Our last summer family vacation to Kruger, Swaziland & Mozambique was absolutely amazing! It gave us an exciting mix of adventures - from the wild African bush and animals in Kruger to the beautiful mountainous scenery in Swaziland and the idyllic beaches of Mozambique, sprinkled with vibrant cultural experiences along the way.
Here is why we all loved our family holiday in Southern Africa...
Firstly, all three destinations on the family tour were ideal for children (from about 6 years old and up). We took my six-year-old son with on this holiday and he had a fantastic time.
There were loads of activities for the children, the guides were great and the children were happy throughout the journey.
Our family safari started and ended in Johannesburg which made it easy to catch our flights. From Johannesburg, we travelled straight to the world-famous Kruger National Park, kicking the trip off with South Africa's premier game park!
On many days of this family trip, lunches were not included which was actually fabulous as it allowed us to get out and stretch our legs and use the bathrooms. There was always a great little coffee shop, café or restaurant where we could fill our hungry bellies. There were also some great props… even though we were heading into wild animal country and not anywhere near dolphins yet:
TRAVEL TIPS & ADVICE
- We chose a lodge safari because we find the evenings are easier and we felt better with the little one in a bed covered with a mosquito net at night. There are also family units available throughout the trip.
- The tour visits malaria risk areas but we went prepared so it wasn't an issue. There are malaria prophylaxes that are suitable for children and we took an excellent insect repellent for the evenings and early mornings. For more info see Malaria Made Simple.
- Some of the travelling days entailed long drives so be sure to bring along goodies to keep the kids busy. The good news is that after a long driving day you stay in one destination for a number of days.
Kruger National Park
In Kruger, we stayed at Nkambeni Safari Camp. The camp has lovely tents with air-conditioning which was very welcome in the summer (December) heat. There was also a fabulous pool and deck from where we could see buffalos and hippos just over the fence in clear view.
The day culminated in a great evening game drive followed by a full day in Kruger Park the next day. We managed to see two leopards in Kruger which was absolutely incredible. We also saw elephant, rhino, loads of lions, antelopes and of course the horses in their striped pyjamas.
Kingdom of Swaziland
From Kruger Park, we headed into Swaziland. What a stunning mountain kingdom! From the moment you cross the border, you can feel life slowing down. The people were full of smiles. There were cattle everywhere and colourfully dressed people and simple homes. We felt a rural gentleness descend.
In Swaziland, we stayed at Hlane Royal National Park. It is a beautiful game reserve filled with wild animals. Here we visited an incredible village where we learned all about local culture and watched a tribal dance performance.
Barra Beach in Mozambique
Next, our Southern Africa Family Tour took us to Mozambique. Crossing the border into Mozambique was like entering a time warp with a modern twist. Maputo is a combination of incredible old buildings with stunning architecture and modern hotels along the ‘golden mile’. The streets were hectically busy and luckily we did not spend long there at all. We restocked a few things and headed out to Praia da Barra and Neptunes in Inhambane Province where we were immediately able to relax.
The fruits and seafood we had in Mozambique were delicious. We had beautiful ladies and young children come up to our chalet daily and sell us fresh fruit and seafood, just in from the fisherman - fresh, fresh, FRESH and extremely JUICY. There were little kiosks and markets within walking distance so we could get everything we needed.
The village was great fun! The children were taken into the huts and pulled up to dance - they had a ball.
From Barra beach, we enjoyed dhow trips and ocean safaris. We saw seahorses and explored the lagoons too. The beaches were long and mainly deserted. The water was blue and warm, ideal for swimming. There were dogs and kids and gorgeous locals selling fresh coconuts, bright coloured bangles, necklaces and beautiful sarongs. The divers and snorkelers saw majestic whale sharks on more than one occasion.
Heading home we first stopped at Villa Espanola which is situated near a beach. A short walk took us to a location where we could look down and see stunning green turtles. So gorgeous. Upon our return to the lodge, we were surprised with a delicious prawn curry cooked by a local man from the market. So good did this smell that even my six-year-old licked his fingers one by one and had not one plate, or two, BUT three in a row. We felt thoroughly spoilt!
Crossing back over into South Africa, we headed to a private game reserve just outside the Kruger National Park. Our final lodge was situated in Marloth Park. The private reserve has no predators, so the kids could walk around and play outside. We still got to see antelope, porcupine and of ALL things a freshwater lobster outside our bungalow...
Our family trip to Kruger, Swaziland & Mozambique was fabulous and we have memories that will last forever! It was wonderful to be able to explore such an incredible part of Africa and see everything through the eyes of a child. Incredibly special.
This was definitely not the last of our family vacations in Africa!
Chat with Bronwyn about planning your own family trip in Southern Africa or take a look at the 14 Day Swaziland, Mozambique & Kruger Lodge Safari that she did with her family.