Nowadays, the multigenerational family is a definite target of tour operators and hospitality establishments, both of which go out of their way to provide facilities and activities for this grouping, which is diverse in multiple ways, such as age, interests and levels of fitness.
Chris Anagnostellis, Chief Operations Officer of An African Anthology, says the fact that property owners have identified families as a potential source market and have accordingly upped their game to cater for them, has led to an exponential growth in overseas family travel to our shores.
A strong recommendation coming from the trade for multigenerational groups is to plump for exclusive-use facilities. “What is also very popular now is for a ‘villa’ type concept to be sold with an exclusivity factor that commands a higher rate and is proving very popular too with your higher-end market,” says Anagnostellis.
This accommodation type brings flexibility in providing for the complexity of multigenerational family requirements, freeing group members up from restrictive, set times for meals and other activities.
A Your Africa spokesperson agrees: “Whether safari or a city stay, the family gets to stay together in a selected villa or apartment that is suited to the size of the family.”
On safari, exclusive use is particularly convenient as families get a game vehicle and ranger to themselves, are not split up in different game-viewing vehicles, and can also have their schedules tailored to their needs.
Here are how some stakeholders manage family groups of all shapes and sizes:
Tessa Ellis Brown, The Last Word Constantia GM: For large, multigenerational groups, suitable day excursions to organise are outdoor picnics to a wine estate, a boat cruise, cycling and horse riding. She cautions: “People are not interested in the tourist trap venues – they are looking to experience different authentic places that reflect the true soul of our country. I think there is an enormous gap in the market for a company to focus on day tours that cater specifically for families.”
Anita Lennox, Cape St Francis: Club Break and Village Break accommodation options are the most popular for clan getaways at Cape St Francis resort. Families are housed in three- and four-star self-catering cottages and stand-alone villas, with open-plan lounge and dining areas, ensuring space for everyone. Most of the bedrooms are en-suite and some units have their own plunge pools and rooftop viewing decks.
An on-site restaurant, Joe Fish, serves up dishes to appeal to all ages, while an on-site shop is stocked with daily essentials for self-catering and braai basics.
Activities suited to families include the historic Cape St Francis Lighthouse and Sancob, a rehabilitation centre for rescued seabirds where the kids can get close to African penguins and marine birds. “Around the corner is the Wildside, offering stunning ocean-edge walking trails, rock pools filled with sea creatures, amazing flora and possible otter sightings,” says Lennox. “If you really do feel the need to pile everyone in the car and explore, St Francis Bay is just 10 minutes away for retail therapy, golfing and adventures along the Kromme River.”
Kim van der Westhuizen, Live the Journey: Last year Live the Journey launched guided tours for the entire family, with attention, too, to keeping under-12s entertained and active. “The aim with these tours is to cater for everyone in the family with experiences that keep them intrigued, allow them to make friends and bond further as a family, whilst showing off amazing Southern African destinations,” says Van der Westhuizen.
Peter Dros, Head of Sales & Marketing at Fancourt: The golfing resort takes the view that it is around food that a family group bonds, and strives to cater for all tastes at the estate’s four restaurants. The range includes venues suited to relaxed family suppers, as well as bespoke experiences with fine wines to match. “Seasonality brings even more creative drawcards, including picnics in the gardens, family carnivals, concerts, champagne and canapés at Monet’s restaurant; summer night markets and more.”