Relax – enjoy – experience normalcy – learn

Children and families report that they need ideas of places, or a place, to safely relax – enjoy – experience normalcy – learn – evidence-based protective factors to improve health and mental health for themselves and their children.

They want places where evidence-based (good clinical evidence) strategies are followed such as

– alcohol gel, along with wash rooms with soap and water available

– social distancing facilitated and maintained on for example safari or a game drive with animals

– food hygiene where food is covered and children are supervised

– practical education is prioritised for example cover your mouth and nose if you cough or sneeze

– staff and customers are calm and positive

We will provide thoughts on local options. We have liaised with travel agencies and organisations offering these services to families and children.

1. Houtbay has a bird park, a small zoo, where children walk amongst monkeys, which most families enjoy. This is an excellent environment to teach children about animals and social behaviour. All safety regulations are followed, from reports and firsthand experience during our brief visit.

2. Sailing in the Waterfront on the Victoria is advised. This is an excellent environment to teach children about the sea, seals and dolphins. All safety regulations are followed, from reports and firsthand experience during our brief visit.

3. Imhoff farm offers lessons on horse riding (very limited instructions for beginners, please ask for more information if you need to – a slow walk through vineyards, valleys and on the beach is available, this remains a high risk sport), 4×4 skills and preparing for challenging terrain and breakdowns, animal farms for children, goats, fish markets and restaurants. Wonderful opportunities for families to relax together and for children to learn about animals. All safety regulations are followed, from reports and firsthand experience during our brief visit.

4. De Meye – a wine farm close to Stellenbosch – offers a wonderful meal next to vines under trees with dogs at your feet. We can absolutely recommend their food and the environment for safe relaxation and enjoyment. Very informal. Lovely people. All safety regulations are followed, from reports and firsthand experience during our visit.

5. Klein Joostenberg – a wine farm close to Stellenbosch – offers a beautiful meal within a ‘kraal’, outside, on the grass or a ‘stoep’ or porch, with dogs at your feet. Lovely staff and friendly people. Very informal. All safety regulations are followed, from reports and firsthand experience during our visit.

We have been asked about ideas or a place that offers safe, normative activities for children and families, to relax, enjoy and learn together, to recover, restore health or mental health and to maintain or promote health or mental health, for several months.

Many want to “blow off steam”, “fill my tank”, “get my bounce back”, “feel like a person again, “get some perspective”, “tick some bucket list boxes”, “make up for lost time” or “enjoy life again”.

We are now working on developing a service in Europe for children and families to recover – relax – laugh – learn (practical skills like survival in the woods or fishing or swimming or snorkelling or boating or cooking food outdoors or working with animals) – we plan for at least half of the service to be pro bono services.

This service will aim to meet the needs of very fortunate children, every day children and also children who have experienced serious trauma.

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