5 family-friendly road trip ideas for April

Posted by Claire Allison on 30 March 2015

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been too busy to notice that Easter and the rest of April’s long weekends are nearly upon us.

For some of us this means lazy mornings spent reading in bed, sipping on tea and scoffing down toasted hot cross buns. For everyone else, it’s an excuse to get out of town and enjoy the gorgeous autumnal weather.

Don’t fret if you haven’t planned anything yet. There’s still time to pack the kids and the Easter eggs in the car and head out to visit these family-friendly destinations.


1. Horizon Route

Open Africa Horizon Route

Explore the quirky towns of the Free State along the Horizon Route. Photo: Open Africa.

In the south-western Free State, where the Horizon Route is located, the open space is complemented by many little places. Many of the little villages originated for a specific reason that is often long-forgotten today. Each town or village on the route has its own unique character and charm. Explore these little places to learn about their history and meet the local people. Take the kids to Fauresmith to see the old steam train or head to Koffiefontein and discover the origin of this interesting little town’s name.

Visit Transgariep Museum in Philippolis, a cultural history museum specialising in the local history of the area and distiller of Witblitz. Yes, you read correctly. This is the only provincial museum in the country to have a working still and the sole distribution point for Philippolis Witblitz, which will blow your mind.

Take the kids to the Jagersfontein Big Hole Open Mine to see the oldest mine hole and biggest hand-excavated pit in the world. It puts Kimberley’s Big Hole to shame and boasts being the site where two of the top ten largest diamonds in the world were mined.


2. Drakensberg Experience Route

Drakensberg Experience Route

Hiking is just one of the many activities to enjoy in the Drakensberg. Photo: Open Africa.

The majestic Drakensberg Mountains are one place you really need to visit at least once in your life. In autumn the days are still warm and dry and the scenery mind-blowing, making it an ideal time to travel here before the winter snow falls. With plenty of areas within the berg in which to stay, including Giant’s Castle and the Central and Northern Drakensberg, families are sure to find somewhere perfect to enjoy a long weekend.

Also read: family-friendly accommodation in the Drakensberg

Hiking trails abound in these parts and the views and scenery will thrill any nature enthusiast. Enjoy adventurous activities such as zip-lining or canoeing down the Tugela River, take a historical tour, check out some seriously impressive falconry or get lost in some of the area’s museums.


3. Cape Nature Route

Cape Nature Route

The Wolfberg Arch is just one of the hiking attractions in the Cederberg Mountains.

This route encompasses all of Cape Nature’s wonders in the Western Cape. From the Cederberg Wilderness Area and Kogelberg Nature Reserve, which are a stone’s throw from Cape Town, to De Mond Nature Reserve and Grootvadersbos Nature Reserve travellers are spoilt for choice. With all these options and views for days, it’s imperative you stay in these destinations for as long as possible, making one of the upcoming long weekends the perfect opportunity to do so.

Hike the Wolfberg Cracks, Wolfberg Arch and Maltese Cross in the Cederberg, stroll along kilometres of pristine sand at De Mond Nature Reserve on the South coast, or pedal your way along a bicycle tour of the Cape’s winelands and their surrounds.


Jumbo River Safaris

Enjoy game viewing along the Olifants River. Image: Jumbo River Safaris.


4. Rixile Culture to Kruger Route

These are ancient lands, teeming with attractions and activities to enjoy. The game viewing at Kruger National Park is possibly the best in the country and it is one of the most renowned eco-tourism destinations in Southern Africa. The province’s impressive mountain scenery beckons hikers, climbers and bikers, while mystic cultural destinations intrigue both local and international tourists.

Visit the late Iron Age heritage site of Masorini about 11km (6 miles) from the Phalaborwa entrance gate in the Kruger Park, or Thomo Heritage Park just outside of Giyani to see the dome-shaped clay furnaces where iron was smelted and learn about the ancient trade routes.

Jumbo River Safaris is a highlight for any traveller, especially for those travelling with children. Jump on the houseboat on the Olifants River, where game like elephant, hippo, crocodile, impala, buffalo, waterbuck, leopard, klipspringer and baboons can be seen.


5. Piketberg and Porterville Blue Crane Route

Piketberg and Porterville Blue Crane Route

The Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area is every nature enthusiast’s dream. Photo: Open Africa.

A great road trip for any long weekend, this route is a few hours’ drive from Cape Town. The dramatic rock formations, fauna, flora and mountain rock pools in the Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area make hiking here a pleasure. For the less adventurous, there are coffee shops, restaurants and the opportunity to stay on one of the local farms and experience the Swartland way of life.

Waterval Holiday Farm in Vanrhynsdorp offers a range of accommodation for families and nature lovers alike. The nearby 380m waterfall on the Troe-Troe River is one of the largest in South Africa and only flows during the rainy season, from April to mid-November. The area boasts another 22 waterfalls, hiking trails that feature Khoisan rock art, mountain bike trails, horse rides, fly fishing, picnic facilities and beautiful, natural swimming pools.

Slightly more adventurous spirits can take a solo flight, hang gliding or paragliding off the Piketberg Mountain and soak up views of the wide open spaces below. Awesome!


Take a look at Open Africa’s self-drive travel routes for more inspiration.

yoast-primary -
tcat - Things to do
tcat_slug - things-to-do
tcat2 -
tcat2_slug -
tcat_final - travel