We are luckily to live in Cape Town. It really is a city full of outstanding natural beauty and full of some of the most impressive sites to see. Living in a city that is famous for its flat topped mountain, perched in the middle of it, means that we are always close to the outdoors and things adventurous.
Here are se7en of our favorite sites to visit, there are many more. This is just a taste of where to go and what to do when visiting Cape Town.
Outing #1: The Two Oceans Aquarium
This is a world class aquarium, don’t miss it – it really is brilliant.
It is a fun outing for everyone from shortest to tallest, the whole family loves it. Even infants love peering into the kelp beds and watching the sharks whip around the tanks.
There are places to look and touch and feel and see. During the school holidays they often have really good craft programs for kids. Another nice thing about this outing is, well “location, location, location”. It is at the Cape Town Waterfront, which in itself is a great place to visit – lots of eateries, things to see and local shopping… This is the only indoor site on the list, which is indicative of Cape Town and our lifestyle…
My kids love Kirstenbosch, it is really quite a brilliant outing – outdoors in the middle of the city. Apart from the obvious beauty of all the flowers and gardens. There is an incredible Conservatory full of the most amazing plants from all over the world, not to mention a huge boabab tree. Really, well worth the walk through on the way into the gardens, where there are lots of pretty streams to play in – aaahhh children and water.
We always pack a towel and change of clothes and it is a great place to go and sit, while the kids can play to their hearts content. Also the entry fees are reasonable, you pay for adults and then only for school age children… and in fact during school holidays all children are free.
This is relatively pricy outing, for a family of nine, and so is rare treat, but we have always had a fabulous time there. There is so much to see, definitely take a picnic. They have a walk through route and it can get a bit lo-ong… so plan to make rest stops along the way and plan to take hours. It definitely isn’t a quick whizz about a couple of birds in cages.
There are hundreds of different types of birds in beautifully maintained aviaries. Not just birds, lots of small creatures including reptiles, farm animals and wallabies! Also it is located in Hout Bay, which is a great place to visit and there is a nice little waterfront and place to eat fish and chips… you can take boat charters from the harbor to go and look at Seal Island.
To be honest, this is not my best outing, but oh my kids absolutely love it! A sea of precious stones, each one more precious than the last! You pay a fee for a small, medium or large container and pick and choose your way through streams of colorful rocks… Be warned this treasure will permeate your entire house, your washing machine, your tumble dryer and yes, I have even found them in the fridge. It is treasure indeed and you would be amazed at how many stones can be squeezed into one tiny container.
They are located in more than one place around the city and we usually go to the one close to Simonstown. This is not a great place for a picnic but it is so close to beautiful and amazing beaches that it is worth combining two outings in one… and the threat of a trip to the beach might be exactly the leverage you need to clear your head out of rock heaven. They do have a shop that is pretty much a museum (!) full of the most amazing things to be seen – you have no idea of the bazillion uses of precious stones.
These last three outings are all part of the large Table Mountain Park:
Here is a wonderful outing, really you can be in the country within minutes of being in the city and you can drive yourself deep into Vynbos country and be completely out of sight of all things civilized!
There are lots of walks throughout the park and really well labeled and presented – ranging from really easy to quite tricky.
We usually find ourselves marching round the large dam and finding a spot to relax while the kids fiddle around in the water – you can swim and you can see all sorts of things natural. I cannot explain how wonderful it feels to just find yourself in the middle of the countryside – so easily, it is always a mini-vacation for us.
This is quite possibly one of the best beaches in the world. It is well-sheltered from the Cape wind by – well boulders!, which provide hideaways for the local penguins and even though Hood #4 is obsessed with all things penguin there are lots of other things to see and do here.
The water aspect of the beach is almost a large natural rock pool and safe for even little people to fiddle around and swim in. The rock pools are lovely and great for poking around in. It is a sandy beach and great for castle building, dam building, and well just any building!
We love going here during official school time (an advantage of homeschooling) and often we are the only people there… it does feel rather out of this world to sit on a stunning beach – all to yourself!
This a great park to visit with all sorts of things to do and see… there are sandy beaches to visit; There are rocky beaches full of rock pools; there are hikes; not to mention the actual point. The information center is a great resource for all things natural and is a great place to stop and poke around in.
They do have a little cable car that can take you up to the light house at the point – or you can walk there – not a difficult walk – well it becomes more difficult if you have breakfast in the restaurant first! They do have a couple of buck and ostriches to see, not to mention baboons and you have to be vigilant in looking out for these.
That’s it… As you can see Cape Town has the beach, the mountain, wildlife and all in the comfort of a city centre – lovely. Clearly, there are plenty more sites where these came from!!!
7 Replies to “Se7en of the Best Outings in Cape Town…”
Sheesh, reading that really made me miss home … I always try to visit Kirstenbosch when I’m visiting in December and a trip to our beach cottage (btw Simonstown & Cape Point) is definitely a must for me! And I’ve promised to take the boyf to the aquarium next time we’re down … all these things (except the Scratch Patch visit!) are not just for the little people at all 🙂
Hay Gladtobeagirl… thats the wonderful thing about being the mother person – you get to go to all these cool places – all in the name of parenting!!!
The pictures make me homesick! I wish I wasn’t so far away…I’d love to come on outings with the hoods! 🙂
Your great article will certainly be useful for anyone visiting Cape Town with children. While in the vicinity of Simonstown, another great outing for kids is the Warrior Toy Museum. Both boys and girls enjoy this toy paradise, filled with model cars, trains and dolls. although I can imagine that with seven in tow it might be a little difficult to curb their enthusiasm.
HI There HC… I must admit I have always been a bit weary of trying the toy museum… what with curious fingers, we have been spoilt with very hands on museums around the world and an “untouchable” seems just a little nerve wracking!!! Have a good weekend…
We are living here now, having moved two months ago, and will definitely have to check out some of these places! We are living in Somerset West as my husband is working at the University of Stellenbosch.
Hay Sherrin, Welcome to Cape Town, Good to have you here… lots of fun new places for you to explore… Enjoy!!!