Do not listen to the naysayers. You can (and should!) go to South Africa with young kids in tow. Don't wait until they are older to do safari. They will love the excitement of a big city. Promise! And they will even enjoy the gorgeous winelands.
I will walk you through each situation. But first, let's get started below with eight unforgettable things to do with kids in Cape Town.
Living through German winters can be incredibly depressing without seeing the sun, especially after living on the equator in Singapore. We decided to take matters into our own hands and strategically plan time in a sunny environment after Christmas to get a healthy dose of Vitamin D and beat the depressing 3:30pm sunsets.
Last year, we found uber cheap tickets sending us to Chase the Sun in Malta! And two years ago, we spent time adventuring around South Africa with our two and four year old boys starting in Cape Town. After a few days in the Mother City, we chased the Big Five through safari and spent the last few days back on the western coast in Stellenbosch. More on that in a bit.
Here are a few things we enjoyed as a family in Cape Town!
1.) Table Mountain Cable car- a few things to note! Check the weather first thing. A total waste of time, money, and effort if a clear day is not in the forecast. As soon as you spot a clearing during your visit, book your tickets asap. Even with a reserved piece of paper, the line is crazy crazy long on a beautiful day. With that being said, pack some water and snacks for the wait time. Ours was well over an hour. Standing for that long in the hot sun is torture to little kids without food.
2.) Bo-Kaap- the most colorful area in the city! You can join organized tour groups to see the street more in-depth, but I usually suggest shying away from them when having littles in tow. However, I would recommend taking your kids to Harvest Cafe & Deli, a mighty tasty spot with an impeccable rooftop view of Table Mountain.
3.) The Cape of Good Hope in Table Mountain National Park- so many disclaimers for this one. The entry is expensive, and you will pay per individual in the car. Due to the road getting there, the line to get inside the park will be quite long. Umm there are also aggressive wild baboons...
And since it is the tip of an entire continent, the wind is unbelievably strong. Eeep!
But, is it worth it? Absolutely!
And if you have littles who are obsessed with Paw Patrol like mine were at the time. The lighthouse tower looks exactly like The Lookout...or at least my kids thought so!
If driving down from Cape Town, be sure to plan your day for adequate time in the park. It's a chunk of change and a long way to drive for a hurried couple of hours.
4.) Boulders Beach- on your way back to Cape Town, be sure to stop at this incredible spot! It's amazing to watch the little cuties waddle around and duck up and down in the water. But if you have kids with you, it's PURE magic! Definitely one of my favorite memories from this trip.
We met up with strangers for sundowners while the boys played on the beach. Well...kinda. I met Brandy on the internet and immediately fell in love with her story and family. Want more details of our family meet up and sons jumping waves together for the first time? Click below!
5.) GOLD Opulent African Cuisine- hands down, #1 place to eat in the Cape! It's a live, 14-dish, dinner show that fully immerses you in authentic African culture. Five stars all around; you will not be disappointed! Massive hit with the kids, too.
They were highly entertained and tried unique Ghanaian, Ethiopian, Tunisian, Mozambiquan, Zanzanian, and Malawian cuisines.
6.) The Castle of Good Hope- this prestigious fort was originally constructed in the 17th century and is known as the most well-preserved fort of it's time in all of the world. The Castle of Good Hope was founded in Table Bay to give ships a rest break en-route to Asia from Europe. Visitors can pay for a guided tour or take a self-guided one like we chose. Again, I'm not really a fan of group tours with littles. Be sure to research the exhibitions online prior to your visit.
7.) Blue Train Park- if you find yourself in the city with kids and need a break to let them run wild, check out the Blue Train Park. There is an actual blue train they can ride, lots of green space to run wild + playground equipment...and what parent wouldn't love the relaxing backdrop of the seaside? And if you're lucky, sit back and watch the paragliders run off Signal Hill while you're kiddos swing their hearts out!
8.) V&A Waterfront Marina- Feeling mentally and physically kaput from sight-seeing? Then make your next stop the V&A Waterfront Marina. You will find everything you need and more! Shopping, dining, entertainment, and tours. An array of large chain places to boutique artisans are around every corner. Boredom will not strike you as you meander the main tourist spot in CT. The kids were amused watching the fancy yachts ferry in and out. But you will also find playgrounds and a train going about the crowds for the kiddos to ride and enjoy.
My favorites at the V&A Waterfront Marina?
- Ferrymans Tavern- so much goodness to say about this place! Friends of ours recommended it, because we could sit outside yet it was covered and had a playground for the boys. Live music paired with delish food and beer can't be beat!
- The V&A Waterfront Food Market- an eclectic indoor market with an array of street food vendors sure to please everyone in the family.
- The Watershed- want to support local artisans and take home a unique souvenir? 1,000% put this shopping mecca on your list. I picked up a beaded mask of an idigenious tribe (it cruelly stares at me every night from my dresser) and a necklace made from ostrich eggs. Super cool spot!
- Ginja- amazing cuisine, incredible sunset view of the harbor, and best service we had in Kapstadt!
- The Cape Wheel- a no-brainer if you have kids! Although if you are riding solo or with a partner, the 360 view of the city and coastline from the clouds is breathtaking. Check it out!
The Mother City was a hit with everyone in our family. It has an immense cultural diversity of various ethnicities, religions, and languages which can be experienced throughout the city. It's full of playgrounds and attractions for kids. And if all else fails, let them play along the gorgeous seaside!
All in all, don't be afraid of taking your young family to Cape Town! It can be daunting like any big city, but the cultural experiences, unique cuisines, and warm sunshine during winter can't be beat! Also helps to pour your expectations down the drain when traveling with kids. Ha! This was the boys 25th country, so trust me on this. Cape Town is also a fabulous jumping off point to the rest of gorgeous South Africa...and that is exactly what we did. Next stop is Port Elizabeth and a few days on safari. Stay tuned!
Have questions about our trip? Leave a comment below!
Want to stay in the loop? Click the blue button right now.