Family reunions don’t often happen, so when you do get the chance to meet up again, catching up and making more memories become special moments to treasure. The location’s so important as your reunion may end up spoiled if you make the wrong choices. With that in mind, let’s take a look at four great locations that top all others. For more destination guides, check out Trip101.
1) Thonga Beach Lodge, iSimangaliso Wetland Park
iSimangaliso Wetland Park lies in the northwest of KwaZulu-Natal on South Africa’s beautiful Indian Ocean. The unique and diverse habitat protects lakes, estuaries, dunes, beaches, wetlands, and woodlands. Your family reunion in the area takes you into some of the most fascinating wildlife and birding experiences in Africa.
Nestled right on the shores of the Maputaland Coast, Thonga Beach Lodge is a paradise for families who enjoy an eco-traveling experience with a touch of luxury. Their family suites come designed with children in mind. For those in your group without children, the entire lodge offers 24 beds, each with unique views or features like plunge pools. Dining options include an al fresco experience on the dining deck, or you can head on over to the beach deck for a meal overlooking the ocean.
Activities to build up an appetite include snorkeling the pristine waters, fishing, bird watching, guided forest walks, messing about in boats, tracking the turtles, enjoying stunning sunsets and more. Ideal for everyone in your family group, the luxury lodge activities cater to a variety of wilderness interests and fitness levels.
2) Kosi Forest Lodge, ideal for family reunions
Kosi Bay, tucked up on the border of Mozambique also falls under the management of iSimangaliso on the magnificent Maputoland Coast. The idyllic destination first came to the notice of conservation when locals and parks authorities partnered up to protect the area. This included the now iconic traditional fish traps that are still seen today. Kosi Forest Lodge is the only private ‘barefoot luxury’ lodge in the Kosi Bay Nature Reserve.
Sand Forests, synonymous with the plains below the Lebombo shelter the lodge. Get close to nature under beautifully constructed timber and canvas accommodation. It’s the kind of place where the soft sand invites you to kick off your shoes. Your family reunion brings an opportunity to relax together in the quiet of nature, or take off and explore.
A highlight is snorkeling at the river mouth. Why not take along a picnic and spend a day watching the tides and splashing about. Alternatively, paddle the quiet river, bird watch, fish, or meet some of the locals.
This outdoor paradise suits families as they cater especially for children. Their family rooms comprise of two chalets which are linked by a walkway. Each of them comes with its own shower and toilet. Plus, you get to use the common space which includes a boma bath and shower. Needing to accommodate more people? No problem, as they also have six other forest rooms.
3) Explore the Hluhluwe iMfolozi Park at the Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge
Inland from the coast, not far off the main route from Durban to Maputoland via Jozini, lies South Africa’s oldest proclaimed game reserve. Known for leading the way in rhino conservation, the beautiful reserve and equally nice concession areas are there for you to explore.
Once again, with family in mind, the Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge caters for children. Their accommodation includes two family suites. If you want a grand family reunion, other accommodation includes three other types. Eight luxury bush villas should just about hit the spot. Imagine sitting there on your private viewing deck as the sun sets on a day of game viewing.
Activities include a range of options and a popular one for people of all ages is visiting the Centenary Capture Centre & Museum. Why not take advantage of the organic spa and spoil yourself as you look out over the magnificent view. Of course, no safari with family’s complete without the game drives. Morning and evening, set off to in search of the Big 5 under the watchful eye of professional guides. Alternatively, walk the wilderness with your teenagers, or take in the over-ten kid-friendly Gorge Walk.
4) Family time at the elegant Rhino Post Safari Lodge, Greater Kruger
Not all safari lodges in the Greater Kruger accept children, but Rhino Post Safari Lodge does. It’s great news for those seeking a Kruger experience with the kids and even grandchildren. The only thing you need to think about is if the little ones are younger than six, you would need to book a private vehicle for a game drive. However, the lodge does offer a child-minding service as well if you arrange it ahead of your visit.
The lodge comes with simply the best way of experiencing wildlife in safety. Renowned for the main deck which offers the opportunity to capture the animals on your camera, you need not go anywhere else if you prefer. But, what’s a safari without the morning and evening game drives? After all, your drives take you through unfenced areas bordering the famous Mala Mala and Sabi Sands reserves.
Lounge away the hot hours of the day at the swimming pool or take your favourite drink to the deck and watch the animals coming to water. Alternatively, head for your cool suite and enjoy a massage, or enjoy a light snooze after lunch. The lodge really allows you to meet the wilderness as construction consists of canvas, stone, and wood. The ambiance of Africa surrounds you every minute of your family reunion memory-making safari.
The top family reunion destinations in South Africa
From the stunning marine reserve of iSimangaliso, to the heartland of the Zulus, through to the 1,000-year-old culture of the Tonga people, and the magnificent Kruger Park, nature-loving families can enjoy their reunions knowing their footprint is small. The eco-friendly nature of these destinations means that nature thrives on for the next generations to make their own treasured family memories.