Previously I have posted about Se7en of the Best Outings in Cape Town… and I thought it was time to list Se7en of the best day trips or weekend trips around Cape Town… these are all a couple of hours drive from the city center – think day trip rather than morning outing. Most of these we have done as overnight trips – any excuse to get away is a good excuse! The joy of homeschooling is that we can go midweek and miss the crowds!
Trip 1: Whale Watching in Hermanus.
This is one of the best places in the world for land based whale watching. There are heaps of cliff top walks (not madly dangerous, easy flat walks) along the shore and you can look directly down upon the Right Whales, and amble along the coast as they swim along the shore – an awesome experience. These mammals are so huge and so wonderful, just see them glide effortlessly through the water, not to mention seeing them breach (leap out) and thunder back onto the water is really amazing. And along the path there are the odd paddle pool to cool off in and explore, not to mention great spots for picnics. This is really one of those life experiences that needs to be done if you are visiting Cape Town.
Trip 2: Flower Watching in the West Coast National Park.
The Potsberg Flower Reserve is part of the West Coast National Park and is only open during the flower season: August and September every year. Beautiful doesn’t begin to describe the flowers that just roll on field after field after field – you cannot actually comprehend this if you haven’t seen it. And if you think looking at flowers is a bit dull and not worth the effort driving out for – well you are quite mad! Not only are the flowers beautiful, but it is situated on the Langebaan Lagoon, which is a wonderful place to spend time… very safe beachey picnic spots, all down the lagoon and it is an area famous for seafood. This park does offer accommodation, even houseboats – how cool is that! In our life before children the father person and I went on an annual overnight hike there – this is brilliant… you get to walk down the lagoon the first day and up the coast the second day… very easy walking through pristine fields and fields of flowers.
Trip 3: Monkey Watching at Monkey World.
This outing is a bit of a drive, outside of Cape Town, but it is well worth the drive. They don’t just have a couple of monkeys in a couple of cages! There are heaps of all kinds of small animals to look at and the animals are kept in a very tasteful manner – in fact as you walk through the center you, the visitor, feel like you are entrapped and the animals look free, which is a nice change. Also there is always lots of stuff happening there: animal feedings and people doing things with the animals constantly. Just a word of warning – it may not be the best outing when you are a week short of producing your seventh child in the heat of a Cape Summer, but it can be done!!!
Trip 4: Butterfly Watching at Butterfly World.
If you live with a butterfly lover then this is the place to go! – It is a lovely indoor garden filled with free flying butterflies and all associated butterfly things – creepy crawly caterpillars and so on!. This park is situated close to Franschoek where there are any number of lovely places to visit, not mention on the wine route… lots of beautiful farms to visit. Butterfly World is a great stop off for the kids to stretch their legs and explore.
Trip 5: Farm Watching at Worcester Open Air Museum.
This is a fabulous museum for kids and expect to spend hours! It is a series of different farm architectures through time at the Cape – from a reed hut to old Cape Farmhouses, each type of building houses a different type of agriculture and farm crafts: candle making, soap making, out door bread making, sheep shearing – whatever they are doing on the day you can watch and learn. The staff were friendly and helpful not to mention happy to explain what they were doing to the kids. They also have a great farm shop where you can buy lots of their products, great for gifts.
Trip 6: Fruit Picking in the Western Cape.
Here you have two options:
- Cherry Picking at Klondyke in Ceres
- Strawberry Picking at Polka Draai in Stellenbosch:
Ceres is a great spot for a weekend away. And cherry picking happens from the last week of November through to the end of December. A great idea to spend a day outdoors and then returning home with instant Christmas Gifts for all your friends and family, not to mention they look very impressive on party tables!
This an easy drive from Cape Town and close to the lovely town of Stellenbosch. There are few things nicer for a little kid to be given a box and told: “Fill it with strawberries” and love to say these would make great gifts- but we have never ever ever had any left by the time we got home, no matter how many we buy!!!
Trip 7: Hot Spring Basking in Montague.
Well Montague is a great place to go for the weekend, lovely restaurants with real food, heaps of things to do walking, swimming and antique shops to poke around in. We had a great surprise visiting the dried fruit factory, they had a great little tour that you take yourself with a map and cards describing what you see – the kids loved it, like a real live treasure hunt! But the nicest thing about Montague is the Hot Springs, which you can visit as a day visitor or you can stay there. We went in the middle of winter and had a great day in the warm water – I remember being pregnant at the time (like when wasn’t I in the last ten years) and thinking I would never get into the water in public – but it was so lovely and inviting even I succumbed and boy was it worth it – heaven on earth.
That’s it – Happy Traveling.