Where oumie, oupie, the kids and even the in-laws are welcome.
1. Western Cape. The Baths, Citrusdal
During the years when my kids were small, The Baths (a hot-spring resort on a citrus farm), offered the best therapy.
When deadlines, work pressure and raising two lively tots got too much, we’d bundle everyone into the car and head north for some R&R. We’d arrive exhausted and fractious, but getting into the hot pool was a soothing balm for our stressed souls.
The kids loved swimming in such warm water (43ºC at source) and the relaxation ensured a good night’s sleep for everyone. As the kids got older and brought friends, the night swims (until 22h00) were highlights of the stay. We recently returned to The Baths from drought-stricken Cape Town, and the 105 000 litres of spring water per hour allowed for guilt-free luxuriating
in one of the many Jacuzzis.
Some chalets have their own private Jacuzzis. There are 16 chalets and 19 flats with self-contained kitchens and braai areas, as well as 25 well-shaded caravan and camping sites. The resort is self-catering, but MacGregor’s restaurant is on site. The hot and cold swimming pools, hot mineral spring baths, rock pools, tennis court, trampoline, pool table, playground for children, beautiful hiking trails, mountain biking and bird watching, ensure that there is something for everyone in the family. – Ann Gadd
2. Namibia, Alte Kalköfen, Lüderitz
If you’re taking the family to the epic Fish River Canyon and are looking for an isolated yet convenient place to stay, look no further. Alte Kalköfen is a little African oasis in the middle of nowhere that offers five-star amenities and then some. Stay in one of the luxury bungalows, or multi-bedroom family options.
Each unit offers an uninterrupted vista of the Namibian landscape. It’s the perfect opportunity for family bonding over board games, but Wi-Fi connectivity is available at the restaurant, should the teenagers suffer from withdrawal symptoms. The lodge is also famous for its collection of lithops, better known as ‘flowering stones’, and Alte Kalköfen has the largest privately owned collection of flowering stones in the world.
Owner Frikkie Mouton is a charming host and sat with my family on the stoep while sharing the colourful stories the people of Namibia are known for. – Gerhard Horn
3. Eastern Cape, Trennery Hotel, Wild Coast
A pont crossing at Kei Mouth took me on a thrilling, nostalgic adventure down memory lane. It was almost 30 years since we enjoyed an unforgettable family holiday at Trennerys Hotel – and very little has changed. My sense of excitement was met with
a welcoming team, and exuberant guests made a more-powerful impact than any marketing brochure could offer.
Stay in one of the 19 family rooms, 15 double rooms and two twin rooms – all light and spacious. Meals are exceptional, especially the seafood spread on Saturday evenings. Activities from forest walks and waterfalls to meeting the locals and enjoying sundowner cruises promise to keep the family happy. Here you will find olde-worlde charm in a tranquil setting, with views of pristine beaches and lush tropical vegetation.
On a walk around the property, I spotted the ‘Wreckroom’ which with the availability of child-minders as well as children’s meals, jungle gym and trampoline, allows moms and dads to relax. – Olivia Schaffer
4. Central Drakensberg, Ardmore Guest Farm, Champagne Valley
Some of us underestimate the grandeur of the Drakensberg. We choose the beach or the bush, and yet look in awe at the mountain ranges of Europe, Asia and America. But when foreigners visit us, they are blown away by the Drakensberg’s beauty and diversity.
So the next time you’re looking for a weekend family getaway, look to the mountains. Ardmore Guest Farm, which actually does have a link to the famous ceramic ware, is a prime spot in the Central Drakensberg, with a backdrop of the three highest peaks in South Africa, and is close to all that this region has to offer. It’s also pet-friendly (although Paul Ross, the owner, says that pets are only welcome if they’re waist height or shorter).
Situated on a working timber farm, Ardmore has 16 units with various sleeping arrangements, all on a bed-and-breakfast basis, with a lantern-lit dinner as an optional extra. On the property is the Ardmore Ceramic Art Museum, African Loom weaving studio, the Steve Bull Art Gallery, and all sorts of things to do to keep the young ones entertained.
5. Southern Drakensberg, Ambleside Lodge, Underberg
Family holidays aren’t always easy – what’s good for the goose isn’t always good for the gander. You need to find a place with activities that the family can enjoy either as a group or individually. Ambleside Lodge is such a place, with something that should appeal to every member of the family.
It’s a self-catering lodge that sleeps eight in four bedrooms (three en suite), with a fully equipped kitchen and an enormous wrap-around veranda with mountain views. In addition to the lodge, there is a quaint thatched cottage on the property that sleeps another 8-10 people, making it the perfect getaway for up to four families – and that’s how childhood memories are made. In terms of activities, Ambleside takes advantage of the spectacular surrounding countryside – there’s tubing and swimming in the river, fishing in the river or in a myriad of local dams, sensational hiking, great birding, horse riding, and the use of all the Sani Spoors mountain-biking and running trails.
If that’s not enough, guests at Ambleside have access to all the activities at the Gooderson Drakensberg Gardens Golf and Spa Resort, which is not far up the road. – Stephen Smith