Keurbooms Lagoon Beach.

  • Central Beach is known as Plett’s iconic ‘family beach’, it fronts the famous Beacon Isle Hotel and has amenities that include public toilets, restaurants, ice cream vendors and more. It is well known to be the safest swimming beach in Plett and is monitored by lifeguards all year round.

  • Keurbooms Lagoon Beach is another spot that is ideal for kids. This beach runs along the front of the lagoon and can vary in size depending on tides – it can be a thin strip of sand or a broad stretch of beach. There are often wide sandbanks that are covered in shallow water that warms up nicely on a hot day. It is ideal for little ones and is considered another one of the safest swimming spots in Plett.

Suitable for all ages.

EXPERIENCE PLETT PUZZLE PARK

Plett Puzzle Park is situated just outside Plettenberg Bay and guarantees interactive fun for the whole family. The two main activities include a life size outdoor 3D maze and a unique forest puzzle walk – both are designed for visitors of all ages and involve fun riddles for your family to solve. There is also a kids play area and a coffee shop set in a tranquil garden setting with even more garden games to keep you and the kids entertained at all times.

Suitable for all ages.

TAKE A STROLL

On the outskirts of Plettenberg Bay, you'll find the Robberg Peninsula which is known to be one of the most beautiful hiking destinations along the Garden Route. There are two shorter hikes that you can do here – ranging from an easy walk to The Gap (30 mins) to a moderate half peninsula walk (2h30mins) – both are great for children. However, if your kids aren’t that confident on their feet yet, rather opt for the flatter beach walk from the Beacon Isle Hotel all the way to Robberg. The views are breathtaking – keep your eyes peeled for whales and dolphins along the way.

The short Robberg walk and beach walk are suitable for all ages and the longer Robberg walk is suitable for children 6 years and older.

EXPLORE THE CANGO CAVES

Just outside of Oudtshoorn, you will find the Cango Caves – some of the largest underground limestone caverns in the world and a famed wonder of the Klein Karoo. The whole family can enjoy the Heritage Tour or if you and your little ones (age 8 and older) are feeling a bit more daring then give the Adventure Tour a go, which leads you even deeper into the caves and takes you through cellar-like chambers and narrow tunnels.

Suitable for all ages.

SUPPORT THE LOCAL WILDLIFE SANCTUARIES

Are your kids animal lovers? The Garden Route is home to a host of wildlife sanctuaries that are well worth supporting. Birds of Eden is home to over 3,500 birds from over 280 species. You can explore this vast free-flight paradise on your own or with a guide. Monkeyland Primate Sanctuary is the world’s first free-roaming multi-species primate sanctuary. You can enjoy a safe guided tour through a forest as gibbons swing above your head and lemurs bask in the sun. Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary provides a home to rescued big cats and a 2 kilometre walk will get you up close to lions, tigers, pumas, leopards and other wild cats.

Suitable for children 3 years and older.

TAKE THE KIDS STRAWBERRY PICKING

Redberry Farm in George is an absolute family favourite. The kids can pick their own strawberries, explore the largest hedge maze in the Southern Hemisphere, take mini train rides through the strawberry fields, feed the rabbits, enjoy the outdoor playground and there are even pony rides on offer. There are also pedal go karts, paddle boats and a bubble ball on the dam!

Suitable for all ages.

VISIT THE KNYSNA ELEPHANT PARK

The Knysna Elephant Park is both an educational and exciting family outing. The park cares for orphaned African elephants and visitors are able to enjoy personal encounters with these gentle giants on the daily tours and elephant walks – you’ll be able to interact, feed and walk amongst the herd.

Suitable for all ages.

SWING THROUGH THE TREES IN TSITSIKAMMA

The Tsitsikamma Canopy Tour is the perfect way to enjoy the magnificent beauty of the Tsitsikamma indigenous forest and a fun day out for both adults and the adventurous little ones too. The tour is a fully-guided nature experience and consists of ten zip-lines that are 30m above the forest floor, the longest being 91m in length. Kids are able to glide on their own or in tandem with a guide. Gliding through the treetops while taking in the spectacular scenery and enjoying the abundant birdlife is definitely something you’ll want to add to your Garden Route bucket list.

Suitable for children 7 years and older.

HIT THE TRAILS AT CAIRNBROGIE

Cairnbrogie MTB & Trail Park in Plett is the perfect outing for an adventurous family looking for some time in the great outdoors, with trails for running and hiking, mountain bike tracks suitable for young kids as well as more advanced riders, and a pump track to top it off. Bring your bike, scooter or push bike and join in the fun. There is also a cafe on the farm where you can unwind with some coffee and eats. Added bonus? They are open everyday during the school holidays.

Suitable for all ages.

TAKE A BOAT CRUISE

Head out to sea with Oceans Safaris who will take you to some of the best spots along the Plettenberg Bay coastline for whale and dolphin watching. Alternatively, hop on one of the daily ferries and cruise across the Knysna lagoon to Featherbed Nature Reserve. The eco-experience includes a 4x4 trip to a few of the spectacular viewpoints around the reserve as well as an optional guided walking tour to the sea caves.

Suitable for all ages.

Escape to Plettenberg Bay and base yourself at The Old Rectory Hotel & Spa while you explore all that the Garden Route has to offer. We welcome guests of all ages and have designed many of our rooms so that they can connect via a private foyer (two rooms transform into one family unit). Why? Because some of the best memories you'll ever have are those of a great big family holiday.