In this era of smart phones and instant gratification, it’s so important to expose your kids to nature and spend time with them outside. Research shows that kids who spend more time outdoors are less likely to develop psychiatric disorders later on and become much happier adults. Nature deficit disorder is a real thing! Here are 5 great outdoor activities for families to appreciate nature in the Eastern Cape.
1. Algoa Bay Ocean Safari
Port Elizabeth has been named the Bottlenose dolphin capital of the world. But there is so much more to see in this beautiful bay. Take your kids out on a morning ocean safari to encounter common dolphins, Bryde’s whales and hundreds of dapper little penguins. Interestingly, the largest breeding colony of African penguins is here on Port Elizabeth’s doorstep – not in Cape Town! There is something really soothing about being out on the ocean and seeing wild animals thriving in their natural habitat. These are the types of experiences that make lasting memories. Contact us to make a booking.
2. Stormsriver Kayak and Lilo Adventure
This ”Untouched Adventure” is one of those activities that may be intimidating at first, but once you get going you can’t stop. The journey starts at Stormsriver Mouth where you paddle across the little bay towards to suspension bridge. This can be quite challenging if conditions are a bit rough but it’s great fun and the guides are always close by if you need a hand. While paddling up the channel, these very knowledgeable guides point out interesting features and plant and animal life. It’s beautifully quiet except for the swooshing sound of the paddles through the water. About half way, you stop and swop the canoes for lilos. Hand-paddle further, deeper into the magical forest until the channel is too narrow for a lilo. At this point there is an opportunity to do a cliff-jump…for the adrenalin junkies! Overall, it’s a really relaxing yet exciting experience. There are great photo opportunities just be sure to hold on to your gear…the river has claimed many cellphones and GoPros!
3. Cheetah Tracking Safari
Mountain Zebra National Park is an absolute gem located just outside the charming Karoo town of Cradock. It’s the perfect location for a weekend getaway for the whole family. Two cheetahs have radio collars on them that enable park rangers to track them with a telemetry device. The game drive includes making a few stops to try and pick up the signal. Pack those hiking boots or good walking shoes because you may have to continue the tracking adventure on foot! Once the cheetah has been spotted, you get a very rare opportunity to spend a few minutes in close proximity to a wild cheetah…a truly unique and humbling experience. It’s so important for our children to see these animals in the wild and not in zoos! Just be sure to book well in advance through SAN Parks.
4. Sand-sledding on the Alexandria dunes
The Alexandria dune system is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. Explore this impressive natural asset by sand boarding/sledding down its slopes. The adventure begins with a short boat ride to the Sundays River mouth. Climb up the dunes and take in the magnificent views before cruising down! This will definitely burn some of that harboured tween/teen energy!
5. Sacramento Walking/Hiking Trail
This 8km round-trip trail is the perfect morning family outing. It’s an easy walk that doesn’t require high levels of fitness. Start at the cannon in Schoenmakerskop Village (there’s plenty of safe parking) then follow the route along the coastline. The half-way point is at Sardinia Bay beach where you could climb out the famous dune. It’s so worth it because the views are spectacular. If the dune is too intimidating you could simply turn around and walk back the way you came. There are lovely spots to have a picnic and enjoy the fresh air and stunning scenery. Keep your eyes open for Cape clawless otters in the rockpools!