The rise of family adventure holidays –and 5 reasons why your family should go on one in the west coast
“The family that adventures together, thrives together”
Family adventure holidays have become a hugely popular option for South African families who are increasingly choosing fun and memorable experiences and excursions over more sedate and traditional holiday options.
Lounging in the sun on the beach or next to the pool has its place in every summer holiday, but when interspersed with adventure experiences such as canoeing, sailing, rock climbing, horse riding – the list is extensive – a family holiday becomes a memory of a lifetime.
Here is a list of five key reasons why you should choose a family adventure holiday this summer:
1. Challenge yourselves
Some of our best personal qualities come from challenging ourselves.
Succeeding at a challenge provides a real sense of accomplishment – and for children in particular, it can give them a huge confidence boost. Adventure holidays give everyone a personal challenge, whether it’s conquering a fear of heights, or having the confidence to paddle on a river. Achievement can even come from having a go at something you didn’t think you would like or enjoy.
2. Share incredible experiences
There’s no greater way to maximise your quality time together as a family than by taking part in fun experiences together. These shared experiences create memories for life. When you are laughing together; when you watch your children experience something for the first time; when you collectively conquer a fear; when you all sleep out under the stars together; or sit around the campfire telling stories – these are all precious times that will imprint into your memory forever. These magical moments are priceless.
3. Keep fit
Outdoor pursuits are a great way to keep fit! An adventure holiday gives you lots of opportunities to get out and about moving, and to find an outdoor activity you enjoy and can take up on your return home as a way to exercise. For children, inspiring a love of the outdoors from a young age helps encourage a love for fitness.
4. Strengthen family bonds
A study has shown that shared adventurous activities foster open communication, encourage solidarity, and create a stronger sense of shared memories, all of which help to build a better family dynamic.
5. It will make you happier
Adventure holidays that involve being outdoors and active can make you feel happier and calmer. Exercise has many documented health benefits which in turn impact your mental health. Coupled with being out in nature – it’s a winning recipe for improved wellbeing.
According to Nomonde Ndlangisa, CEO of Bergrivier Tourism, they have spotted some trends amongst visitors to the Bergrivier region which show that families are taking more and more activity and adventure holidays. “The desire for this kind of holiday has never been greater and the ability to swap screen time for family time is being sought by an increasing number of families. Parents want to get to know their children again, to see bonds between siblings strengthen and to create long-lasting memories.”
Ndlangisa provides some tips on family adventure destinations and activities to try this summer which are right on Cape Town’s doorstep:
The Bergrivier region is known as the adventure capital of the Western Cape for a reason,” says Ndlangisa. “There is so much on offer that adventure-seeking families will be spoilt for choice! The region is also renowned for its untamed natural beauty, boasting breathtaking landscapes, from rugged mountain ranges to tranquil riverbanks. Families can hike, bike, and explore to their heart’s content.”
The hugely popular West Coast village of Velddrif hugs the banks of the beautiful Berg River. This lovely town is perfectly located to offer a myriad of activities to families who are water-sport enthusiasts – such as canoeing and kayaking, boat trips up the Berg River, sailing, surfing, skiing, kite-boarding, stand-up paddling in the river – and so much more. The Berg River is also a fishing hotspot and is one of the most popular bird-watching sites in South Africa.
Be sure to visit the renowned Bokkom Laan (also a Heritage Site) – the oldest road in the town that snakes up the edge of the Berg River. For places to stay, you can choose from a selection of cottages and lodges situated along the Bergrivier River, offering both relaxation and immediate access to adventurous activities.
Piketberg, which is nestled at the foot of the Piketberg Mountain range, draws adventure-seeking families looking to enjoy – amongst many other things – the stunning natural surrounds and the abundant outdoor activities. Amongst these is hiking, mountain biking, camping, canoeing, fishing and 4x4ing.
“A highly recommended activity to try in Piketberg is the Historic Walking route, and for adventurous families, a top destination to stay and play is the Klein Tafelberg adventure centre,” says Ndlangisa.
Last but certainly not least on the list of highly recommended towns to visit this summer in pursuit of family adventure is Porterville, a quaint village nestled on the slopes of the Olifant’s River Mountains at the base of the Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area.
Long known as the paragliding and hang-gliding capital, outdoor enthusiasts are in for a treat with a visit to Porterville, which offers a variety of hiking and mountain biking trails to fascinating destinations where impressive rock formations can be found. There is also an uphill waterfall trail at Waterval (a hugely popular camping spot) which is dotted with 22 waterfalls snaking their way down the mountainside, interspersed with crystal clear pools for a cooling dip.
“Whether it is camping, birdwatching, river cruising, canoeing, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, or horse-riding – there are so many adventures to be had in the Bergrivier area that families are truly spoilt for choice,” concludes Ndlangisa.