Oman is a surprisingly easy country to explore with kids in tow. Even better, within its culture-rich cities, jagged mountains and meringue-like deserts there’s an opportunity for a big family adventure. In Muscat, get lost in the labyrinth alleyways of the souk, that gleams with gold jewellery and cooper-studded wood engravings with a heady scent of frankincense hanging in the air.
A trip to the Hajar Mountains could see you hiking through date plantations, discovering ancient way of life in crumbling villages and soaking up views that stretch for miles. To really peak the interest of wannabe explorers, have a night in the Wahiba Sands desert where the setting sun blots the wind-sculpted dunes with burnt orange and stars shine out from one of the clearest night skies on earth. Bed down in a Berber tent, cocooned in a culture that is thousands of years old.
Click here to see our full trip suggestion for a family adventure in Oman.
If your kids are older and perhaps a little world-weary, a trip to Iceland could leave them energised by the wonder of otherworldly natural phenomena in breathtaking cinematic scenery. Waterfalls thunder through rocky channels, geysers spurt high into the air and the raw landscapes shimmers with mirror-like lakes and layers of volcanic ridge. Although impossible not to stand and stare, Iceland also offers a playground for active types.
The Vatnajökull glacier is a frozen realm which offers activities such as caving and snowmobiling, Icelandic horses await for wild rides on black-sand beaches and Viking culture permeates its national parks and museums. At night, nature puts on a show – see the sky streaked with the dancing blue and green colours of the Northern Lights and those lucky enough to observe it won’t failed to be dazzled.
Read on for more of our top Iceland experiences
If you’re a family of nature nuts, then Borneo could set the scene beautifully for your next family adventure. It’s a country of incredible wildlife found in verdant green spaces, pulsing with life. A holiday in Borneo means heading put into the jungle, staying in rainforest lodges and hiking into the wilderness where rare birds squawk and monkeys chatter in the treetops.
Families will bond in the great outdoors from Sepilok conservation area to the Kinabatabgan River, Danum Valley rainforest to tropical Gaya Island. Guides are an essential part of any trip to Borneo and can add an extra educational layer of understanding for children including real-life stories of head hunting and survival techniques for the jungle. You never know when you might need them!
Want to find out more? Read Real Holidays Rob’s account of his family holiday to Borneo
Kerala is the perfect place to introduce your children to the slow-lane pleasures of India, far from the jam-packed cities and crowded streets. We recommend an immersive trip that takes in culture-rich Fort Kochi, pretty tea plantations, and the peaceful Keralan backwaters. Begin your trip in Kochi, where you can immediately start to soak up its cultural nuances. Watch fisherman haul in their catch using ancient Chinese fishing nets and watch a masked dance, that acts out some of Kerala’s oldest stories.
Next get hands-on in the tea plantations, where after a tour, you’ll be able to pick and create your own tea. For your next stop parents and children alike love the vibe at inland Windermere River House, on the banks of the Periyar River, with its expansive lawns and opportunities for culture immersion: have a curry lunch with a local family or try your hand at rubber tapping.
Lastly, soak up the tranquil pleasures of the Keralan backwaters. You’ll be based at a lake-side cottage where you can kayak or fish and during the day you can take a day trip on the backwaters in a smaller vessel which allows access to the more remote and tourist-untouched communities.
Love the idea of Kerala with the kids, then see our full itinerary idea for travelling coast to coast across Southern India, where laid back Kerala is paired with the rich heritage of Tamil Nadu.
The lure of South Africa is particularly strong for families as there’s no jet lag to contend with on arrival as it’s just one hour ahead of GMT. On this trip, fly into Johannesburg, before setting off on an intrepid self-drive adventure through the mountains and savannahs of KwaZulu Natal.
Stop at a lodge, surrounded by the Drakensberg Mountains, where there are bike trails through the hills, horse-riding around the farm and picnics under acacia trees. Take a battlefield tour to learn more about the Boer and Zulu wars. Next, head to a game lodge on the banks of the Mkuze River, home to the Big Five, plus crocodile, hippo, 15 species of antelope and over 400 bird species. This is the place for bush walks and game drives through savannah and mountains.
Finish your road trip on the east coast where a remote eco-lodge sits amongst dunes and forest. It’s all about water-based experiences here – rock pooling for marine life, scuba diving around whales, turtle spotting and boat trips on Lake Sibaya.
For an alternative route, see our suggested itinerary for exploring the Western Cape.
Family Adventure for 2020 Endless Exploration
Where will you take your family in 2020? Read on for our pick of the best family adventure holiday destinations.
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