Family quality time does not have to be limited to visiting child-friendly restaurants, or play areas. This year, start a new family hobby, get active, learn to appreciate nature and (best of all), set a wonderful lifestyle example for your kids. We have put together a list of easy, yet mesmerising, child- friendly (and sometimes even pet-friendly) hiking and walking trails in South Africa, so choose one and get started.
Child-friendly Hiking and Walking Trails South Africa
Kranskloof, Magaliesberg Mountains
These relatively easy trails are situated on the Bartlett’s Farm near Rustenburg and allow families (and their dogs) a steady climb, past a dam and rock formations up the Magaliesberg Mountains, through a beautiful gorge and a rock-strewn river bed. Be sure to cool off in the rockpool before heading back to the camp which has shower facilities, toilets and a braai area.
Tel: 014 535 0014
Mountain Sanctuary, Magaliesberg
Mountain Sanctuary Park is a privately-owned nature reserve situated in the Magaliesberg Mountains. Essentially a hiking reserve, this escape into nature offers various trails, ranging from 15 minutes to 8 hours, all of which allow the hiker the freedom to explore this magnificent oasis. A mountain pool offers a cool reprieve and be on the lookout for various wildlife, flora and birds. The park also has great picnic and braai spots as well as a restaurant and pool area on site. Camping sites and self-catering accommodation options are also available.
Tel: 014 534 0114
Image Credit: mountain-sanctuary.co.za
Castle Gorge, Magaliesberg
This hiking trail is co-owned by the Johannesburg Hiking Club, who hold weekly hikes for their members: each hike is divided up into groups according to skill level and each group is assigned a leader, making this a very lucrative club to join for beginners. When hiking Castle Gorge, expect fauna and flora, magical views of the Magaliesberg and deliciously cool mountain pools.
Tel: 078 885 6505
Huddle Park Golf & Recreation, Johannesburg
This golf park, situated in Linksfield, offers much more than just golf: it has it’s very own Acrobranch venue (read more about our unforgettable adventure here) https://thingstodowithkids.co.za/blog/our-unforgettable-adventure-Johannesburg, dog walking trails, 2.5km and 5km walking and running trails, ideal for families as well as mountain bike trails. This venue promises an outdoor adventure everyone will enjoy.
Tel: 011 640 6693
Walk Haven Dog Park, Johannesburg
This park offers families and their furry friends 22 hectares of wide open space, fresh air and rolling grasslands in the Mulderdrift area. Picnic and braai facilities are available as well as a tea garden serving wood-fired pizzas.
Contact: 071 212 9955
Image Credit: walkhaven.co.za
Newlands Forest Walk, Cape Town
This popular venue is a familiar family favourite weekend outing and offers a fairly moderate walk through the beautiful and serene forest, large imposing trees and a friendly river. The children and dogs will love the waterfall and plunge pool.
Tel: 021 712 0527
Constantia Nek, Cape Town
Forming part of the Table Mountain National Park, this walking trail takes you up the mountain to the 5 historic dams. Although it is all uphill, the trial is fairly easy. The walk starts in Cecilia Forest and ends at the Helly-Hutchinson dam.
Tel: 021 712 0527
Cecilia Waterfall, Cape Town
This hiking trail will lead you along an easy to navigate gravel path (ideal for younger kids) past a rushing waterfall and bubbling streams, through a magical forest – it is simply beautiful.
Tel: 021 712 0527
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape Town
One of the great botanical gardens of the world, Kirstenbosch has become a must-visit institution in our Mother City. The Gardens offer various trails (ranging from easy to difficult), as well as picnic spots. There is so much to explore at Kirstenbosch and it’s a definite must for any family.
Tel: 021 799 8783
Lion’s Head, Cape Town
Also forming part of the Table Mountain Nature Reserve, Lion’s Head offers unmatched views of Table Mountain, Table Bay, the Atlantic Ocean and of course, Cape Town. It is an easy to moderate hike, perfectly suited to older children.
Tel: 021 712 0527
Chapman’s Peak, Cape Town
This iconic and mesmerising pass along the Atlantic Ocean offers magnificent views, whether you are driving or hiking. The trail starts at the toll booth near the first big bend and is relatively easy.
Tel: 021 791 8220
Promenade Trail, Cape Town
This pet-friendly trail takes you along the Rotary Blue Train Park as well as a large public play park, offering a fantastic break from the family walk for some play time. The entire promenade is paved and offers sea views on the one side and city views on the other. It is great for a relaxed weekend stroll, brisk walk, run or bike ride.
Silvermine Nature Reserve, Cape Town
This protected conservation area is situated a mere 10 minutes’ drive from the city centre and offers various hiking trails (lasting between 30min to 8 hours) all of which are fairly easy to moderate in intensity. Expect a beautiful reservoir teeming with birdlife as well as remarkable views. Picnic spots available.
Tel: 021 712 7471
Woodcutter Trail, Millwood Forest, Garden Route
Situated in a beautiful forest, the Woodcutter trail offers families two trail options: a 3km and a 9km loop. Expect cool, moist air, large trees and phenomenal forest vegetation. The 9km loop boasts two idyllic swimming pools. End your day with a relaxed family picnic at the picnic site situated near the beginning of both trail loops.
Tel: 082 213 5931
Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve, Umhlanga
This reserve is home to an estuary, a dune forest and a coastal forest and promises a scenic walk past the Ohlange River, through thick forest and finally along a lagoon on the beach.
Tel: 031 205 1271
Ballito North to Salt Rock, North Coast
No walking and hiking trail list would be complete without at least one beach walk and this must be one of my favourites along the North Coast. Simply start on the Beach in Ballito and head toward Salt Rock or vice versa: it is an easy 5km walk which the kids will love. Remember to dip your toes into the sea, keep a lookout for shells and end the walk with some beach volleyball or body surfing.
Wathaba Trail, Machadodorp
Situated near Machadodorp, Mpumalanga, on route to Badplaas, you will find the ever-popular and tranquil Wathaba Hiking Trails. This hiking venue offers 2 hiking trails (4km & 10km), 3 camps, beautiful waterfalls, a natural pool, as well as wildflowers, forest vegetation and plentiful birdlife.
Tel: 083 483 7753
For waterfall-inspired hiking trails and destinations be sure to read our blog titled, South Africa’s Glorious Waterfalls.
Have a fabulous getaway in nature, invest in those special family moments and let us know how your new family hobby Is developing!