Cape Town has a certain energy, a trendy vibe of happiness, which I am yet to encounter in any other city in the world and I simply love it. From the minute the aeroplane touches the ground, this energy simply grabs hold of the heart and soul, reviving even the most exhausted parent, traveller or business person, making them realise that they have arrived - they have arrived in an adventure, a new chapter to their story.
My husband and I recently decided to indulge in a sneaky weekend getaway and take our 2-year-old on his very first Cape Town adventure. Here is what we got up to in 48 hours:
Where to Stay in Cape Town
We decided to base ourselves in Seapoint, in a self-catering apartment within walking distance to the promenade, as this allowed us to take early morning walks along the seaside. The promenade has numerous play areas and Mouille Point (just a short drive away) is home to countless free & inexpensive play parks perfect for kids (read more about these here).
View during our early morning walk along the Seapoint promenade
One of the play areas on the promenade
Day 1: Family-friendly Excursions & Activities around the V&A Waterfront & Table Mountain
Cruise along the Harbour
Our Bean is fascinated with any and all modes of transport and so we decided to kick off our day with a 20-minute CitySightseeing Harbour Cruise at the V&A Waterfront. Kids under 5 get to travel for free and the boat ride is short enough to keep a toddler entertained without running the risk of a boredom related tantrum. Highlights of the cruise include the Victoria & Alfred Basins, the recently discovered Chavonnes Battery, the SA Agulhas Research ship, unmatched views of Table Mountain, Lions Head and Devil’s Peak, and, of course, the countless seals swimming and playing in the water. The first cruise starts at 09h00.
The CitySightseeing Boat
SAS Somerset (the only surviving boom defence vessel left in the world)
Early morning view of the clock tower
View of Table Mountain from the Harbour
Explore the Magic of our Oceans at the Two Oceans Aquarium
I am fascinated by the magical world of ‘under-the-sea’ and I was thus even more excited about ‘seeing the fishes’, as Bean announced shortly after our arrival, than he was! I particularly loved the ‘touch area’ as well as the underwater tunnel. Although I could’ve spent hours in this mesmerising aquarium, we managed to take a leisurely stroll through the venue in under 2 hours.
The Aquarium has many of these types of fun exhibits for the kids
We loved the waves and penguins in this exhibit
The touch pool
The kids' play area
A Ride on the Hamleys Express
Not ones to miss trying out another mode of transport, we hopped onto the Hamleys Express Train for a 15-minute ride around the Waterfront.
Lunch on the Run
The V&A Food Market offers an awesome variety of artisanal, healthy fast foods and drinks. There is live music and a play area.
Catch the Red Bus to Table Mountain
The CitySightseing City Tour starts at the V&A Waterfront and allows its passengers to explore the sights and sounds of the City of Cape Town. From the V&A Waterfront, the bus took us past the Clock Tower, the CTICC and the infamous Long Street before arriving at our destination of choice, Table Mountain. This iconic mountain is one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature and is at least 6 times older than the Himalayas, making it one of the oldest mountains in the world. Bean, of course, loved the Cableway as well as the Dassies scurrying around at the top.
The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway is currently running their Kidz Season Special: 2 kids ride for free with every adult return ticket purchased (including a treasure map and some treats).
The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway
Father and son enjoying the view
Alexa, happy to be on top
Bean, curious as to what's on the other side of the wall
Sundowners & Dinner in Camps Bay
Although this was in our plan as the City Tour bus route does stop here, we ended up not going for sundowners as Bean was exhausted after a very busy day. For older kids, this is a fun family outing to round off a great family day.
For a complete list of child-friendly activities around the V&A Waterfront, read this.
Day 2: Excursions & Activities in and around Simon’s Town
Take a Scenic Drive along the Coast
We decided to start the day with an early morning drive along the coast, past Camps Bay, the 12 Apostles and Hout Bay, over Chapman’s Peak and finally past Simon’s Town to Cape Point and Boulders Beach. The views are simply spectacular and this drive is a definite must for anyone visiting Cape Town.
On Chapman's Peak, overlooking Hout Bay
A Short Visit to the Tip of the Cape Peninsula
Although one could spend days in the awe-inspiring Cape Point Nature Reserve and World Heritage Site, we were pressed for time and therefore decided to take a quick ride up to the viewing point with the Flying Dutchman Funicular. The trip along the 585m track to the lighthouse takes about 3 minutes.
Playing on the Beach with Penguins
This little paradise, with its soft white sand, gently lapping waves and African Penguin sightings, is the ideal beach for kids. We ended up spending almost 2 hours here as Bean loved it so much.
How cute are these African Penguins?
Late Leisurely Lunch in Kalk Bay
Kalk Bay is a vibey town with an amazing park and play area, beautiful sea views and quaint little shops. We had a late lunch at the ever-popular Brass Bell situated right next to the Kalk Bay train station and tidal pool. It offers captivating sights and sounds of the Atlantic Ocean crashing against rocks, deliciously prepared fresh seafood (as well as a variety of other foods such a burgers and pizzas) and a mini-beach area for the kids. The restaurant does get busy on weekends and reservations are therefore necessary. Also, the restaurant has various child-friendly and not-so-child-friendly areas, so when booking, make sure you mention that you are a family with kids.
For a complete guide to child-friendly restaurants in Cape Town, read here.
View from the Brass Bell Restaurant, Kalk Bay
Kalk Bay tidal pool
I hope our getaway inspires you to explore this mesmerising part of South Africa - Cape Town definitely should be on everybody's bucket list for a family vacation!
For more information please visit: Things to do with Kids