I have never been to South Africa, but it’s most definitely high on our list of places to visit. Especially now that I’ve read this beautiful, extensive guide from local mama Sophie Pirlot de Corbion. Sophie is originally Belgian, is a mum of three girls, and has been living in South Africa for four years now — she moved when her youngest was just two months old. She and her family are keen travellers — she told me they have slept in the middle of the Kruger Park looking for the Big Five, camped on Mozambique’s deserted islands, seen the Okavango Delta in Botswana, visited the Zululand, gone on horse riding safaris, and have flown above the majestic Victoria Falls (to name just a few of their adventures!). She is a travel writer for various travel sites and has just started her own travel blog Poesy by Sophie. She has very kindly offered to write a guide for us on beautiful Cape Town, and no doubt it will inspire some travel inspiration for you as well…
On the Southern tip of Africa, perched between two oceans and the mountains, Cape Town sits in one of the world’s most spectacular settings. It’s a place of iconic beauty, diversity and vitality offering the perfect mix of nature and culture. Cape Town is also an amazing family destination with kid-friendly accommodations and restaurants and so many things to do either inside the city or within a short drive.
- Enjoy Cape Town beaches! The Ocean is freezing cold but kids won’t care and will have hours of fun! Our favourite family beaches are Camps bay, Clifton 4 and Llandudno. Outside of the city, Kommetje has a long white and secluded beach. On the Indian ocean side (with few more degrees in the water), Muizenberg, with its colourful beach houses is a surfers’ paradise and at Boulders’ Beach, you can swim surrounded by penguins!
Cape Town is also great for all the water sports and you can book for the kids a surf lesson, a stand up paddle session or even take part on an adventure tour on sea kayak.
- We love to rent Up Cycles bikes at the Sea Point Swimming pool and enjoy a nice family ride along the Promenade. They have kids bikes, child seats and child trailers. Sea Point promenade is an easy ride along the ccean with numerous playgrounds to stop. You can also go inside the Green Point Urban Park, have a coffee at the Tea in the Park and finish your ride at the V&A Waterfront where there is another Up Cycles station.
- The Two Oceans Aquarium, situated on the V&A Waterfront, is an absolute family must-do and also a very good option when it’s raining. There are many different exhibits, touch pools and microscope experiments. For children over eight, you could even book a private penguin’s encounter. The V&A Waterfront is home of many other indoor or outdoor kids activities like the Cape Wheel, a pirate boat cruise, Scratch Patch or Art Jamming.
- If you are in Cape Town on the first Thursday of the month, take the kids to a nice cultural walk in the central district and explore freely exhibitions, art galleries and shops which stay open late.
- We often take a short drive from Cape Town to spend the afternoon at the Imhoff Farm in Kommetje or at the Noordhoek Farm Village. They are both charming with a relaxed and family friendly atmosphere and so many things to do for the little ones! Petting farm, pony rides, snake park, camel rides (!) and huge playgrounds. Take a seat at the Blue Water Cafe or at Cafe Roux and enjoy a perfect lunch when the kids have fun.
- We love to take a walk from the famous colourful streets of Bo-Kaap to the vibrant Waterkant. Formerly known as the Malay Quarter, Bo Kaap is a real sensorial feast: you will be enchanted by the bright colourful houses, the fragrant spice shops and the sounds resonating from the local mosques or from children playing in the streets. Few streets away, the Waterkant is a small and laid-back village with charming streets, art galleries, creative shops and design cafés. Finish your walk with a savoury lunch on the shady square of the Cape Quarter Lifestyle village, home of very nice shops.
- Kirstenbosh, classified as one of the “Seven Magnificent Botanical Gardens of the World”, is a great family getaway! Enjoy the numerous pathways and trails, the impressive tree canopy walkway (known as “the Boomslang”), chose the perfect spot on the lawn for a lazy picnic or take a lunch at Moyo, a kid-friendly African themed restaurant. During summer, don’t miss the Sunset Concerts on Sunday and the open air cinema nights!
- Table Mountain is perhaps the greatest landmark of Cape Town. Kids love the cable car ride (with rotating floors and huge windows) and the view from the top is the most extraordinary in all of Cape Town. You can enjoy an easy walk and finish with a lunch or a coffee at the panoramic Table Mountain Coffee. For the most adventurous, book a Scootours ride!
- Take at least a full day to visit the Peninsula of Cape Town. The roads are scenic and there are plenty of nice stops that the kids will love. Start with the breathtaking Chapman’s peak drive and continue all the way down to the Cape Point Nature Reserve, a fauna & flora paradise. Spot the baboons, zebras and ostriches (you can even visit The Cape Point Ostrich Farm), take the Flying Dutchman Funicular to the old lighthouse and maybe a lunch in the panoramic Two Oceans Restaurant. Continue your day to the Indian Ocean side of the Peninsula with a visit to the Boulders Penguin colony, the old naval base of Simon’s Town and the picturesque fishing village of Kalk Bay (we love the Live Bait restaurant!).
- The Cape Winelands are world-famous and also very kid friendly. Visit century old architecture estates surrounded by mountains and lush valleys. Most of them organise wine testing (and grape juice testing for kids), scrumptious picnic or offer the best tables of the country. Our absolute favourite is Babylonstoren, an incredible vegetable garden and working farm and we also love the picnics of Boschendal. At La Motte, you can enjoy a gastronomic lunch while the kids are painting under the shade of old trees.
- Closer to Cape Town, you can also visit the wines estates of Constantia, have a lunch at Simon’s or a savoury picnic at Eagles’ Nest.
- Company’s Garden restaurant is one of our favourites! The park, right in the heart of the city, is beautiful and offers a real feeling of peace within a buzzing urban metropolis. The surroundings of the restaurant are an unlimited playground for the kids with giant chessboard, a series of whimsical oversized weaver nest-style structures that hang from the trees, swings and plenty of open green spaces for running and relaxing on. After a nice lunch, you can bring the kids to the South African Museum, which is also in the park.
- Located just off Sea Point’s promenade, Strolla (pictured above) offers a relaxing all-day long place for friends and family. The place is fresh and funky, with a nice terrace, kiddies menu, the opportunity for the kids to make their own pizza and an amazing playroom (with toys, colouring, Xbox…) supervised by child-minders!
- Situated just adjacent to the V&A Waterfront, on a private beach, Grand Africa Café & Beach is perfect to take a lunch or a drink facing the Ocean wiggling your toes in the white sand while kids have fun on the beach. If you are there on a Saturday, make a tour in the charming Oranjezicht City Farm Market just next door.
- Rumbullion @ Roundhouse has stunning views, nice food and a very laid-back atmosphere. Kids can run around on the lawns while you enjoy a relaxed picnic-style cuisine or a sunset drink.
- Situated on Hout Bay Beach, with a nice sandy playground, Dunes is one of the most popular kid-friendly restaurants in Cape Town. From there, you could visit the nice Bay Harbor market open on the weekends.
- Cape Point Vineyard is always a good idea. It offers breathtaking views between the mountains and the ocean. You can choose between the fancy restaurant, the delicious deli or book a picnic basket and enjoy a relaxing afternoon on the wine farm. There is plenty of open space to walk, run and have fun for hours! On Thursday Afternoon, they also organise a very popular market which is the perfect place to meet friends and enjoy sunset drinks and nice food.
- Woodstock is one of the oldest suburbs in Cape Town and it is also one of the trendiest. An incredible mix of diversity and cultures combine to make the neighbourhood a vibrant, bustling blend of food, fashion, arts and design. Take a walk from the Woodstock Exchange – a collection of workshops, boutiques, cafés and galleries – to the Old Biscuit Mill, an ancient factory converted in a design village, home of nice shops and restaurants. Every Saturday morning, the Old Biscuit Mill hosts the Neighbourgoods Market, one of the hippest markets in Cape Town.
- Kloof Street is the perfect place if you like to discover small trendy fashion and designers shops. For women, I especially like Mr&Mrs, a nice jewellery and clothing boutique. Ashanti is a fun and colourful shop adapting local traditions to contemporary tastes. Their handcrafted striped cushions and bean bags are a must have in any kids room! You’ll also find nice independent shops in and around the Lifestyle on Kloof complex. And for a sweet treats, stop at Myog frozen yougurt or Unframed Ice cream.
- Situated on the V&A Waterfront, The Watershed is a unique hub where you will find the best of local design and quality craft. It’s nice to walk and discover all the little boutiques and stalls full of beautiful jewellery, home décor, toys, clothes….
- For my three girls, I love the two famous Australian brands Country Road and Cotton On kids. It’s fun, colourful, affordable and kids love it as much as their parents.
- La Grenadine is a really charming guesthouse situated in the heart of busy Cape Town. We love the peaceful garden, the eclectic interior full of French antiques and local design and the relaxed atmosphere. They offer perfect options for families like a two-bedroom cottage or a three-bedroom private house.
- The Belmond Mount Nelson is one of the most iconic hotels of Cape Town which combines timeless luxury, refinement and a real care for the happiness of families. Located just in front of Company’s Garden, it’s really easy to explore the city by foot. Kids can play and run in the magnificent gardens, play tennis, swim or spend hours in their amazing fully supervised playrooms!
- The Grand Daddy is certainly Cape Town’s most original place to stay. Above their classic suites, they created a rooftop Airstream Trailer Park. All the trailers have their own individual decor theme and you can choose to sleep in the Safari trailer, the Beach trailer, the Winelands trailer (the biggest one)…. Children love it! Even if you don’t sleep there, take the kids to their Pink Flamingo Rooftop Cinema located in the middle of the Airstream trailer Park.
- Camps Bay Retreat is a peaceful paradise with amazing views across the Ocean. With its magnificent rolling gardens, swimming pools, the tennis court and the hanging bridge, the property lends itself for ample exploration and outdoor family fun.
- More Quarters is situated in one of our favourite area of the city. The concept is perfect for family: You will enjoy the total privacy of your own fully equipped apartment coupled with the convenience of a luxury hotel’s services. They really love kids and your apartment will be filled full of toys, magnets, colouring books & bath toys…
- Renting a beach villa is certainly a great family accommodation! Airbnb is full of beautiful options and for something more selective, I always recommend Perfect Hideaways and Cape Villa Collection.