South Africa Family Safari Explorer
Exclusive and malaria-free safari destinations and the action packed Whale Coast
Personalised journeys from start to finish
Save an acre of rainforest each time you travel
Every detail taken care of
- Private tours in Cape Town and The Whale Coast
- Game drives lead by specialist guides on safari
- Luxury hotels and safari lodges throughout
- Meet and greet airport service
- Full support from your Cape Town-based travel concierge before, during and after your trip
At a glance
A wonderful wildlife adventure specifically designed for families, selecting the very best malaria-free safari reserves and choosing the lodges that work best with families so that your children will have an enjoyable as well as an educational adventure.
From Johannesburg, your journey begins with three nights in Madikwe Reserve, our favourite spot in South Africa for a family safari where you can look forward to spotting the ‘Big Five’ – lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo – plus much more besides.
You’ll the spend three nights on the Whale Coast at Grootbos Reserve. This is another of our favourite places for a family adventure, where you can explore the area on hikes, mountain bikes, ocean safaris and more. We especially like touches such as the ability to arrange early dinner for your kids with a special menu, after which the adults can indulge in a relaxed six-course dinner while childminders take care of your little ones in the playroom.
Next up is Cape Town, an incredible city with so much to so. As well as the buzz that comes from a big city, you also have the ocean, Table Mountain and colonies of penguins and seals who call this place home.
Your final stop is the ultra exclusive Tswalu Reserve, the country’s largest private reserve at some 100,000 hectares yet only shared with up to 30 other guests. Wildlife here on the Kalahari’s grasslands is varied and prolific, and Tswalu is a great place to spot small critters such as meerkats, aardvarks and pangolins as well as larger game. There’s also a broad range of activities catering to families, including the junior ranger programme.
Please remember that this is an example itinerary that we would be happy to customise to suit you and your family’s requirements.
Example Trip Itinerary
Reserves and Lodges in Madikwe
Choose to stay at one of the Morukuru Family’s three unique properties in the Madikwe Game Reserve and take charge of your safari adventure. The Morukuru has three ‘villas’ to choose from. The River House caters for up to six adults and four children and combines European styling with African influences as the largest property. A short walk away is the Owner’s House, which accepts smaller parties of between two and four guests. This accommodation features fantastic attention to design and comes replete with a heated infinity pool. Lastly is Farm House, for groups of 4 to 10 guests and 10 minutes walk away from the other properties. This is the most modern of all the villas and is as light and spacious as a safari lodge can get. You will have complete control of each of the villas, with a host of discreet staff to wait on your every whim; since there are no set schedules, you will be able to choose precisely what you want to do and when you want to do it, whether that be tracking wildlife on a tailored big game drive, or simply lounging by the pool enjoy a cocktail or two.
- Ten luxury suites
- Private Camp, Little Madikwe Hills (two bedrooms)
- Swimming Pool
- Spa Treatments
Not only does the Madikwe Reserve enjoy the Big Five but the Madikwe Hills Private Game Lodge delivers all the panache of a Five Star safari experience. Its ten elegant suites all have their own private sun decks, plunge pools and glass-fronts for unbroken views of the surrounding savannah and are the ultimate in Afro-chic safari elegance. Thick linens and rich cotton bedding are surrounded by the native bushveld style of stone, earthy tones, aged wood, fireplaces, underfloor heating and all with the lavish feel of polished luxury. Also if you are after an even more private and personalised stay there’s the separate Private Little Madikwe Hills 2-bedroom suite that comes with a large private swimming pool, personal butler, chef, Landrover and game ranger. The staff here at Madikwe Hills are very accommodating and the gourmet food is equally impressive: eat and swap stories in the light of a late-night Boma, indulge in a late afternoon massage after a game drive and don’t forget to take the opportunity to dine out in the bush one evening.
- Five suites with private infinity pools & decking
- Including Two, 600m Presidential Suites
- Main Lodge
- Fitness Centre
- Cigar Lounge
- Laptops on request
- iPod docking stations
Molori’s five vast suites are distanced for more privacy and designed to the starry heights of infinite, open-sided African chic. At the hand of celebrated South African interiors master Stephen Falcke, the lodge’s perfectly attuned style is not too overboard to disconnect you from the surroundings. A well-balanced blend of international fittings and furnishings sit well next to more regional equivalents and art, a good example being the glass chandeliers that dangle from the steep thatch-roof ceilings. Each of the suites enjoys a pleasing amount of seclusion being well-spaced apart and with their own private decking, infinity plunge pools not to mention magnificent views of the Dwarsberg mountains and surrounding bush of the Madikwe. The two 600sqm presidential suites (Metsi and Molelo) are decorated to the zenith of luxury with Phillippe Starck bathtubs, Fendi loungers and Swahili tables – but again, the glitz is played down to make way for the breath-taking surrounds. The main lodge features a fantastic, world-class Spa to help you relax and really unwind in this wild setting, plus Molori usually places a celebrated chef in residence for some of the country’s best fine dining on safari.
- 12 Suites for 24 people
- Children of all ages welcome
- Private plunge pools
- Host team of guides, chefs and staff
Lelapa translates as ‘family’, and this sprawling private villa could hardly be better named. First there is the size. 12 suites accommodate up to 24 people, including a handful of connecting children’s’ rooms, making Lelapa perfect for family and friends groups. Then there’s the building itself, with numerous communal spaces – plunge pools, cosy lounge areas and fire places – for quality time with those most important to you after a day of exquisite Madikwe safari. But perhaps the name ‘Lelapa’ is most apt when talking about your warm host team, including private safari guides, chefs and babysitters, all there to make the whole experience unforgettable.
The Madikwe Game Reserve, bordering the Kalahari Desert and Botswana in South Africa’s north west corner, is one of the country’s lesser known and more remote of the Big Five safari experiences. Moreover, it's malaria-free, making the area great for families. This is South Africa's fifth largest game reserve at 75,000 hectares yet it's relatively unknown despite its variety of wildlife consisting of a large population of elephants, 300 types of bird and over sixty different mammal species including the 'Magnificent Seven' (elephant, rhino, buffalo, cheetah, leopard, lion and African Wild Dog).
Light aircraft flight from Madikwe to Johannesburg
Flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town
Private transfer to the Whale Coast
The Whale Coast
Lodges at the Grootbos Reserve
- Eleven suites
- 11 suites
- Restaurant & Bar
- Beauty Salon
- Library & Entertainment Room
- Stables and animal yard
- Entertainment Room
Grootbos Private Reserve’s Garden eco-lodge, appropriately named, is enclosed by some beautifully designed and well-kept gardens all under a canopy of rare Fynbos trees that crowd the inclines of the Druineveld Moutains. The concept of the eleven freestanding suites that surround the original Grootbos main lodge is one of a modern in construction but traditional in style, drawing on the ethnic African designs of exposed stone, timber frames and thatch roofs. Each room is well equipped with its own wooden decks and views over Walker bay. Also this lodge, in comparison to Forest, is more family-friendly given its range of room sizes and immediate amenities (entertainment room, small farmyard and stables) well-suited for those travelling with smaller children.
- 6 Bedroom Villa with cinema room, swimming pool, cellar and gym
- 4 Bedroom Villa with swimming pool
- Private butler, chef, guide and vehicle
The private villas at Grootbos Private Reserve channels a minimalist and futuristic design that heavily contrasts, and thereby sets off wonderfully, the decadence of the 180° views over Walker Bay. One is an entire property of six suites, two lounges, dining room, home cinema, wine cellar, BBQ area, pool and kitchen is to be hired exclusively and which carries the ultimate in luxury service (private chef, butler and guide) and is a truly refined stay. Villa 2 has four suites and similarly enjoys seclusion, private staff and your own game drive vehicle.
Perfectly poised on the headland between two bays and at the heart of what is considered the ‘whale watching Mecca’ of the world, the 2,500-hectare Grootbos Private Nature Reserve is well positioned to enjoy the area’s thrilling to its more relaxing of activities.
From diving with Great Whites, horse riding on wild Atlantic beaches, spotting whales and pods of dolphin cavorting in Walker Bay to tasting regional wines, discovering the unique heritage of towns such as De Kelders and Hermanus, and trekking through the intriguing fynbos flora and fauna of its reserves and valleys – you won’t be short of things to do here on the Whale Coast and at Grootbos.
Private transfer to your hotel in Cape Town
Accommodation in Cape Town
- 209 Rooms
- Two outdoor pools
- Tennis Courts
- Fitness Centre
- Golf Practice Net
- Two restaurants
The Grand Dame, heritage property of Cape Town, the Mount Nelson comes with bags of history and is perhaps the most famous hotel in the city. It’s set in large grounds and is made up of a number of different smaller buildings. Most rooms have been refurbished with a contemporary refresh, adding comfort and modern touches to the historic décor. The bar and restaurant have had a similar treatment making them a popular place to visit for Capetonians (a great sign for any hotel restaurant, particularly in the fickle and competitive Cape Town restaurant scene). Rooms are very comfortable and spacious and are located in several buildings dotted throughout the large property and gardens. This makes it stand apart from other larger hotels in Cape Town as in this most outdoor of cities it’s great to have large, green gardens to take a stroll through and outdoor pools (and for the more active, there are also tennis courts). Though The Mount Nelson is very much a location in itself, the large grounds sit just a short stroll away from downtown and also the Kloof Street Area, which is famous among locals for excellent new restaurants and boutiques. Afternoon Tea at the Nelson (or Nellie as it is affectionately known) is a Cape Town institution and well worth trying.
- Four bedrooms and four bathrooms
- Private plunge pool
- Dining room
- Balcony with a view of Table Mountain
The Redcliffe House, at More Quarters, is ideal for large groups or families, it being an immaculate four-bedroom/bathroom home. This historical building is actually one of the owner’s personal homes, utilized by the family for three months of the year. The remaining nine months the house is available to accommodate guests. The house is serviced daily by the staff of the Hotel, allowing your stay away from home to include being away from the housework. It also features an exclusive swimming pool, solely for your private use. With the ability to safely walk to local restaurants and boutique shops, you really feel as if you are a Cape local and experience the local cosmopolitan lifestyle. All the other amazing opportunities that the Mother City offers are an easy traffic free drive away.
- Eleven rooms, two suites and two villas
- Outdoor swimming pool
- Public kitchen
- Large spa
- Private contemporary art gallery and cinema
- South Africa Masters adorning the walls of the communal areas
Ellerman House is a class act throughout. Not to mention a wonderful piece of history that feels very much like your own home but with top class service befitting a five-star hotel. Perched in one of the most spectacular and privileged settings in Cape Town overlooking Bantry Bay, it is the epitome of comfort and class with a relaxed, elegant style. Decoration is colonial, with a nod to the contemporary and recently refurbished to provide thoroughly modern comforts. Where Ellerman House excels above others is the excellent house staff, who in these grand surrounds create such a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. Taking a (complimentary) evening cocktail from the lounge and strolling out onto the peaceful gardens overlooking the sea for sunset is the perfect end to a day in Cape Town as one feels both special and relaxing. There are just eleven rooms, two suites and two private contemporary villas. Communal areas include a spacious lounge, large garden area (with outdoor pool) and a huge spa. There is an open kitchen you are invited to visit, a pantry that you can raid as well as the complimentary evening cocktails. A particular feature of the property is its private art collection. This is simply outstanding, one of the best in South Africa with works from African masters inside the main building and then, underneath is a contemporary gallery. For anyone interested in art this will add an extra element to their stay.
- 120 Rooms and suites
- Small Outdoor Pool
- Whisky and wine bar
- Pool and outdoor deck
Situated in the heart of the V&A waterfront, the Cape Grace is one of Cape Town’s most famous luxury hotels. You can expect world class, personalised service from the Grace in a location perfect for enjoying the restaurants, boutiques and entertainment of this upmarket area. Reflecting its location, the recently refurbished décor has a nautical theme and is full of local detail, with antiques and maps adorning the hallways. In a playful touch, sumptuous chandeliers are adorned with unusual items (such as crockery and kitchenware in the Restaurant area). The 120 rooms and suites are spacious, comfortable and elegantly decorated offering views out to Table Mountain, Signal Hill or the Marina. The hotel also features a luxurious pool and outdoor deck, a spa on the top floor and a great whiskey bar. You can walk straight out into the waterfront area here making it a perennial favourite.
- 153 Rooms and Suites
- Full Spa
- Outdoor Infinity Pool
- Pool bar
- Nobu and Reubens Restaurants
- Children's club
Located in the popular V&A waterfront, the One&Only is the most contemporary of Cape Town’s top hotels. As one might expect from the top luxury resort specialists, the service is excellent. The very spacious rooms and suites (107) have an elegant style, fabrics and textiles taking an African influence with rich colourful hues. The main hotel area sits around a lagoon in which an island has been created. This is where the outdoor pool, jacuzzis and spa are located, to give more of a ‘resort’ style feel to the hotel. Special Island suites are also available here. Inside the hotel itself there are large communal areas including a vast lobby and bar area as well as restaurants from South African celebrity Chef Reuben Rifell and Nobu. The resort also has a particularly good kids club, which they can be left in comfortably for the day as the adults go out exploring.
Spend your time relaxing and exploring this wonderful city. You have our top recommendations for activities, restaurants and shopping so that you can make the most of your time here.
Private transfer to Cape Town airport
Lodges in Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
- Eight freestanding 'legaes' (small houses)
- Open fireplaces
- Private sun decks
- Main house has lounges, decks, infinity pool, library, wine cellar, WiFi, gym and spa
Tswalu Kalahari Reserve’s main camp, Motse, sits at the foot of the Korannaberg mountains. The architecture is inspired by and reflects the landscape, fully enveloping you into the safari experience; local smoothed stone, red clay and traditional Kalahari thatch are surrounded and hung with natural textiles, thick linens and seagrass that contrast well with varying textures and woven patterns. The effect is authentic, earthy, neutral, yet with a luxuriously refined feel. There are eight small houses in the camp: six one-bedroom suites and two two-bedroom family suites. All have indoor and outdoor showers, en-suite bathrooms, fireplaces, WiFi and private sundecks where you can sink into your cushioned rattan armchairs to watch one of the stunning sunsets or stare at an ever-clear night sky. Upon your arrival either by plane or car, you have a private consultation so your time and activities during your stay are flexible and tailored exactly to your interests and preferences. So, if you want spend a night at the Malori sleepout, track cheetah the next day, have a facial after dinner, visit the local community, have a gourmet picnic lunch on your game drive or champagne breakfast in bed, this will all be arranged for you.
- Five bedrooms
- Accommodates up to ten guests
- Personal chef
- Private game vehicle, guides and trackers
- Swimming pool
- Two lounges with fireplaces
The Oppenheimer family’s own private house within the Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, the Tarkuni residence is located about thirty minutes drive away from the main Motse Camp and is rented exclusively for a dedicated private service with your own chef, butler, personal field guide, vehicle and tracker. Five elegant suites sleep up to ten people, with a pool and is perfect for families or a good group of friends. Upon your arrival either by plane or car, you have a private consultation so your time and activities during your stay are flexible and tailored exactly to your interests and preferences. So, if you want spend a night at the Malori sleepout, track cheetah the next day, have a facial after dinner, visit the local community, have a gourmet picnic lunch on your game drive or champagne breakfast in bed, this will all be arranged for you.
The malaria free Tswalu Reserve, owned by the Oppenheimer family, is the largest private game reserve in South Africa consisting of over 100,000 hectares of the ‘green’ Kalahari grasslands home to eighty mammal species and 340 varieties of bird.
Furthermore, the reserve is not further divided up into concessions or reserves and the only accommodation is the Motse Camp and Tarkuni House, which only allow for a maximum of thirty guests at one time in the entire of Tswalu. If you are staying for three nights or more you’ll also get a complimentary private vehicle, guide and tracker to make this your very own private Kalahari. The motto is, if you see another Range Rover on your game drives, complain.
Light Aircraft flight from Tswalu to Johannesburg
Get in Touch
South Africa Family Safari Explorer
How We Work
We create fully personalised trips from start to finish, working with you to pick locations, accommodation and guides that suit you.
Each time you travel with us, you preserve an acre of precious rainforest through our partnerships.
From in-depth private tours to restaurant reservations, we take care of every detail so you can make the most of your journey.