School holidays hardly leave me in a state of rapture. In fact, I get a distinct tingling sensation down my spine at the thought of a bored tween with absolutely no passion for reading (a work in progress, I admit). And it’s not that good tingle.
So, for parents, like me, that need some serious holiday inspiration, here are a few ideas of things to do to pass the weeks near Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. These may be small coastal ‘villages’, but they promise a world of fun for kids of all ages…
Suggestions of Things to Do in the School Holidays in the Garden Route
We’ve been twice during the School holidays and just can’t get enough of this stunning place.
Radical Raptors is home to a number of rescued wild birds that include a black eagle, an elegant African fish eagle, spotted eagle owls that are full of personality, barn owls, kestrels, Harris’ hawks and more.
But, it’s the shows that are just incredible. Sit on benches under the trees as the knowledgeable Mark introduces different birds of prey to you. He gets some of them to perch on your gloved fist or to sit next to you as he talks about their design, skills and individual personalities.
This isn’t a place where sad animals look back at you with pleading eyes. It’s an adventure, where the birds show off their hunting, soaring and swooping skills just metres from your head. There are plenty of fantastic photo opportunities too.
Afterwards, tour the enclosures, where you can get up close to massive feathered beauties and then have a bite to eat and a delicious coffee at the local restaurant (The Heath Café & Deli).
It is situated on the N2, just five kilometres outside Plett, and about 15 to 20 minutes from Knysna.
Where: The Heath, Plettenberg Bay, Garden Route.
When: Tuesday to Sunday at 11h00, 13h00 and 15h00. Also open on Mondays during School Holidays.
How: Call +27 (0)83 561-0973 or +27 (0)44 532-7537
Note: A special thanks to all who agreed to having their photos published here in the interest of showing just how fabulous a visit to Radical Raptors is for kids of all ages.
For the summer school holidays, this is an awesome water park that is just as thrilling for children as it is for adults.
There are six main slides (aptly called things like the Kamikazi Slide and the Raging Rapid Tube Rush), and a number of smaller slides and pools for toddlers and little ones.
We love packing a picnic basket and tanning on the grass or lazing under the trees. There is a kiosk for treats like chips and ice-creams, and an ablution block.
All of this excitement is set a little bit back from the N2 between Plett and Knysna.
Where: Coral Tree Cottages, Off the N2, Harkerville, Plettenberg Bay, 6600, Garden Route
When: Best during daylight hours
How: Call +27 (0)44 532-7869 or +27 (0)44 532-7822
Kids + beaches = winning.
In the summer holidays, Buffalo Bay, Bollards Bay, the beaches of Plett, Keurbooms Lagoon, Sedgefield and Wilderness are all fantastic for bronzed bodies that just can’t get enough of the water and tired moms that just want to lie on the sand and read a magazine.
In winter, this may get a little trickier, but there’s nothing a hoodie and some gumboots can’t fix. Running down steep sand dunes, building castles and exploring the colourful anemones in the rock pools is just about everything a kid could wish for.
For surfers, paddle-boarders and kite surfers, there’s no winter chill that can stand up to a thicker wetsuit.
See them all: Garden Route Beaches (and pools)
Birds of Eden, Monkeyland and Jukani
These three wildlife sanctuaries are run and operated by the same group. So, visiting all three in one day means getting a reduced rate. They are wonderlands for everyone, regardless of age.
Birds of Eden is an enormous netted aviary, where massive macaws soar overhead and more than 3 500 birds squawk, stroll and perch around you.
Visiting Monkeyland means strolling through the forests, while all sorts of primates play in the trees around you, watching you inquisitively.
Jukani is a haven for lions, tigers, hyenas, panthers and more; most of which have been rescued from circuses, summer camps and zoos around the world.
Trails and Walks
The outdoors feed my soul and bring me back to a place of sanity. For my daughter, on the other hand, it presses a button that makes her want to purge every last bit of energy and hysteria. Win-win.
There are many trails in and around Knysna. These include the Robberg Hiking Trail at Plett, which is a stunning walk of two, four or 11 kilometres, depending on the route you choose to take.
On one walk, we spotted four great white sharks in the water below, and the local colony of seals is aways fantastic to watch. This hike is not for very young children and requires a negotiating of a rocky path.