Family-Friendly HolidaysJason Siddall
Summer is coming to South Africa. So if you haven’t already thought about planning a holiday away with the family, now’s the time! First and foremost, family holidays are a wonderful opportunity for everyone to de-stress. They also allow us to relax and really reconnect with one another.
But in our digital, fast-forward age, what should we be looking for when we consider our options for family-friendly holidays?
Consider this: Digital communication is one of modern day’s greatest ironies. Paradoxically, although designed to bring us closer together, it’s actually pushing us further apart. It’s true that Skype and Facebook allow us to keep in touch with far-flung friends and family, but they disconnect us from those closest to us. We spend precious family time on our mobile devices instead of really talking each other. These are moments we will never get back.
Family holidays give us the chance to fix all this – but you need to choose your destination wisely.
So many holiday destinations offer kids’ clubs, which may seem great on the surface, but all they do is separate us even further from our children. Isn’t the whole point of going on a family holiday to spend quality time together as a family?
Picking The Perfect Place
So, now that you know a few of the reasons why you need a family holiday, you need to decide where to go.
Morning Sun Nature Reserve is the ideal destination spot for a family holiday.
Why do we say that?
Situated in the heart of the Soutpansberg Mountain area of the Northern Limpopo province, Morning Sun is a Natural Heritage site offering an all-in-one holiday experience. Walking trails, archaeological ruins, bird watching, butterfly hotspots and the opportunity to learn more about African culture make Morning Sun a uniquely immersive destination.
Morning Sun Activities
Without a doubt, one of the highlights of the Morning Sun experience is the children’s walk. This two-hour walk is educational, but with a serious emphasis on fun! A Venda guide helps children discover how the Venda people use insects, spiders and plants for food, medicine and more. They search for footprints and learn to identify animal tracks. As a fun memento of their walk, they make a Plaster of Paris cast from an animal print they discovered, which they can then take home with them.
Morning Sun has a number of additional guided walks and scenic drives that the whole family can do together. Of these, a definite must-do is the nature walk to the sacred Mashovhela Rock Pool. This pool is the second most sacred site to the Venda people and is a picturesque and culturally rich place to visit.
Other activities include a relaxing scenic drive to the Archaeological Site and a panoramic sundowner drive. This popular outing takes in the ruins of an old Venda Village, a view of the big waterfall, and a short walk to the Baobab Tree.
Morning Sun offers many different accommodation options to suit all tastes and budgets:
Mashovhela Bush Lodge
The lodge is ideal for families and comprises 10, 3-star, ethnically-decorated en-suite chalets.
Although the Safari Tent is hidden in the bush, it’s walking distance from the bush lodge. It offers a private getaway for families or couples.
Take advantage of the great year-round weather, and a malaria-free location, by sleeping under the stars. Guests can chat around the fire or listen to the sounds of the night.
Stargaze Hammock Camp
Morning Sun’s unique Hammock Camp is a definite have-to experience! Sleep under protective insect nets and look up at the breathtaking night sky – not an electric light in sight!
4×4 Mountain Camp
Situated on top of the Soutpansberg mountain plateau, this exclusive, private camping site takes you right back to nature. Wake up to panoramic views of the beautiful Natural Heritage Site.
Valley View Cottage
This freestanding cottage has its own kitchen, dining/lounge and private braai/barbeque area, and is ideal for small families or groups.
Lokovhela Mountain Chalets
Perfect for family holidays, these self-catering units offer communal kitchen and dining facilities – great for meeting new people and making new friends.
Benefits Of Family Holidays
In addition to the many obvious advantages of indulging in some serious family time, there are also many scientifically proven benefits that last a long time after the holiday is over.
The late Professor Jaak Panksepp was a renowned neuroscientist and psychologist. He identified two genetically ingrained systems deep in the brain’s limbic area – the PLAY area and the SEEKING area. These areas, usually dormant during day-to-day activities, are brought to life and exercised during family holidays.
In other words, every time you participate in a fun activity with your children, you stimulate their PLAY system. And whenever you go exploring together, visit a museum, or experience a new culture, the SEEKING system is activated.
Panksepp also believed that time spent outside, or “green play,” is potentially as effective as medication for children with ADHD.
In addition, family holiday experiences trigger our well-being neurochemicals, such as opioids, oxytocin and dopamine. These work to reduce stress and help create feelings of warmth and generosity.
Moreover, these chemicals are like muscles – the more you use them, the more they become part of you. As a result. the feel-good benefits of a family holiday can last a long time after you’re back at work and school again. Regular holidays away together can actually alter your personality traits. The heightened and positive emotional state you enjoy on holiday becomes more and more who you are all the time.
No matter your age, interests or level of fitness, Morning Sun Nature Reserve offers something you’ll love. It also gives families a chance to really reconnect in a beautiful setting, and to do activities together that are fun, but also educational and culturally enriching.
For more information on Morning Sun, or to find out more about accommodation options and availability, please get in touch. We can’t wait to meet you.