By Shannon Latimer
Holidays don’t always turn out as planned when children are involved. Travelling to any destination—particularly if it is far away—can be difficult and tiring. And then if your holiday spot doesn’t offer a variety of activities for children it can turn out to be even more exhausting.
Here are a few kid-friendly travel options to help make your holiday a heavenly one.
A MSC CRUISE HOLIDAY is just great for families wanting to see Europe without the frustration of travelling between many different places. Unpack once, sightsee a number of different cities, and return to the comfort of the cabin—with accommodation, meals and entertainment all included. Moms and dads will be happy to know the complimentary kids clubs are suited for kiddies from age 3 to 17. Kid’s zones have play areas and activities that cater for all little tastes, while the digital offerings have the latest in virtual reality experiences. Go to www.msccruises.co.za. Popular Sep/Oct School Holiday Crusies: 7 nights ‘Cities of Art and Wonder’ departing from Barcelona—R8 930 per person in an inside cabin, and the 7 nights ‘Treasures of the Orient” departing from Venice—R10 395 per person in an inside cabin. For both cruises kids under 18 cruise free, only paying R1 500 port charges.
BUSHMANS KLOOF WILDERNESS RESERVE & WELLNESS RETREAT has a three-night Family Fun Programme to keep the whole family entertained during this year’s winter school holidays. The little ones roam around under expert supervision, while mom and dad get to spend some quality time on their own. There are kids night walks, treasure hunts, spoor tracking and rock painting activities, with table tennis, cricket and archery thrown in to keep even the most energetic happily occupied. In the evenings there are also early child-friendly suppers and on the last night the bravest explorers can camp out in the reserve. Go to www.bushmanskloof.co.za . The Family Fun Package caters for families with children between the ages of 6 and 12, with older siblings welcome too. Babysitting services are available for younger children.
The Londolozi Cubs programme at LONDOLOZI is ideal for wannabe young rangers. The Cub’s Den is equipped with fishponds to splash around in, Land Rovers to pretend-drive, camp-out tents and an educational centre focusing on wildlife. Your kids can go on bushveld excursions, guided by the Cub Coach—a dedicated and expert naturalist—who oversees the children. Activities include game drives, spoor identification, bird watching, bug catching, bead making, gumboot dancing, dung spitting and more. Go to www.londolozi.com/en /. Varty Camp and Founders Camp at Londolozi accommodate children between the ages of 4 and 16 years old.
Situated on Bazaruto Island, ANANTARA BAZARUTO ISLAND RESORT & SPA is a tropical destination island with a combination of dunes, white beaches and forests. Families are accommodated in two-roomed Deluxe Sea View Pool Villas with views of the beaches. This is a great destination dedicated to involving all members of the family, young and old. For the adventurous kiddies (from eight years old) there are bubble maker diving courses. June also sees the start of sailfish season, so those who enjoy the open water can set off on a fishing adventure. There’s dune boarding too—the boards are fairly broad and require little skill to master. And there’s plenty more too. Go to www.bazaruto.anantara.com. Special family offer of R13 380 per Deluxe Sea View Pool Villa per night. Valid for bookings before 30 June 2014.
CLUB MED recognises that children of different ages have their own interests and tastes. Each Club Med resort offers a variety of games, creative activities and a voyage of discovery for children and parents alike. From four months to 17 years, children are encouraged to learn about the environment around them in fun, interesting ways and take part in individual or group activities. The well-qualified and experienced child-minders—with a passion for teaching and guiding little ones—give you peace of mind and some well-deserved down time. Go to www.clubmed.co.za .
When it comes to opportunities to experience nature-based family activities the MIDLANDS MEANDER is the place to go. Unplug the kids from the electronics and take them horse riding, trail walking, fishing or on a sailing adventure at Midmar Dam. For adrenaline junkies there’s paintball and the Karkloof Canopy Tour. You can also buy the kids a kite on the Meander and fly kites together. Or experience the Big Four at one of the many game parks and nature reserves. Bring out your kids’ creativity by taking them to a pottery class or involve them in sand-art, candle dipping or ceramic painting activities—all available on the Meander. Go to www.midlandsmeander.co.za/children
ips for Travelling with Kids
To avoid you pulling out your hair, here are three tips that may make things a little easier when travelling with your toddler these holidays.
BUY A DISPOSABLE CAMERA and give it to your little one. Not only will this encourage them to observe their surroundings, but it will give them something to do during those boring moments when mom and dad are snapping away or discussing directions.And I’m sure the printed photos will deliver a few surprising gems.
Luckily these days you can travel with less fuss, if you own a tablet. Load it up with EDUCATIONAL AND FUN APPS, and those moments stuck on a plane or in a car may not be so horrible. Not to mention the toy bag will be slightly lighter.
Although hiring a car would probably be your first choice for getting around a new city, it can be a lot of fun for a toddler to travel by TRAIN OR BUS, OR EVEN BOAT. It’s a nice break from their usual routine.