Hidden gems offering pocket-friendly Easter weekend activities for the entire family

Free state, Picture: Instagram

Free state, Picture: Instagram

Published Mar 5, 2023


With the Easter holiday weekend fast approaching, it’s important to plan ahead since the roads can get rather busy.

South Africa is filled with unique and cost-effective ‘leg stretching’ locations, so when you are planning a road trip, factor in safe rest stops that are also fun for the family or friends you may be travelling with.

“Even if you are planning on keeping it local this coming Easter weekend, with a little imagination, you can also enjoy activities fit for all ages in your neighbourhood and beyond,” says Charlette Roetz, Tracker’s Head of Marketing.

Tracker revealed the pocket-friendly ‘on the road’ activities and what Mzansi has to offer:

Eastern Cape

Embrace nature in the Eastern Cape, from hiking trails to water parks. These are brilliant ways to get into nature and enjoy the last of what’s left of summer weather.

Choose a safe route based on your fitness level and use it as an opportunity to rack up your 10 000 steps.

Make your way to Tsitsikamma National Park and explore the famous Storms River suspension bridge. If you’re ready to take a dip in the pool, The Wild Water Fun Park in Plettenberg Bay is a great option for lounging around while soaking up the sun.

A remote village named Nieu Bethesda, situated in the High Karoo, Picture: Instagram

The Owl House in Nieu-Bethesda, where owner Helen Martins turned her house and area around it into a visionary environment with elaborately decorated ground glass, containing more than 300 statues, including owls, camels, peacocks, pyramids, and people, is worth visiting.

Fun fact: Nieu Bethesda also has South Africa's highest free-standing mountain, with breathtaking scenery and the view of the famous Owl House.

The Free State

Bloemfontein, also known as ‘’The City of Roses” for its abundance of roses, is known for the various cultural attractions such as The National Museum, which was established in 1977.

Here, visitors discover the natural, cultural and art history of South Africa.

Basotho Cultural Village in the Qwaqwa National Park depicts the South Sotho lifestyle from the 16th century to the present. Visitors are taken on a journey through the village to experience the Basotho history, culture and tradition.

Picture: SANPark, Instagram


You can never go wrong with a game drive. If you are fortunate enough to live close to a nature or game reserve, consider making a day of it.

The Lion & Safari Park, located just outside of Johannesburg, offers the option of a guided drive or self-drive, with senior citizens receiving a 50% discount and kids under 12 entering for free.

Picture: Lion & Safari Park, Instagram

And if you’d like something a little more low-key, go for a picnic.

Many parks and picnic locations have a small to no entry fees. The Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens in Gauteng has the perfect set up for you to put down your blanket and relax.


Camping has proven to be good for family health, breaking away from the chaos that comes with life. Find a site close by and meet up with a group for a weekend of camping.

Pack the braai grid, headlamps and marshmallows and make the most of going off the grid and enjoying evenings under star-filled skies by considering Gibaland in Durban.

To experience some history, the Nelson Mandela Capture Site is a cultural and historical exhibition that is situated at the site where Nelson Mandela was apprehended for his anti-Apartheid activism acts in August 1952.

uShaka Sea World is where you can explore the underground viewing galleries while meandering through a shipwreck. Prepare to be astounded by ocean water tanks populated with over 300 species of marine life and 10,000 sea creatures!

the Nelson Mandela Capture Site, Picture: Instagram

The sculpture at the Nelson Mandela Capture Site comprises 50 steel columns which are between six and 9.5 metres in height and covers a width of almost 30 metres.


Feeling adventurous? Keep the blood pumping with a visit to The Big Swing in Graskop. With views for days, launching yourself off this waterfall will be something to remember for a lifetime.

One of the great things about South Africa is the breathtaking views and God’s Window forms part of a 250km long stretch of breathtaking cliffs. There is a small entrance fee to access the viewpoint.

God’s window, Picture: Instagram

Western Cape

Many museums are free to enter. Meet at a central spot and head out with friends to discover your local museums and find out more about your city. The Iziko Museum in Cape Town, which includes the Planetarium, is a must-visit!

Another option to take advantage of is Woodstock for the graffiti tour or wait until night fall and join the ghost walk in Simon’s Town. Both are unforgettable experiences.

Simons Town Ghost Walk, Picture: Instagram

The Easter weekend is a time for family and friends, and what better way to spend it than at one of South Africa’s hidden gems.

Read the latest issue of IOL Travel digital magazine here.