We love exploring and adventuring and over the past two years we made it our mission to explore local surroundings as much as we can. With young children, anything within 3 or 4 hours as a maximum is considered. Thankfully “haarties” is only an hour away! There is so much to do in this area, we have stayed over weekends, and done day trips as well but I would really love to to go back and just have a solid 3 days there.
Here are some of the places we have explored as a family, that I would recommend, and a few that we haven’t had the chance to get to yet.
If you cant afford the real deal (or just don’t have the time), a quick trip to “Paris” is always a good idea. This place is always packed on the weekends, so make sure to get there early for a good table and photo opportunities. The service may not be the quickest, but it’s worth the experience.
The boys loved going up and down in the cable cars, the view is glorious and we were plesantly suprised by the quality of pizza at the top, a welcome reward, should you choose to hike the trail 🙂 Kids will delight at the awesome play area at the top and the views are truly spectacular.
This is such a great family excursion.
It’s been on our bucket list for a while, but with the steep price, it’s got to be a special birthday experience or anniversary of some kind to justify it.
The Elephant Sanctuary offers an interactive elephant experience, including hands on educational interactions; elephant back riding; and even overnight accommodation.
The Monkey Sanctuary sanctuary is one of several sanctuaries in a group, including the elephant sanctuary; that provides for orphaned and abused animals. It is right alongside the Elephant sanctuary and it provides an environment where monkeys (primates) can be given their freedom in a natural environment It’s one of only eight free-release primate sanctuaries found globally. These are animals that have sadly been raised as household pets, or bred for the pet trade. They are given the chance to reside in as natural and environment as possible with thick, rich vegetation.
It’s unlikely that you would have passed through Haarties without catching a glimpse of this iconic landmark, the Dutch-style windmill and thatch-roofed farm stall are hard to miss. Established in 2004 this market offers a treasure trove of treats, from organic goods, farm produce, cheeses (from Jasmyn’s own factory), fresh breads, dairy products, baked goods, meats, imported treats, flowers, curios and gifts too..
Van Gaalen is open six days a week. A tour around the farm is a must (offered on a Wednesday and Saturday). Watch a demonstration of cheese making and tasting as well as a slice of cake and tea/juice. They have an in house restaurant and a farm shop that stocks a wide range of their cheeses, as well as preserves, souvenirs, Dutch favourites, sweets and other goodies. Picnics must be booked a day in advance but there is no better way to spend a day then by relaxing along the river banks. You can also get permits for the Skeepoort trails to go hiking, birding, mountain biking.
Pack a picnic blanket and spend a glorious morning picking organic strawberries straight from the ground. It’s a fully working farm which offers strawberry picking during spring. The small restaurant serves breakfast on weekends and public holidays, while I haven’t eaten there, I have had the decadent strawberry milkshakes and they are to die for! Seriously THE best I have ever had. It’s a family run, working farm, so don’t expect top class amenities. But, if you are looking for a day out picking fresh berries in season, I would highly recommend a visit.
A golf course, a fabulous water play area, accommodation and a superb spa. What more do you need? We would rate the accommodation as a 3 star, however the spa, is 5 star! The golf course is beautiful and whether you play or not, it’s wonderfully therapeutic with buck walking along the greens. The water play area is perfect for younger children with a shallow pool and small slides.
There is a no interaction/touching policy as the centre focused strictly on conservation and their animal well-being is of highest importance. However, you can still book a tour and go and see some of the animals they rehabilitate such as vultures, cheetahs, wild dogs and caracals.
Whether you choose a sunset cruise or a slow Sunday brunch on board there is something magical about being on the water, surrounded by the hills. There are a number of different operators to choose from so take your pick and enjoy the view!
You don’t need riding experience to take a ride through the African bush surrounded by wildlife. Rides are typically between 1 and 2 hours and
children from the age of 6 can join. Ride between Giraffe, Wildebeest, Zebra, Kudu and Nyala to name a few. Romantic picnics can be arranged as well.
If horse riding is not for you, why not take in nature on a quad? I was pregnant when we went with a group of friends to do this and was so sad I didnt take part, I definitely need to go back and do this trail. 650 hectares of beautiful, unspoilt views of the mountains and open plains. An experience that is totally different from your luxury lodge or resort.
One of the newest lifestyle and adventure destinations, GOG Kids opened up last year in December is is located inside Chameleon Village. The venue plays host to party venues, a play area a pool and a great “Spray Pad” with no less than eight spray features and a safe, non-slip and porous rubber flooring. This is a welcome relief, especially if you are visiting during the summer months. Haarties gets hot!
While this isn’t technically “in” Haarties, its 10 minutes outside, so I am including it (and it used to be before they refurbished). Kids under 12 are free on all guided and self drive game drives. They offer Giraffe and Ostrich feeding, a crocodile enclosure, cheetah/cub interactions and guided tours. They also offer river rafting down the Crocodile River!
Possibly the weirdest thing you will encounter in Haarties, but one that will leave you laughing (and possibly quite dizzy). The upside down house is literally – a ‘world’ turned upside down…. You need to go and experience the magnificence and spectacular engineering of a ‘house’ turned on its roof, and of course take a picture in every room!
These are just a few of the area’s that we have been to when we have visited. There are a number of lodges in the area and some fantastic self catering houses as well. If you are planning a “staycation” these summer holidays, why not book a few days in Haarties to explore the area?
Have you visited anywhere else? I would love to hear your recommendations for our next trip!