The happiest island in South Africa

Happy island waterworld
The kiddies Amazon rain forest

By: Natasha Archary 

City slickers will do anything to convince you that they don’t long to be on the coast. That we’re happy being in Midas’ city and we find ways to enjoy recreational fun with our family, without missing the ocean. 

We lie. We secretly envy all our coastal buddies and family. That you have free reign of some of the best beaches in our country is annoying. But, we have something you don’t. We have the happiest island water-world, in my opinion, in the entire country.

Happy Island

Happy moms and dads 

Born on the coast, means that there’s a part of me that always longs for the shore. For the sound of crashing waves and sand between my toes. It’s something I wish I could have my child enjoy more often, but it’s not practical because thank you volatile economy and inflation. 

Enter Happy Island Waterworld. Just off Beyers Naude, approximately 6 km from the N14 freeway, in Muldersdrift is an oasis for the entire family. Nothing replaces the ocean and I know that, but this comes close. 

My son was in his element. But then, he’s a water baby like his momma. Which meant this mommy was relaxed, happy and down for a day of awesome outdoor family adventure. 

Happy Island wavehouse

The entire experience 

I chose the hottest day in Johannesburg’s history and should have been better prepared, with camp chairs and a gazebo or bigger umbrella. The park does have shaded areas and communal beach chairs, but if you’re not early, the prime spots obviously go to those early birds. 

You’re greeted at the entrance of the park by really strict security which is probably the only dampener on the entire experience. I understand the social safety implications but still didn’t like my personal belongings being subjected to such an invasive toss through. You’re letting in families to a waterpark, this is not a prison visit people. Consider changing your method of operation and aim for a more pleasant end-user experience. 

Happy Island Typhoon
First of it’s kind in South Africa

That said, safety is honestly a huge priority at the island and this gets two thumbs up from me. I was really worried that the kiddies splash pools would be deeper than the calf level for adults. Which will increase the risk of the little ones gulping water if they fall over or slide down one of the ramps. It’s not. 

Giving parents peace of mind. This is not to say you don’t need to watch your kids. Lifeguards are on duty at every pool and slide area but accidents do happen, so be mindful of that. 

I didn’t enjoy the “lazy river”. To be honest I found the design of this tube ride to be lazy. There are sections of the river that graze your bottom, I bumped my head on one of the walls because there’s little room in some spaces for the tube to slip between. There are people on standby to get you on course again because the current is some spots are a little lethargic.

What’s to love?

What’s not to? It’s a blast. I can’t remember the last time I had that much fun and if that’s an indicator then imagine how much fun the kids will have. There are waterproof wrist bands which can be purchased in the store, so you can load cash onto the bands and not worry about losing money. 

Apart from the slides, tubes and wave house, there’s a spray park. This is fun for anyone, especially parents with babies who can’t walk or slide by themselves yet. Mom and dad can frolic through the spray park with little one in tow. 

Happy Island
Rainbow slide – race your friends down

I know I’m not the only one who loves the wave house. An ocean stimulator creates waves which everyone can bop around in and you can actually take a swim. Life vests are provided for all patrons at the wave house but for safety reasons, if you can swim don’t venture too far in. The force of the wave is hectic and it can feel similar to being caught in a rip tide. 

There’s also a separate area for tubing if the little ones can’t handle the force of the waves. These pools go to a depth of 2m and are no laughing matter. But I’m part mermaid, and for me it was the ultimate day out in the sun. 

I would advise going in a big group, so you can take it, in turn, to watch the kiddies while each adult experiences the waves. It also helps to have a few extra pair of hands to carry the tubes for ramps, tubing tunnels, and slides that require them. It’s tricky to do that and have a hand on your child at all times. 

Would I go back? 

Happy island waterworld
The kiddies Amazon rain forest

Abso-bloody-lutely. Yes, we’ll always crave the ocean but the Happy Island Waterworld, replicates the fun, water adventure that us city slickers have always asked for. Thank you for heeding our prayers. The island is mommy approved. 

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