With brilliant megafauna, more than 1,800 miles of stunning coastline, and great wine (for parents), South Africa is a natural first step for families looking to explore the world’s second-largest continent. It’s also English speaking and easy to navigate by rental car and domestic flight. Want wildlife? Fly to Johannesburg and start with Garonga Safari Camp in 54,000-acre Makalali, a private reserve outside Kruger National Park where the staff will arrange for a family overnight on a raised platform under the stars (doubles from $286 per adult, $92 per child ages two to 12).
From there, fly to Cape Town, rent a car, and stay at the fully equipped Lawhill Luxury Apartments (from $283) in the Waterfront district. Then take a surf lesson on the gentle waves at Muizenberg Beach ($45 for a two-hour lesson with board), swim with African penguins at Boulders Beach, or climb 3,566-foot Table Mountain. Need help planning? Quivertree Family Expeditions, owned by two South African brothers who vet every itinerary with their own kids first, will customize your trip right down to the rugby tickets.