5 nature & forest-inspired ideas for this festive season

Parents, you how difficult and expensive it can be to keep the family entertained through the December holidays.

Fortunately, our friends at Forestry South Africa has some ideas to get you out and about, exploring the hidden treasures of our country’s forestry landscapes, and even in your own neighbourhood.

Family fun in the forests

The forestry landscape provides the perfect setting for family or even solo fun in the fresh air, away from the distractions of modern life. With activities spanning five provinces and conveniently included in the Forestry Explained recreational map, finding the perfect outdoor adventure for your family has never been so simple.

Pack a picnic, find a path to a waterfall or play hide-and-seek among the trees. For the more adventurous, there are horse trails, mountain biking, hiking routes, and even Segway or scooter tours.

Get a great forestry photo this December

Capture South Africa’s commercial forests in a new light by exploring them through a camera lens. Photography is a great way of seeing the ‘every day’ in a totally new way, as you search for that ‘prize shot’.

For family members who may be reluctant to get outdoors for fresh air and fitness, start a photography challenge, using South Africa’s forestry landscape as both your canvas and muse: time-lapses of waterfalls, close-ups of bark textures, telephoto shots of birds and wide angles that capture magnificent vistas. The options are endless.

Going on a bear hunt …

Okay, you won’t find a bear in the [South African] woods today but you will discover some of the hundreds of species that consider our forestry landscapes their home.

Look carefully for the clues they leave behind – tracks, feathers, fur, and droppings all provide a trail to follow. This is a great way of getting the next generation interested in the world around them while burning off some excess energy.

With conservation areas, hiking trails, waterfalls, picnic sites and points of interest, forestry landscapes provide spaces for Attenboroughs-in-the-making to discover interesting insects, beautiful birds, magnificent mammals, and fantastic flora.

Keep the little ones busy with a nature walk

A nature walk is a perfect way to keep little explorers occupied. All you need is a little imagination, a sheet of paper and somewhere to explore. It could be in a timber plantation, a park or even your own back garden.

Give the kids a list of items they need to find on their walk: a feather, a pebble, a twig, two leaves, something yellow.

To make it more of a challenge, give them a matchbox in which to store their finds. They will have to think a little harder about the leaf or pebble they choose. At the end of the walk, you can extend your quality ‘family time’ by going through the matchboxes and discussing their items, before discarding them.

You might even want to do your bit for the environment by asking them to collect litter along their way.

Take up the couch-to-5km challenge

Beat the over-indulgence blues and get moving! If you’re feeling the pressure to improve your or your family’s fitness, a couch-to-5km challenge is an ideal shared goal. There are many couch-to-5km apps and websites that will guide you through every step of this fitness journey. With kilometres of walking and hiking tracks, trail running and mountain.

Photo by Vivek Doshi on Unsplash

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