School holidays are just around the corner, and this is how you will keep your kids thoroughly entertained over the holidays.
Johannesburg, South Africa – We have found some fantastic family-orientated experiences to enjoy in and around Gauteng – perfect for a long-weekend quality-time escape. Avukile Mabombo, Group Marketing Manager of Protea Hotels by Marriott, offers his suggestions to ensure that “I’m booooored” won’t be heard coming out of your kids’ mouths this school holiday period.
It can be challenging to find activities and experiences that keep children busy during the holidays or over long weekends. Too many parents end up checking their calendars to see when the schools go back so that they can breathe a sigh of relief, but even amid the urban sprawl that is Gauteng, it’s possible to have a great time with your family creating memories.
The Cradle of Humankind, Maropeng
Kids have a wonderful fascination for pre-history and the fossils that hint at where we come from. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a fantastic space to explore exactly that. A short trip from Joburg – about an hour – you’ll find a rare opportunity to view original hominid and dinosaur fossils, as well as ancient artefacts housed in the fossil display room.
The collections on display change throughout the year, ensuring there is always something new to see at Maropeng, such as the recently-installed Long March to Freedom exhibition, which showcases almost 100 life-sized bronze statues that represent the struggle history of South Africa. It’s educational, well-maintained and accessible for families. If you don’t feel like driving too much and want to take the effort out of your weekend, stay at a local hotel and enjoy the mini-break.
A busman’s holiday
You know the story about the bus driver who, when going on holiday, takes the bus? Well, in Joburg, the Red Bus City Tour can be your holiday, too. It’s a hop-on, hop-off excursion which takes you to over 20 of the most exciting attractions in Joburg, from Gold Reef City to the James Hall Transport Museum, with a special audio commentary channel for kids.
It means no schlepping around in your car to get from one place to the other, and it offers a unique perspective of the city that will surprise you and entertain your kids.
Did you know, some kids never get to experience the fun of rail travel? The Gautrain is an excellent means of getting from A to Z, with Z in this case standing for the Pretoria Zoo. Hop on the train for a short trip, and then hail a cab service to get to the zoo itself. Coupled with the joy of discovering the world’s wildlife, it’s a fantastic day out.
The National Zoological Gardens of South Africa in Pretoria is an 85-hectare zoo. It is the national zoo of South Africa and was founded by J. W. B. Gunning in 1899. Pretoria Zoo is one of the eight largest zoos in the world and one of the most highly-rated.
The Sci-Bono Discovery Centre is an excellent way to add excitement to your child’s day. Sci-Bono is a world-class science centre that supports maths, science and technology education and offers innovative, dynamic learning experiences that contribute to building South Africa’s science, engineering and technology capacity. They also run holiday programmes, so check out what’s on the go and enjoy!
A village in the city
Irene Farm is a working dairy farm in the city, not something one would expect to find nowadays. Situated in the heart of Gauteng, in the beautiful village of Irene, the owners allow young and old to enjoy the dairy farm experience without having to leave the city.
With its rustic farm feel, Irene Farm has never lost its old-world charm although it has expanded and developed its offerings over the years. Two restaurants on-site (The Barn and The Deck), a great kids’ playground and areas to stroll around while enjoying the farm animals in beautiful surrounds make it a memorable family day out. Want to stick around for more than a day? There’s a tunnel linking the farm to the African Pride Irene Country Lodge, Autograph Collection for easy access.
There’s a vast amount for families to do in Gauteng, from adventure to nature – why not make the most of your next weekend, and make it a #StrongWeekend?