Written by special contributor, Bianca Knauf
Are you planning on visiting Cape Town, South Africa with kids in tow? It’s one of the best family-friendly destinations and many of the activities are perfectly aimed at children of any age. From seeing penguins, seals and sharks, to visiting the wave-less shores of the warm Langebaan Lagoon, you can have endless fun with the little ones.
Here’s a list of the top 10 things to do in Cape Town with kids:
Visit Table Mountain
No visit to Cape Town is complete without a trip to the iconic Table Mountain. The state of the art cable-way revolves 360 degrees for an epic view as you travel up the mountain. You and the kids will be in awe of the breathtaking vistas. Once you’ve reached the top, be sure to treat the kids to a delicious slice of pizza at Table Mountain Cafe. Strollers are allowed on the cable-way, and the designated walkways are very child friendly.
*Note: From May to September each year, during Cableway’s Kidz Season, two children ride for free with an adult who has purchased a return ticket online or from the Lower Cable Station.
The Penguins at Boulders Beach
Visiting the penguins at Boulders Beach near Simonstown is an absolute must! There is no better spot to set up your beach chairs for the day and penguin watch. Getting up close and personal with these tuxedoed little chaps will have your children giggling with glee. The beach falls under the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area, which means it is always clean and safe. The day visit comes with a small conservation fee per person (worth every penny if you ask us!) and it’s rarely crowded. The pristine beaches are also close to amenities so you can grab an easy lunch at several nearby eateries.
Hiking Constantia Kloof
Every child loves to explore and that’s exactly what they will be doing on a hike in Constantia! You’ll be spoilt for choice with no less than 9 interwoven trails to choose from. The trails are very easy and take roughly 30 – 45 minutes each to complete. Constantia is known for its beauty and you won’t be disappointed when you enter this green, leafy suburban jungle with your little ones.
Blouberg Beach Picnic
You can never go wrong with a picnic when it comes to kids. A great day out is having a picnic on the golden sands of Blouberg Beach. The beach is famed for its unparalleled views of Table Mountain. There are several large, grassy lawns to sit, too, if beach sand isn’t your thing. Enjoy some sandwiches and beverages as you take in the magnificent surroundings and enjoy dipping your toes in the chilly Atlantic.
V&A Waterfront – Boat Trip and Aquarium
Of course the Waterfront has tons of activities to do with your children, but the top two would have to be the aquarium followed by a boat ride. The Jolly Roger pirate ship offers the young (and the young at heart) an authentic adventure-filled experience while the Spirit of Victoria offers a more traditional sailing experience through Table Bay.
Next up is the Two Oceans Aquarium – the kids will spend hours looking at (sometimes touching) beautiful sea life in this spectacular aquarium. A highlight is the predator exhibit full of ragged-tooth sharks! Make sure to be there on a Sunday at 15:00 to watch them being fed!
The Company Gardens & Planetarium
The beautiful Cape Town Company Gardens are situated right in the centre of the bustling city of Cape Town. (Queen Victoria Street, to be exact.)
Enjoy a meal at the popular restaurant while the children interact with the hundreds of squirrels that call these beautiful gardens home. On the same street you will find the planetarium, which is open from 10:00 to 17:00 every day. It offers an exceptional experience to both young and old. Lie back in your tilting chair and gaze up at the recreated night sky, illuminated by the constellations! You will not be disappointed!
Spice Route, Paarl
You will enjoy the Spice Route in Paarl just as much as the children. It’s a mere 45-minute drive from the city centre and the views are incredible.
It’s a single location (not a “route”) and showcases excellent food like artisanal chocolate, gourmet burgers, homemade gelato and much more. The kids will be kept very busy with the fun play area looking over the winelands. It’s a great day out for the whole family. Be sure to check out the neighboring farm, Alpaca Loom, where the kids can feed and pet the alpacas!
Seapoint Parks & Bike Rides
Seapoint’s famous promenade runs the length of the beachfront, from Bantry Bay to Mouille Point, where it connects to Green Point Urban Park. A fun idea is to rent bicycles for the day and cycle along this amazing stretch of the Cape coast. The promenade is completely traffic free and safe for people of all ages. If riding bicycles isn’t your thing, you can take the children to one of the several playgrounds and parks along this scenic route.
Kirstenbosch – The Boomslang “Tree-Snake”
It’s pronounced “bew-wim-slung” and is a 130-metre long timber and galvanized steel pathway that weaves its way high through the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.
It’s completely safe and blends perfectly into the natural environment. The Walkway takes you on an epic journey from ground level up above the treetops resulting in magnificent panoramic views of the Gardens and surrounding mountains. This magical day of gardens and statues is a fantastic learning experience for the parents and kids alike.
Stand Up Paddleboarding in Langebaan
What better way to enjoy a warm, sunny day in Cape Town than heading up to Langebaan Lagoon? A short 90-minute drive from Cape Town will have you on the gorgeous shores of this coastal paradise. Stand Up Paddleboarding, or SUP as it’s commonly referred to, is a whole lot of fun and not nearly as difficult as it may look. The calm Langebaan Lagoon provides excellent conditions for you and your family to practice and learn this enjoyable sport. Sign up for a class with one of the local SUP schools to learn some serious skills.
There you have it, a list of our top 10 things to do in Cape Town with kids. This list is by no means exhaustive… you could spend years in The Mother City and not run out of fun family activities.
I’m Bianca, from Cape Town, South Africa.
I’ve lived in Cape Town for 7 years. We moved here when my son was born because of the spectacular life it offers children. When he was 1 we were swimming in the warm Langebaan Lagoon. When he turned 2 we were splashing around on Blouberg Beach and watching sharks swim by at the aquarium. When he turned 5 we climbed Table Mountain and Lion’s Head and now that he’s older, he loves the Botanical Gardens. We’ve since set our sights on new countries and new adventures, but there are still only a few places in the entire world I’d recommend as highly as Cape Town for an adventure loving family.