The Garden Route is spectacular, nothing less. Living in the gorgeous Knysna thrills me to my core and I’m always overwhelmed by just how pretty it is. But, my daughter is, apparently, not as thrilled by forests and beaches. I remember being there. Eight years old. Needing something to DO. Watching my parents breathe in the crisp sea mist or marvel at the rugged rocky faces of a mountain just didn’t cut it. And not much has changed.
Fortunately, this gorgeous part of South Africa has PLENTY going for it in the way of family fun. And, with the winter holidays looming, we’re going to need options. Like, three weeks’ worth of options. I’ve put together a list of things – some I’ve done, some I plan to do when she’s older (and taller) – to give other families in and around Knysna some ideas:
- Ziplining and canopy tours
Ziplining over the Tsitsikamma Forest is incredible. Exciting, beautiful and a little scary – all the right ingredients for a kid craving adventure. This is fabulous for families as it is safe, but a total thrill. There are also ziplines over the Tsitsikamma waterfalls. I’ve done and loved both, but would do the forest one again and again.
I love this idea and can’t wait to give it a try. You’re dropped off at a high-lying spot, then hop on your scooter and take a downhill trip through the forests or the Garden Route National Park. The scooters are non-motorised (so, eco-friendly) but there isn’t much effort as the entire adventure is downhill. This is suitable for any age, as little ones can hop onto their parents’ scooters if they’re too young to handle their own.
- Bungy jumping
Disclaimer: never in a million years will you catch me or my child on here. Even looking over the edge is a stretch. BUT, I guess adrenalin-fuelled families can consider this. Bloukrans Bungy is the world’s highest commercial jump, at a stomach-churning 216 metres. The minimum age for this jump is 14 years, so it is best suited to families with older children. At least, after your jump, you’re likely to have a very quiet car ride home.
- Blackwater tubing
I’ve done this too, but never with a child. She would absolutely adore this and I’d recommend it for families without hesitation. Armed with a wetsuit and a comfy tube, you head down Storms River to explore the gorge. But, the guides add plenty of fun and excitement to the excursion with rock jumping and swims (they take this seriously and will very happily toss you out of your tube if you don’t get out for a swim in the stunning waters).
- All things animals
Children (ok, this one is actually about me) love animals. It’s a given. This makes the Garden Route brilliant for families, as there are many animal-centric attractions here. These include Monkeyland, Birds of Eden, Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary, Radical Raptors, Knysna Elephant Park, and the Garden Route National Park.