Cape Town for Families: the Top Things to Do in the Mother City
Cape Town is a complete destination. From the stunning natural scenery and beautiful coastlines, to the fine dining and vibrant culture. The city and its surrounds are bursting with things to see and do. One of the best aspects of a trip to Cape Town is that most of these activities are family friendly.
Here is our list of the top Cape Town activities for families:
Enjoy the Outdoors:
Cape Town city center is nestled at the base of the majestic Table Mountain. The mountain is definitely a must-see during a visit to the city. There are a number of ways to explore Table Mountain. Hop in the Cable Car and take a trip to the top (special prices for children apply). Alternatively, get your walking shoes on and embark on one of the hikes that wind through the Table Mountain National Park – the views from the top make the effort worth it! Alternatively, enjoy a more panoramic view and snap a photo of the iconic mountain from one of the yellow frames dotted around the city and suburbs.
Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens
A top destination for nature lovers. Kirstenbosch is arguably the most well-known of South Africa’s botanic gardens. It sits at the base of the eastern slopes of Table Mountain and is part of the Cape Floral Region – the most biodiverse in the world! Kids can run around and explore the vast grounds; the family can take a stroll along the tree canopy walkway, or enjoy great music if you are there during one of the Sunday Summer Concert sessions.
Cape Town is located relatively close to the heart of South African wine production – the Cape Winelands. While farms and award winning wines are a destination for older crowds, there are a number of wine estates which offer child-friendly activities. From kiddie-friendly wine tastings (grape juice), Segway tours of the estates for older kids, animal encounters and horse riding adventures through the wine farms – there are no shortage of activities to keep the whole family entertained.
In addition to Table Mountain’s routes, Cape Town is full of scenic hiking routes for the family to enjoy. Lion’s Head is a popular choice. Close to the city center, Lion’s Head is easily accessible and provides an exciting adventure for kids. Head up for sunrise or sunset for a truly unforgettable hiking experience – don’t forget your headlamps for when the sun goes down!
Cape Town Culture and Museums:
The V&A Waterfront is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. Here you will find world-class shopping, fine dining and a vibrant atmosphere. While at the V&A, the family can enjoy a trip on the Cape Wheel, a journey for the taste-buds at the V&A food market or an adventure on the Hamley’s train – just to name a few options.
For the sports fanatics, the V&A is also home to the Springbok Experience Museum where visitors can learn more about South Africa’s rugby history. Once a week during the summer months, the V&A hosts the Gallileo Open Air Theater when you can enjoy some classic films under the night sky.
Located just off of the coast, is Robben Island where the late former South African president Nelson Mandela was imprisoned during apartheid. Visiting Robben Island is a deeply moving, historical and educational trip. Boats travel from the departure point at the Clocktower at the V&A Waterfront to Robben Island almost daily.
Another option for an educational excursion is to visit one of the city’s museums. Take a trip to the stars with a visit to the Iziko Planetarium and Digital Dome. Kids (and the rest of the family) can sit back, relax and explore our universe while experiencing the digital dome. An exciting combination of education and entertainment!
Cape Town’s southern peninsula is home to the well-known Boulder’s Beach. This is where you will find the much-loved colony of African Penguins. Watch the adorable monochromatic birds as the go about their daily business. For a small fee, observe them from the viewing decks or venture onto the sandy beach and take a dip in the ocean – be warned it is quite chilly – as the penguins swim past you.
Two Oceans Aquarium
Another popular spot at the V&A Waterfront is the Two Oceans Aquarium. The aquarium is an exciting day out for the whole family. The aquarium is home to over 3000 creatures and showcases the diverse sea life found in South Africa’s shores. During a visit, come face to face with jellyfish, sharks, stingrays and more, watch a lunchtime feeding frenzy in the penguin exhibit and learn more about the Two Oceans Aquarium rehabilitation projects.
The quaint town of Hermanus is situated 90 minutes from Cape Town and is one of the world’s best places for whale watching. Every year from June to November, South Africa’s southern coast (the Whale Coast) receives a host of large visitors – the annual Southern-Right Whale migration brings these beautiful creatures into the waters along the Whale Coast. Hermanus is a great land-based spot from which to watch the whales. The town even has its very own whale crier. For families looking to get a closer look at the whales, there are whale watching boat excursions available.
Along with the amazing natural sights, the exciting wildlife and vibrant cultural experiences, Cape Town also has a number of adventurous activities sure to thrill children and adults alike!
The family can take to the trees with some zipline adventuring. Ziplining is a great way to experience areas of Cape Town from a different vantage point. Navigate your way through treetop canopies and stop to admire the views. There are a number of options available across the city and surrounds from easy to more advanced.
Located in Tygervalley about 20 minutes from Cape Town city center is Cool Runnings. Here, the family can enjoy an adrenalin rush while tobogganing (minus the snow!)
Finally, a great way to combine a number of Cape Town highlights is with a City Sightseeing Bus Tour. Relax and enjoy a guided tour as you cruise around the city and surrounds; from the city center right across the peninsula. Choose your stops and enjoy the ease of the hop-off hop-on experience!