48 hrs in the Winelands with kids- by expat Jess Wooldridge

  • Child friendly activities Cape Winelands

-Jess Wooldrigde from SOORT Kids Tableware discovers 3 child-friendly activities within one hour from Cape Town.Jessamy (Jess!) emigrated from London,England in 2015 for her South African husband's work, and to enjoy the family lifestyle Cape Town has to offer. Two young children keep Jess on her toes, and with ex pat Ouma, a crazy Labrador and 2 beagles in tow it's never a boring weekend. 

With so much to do in Durbanville, we often find ourselves exploring locally. But as we were in need of a family breakaway and after reading the line-up, we chose the Winter Wonderland Festival of Lights in Gordons Bay as our main destination, with the view of a bit of sightseeing back to our house in Durbanville on Sunday.  Gordons Bay is only an hour trip away, but we booked in at a local hotel for the night. I packed for ourselves and my nearly 5 year old son, and 2.5 year old daughter with the help of the Thingstodowithkids packing blog – still unsure of the weather in Gordons Bay in July as we are in winter after all! After convincing the kids not to ride in the boot, and with non-stop ‘are we nearly there yet’ we reached the Winter Wonderland in time for Saturday lunch.

The weather and location was beautiful with the sun shining and the wonderful mountain backdrop.  We initially wandered around the tents and found a table to settle outside the music tent which had a fabulous range of music being pelted out. The kids soon noticed the kids train and convinced hubby he needed to take them on a ride around the park, which they haven’t stopped talking about since.  After the train ride the kids wanted more entertaining so we found them the face painting stall, and set them up at the picture decorating table where they sat for a good hour! Once we’d raided a couple of the food stalls (and the kids had talked us into getting them massive candy floss) they had renewed energy to check out the fun park.  I was initially concerned there would not be anything for my 2.5 year old - but there was a good range of rides, and everyone had a ball (including my husband who went on the bumper cars with my 5 year old).

We headed back to the hotel to check in and grab some dinner before everyone passed out from a full day’s family fun.


During breakfast we decided we would go home via a couple of destinations, we planned to see the Cheetahs at the Cheetah Outreach in Somerset West, go see the ducks run at Vergenoegd (unfortunately the Market is only there on the Saturday), and to visit the kids play area (World of Adventure) at the Root44 market. Busy day ahead!

Cheetah Outreach- Somerset West

The Cheetah Outreach is a conservation project, which aims to raise funds for various Cheetah projects, as well as to raise awareness and educate visitors on the endangered free-ranging cheetah. On arriving we paid for 2 adult- and 2 children encounters – and we were provided with a thorough briefing on how to stroke the cheetah on entering the enclosure.  Which was interesting trying to tell a 2.5 year old, and nearly 5 year old to stay calm and hold your fingers together when stroking the animal – we just hoped it had been registered. Thankfully the cheetah was enjoying an afternoon nap in the sun, so we were all able to sit down and stroke him - which the kids were ecstatic about.

Vergenoegd Wine Estate- Stellenbosch

We found out that the duck running times were 10am, 12.30 and 15.30 (Sat-Sun) so we had time to get there for the 12.30 run.  This is something not to be missed – 700 Indian Runner Ducks running out to the vines to hunt for snails and pests.  The anticipation was immense and it was a fantastic spectacle which the kids loved.  Unfortunately, the restaurant was fully booked (bad planning on our part!) so off we went to Root 44 to find us some food.

Root 44 – Audacia Wines, Stellenbosch

As we got there after lunchtime the market was heaving, however we managed to find ourselves a table in the food tent where we sent hubby off to bring back food and much deserved beverages. After refuelling on the biggest curry he could find, and some pancakes for the kids we went to find the kids play area (World of Adventure). We had to pay to get in but we found it was worth it as the kids had a great time and my son refused to get off the zipline.  We were very impressed and are definitely planning on visiting there again soon as the kids had a ball.

After an action-packed weekend and so much to talk about and share we headed home. As an expat, it is lovely to once-again see how much South Africa has to offer families and kids, making family time fun time spent together. 

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