The top 3 things to do in Gauteng, with young children!
Having 2 young girls who are as active as they are vocal about what they want, like and need (their needs are more like wants, but to them it’s a need) means that I need to ensure that there is always something fun and exciting, active and hopefully educational for them to do!
Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens
Just this past weekend, with winter on its way, I decided that some fresh air was just the thing we all needed. Along with a great friend and her two young children we set off for the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens. The goal was to hike to the top of the water falls. I remember this hike, from back in the day, however on this day I was put to shame by a 4 and 6-year-old, who led the charge up the precarious 3.5 km hike to the water fall. This hike was not what I recalled, and though the struggles were real for me, not having exercised in longer than I can remember, the fun, the perseverance I saw in these young children reminded me that giving up was not an option!! This fun journey should be one that everyone should try at least once. The tranquil gardens, the educational aspect, the fresh air and the quality of time spent with my daughters was an amazing experience.
Second on our list is the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa otherwise known as the Pretoria Zoo. What can I say but WOW. Animals for Africa, huge. A great time out for the entire family! My daughters were able to spot animals all over the place! Unlike the Johannesburg Zoo which feels very run down and desolate, you will find every animal imaginable!! Even the Kangaroo! and leopards, Guerrilla’s, tigers. A fun time, also walked for hours, a gold cart may have been better, but the chance to spend that time enjoying the looks on their faces was the highlight of my day. Revisits are definitely in the cards!
For the young at heart where coordination is not a problem, we Roll eGoli! Roll skating! Not for the feint hearted as demonstrated by myself, where my butt was more on the rink than my roller skates. An immensely fun time, learning a new skill, the music is great, the friendly staff are amazing and the pizza to die for! Parties, or just a casual visit will have you revisiting the 80’s!
I’ve learnt the hard way that trying to find things that we all enjoy need not be the most exhaustive thing to do! With google only a tap away, and my daughters eager and excited faces as we head off on yet another awesome journey is worth more than words can ever tell!
And I did have an ice-cream or 2! How can I not!
Some ideas for when you’re visiting the Garden Route
People who have visited the Garden Route will know that it is one of the most beautiful places in South Africa. We’ve got the ocean, the mountains, the forest and the Karroo on our doorstep. Having lived in Johannesburg and Bloemfontein I can assure that there’s no place like Eden.
Finding things to do is really easy, especially if you’re a nature-lover like we are. We’re a family of four with two small daughters, so finding something for the whole family is top priority for us. I’ve compiled a list of 5 things to do in the Garden Route (Heidelberg – Plettenberg Bay).
- Swimming, fishing, snorkelling, boating… basically anything you can do at the beach! According to TripAdivsor Wilderness Beach received the most and best reviews. I personally prefer something that has a little of everything. This I’ve found at Glentana Beach. Beautiful pools of water open up at low tide. So when hubby wants to collect bait for his next fishing trip, the kids and I can explore the pools and they can splash to their heart’s content. There is nothing that compares to the beauty of nature, and you can experience it in all its glory when visiting the beach.
- Museums – I love learning about our history. After all as Terry Pratchett said “If you do not know where you come from, then you don’t know where you are… or where you’re going”. Apart from the main museums we have the Outeniqua Transport Museum where you can walk inside the trains and get a feel of how our ancestors used to travel far distances; you can visit the Cango Caves for a great adventure and a breath taking display of stalagmites and stalactites; the Bartolomeu Dias Museum Complex does not disappoint with its life size replica of the Diaz Caravel ship that you can also on board and explore.
- We have 2 major waterparks in the Garden Route: Adventure Land – which is tucked into a forest setting and Diaz Waterpark – that was just re-done and definitely promises for a whole day of fun in the sun.
- A walk on the wild side… The Garden Route boasts with a ton of wildlife parks and sanctuaries. Here you can see anything from elephants to wolves. Just outside Plett. you can visit Monkeyland, Birds of Eden and Knysna Elephant park. On your way back you can visit George Wildlife park and see the beautiful White Tiger and his friend play in their swimming pool.
- Last but not least, if you are artsy fartsy person like me you’ll get lost in our craft markets. Every Saturday you have a host of craft markets to browse through, the most popular being the Sedgefield Craft Market. There you’ll find anything from handmade soaps to fresh produce, it really makes one proud to be South African. The Garden Route is known for its artists and here you can expect nothing but the best hand crafted items money can buy.
It was great to show you around my Eden and I really hope you visit soon, as you can see there’s so much to do and hardly ever enough time!