ACTIVE OUTDOOR ADVENTURES
Ideal for families of all ages with ziplines, rope swings and clamber nets arranged across four tree-top obstacle courses. The Acro-twigs course is perfect for the younger kids (ideal for ages three to six years old) with various obstacles including rope bridges, while the Monkey Moves course, aimed at beginners, is suitable for older children.
NEED TO KNOW: Acrobranch has several locations across Joburg and Pretoria including at Huddle Park and James and Ethel Gray Park, find your nearest Acrobranch at acrobranch.co.za.
The Big Red BarnSet across the Sunlawns Estate farm built on 200 hectares of land, 15 minutes drive from Centurion, The Big Red Barn has an array of activities plus a family-friendly cafe where you can host a kid's party. Activities include a tree-top Acrobranch adventure course, a kid's cycle park (with bikes for rent), go-karting at the Vroom Pedal Go Karts area or let the kids find their inner Picasso at the Clay Cafe while painting ceramic objects.
NEED TO KNOW: Find The Big Red Barn at 7 Nelson Rd, Sunlawns AH, Olifantsfontein, tel. +27 86 999 0369, thebigredbarn.co.za. Open Wed-Sun and on public holidays and school holidays.
Catering for super active kids from 5 to 75 years old Jozi X offers loads of physical fun for fans of extreme adventures. Perfect for teenagers, activities include mountain boarding, a slackline park, big wheel trike drifting, a parkour gymnasium, a 'ninja centre' and the star attraction, an extreme wipeout course. There's no entrance fee and prices vary depending on the activities.
NEED TO KNOW: Jozi X is located at the corner of Main Rd and Sloane St, Bryanston, Joburg, closed Mon and Tue. Find out more about what's on offer at jozix.co.za.
NEED TO KNOW: Find Cradle Moon on Beyers Naude Drive, Muldersdrift (a few kilometres after the N14 junction). Find out more and read our review here.
One of southern Africa's biggest and best theme parks, with rides and attractions for all ages. Extreme rides like the Anaconda, Jozi Express and Tower of Terror are for the brave and for the little kids there are lots of more gentle rides and attractions, plus the 4D Theatre experience, and a full-on trampoline park, Jump City.
NEED TO KNOW: The theme park is located at Cnr Northern Parkway and Data Crescent, Ormonde. Tickets must be pre-booked online and the park opens Thu-Sun. Find out more and plan your visit here.
RMC Cycle ParkLet the kids zoom off on their bikes around a series of looping dirt tracks while you kick back and relax with a drink on the deck overlooking the dam. This cycle park has been designed specifically for families meaning you don't need to worry about your kids getting lost or wiped out by a kamikaze MTB cyclist.
NEED TO KNOW: The RMC Cycle Park is located at Plot 293 Rietfontein, Muldersdrift and is open daily, rmccyclepark.co.za. Note you need to bring your own bikes and there is a strict no helmet no ride rule.
EDUCATIONAL ATTRACTIONS AND CREATIVE PLAY
Joburg's open-top, hop-on hop-off sightseeing red bus route has been designed with families in mind and the kids get their own special commentary to listen to during the tour. Popular family stops include the Joburg Zoo, Gold Reef City theme park and the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre. You can also buy tickets that include burgers and fries afterwards at Rocomamas burger bar in The Zone@Rosebank where the tour starts and ends.
NEED TO KNOW: Buses currently run at very limited intervals (as of March 2021 on Saturdays only) and it is highly recommended to check the timetable and book your tickets in advance online beforehand at citysightseeing.co.za/johannesburg.
Maropeng is the official visitors centre for the UNESCO-protected Cradle Of Humankind and has been designed wit families in mind. A visit starts with a fun boat ride through the ages before you enter the museum proper which is packed with interactive and educational displays. Five minutes drive away you can take a guided tour of the Sterkfontein Caves where the remains of Little Foot, Mrs Ples and other famous fossils were found.
NEED TO KNOW: Follow the signs on the R400 just off the R563 to Hekpoort in the Cradle of Humankind. Currently the visitor's centre and caves are only open Fri–Sun and tickets must be booked online in advance at maropeng.co.za.
NEED TO KNOW: The theatre is located at 3 Junction Ave, Parktown, Joburg. Book tickets and view the latest productions online at nationalchildrenstheatre.org.za
Get switched on at Joburg's science museum, where the educational and interactive exhibits engage and entertain growing minds. There’s something for all ages with a wide array of topics covered such as space, anatomy, chemistry, geography, engineering and physics, plus themed exhibitions and talks during school holidays.
NEED TO KNOW: Sci-Bono is located at the corner of Miriam Makeba and Helen Joseph Sts, Newtown, Joburg and is open daily. Find out more about the latest exhibitions and programmes at Sci-bono.co.za.
NEED TO KNOW: Play Africa is located at Constitution Hill, Braamfontein, Joburg. You must book your visit in advance online (enquire about booking your visit here). Entrance is free although donations are appreciated.
ANIMALS AND WILDLIFE
Walk on the wild side on close to 54 hectares of protected land to view nearly 2000 animals including the safari Big 5, white lions, elephants, flamingoes, a reptile house, 'crocodile country' and a gorilla. There are zoo tours, zoo trots (5km walks) and regular family events such as nocturnal visits where you can explore the zoo after hours.
NEED TO KNOW: The Johannesburg Zoo is located on Jan Smuts Avenue (opposite Zoo Lake), Saxonwold, open daily. Find out more and book your tickets at jhbcityparksandzoo.com
NEED TO KNOW: Irene Dairy Farm is located on Nellmapius Dr, Irene, Pretoria and is open daily.
With fascinating bird species, from domestic to exotic, birds of prey plus a huge pelican and a sloth who gives slothfulness a good name this is a super attraction for all ages. You get to wander along walkways through the lush gardens and view a variety of colourful birds, mammals, reptiles and unusual animals from around the world including rare Scarlet Ibises and Nicobar pigeons, parrots, flamingoes and meerkats.
NEED TO KNOW: Find the bird gardens at Montecasino Casino and Entertainment Centre in Fourways. Note the gardens are currently closed Mon and Tue. Plan your visit here.
NEED TO KNOW: The Pretoria Zoo is located at 232 Boom St, Daspoort, Pretoria and is open daily. Tickets can be bought online at nzg.ac.za.
Responsible travel in the time of Covid-19:
Please remember wherever you decide to go, keep following the latest lockdown restrictions as set out by the government. Wear your mask in public, cover your cough and wash your hands regularly. Follow the 'Three Cs': avoid crowded places, closed spaces and close contact with others where possible and if you are feeling sick or have been in contact with someone with the virus - please stay at home! It is up to us all to be mindful of the rules and help stop the spread of this virus. #visitGauteng #staysafe #traveldifferently
* This feature is part of our series of Gauteng guides, in partnership with Gauteng Tourism, highlighting how to explore more of the Gauteng Province and its countless attractions. Other guides in the series include:
Gauteng for art lovers
10 inspired day trip ideas
Where to go on a hiking holiday in Gauteng
Gauteng adventures for adrenaline junkies
Gauteng's quirkiest attractions
The Soweto heritage trail - what to see and do in Soweto
Where to go for a weekend getaway in Gauteng - and what to do when you get there