KwaZulu-Natal is one of the most popular family holiday destination in the country, and for good reason – the range of activities on offer is diverse, not discounting the gorgeous beaches and warmer waters. Here are a few places and family-friendly activities to put on your list of things to do with kids in Durban and KZN.
Piggly Wiggly – Midlands
Although this is one of the stops on the Midlands Meander route, it is deserving of a visit on its own. With restaurants, shopping and play options, it’s a great place to spend a morning and afternoon.
The family will love the variety of food on offer, where they can tuck into waffles for breakfast or pizzas for lunch. For kids, there’s a miniature train ride, miniature golf, jungle gyms and candle dipping. For adults, there’s opportunities for some retail therapy from clothing to furniture, all locally produced. If you’re staying in the area, you’re sure to visit more than once, but it’s worth the detour if you’re on your way to Umhlanga too.
Entrance is free and activities start from R30. Visit www.pigglywiggly.co.za for more information.
Durban Walking Tours – Berea
This four-hour guided walking tour is specially tailored to children, where they can learn about flora and fauna while having a fun day out with the family. Starting at the Botanic Gardens, you then catch the People Mover bus to the Natural Science Museum then back on the bus to the Point Precinct for a boat ride on the canals.
The cost is R200 pp and the tour is recommended for ages four and up. Visit www.durbanwalkingtours.co.za for more information and to make a booking.
uShaka Marine World – Durban
Prepare yourself and your kids for a full day out and get there early, before the crowds, for the best experience.
The Village Walk Beach Mall offers some retail therapy and a gradual introduction to the rest of the park. From dolphin shows to shark-cage diving at Sea World to wandering the Shipwreck Aquarium, there’s plenty to see, but don’t forget your cozzies, because the water activities on offer are unmatched. There are also a variety of popular restaurant chains in the park.
Each area is charged separately, so plan your visit carefully. Prices start from R94 for kids and R104 for adults. Visit www.ushakamarine.com for more information.
Chocolate Heaven – Midlands
Found tucked away at The Junction on Nottingham Road, this unassuming chocolate shop will keep you coming back for more.
The signature Chocolate Dippingz experience at Chocolate Heaven is a culinary adventure for the whole family. You’ll be presented with an array of delicacies to dip into the chocolate fountain – ranging from biltong and cheese to the more conventional marshmallows and fudge, so there’s something for everyone – even if your little ones aren’t too adventurous just yet.
You can also pick up some hand-made truffles and chocolates on your way out. Follow them on Facebook for more information and to keep an eye on the specials.
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Durban Botanic Gardens – Berea
Let your kids have some quiet time in nature at the Bontanic Gardens. There are no jungle gyms or play areas, which maintains the quiet and calm of the garden. But never fear, your kids will love the rolling lawns and butterfly habitats. Pack some boardgames, books and a delicious picnic from home and you’re set for the day.
Mini Town – North Beach
Your tot will love the opportunity to experience a city from a different view. They will feel like giants as they explore the miniature harbor, shops and circus. There is even a miniature wind farm so they can explore the concept of renewable energy. They may recognise buildings from around the country and although the mini city is not a replica of Durban, there are similarities that will make the trip memorable.
Beaches are within walking distance, so don’t forget cozzies and a bucket and spade.
Children enter for R30 and adults for R40. Visit www.minitowndbn.co.za for more information.
Golden Hours Family Market – Durban North
There’s plenty of space to sit and relax at this open-air market. Delicious food items set the tone, but the handcrafted wooden toys and live music will be a highlight for your little one. Around Christmas time is the ideal time to visit to find gifts or treats for the Christmas table.
Follow them on Facebook for more information.
Barnyard Theatre at Sun Coast Casino – Durban Beach
From the beach and kids’ fountain play area to the arcade, your kids are sure to find something to entertain them here. The Barnyard Theatre will be showing “Nineties vs Noughties” through December. The show can be appreciated across generations and you’ll love the nostalgia, while your kids can sing and dance along to their favourite hits. Matinees are on Sundays at 2, making this an ideal weekend activity.
Tickets starts from R150, and kids under 12 get 50% off on Sundays. Keep and eye on the website for more performances coming soon. Visit www.suncoastcasino.co.za/entertainment/the-barnyard-theatre/ for more information.
Flag Animal Farm – Sheffield Beach Road
From wolves to snakes, cows, goats, horses, chickens, donkeys, guinea pigs and more – Flag Animal Farm has an impressive family of rescued animals – in fact, over the years the farm has saved over 14 000 lives! But this charming family-friendly venue has more to offer than just animal expriences (and yes, you can cuddle most of the animals): it’s also packed with other things to do, like a waterpark, indoor play centres, tractor rides, bike track and a pirate ship. And, as much as it’s a child-centric outing, it’s something the grown ups will be able to enjoy just as much.
Entrance is R60 per person (children under 2 are free). Visit Flag Animal Farm for more information.
Japanese Gardens – Durban North
If you’re in Umhlanga, the Japanese gardens are a wonderful day trip for a change of scenery during your holidays. Just 8km from the buzz of uMhlanga rocks, there are lily ponds, miniature waterfalls and enchanting bridges guiding you through the magical gardens. Toddlers have a little extra to look forward to at the Tot Lot and older children can let their imagination run wild – was that a fairy? Don’t forget to bring a delicious picnic to enjoy on the lawns.
Entrance is free and you can follow them on Facebook for more information and events.
Afternoon Tea at the Beverly Hills Hotel – Umhlanga Rocks
While you probably want to avoid this activity if you have very small children, The Beverly Hills High Tea is a wonderful experience for older children and their parents. Get cozy on the sofas or enjoy a table with incredible pool and seaside views. The menu consists of a variety of small servings or finger foods, so you can enjoy a wide selection. The delectable sweets and desserts will be an enchanting memory for your child to take away with them.
The experience starts at R315pp and make sure to book in advance. Follow them on Facebook for more information about fun, themed afternoons.