Places To Take The Kids This Holiday In Durban And Kzn

Durban (eThekweni in Zulu) is the third-largest city in South Africa and the country’s leading holiday resort

The Flag Animal Farm

Whether your kids are animal lovers or not, the Flag Farm which is situated on the North Coast tops our list of things to do. They have over 1000 animals, birds, reptiles, wolves and Barney too! You can take your picnic or braai, but they also have a coffee shop on-site with the most delicious scones, cakes, and light meals. The highlight of our trip was the milking of the cows and watching the wolf interaction. Kids can also enjoy themselves in the indoor play centers, and jumping castles. The kids also had a blast feeding the animals with special food that can be purchased from the farm. There are also horses, pony and tractor rides for the kids. OUR RECOMMENDATION: We suggest that you go early so that you can fully enjoy the different activities on the farm. You must try their freshly baked scones with jam and cream – it’s delicious!!

Take a Hike in Umhlanga

This is a great, healthy and affordable idea for the entire family! Make your way to the Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve and stroll through the coastal dune forest and across the Ohlange River towards the Umhlanga Lagoon. Many drive past the reserve on the M4 every day not knowing that it is brimming with over 208 bird species as well as plenty of small mammals. Keep your eyes open for vervet monkeys and blue and red duiker. The guided walk is half an hour long so it isn’t too strenuous for little hikers. Bookings must be made a day in advance by calling the Breakers Resort front desk. The route is well-marked but walking through the reserve alone is at your own risk. OUR RECOMMENDATION: Take a camera along with you as you can capture the amazing flora and fauna around you, and we had so much fun taking some beautiful family pics too!

Piggly Wiggly Country Village

You cannot visit the Midlands Meander without a visit to the Piggly Wiggly Country Village, located at Lions River in the KZN Midlands. It’s not just for the kids but has something for the entire family. Be warned – if you love shopping for homemade delicacies and handcrafted items then are prepared to spend a small fortune here. We had so much fun at The Candle Dipping Shop where you can create candle art by dipping candles into different colors of wax. Kids can also play putt-putt at the Piggly Wiggly Putt-Putt or get creative at the Zulu-Lulu Ceramic Boutique. Kids and adults will love the Mini train rides around the village, they can also make their pizzas at the pizza place. OUR RECOMMENDATION: The Candle Dipping is a Must. We had such fun making our creations

Learn To Scuba Dive

While KZN’s surfing culture is renowned, its scuba diving treasures remain an untapped gem. Durban boasts incredible dive spots, thanks to its plethora of reefs and shipwrecks. Beginners can start with shallow dives at Vetch’s Pier or explore the harbor’s northern breakwater, which houses the Odd Wreck. For those seeking guidance, the PADI certified Ocean Blue Scuba, nestled in Umhlanga Rocks’ Cabana Beach Resort, offers the Bubblemaker program, specially crafted for budding young divers. Beyond Durban, KZN’s diving marvels extend to the Aliwal Shoal and Sodwana Bay. Aliwal Shoal, heralded by Jacques Cousteau as one of the world’s top dive spots, and the picturesque Sodwana Bay, renowned for its coral beauty and pristine waters, are South Africa’s diving crown jewels. A family diving adventure awaits, and interestingly, kids often outpace adults in mastering the skill!

Butterflies For Africa

Kids are always fascinated by the magic and allure of butterflies. Butterflies for Africa, situated in the KZN Midlands, is a tropical butterfly haven offering butterflies and a whole lot more! The complex houses a walk-through Butterfly House (housing both exotic and indigenous butterflies), Butterfly Theme Store, Art Gallery, Coffee Shop, Nursery, and a Butterfly Garden planted with a large range of butterfly foodplants. The main attraction of Butterflies for Africa is the impressive walk-through butterfly house where you come into close contact with butterflies from around the world as they fly freely in an attractive, lush environment. Now if you have a fear of flying insects, like some of the people in our group then you should skip this!! Here you will find both international and indigenous butterflies, and this is a valuable educational tool for kids. Guides are available at all times to assist you at no extra charge. OUR RECOMMENDATION: We suggest that you go on one of the guided tours as they were able to offer a wealth of knowledge and interesting stories, which the kids loved!!

Durban’s Natural Science Museum

The best part about this one is that it’s FREE!! This worthwhile stop is great for children and adults too. This museum is the most utilized natural science museum in the country. Located in the Durban City Hall, the museum attracts almost 300 000 visitors annually. Visit the boma storytelling area, see a life-size reconstruction of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, various diorama exhibitions and plasma screens showing natural history scenery. On your tour of the museum, you will learn more about Africa’s wildlife (you will have the chance to closely analyze taxidermies like an elephant, wild dogs, a leopard, birds, and insects). Don’t miss the popular galleries with stuffed birds (flamingos, penguins, ostriches) and giant insect replicas and kids will love the interactive displays. OUR RECOMMENDATION: You may not be able to find street parking easily, so we suggest that you park at the Royal Hotel Parkade and walk across.

Kenneth Stainbank Nature Reserve

Now how many of you knew that there is wildlife roaming around in the middle of Durban? Imagine our shock and amazement as Zebra greeted us at the entrance of the Reserve!! Kenneth Stainbank is a 253-hectare reserve right here in Yellowwood Park, Durban. It was established as a result of a bequest of land from Mr. Kenneth Stainbank. You will find fine examples of coastal forest and grassland habitats for many species of plants and animals. Notable species are zebra, bushbuck, reedbuck, impala, blue, red and grey duiker, vervet monkey, rock hyrax, slender mongoose, bushbaby, Egyptian mongoose, banded mongoose, water monitor, and genet. The reserve has an interesting variety of indigenous flora and over 200 bird species. Hidden in the majestic surrounding of the Kenneth Stainbank nature reserve lies, Coedmore Castle. A gracious old family home built to resemble a castle, by daring Stainbank in 1885. The Castle makes an ideal outing for learners of all ages. Younger kids will be thrilled with its fairy-tale appearance, whereas older children will gain valuable insight into some of KZN’s early history. There are 13km of nature walks and a pleasant picnic site is available. A walk for the physically disabled has been specially designed. There is also a 10km mountain bike trail, which is fairly challenging in places. OUR RECOMMENDATION: Be sure not to miss the visit to Coedmore Castle – it’s magical!!

Natal Lion Park

The Natal Lion Park, in the Natal Midlands, is a wildlife haven not far from the major cities of Durban and Pietermaritzburg. It is just 25km from Pietermaritzburg and just over 14km from the town of Camperdown. Enjoy a 1-hour game drive through the park with lion feedings taking place at irregular intervals. The park is home to Lion, African Elephant, Asian Elephant, Impala, Nyala, Grey Duiker, Porcupine, Bush Pig, Kudu, Vervet Monkey, Bush Babies, Cane Rat, Black-Backed Jackal, Zebra, Blue Wildebeest, and Leopard. The best time for sightings would be early morning before the heat of the day sends all the animals into the protectively cool afternoon shade. All roads in the park are gravel so drivers should always remain cautious. Visitors can pick up a little souvenir of their time spent at the on-site curio shop and refreshments are also available in the shop. OUR RECOMMENDATION: Make an early start to visit the Park as we experienced the best sightings in the morning.

Umgeni Steam Railway

All kids (and adults too!) are fascinated by trains, and a ride on a steam train through the beautiful countryside of KZN is something not to be missed. This amazing train journey is from Kloof Station to Inchanga Station and back and is on the last Sunday of every month. The trains leave Kloof Station at 08:30 and 12:30 and takes half a day. At Inchanga Station, you’ll find a craft market, picnic area and pony rides (which the kids will love!!). The train travels from Kloof to Inchanga where there is a craft market. Both adults and kids will love traveling on an authentic steam locomotive, waving at passers-by. This 1hr trip takes you up some of the steepest railway gradients in South Africa (1:30 and 1:50), through one of the oldest running tunnels, Drummond Tunnel – built around 1880, and around the hills overlooking the Valley of 1000 Hills to Inchanga Station. The locomotives vary in age from 1892 through to 1954 and most of the coaches date back to the early 1940s. OUR RECOMMENDATION: When you get back to Kloof Station, be sure to pop into the Stokers Arms pub.