cape town-family-friendly-attractions

Cape Town and Surrounds: 30 Best Family-friendly Attractions

Cape Town is a city that offers so many family-friendly attractions and experiences. It has gorgeous, safe beaches; wonderful outdoor adventures; and child-friendly restaurants and accommodation.

Think: exploring Table Mountain; swimming with the penguins; visiting kid-friendly wine farms and more!

I may not yet have a child of my own – but I have visited many family-friendly places. And I always think it is lovely to see families enjoying time together… Having kids should not mean you stop doing fun things together in public!

Incredible Family-friendly Attractions in Cape Town – and Beyond

In this post, I share the best family-friendly attractions in Cape Town and beyond.

Note: Cape Town has many other excellent child-friendly attractions. But, for authenticity and honesty’s sake, I am only including ones I have experienced first-hand. ๐Ÿ™‚

COVID-19 Disclaimer:

If visiting during COVID-19 times, please remember to always follow all necessary rules and regulations.

Also, be aware that some attractions, venues and destinations may be closed or temporarily unavailable. While others may be limited to certain daily numbers.

To ensure availability and verify opening times/dates, please always call ahead or book online.

And remember to wear a mask, sanitise frequently and social distance.

My Pick of the Best Family-friendly Attractions in Cape Town and Surrounds:

1) Spier Wine Farm

spier-wine-farm-family-friendly

I could shout about Spier from the rooftops. There is nothing about this Stellenbosch estate that I don’t love.

Classy without being pretentious – Spier is also earth-conscious, ethical and beautifully tranquil.

Moreover, it is one of the most family-friendly wine farms I have visited. Indeed, the estate normally overflows with families…

Above all, Spier offers excellent food, wine, accommodation and activities!

Family-friendly Attractions at Spier

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  • Enjoy a self-guided stroll around the gardens. Or pop into the Farm Cafรฉ for take-home goodies.
  • For older kids (generally between 10-12 and up), investigate the Spier Segway Tours. These are a fun way for your family to spend time together.
  • Then there is the incredible Eagle Encounters. This is great for young or older children and adults. You can see majestic birds of prey (and some other wildlife too) up close.

What I love about Eagle Encounters is the birds and animals are all rescued. So it’s an educational, humbling experience.

During our visit, there were some toddlers and younger children who were absolutely captivated by the experience… as were the adults!

spier-wine-farm-eagle-encounters

  • Furthermore, Spier has added an exciting Elemental Play Garden. I haven’t seen it yet but it looks like a great way for children to learn about the elements.
    Also, the water in the water quadrant is treated. This means kiddies can enjoy splash time on a warm day! The garden is open daily till sunset and entry is free.
  • Spier also offers excellent picnic experiences. There are even picnic options for kids. These come complete with yummy, health options.
  • Grab a bite to eat at the popular Vadas Smokehouse & Bakery. There are even some interesting kiddies’ options! What’s more, Vadas overlooks the rolling lawns and restored Werf area. So it offers ample space for kids to run and play in the fresh air.

spier-wine-farm-playground

Location: Stellenbosch Winelands

Website: www.spier.co.za

Contact: +27 (21) 809 1100, info@spier.co.za.

 

2) Two Oceans Aquarium

two-oceans-aquarium-exhibit

Cape Town’s famous Two Oceans Aquarium is perhaps one of the most timeless family-friendly and tourist-attractions in the city.

No matter your age, this wonderful underwater world is sure to thrill. Importantly, it offers the chance to educate yourself and your children about sea life – and about the importance of preserving our oceans for future generations.

I have visited the Two Oceans Aquarium several times in my life – first as a young child and much later, as an adult – and each time, I have been transfixed.

It’s almost impossible to visit the Two Oceans Aquarium and not come away feeling mesmerised and thankful.

Family-friendly Attractions at the Two Oceans Aquarium

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  • Even if all you do is explore the exhibits with your family, you are in for a wonderful day trip. Some of the highlights include the Predator Exhibit, Penguin Exhibit, Kelp Forest Exhibit, I&J Ocean Exhibit and the fun Touch Pool.

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  • For kiddies, there is also the I&J Children’s Play Centre. This offers things like educational puppet shows, large-scale puzzles, marine-themed arts and crafts and a reading nook with age-appropriate books.
  • For children eight years and older, there is the popular Penguin Experience. This allows you to get close and personal with the adorable Northern Rockhopper Penguins. These cute, rehabilitated birds are free to choose whether they want to interact so nothing is forced. And if they want some space from visitors, they can dive into the water or move to another part of the exhibit.
  • Throughout the day, you may notice the staff feeding the sharks, rays, fish and penguins… Feel free to ask the team questions or simply enjoy watching the feeding unfold.
  • Finally, the Two Oceans Aquarium Gift Shop offers some beautiful gifts and mementos. A small purchase will surely complete any aquarium visit.
  • No outside food and drink is allowed into the aquarium. However, the V&A Waterfront offers a host of fast food and sit-down restaurants, perfect for a meal pre- or post-visit.

two-oceans-aquarium-cape-town

Location: V&A Waterfront, Cape Town

Website: www.aquarium.co.za

Contact: +27 (021) 418 3823, +27 (021) 418 3952, aquarium@aquarium.co.za.

 

3) Imhoff Farm

imhoff-farm-kommetjie

Imhoff Farm is one of the most fun, family-friendly destinations I have discovered in Cape Town. With its wide open spaces, rolling lawns and beautiful, peaceful setting, it has a great farm vibe.

More importantly, it feels like a true city escape…

This special spot in Kommetjie (another gem) offers a wide choice of boutique-style shops, artisans and even a few lovely restaurants.

Family-friendly Attractions at Imhoff Farm

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  • Best of all, Imhoff Farm has a lot of awesome child-friendly activities. There is everything from action paintball and laser tag to horse riding and the challenging Milkwood Maze. For more information, please see their website.
  • Undoubtedly my favourite things about Imhoff Farm is Blue Water Cafรฉ and the nearby Higgeldy Piggeldy Farm Yard. This relaxed, child-friendly eatery is the perfect place to enjoy a meal. (Before or after visiting the farm yard…)

Food and Farm Fun:

blue-water-cafe-kommetjie

Blue Water Cafe offers a lovely setting, with indoor and outdoor veranda seating. They specialise in delicious, simple Cape food, like pizzas and burgers.

In addition, it’s great for kids, as it has a nice lawn area and jungle gym. When we visited, the kids were all enjoying playing so much that they were hardly at the tables eating… always a sure sign of children having a blast!

  • As for Higgeldy Piggeldy, I love this farm yard so much! (I think I had almost as much fun as the kids…) It was a great experience and the animals seem pretty content and calm here. It is especially ideal for little kids, as it allows for safe interaction and education on farm animals.

     

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    You can enjoy saying hello to all the different animals. Here, you will see ponies, cows, sheep, curious goats, feisty little bunnies, guinea pigs and many feathered friends too!

    Having grown up on farms, I really can attest to Higgeldy Piggeldy having an authentic farm atmosphere. ๐Ÿ™‚

    There is a small entry fee per person (R20 for adults and children who are already walking). The farm yard is generally open Monday to Sunday, from 09:00 am – 16:00 pm.

    And, aside from normal visits, you can also hire the farm yard for parties. For more information on this, please contact Blue Water Cafรฉ directly: +27 (021) 783 4545 or info@bluewatercafe.co.za.

higgeldy-piggeldy-farm-yard-imhoff-farm

Location: Kommetjie, Cape Town

Website: imhofffarm.co.za

Contact: +27 (021) 783 4545, info@imhofffarm.co.za.

 

4) Fairview

fairview-goat-tower-attraction

Fairview needs very little introduction. Aside from their incredible wines and divine cheeses, this estate is known and loved for its famous gardens, goats and family-friendly vibe.

I have visited Fairview twice in recent years ย and both times, I left feeling impressed by its charm and aware of just how delightful this estate and its offerings are.

For families, Fairview offers a fun, relaxing day out in the winelands… With some adorable, friendly goats thrown in for good measure!

fairview-goats

Family-friendly Attractions at Fairview

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  • The first and most obvious is paying a visit to the goats. They are kept right at the front of the estate grounds in an immaculate Goat Tower. The Goat Tower has been their home since 1981 and is always a popular attraction. I love watching the goats mill around their pen, walk across the snazzy bridge or peek a head out the goat tower.
  • Best of all, during September, the nanny goats give birth to their sweet kids and Fairview brings them to the Goat Tower so visitors can coo over them.
  • Another lovely family-friendly thing about Fairview is how relaxed and spacious it is. There is plenty of lawn and garden paths for families to enjoy walking or playing on.
  • Finally, the Goatshed Restaurant is also wonderfully child-friendly. This means you can enjoy a delicious al fresco meal with the kiddies in tow. They have a lovely kids’ menu and normally offer a kids’ cheese tasting too.
  • Aside from these attractions, simply spend the day browsing the Shop & Deli or Bakery with your loved ones and stocking up on tasty treats and home goodies.

fairview-wine-estate-gardens

Location: Paarl Winelands

Website: www.fairview.co.za

Contact: +27 (021) 863 2450, info@fairview.co.za.

 

5) Cape Point, Cape of Good Hope

cape-point-old-building

Cape Point Nature Reserve is a wonderful place to enjoy a day trip or overnight stay for the whole family.

With walks, hikes, picnic spots, game-, bird- and seasonal whale-watching, as well as some fun attractions, like the Flying Dutchman Funicular, Cape Point Lighthouse and tidal pools at Bordjiesrif and Buffels Bay, it is an exciting place to visit.

Personally, I consider it one of the most beautiful, fiercely wild places in the world and a place every South African resident should see at least once. I always recommend Cape Point to anyone visiting Cape Town. ๐Ÿ™‚

cape-of-good-hope-cape-point

Family-friendly Attractions at Cape Point, Cape of Good Hope

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  • One of the most famous, popular attractions at Cape Point is visiting the new lighthouse. You can either walk up from the main restaurant/food hub – or catch a ride up on the paid funicular. Although you have to pay extra for the funicular ticket – a ride aboard the infamous Flying Dutchman Funicular is sure to be a real treat for kids! Especially as the legendary haunted pirate ship is said to still sail around Cape Point…
  • For kids ages seven and up, a walk up to the new lighthouse can be fun. It’s not a hard walk and I have seen kids doing it before but there are quite a few steps and some staggering, walled off drops. So it is probably best and safest to do with kids who are walking and more careful. Regardless, parent supervision walking up and near the lighthouse is essential as it can be extremely blustery and it is very high up! I would suggest holding onto older kids’ hands and holding younger ones securely.

    Plenty to Enjoy if You Linger Longer…

  • Cape Point also has some incredible birdlife and wildlife, like ostriches, baboons and more to see. This makes for an entertaining family visit. Just remember to respectfully keep your distance from the wildlife and ensure your children do the same… After all, these are wild animals and we should respect their natural spaces.
  • For families staying overnight, you can enjoy seeing the nature reserve in a fuller, more unique way. This is perfect for a memorable family holiday or weekend away.
  • Cape Point also has some great fast food/takeaway spots thanks to the Food Shop.
  • There is also the stunning Two Oceans Restaurant – but I would not take very young children here. Although children are welcome here (there is a kids’ menu available on request for under 12s) – I don’t consider it a particularly child-friendly spot… Personally, I feel it is best suited to tweens or even teens who are able to sit still and enjoy a quiet, stylish meal with their families.
  • The tidal pools at Bordjiesrif and Buffels Bay offer some picnic/braai fun and swimming. Here, little ones can explore the tidal pool, while families enjoy the grassy picnic spots and braai facilities nearby. With stunning views and a safe, enviable setting, this is a definite highlight. For more information, please see here.
  • Take a drive to the Cape of Good Hope and enjoy posing for a family photo at the most south-western point of Africa.ย 
  • For those wishing for a special gift or keepsake, pop into either the Cape Point Parks Shop, Logo Shop or Lighthouse Five stores.

buffels-bay-cape-point

Location: Cape Peninsula, Western Cape

Website:

Contact: +27 (021) 7809010, info@capepoint.co.za.

 

6) Hazendal Wine Estate

hazendal-family-friendly-attraction

Hazendal is one of the Cape Winelands most stunning offerings. After undergoing a major revamp in recent years, this estate is now one of the most beautiful and exciting around.

More than that though, it is honestly one of the most child-friendly estates you will find, as almost everything here caters to families with kids.

hazendal-russian-doll

Family-friendly Attractions at Hazendal

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  • One of Hazendal’s most thrilling child-friendly attractions is the spectacular, brand-new Wonderdal. This unique space offers an incredible world of “imagination, learning and play”. Since opening its doors in June 2019, Wonderdal has brought excitement, technology and a child’s sense of play to the Cape Winelands. Wonderdal takes children (ages five to 13) on a unique, two-hour journey of discovery where they learn about positive energy, self-nutrition, how plants are grown and so much more. Each experience is enhanced with 3D virtual reality (VR), with trained supervisors on-site… This means parents can relax while their awestruck, little adventurers and scientists play!
  • Aside from the immense Wonderdal, families can also enjoy exploring the expansive, sloping lawns and gardens Hazendal offers. Even for couples and friends, this is a lovely experience.

Tea Time Splendour and Other Estate Gems…

hazendal-russian-tea-ceremony

  • Another gorgeous offering at Hazendal is its unique, beautifully appointed Russian Tea Ceremony. While I feel this is perhaps better suited to older children (there is, after all, a lot of sitting still and dainty porcelain involved with tea time…), Hazendal does offer a great Kids’ Option. While the adults enjoy different tea blends – kiddies can enjoy Rooibos tea with honey and milk; hot chocolate and toasted marshmallows; or even Russian kompot (homemade red berry juice) with their tasty treats and snacks. I personally adore the tea ceremony and it’s one of the most special afternoon/high tea experiences I have ever had! ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Another great idea for families is Hazendal’s Babushka Picnics. I have not yet tried these – but if they are half as good as the tea and treats we enjoyed, they will be outstanding. Picnics cater to both adults and children, so everyone can enjoy a lazy afternoon with some great food and company.
  • Finally, we have Babuska Deli, a lovely farm-style deli. With both cosy indoor and relaxed outdoor seating, families can enjoy some delicious sit-down (or takeaway) options. The deli’s sit-down menu even has a kids’ menu, approved of by mums and tiny eaters. Best of all, no bookings are required so you don’t have to plan too far ahead!

hazendal-wonderdal-colourful-sign

Location: Stellenbosch Winelands

Website: www.hazendal.co.za

Contact: +27 (021) 903 5034, reception@hazendal.co.za.

 

7) Hermanus: Seasonal Whale Watching

hermanus-whale-watching

Whale watching might not seem like the most interesting family-friendly activity around – but honestly, it’s amazing. And what better place to do it than South Africa’s whale watching capital, Hermanus?

Hermanus is recognised as one of World Wildlife Fund (WWF)’s 12 best whale watching spots in the world. And if you have ever visited during whale season, you should understand why.

Any time between July to November annually offers the chance to see the whales – although August – October guarantees the best chance.

Honestly, there is something so humbling and beautiful about seeing these gentle giants splash, frolic and blow off ‘steam’.

So, whether you embark on a professional chartered tour by sea or simply stand in awe from the land, it is a wonderful, arguably life-changing, experience.

hermanus-whale-fin

Family-friendly Attractions in Hermanus During Whale Season

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hermanus-whale-watching-season

 

  • One of the best places to whale watch is the town of Hermanus itself. Make use of the excellent, well-maintained Cliff Path, which spans some 12 kilometres. It offers excellent whale watching spots and lookout points.
  • While you are in the area, enjoy a meal or overnight stay in one of Hermanus’s lovely family-friendly restaurants and accommodation offerings. This town is charming all year-round but it is especially fun to visit during whale season. (Note: You may need to pre-book though because when the whales arrive… so do the crowds!)
  • Kids will surely love seeing the whales just off-shore but Hermanus is great to explore as a family in general. Check out the market, beaches, nearby nature reserves and tidal pools for some family fun. For more information on local activities, please visit hermanus.co.za.

Location: Hermanus, Western Cape

Website: www.hermanus.co.zaย 

Contact: N/A

 

8) Boschendal Wine Estate

boschendal-deli

Boschendal is as timeless and beautiful as the sun… There’s something truly special about this wine farm. With its Cape history and architecture, incredible food and wine and unique farm experiences, Boschendal is always a good call.

But it’s also a really family-friendly estate and every time I have visited, this has been evident. Boschendal always has families in mind, that’s why this estate has so many child-friendly experiences and offerings.ย  In fact, the first time I visited Boschendal I was about seven-years-old and I still remember the feeling of quiet enchantment I felt even then.

boschendal-deli-family-friendly-attraction

Family-friendly Attractions at Boschendal

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  • One of the main benefits of staying at Boschendal is your children get to enjoy the perks of the Tree House. Exclusive to in-house guests, kids aged five – 14 can enjoy a variety of fun, yet practical and educational experiences. This includes things like farm exploration, rides (by MTB or horse), learning ancient skills (such as shelter building, map work and more) and a delicious picnic to end off the morning or afternoon. For more information on this, please see here.
  • For adventurers, the estate’s incredible MTB trails and Boschendal Trail Centre are sure to get your adrenaline pumping. While some of the routes/trails are more advanced and best suited to the experienced riders, there are some great options for families or casual riders to enjoy too.
  • Boschendal also offers fun horse riding for all experience levels. What better way to explore the farm than on a family ride? Although little riders must be aged seven and up to enjoy the estate’s horse rides. Please note: Weight limits also apply.

Food, Glorious Food…

boschendal-rhone-rose-garden-picnics

  • Ah, Boschendal picnics… few wine farm picnics are more delightful than Boschendal’s Rhone Rose Garden picnics. Best of all, Boschendal caters to families by offering both a Kids’ Standard Picnic and Kids’ Vegetarian Picnic Menu. Baskets can be bought separately for adults and kids to enjoy together and kiddies’ baskets are ideal for ages three to ten years. While you enjoy your own feast, the kiddies can tuck into the likes of fresh fruit salad, vanilla ice-cream, shaved Angus beef, tomato-lettuce sandwich or if vegetarian, cheese, tomato-lettuce sandwich. For more information on Boschendal’s Rhone Rose Garden picnics, please see here.
  • Finally, you can also enjoy a relaxing overnight stay in one of the gorgeous cottages or grab a bite to eat at The Deli, which is charmingly child-friendly and offers a dedicated kids’ menu.

boschendal-deli-cake

Location: Franschhoek Winelands

Website: www.boschendal.com

Contact: +27 (021) 870 4200, enquiries@boschendal.co.za.

 

9) Tygerberg Nature Reserve

tygerberg-nature-reserve-picnic-spots

Situated in Welgemoed, in Cape Town’s Northern Suburbs, Tygerberg Nature Reserve is one of the prettiest reserves around.

It’s surprisingly big too, considering it is located in the heart of suburbia. But what I love most about this picturesque reserve – aside from the gorgeous views overlooking the city and Table Mountain beyond – is its family-friendly hikes and nature walks.

tygerberg-nature-reserve-family-friendly-attractions-cape-town

Family-friendly Attractions at Tygerberg Nature Reserve

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  • When visiting Tygerberg Nature Reserve, you can enjoy incredible picnic spots, soaking up beautiful scenery, spotting some wildlife and embarking on some easygoing nature walks and hikes. There is a small entry fee to enter this reserve but it’s barely a drop in the ocean compared to the rich reward it yields in return.
  • The nature walks and hikes vary in distance. They are as follows: Caracal (800 metres), Duiker (1 600 metres), Golden Mole (3 600 metres), Grey Rhebok (1 360 metres), Honey Badger (450 metres), Induli (990 metres), Peregrine (610 metres), Striped Weasels (720 metres), Tortoise (1 280 metres), Ukhetshe (3 160 metres), Watsonia (2 660 metres), Wheelchair (480 metres) and finally, Wild Olive (210 metres).ย (To check out the hiking trails or download a map,ย click here.) I have done all but one and I found most, if not all of them, to be relatively fine no matter your fitness level. Some of the shorter routes are ideal for families, especially those in and around the gorgeous picnic area.
  • Tygerberg Nature Reserve has some of the nicest picnic spots around. There is usually always a free table, even on busy weekends, and the views stretching out before you are unparalleled. After all, there’s nothing like a meal on high with Table Mountain in your periphery.

Wildlife and Seasonal Flower Spotting

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  • Tygerberg Nature Reserve is both child- and wheel-chair friendly in sections but regrettably, dogs are not allowed due to the wildlife you can see here. I have seen everything from guinea fowls to birds, chameleons and tortoises so it’s a lovely nature experience for families too. Just ensure the little ones are respectful towards the animals and don’t invade their space, as they are fairly tame.
  • For families wishing to see the seasonal springtime flowers, Tygerberg Nature Reserve is a wonderful, safe place to go for some flower-spotting. In September and October especially, I have seen excellent flower displays.
  • Tygerberg is also home to some 137 different bird species. So if your family enjoys birdwatching and identifying new birds, this can prove to be a highlight.

Location: Welgemoed, Northern Suburbs, Cape Town

Website: www.capetown.gov.za

Contact: +27 (021) 444 8971, tygerberg.naturereserve@capetown.gov.za.

 

10) Spice Route Destination

spice-route-destination-paarl

Located in pretty Paarl, Spice Route Destination is a great place for families to visit. With expansive lawns and gardens, several child-friendly eateries and fun experiences, it makes for the perfect day trip.

Best of all, there is plenty for adults to enjoy too, so everyone can have a fun day out in the Paarl Winelands.

One of the things I love most about Spice Route is its beautiful setting and the different stores, restaurants and eateries it offers… There’s plenty to choose from – and so much to see and do!

Family-friendly Attractions at Spice Route Destination

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    • One of the most popular, oh-so-tempting attractions at Spice Route is De Villiers (DV) Chocolate, which offers yummy chocolate and ice-cream for adults and kids alike to enjoy. I love their chocolate so I definitely recommend stopping by for a tasting or takeaway slab.
    • All three of the restaurants at Spice Route – namely, La Grapperia Bistro & Pizzeria, Barley & Biltong Emporium and Jewells – are child-friendly, with nice kids’ menus available.
  • In addition to the idyllic, partly shaded lawns and food frenzy that families can enjoy here, Spice Route also offers fun cycling and hiking routes. These are available for children ages six and up.ย 
  • For families with older kids, they can also enjoy browsing the many artisanal stores – while adults can also enjoy sampling some great craft beer, spirits and wines when visiting Spice Route.

spice-route-family-friendly-attraction

Location: Paarl Winelands

Website: www.spiceroute.co.za

Contact: +27 (021) 863 5200, info@spiceroute.co.za.

 

11) Van Loveren

van-loveren-tasting-room-deck

Tucked away in the rich wine-producing Robertson valley, Van Loveren is one of the estates I wish more people knew about.

I have visited it twice in recent years and both times, its beautiful setting, elegant interiors and relaxed atmosphere have quietly impressed upon me just how lovely and cared for this estate really is.

Aside from their excellent wines, Van Loveren offers plenty to see, taste and enjoy. Particularly for families.

van-loveren-wine-estate-family-friendly-gardens

Family-friendly Attractions at Van Loveren

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  • For me, one of the estate’s biggest, family-friendly drawcards is its immaculate garden. On both occasions I have visited it, I have spent ages exploring every beautiful corner of this well-maintained, thoughtfully tended garden. In fact, the garden is the living legacy of Jean Retief, who, since her arrival in 1939, has planted trees to touchingly commemorate special family-, historic- and political- events. Although a self-guided tour is probably easiest with small children, the estate also offers guided excursions for a fee. As a bonus, adults get a glass of MCC to enjoy on the stroll. (And let me tell you, you feel pretty grand clutching a glass of deliciously cool, refreshing bubbly while on the tour.)

van-loveren-garden-tour

Out and About in the Country Air

  • Another thing Van Loveren is quite famous for are its great MTB trails. Their three MTB trails – Java Yellow Route (beginner – 12km), Java Red Route (beginner/intermediate – 21km) and Java Blue Route (intermediate/advanced – 31km) – offer an ideal chance for family bonding in the fresh country air. Difficulty levels vary but you can start off with the easy, scenic route ideal for families and/or beginners. Bring your own bike – or rent one from the estate. All routes start at the Van Loveren tasting room. For those who wish to make an early start before trading hours – please secure your permits and indemnity forms in advance. For more information, please see here.
  • Families keen on birding and/or some minimal exercise can enjoy incredible birdwatching opportunities at Van Loveren. The estate has some 100 different species in residence – including a famous pair of Fish Eagles. The safe, peaceful walk is probably fairly child-friendly and even senior citizens can join in, as there are no obstructions or steep inclines on this easygoing river walk. Shaded by trees and flanked by the famous Breede River, the walk is relatively cool even in Robertson’s sweltering summertime weather. In fact, the summer months are best for birdwatching.

Calling All Food Lovers…

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  • Van Loveren also offers lovely food, thanks to the charming Christina’s @ Van Loveren. Best of all, this cosy bistro is family-friendly, with a kids’ section on the menu. (Tasty eats like spaghetti bolognaise, fish fingers and chicken strips should tempt even the fussiest little eater.) For adults and older children, Christina’s offers a mouthwatering array of options, everything from thin-crusted, wood-fired pizzas to seasonal chef specialties and gourmet burgers. On Sundays, local musicians help set the mood for a relaxing afternoon. I loved Christina’s when I visited with my parents a few years ago and found the service, setting and offerings to be delightful.
  • Van Loveren also offers some great tasting options, courtesy of their elegant tasting room. These can be enjoyed on the deck, overlooking the beautiful, lush gardens. Choose from their excellent cheese and wine to chocolate and wine or something extra special. For kiddies, they even offer a fun Papillon Kids’ Tasting for R50 so everyone can enjoy some fun in the winelands. The Papillon Kids’ Tasting offers a Papillon non-alcoholic blush and white, paired with a Smartie mallow, mini fruit roll and popcorn.

Location: Robertson Wine Valley, Robertson, Western Cape

Website: www.vanloveren.co.za

Contact: +27 (023) 615 1505, info@vanloveren.co.za.

 

12) Table Mountain Aerial Cableway

table-mountain-view-points

It goes without saying that Table Mountain is one of the city’s most famous, family-friendly attractions.

A proud member of the official New 7Wonders of Nature – this iconic mountain is a highlight for locals and tourists alike.

And, since its opening in 1929, Table Mountain Aerial Cableway has attracted more then 25 million visitors.

With its fun cable car, the chance to explore the mountain from up high and great retail therapy shops, it is easy to see why the Table Mountain Cableway sees so many visitors.

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Family-friendly Attractions at Table Mountain Aerial Cableway

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  • Arguably the biggest highlight of going up Table Mountain is the thrill of the short, but fun cable car ride. It’s quite pricey for locals (although they often run great specials) but definitely something you have to do at least once. For families, especially those with younger kids, this is the best way to get up to the top of the mountain.
  • Although you can hike up Table Mountain via Platteklip Gorge, I don’t consider the hike particularly child-friendly, even for older children. However, older kids do still hike up Platteklip Gorge with their parents and guardians so it’s up to your discretion, really.

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Audio- and Guided-Tours at the Top of the Table

  • Thanks to their partnership with VoiceMap, Table Mountain Aerial Cableway offers visitors the chance to enjoy fun, insightful and above all, free audio tours. These self-guided tours could be a nice idea for older kids to enjoy with families for a more educational outing. They have both a Lower Cableway and Upper Cableway audio guide – perfect for queueing at the bottom or exploring the tabletop respectively.
  • For those interested in a guided tour (once they reach the summit of Table Mountain), thirty-minute, free guided tours are offered by Cableway staff. These family-friendly tours provide insights into the story of Table Mountain and the Cableway and you are free to ask any questions you may have regarding our beloved mountain. Tours happen on the hour, running from 09:00 am to 15:00 pm daily, and depart from the Twelve Apostles Terrace (below the Cafรฉ).

Nature Walks for the Whole Family

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Table Mountain also has three lovely visitor walks at the top of the mountain. None of these are too challenging, so they are perfect for families to enjoy together.

Take the Dassie Walk and enjoy spectacular views to the north, south and west or the Agama Walk, which offers 360-degree aerial views of Cape Town and our gorgeous Cape Peninsula. Finally, there is also the Klipspringer Walk, which takes hikers along the edge of the plateau to the top of Platteklip Gorge. All the walks are on level ground and easy to navigate.

Wildlife Spotting, Table Mountain Cafรฉ and Retail Therapy

  • Another attraction on Table Mountain is, of course, spotting some wildlife. The mountain attracts a lot of birdlife but it is also pretty famous for its adorable dassies (rock hyrax). These cute rock rabbits often bask in the sun and they are normally quite used to visitors so they are even quite tame. (Although I don’t recommend getting too close because they are still wild animals and can bite if threatened.)
  • Table Mountain Aerial Cableway also has a charming little cafรฉ for hungry adventurers. Here, you can enjoy a self-serviced meal or selection of tasty snacks.Table Mountain Cafรฉ has everything from sandwiches to pizza slices and fine wines, beers and sodas to enjoy. Kiddies might enjoy the Dassie (Margherita) slice or homemade muffins, but there are also great drinks, hot meals, sweet treats and desserts available too.
  • Finally, if you are looking for souvenirs or gifts, Table Mountain Aerial Cableway has some great shops. These include the Shop at the Top, Little Shop at the Top, Exit Shop and Visitor Centre (located at the Lower Cable Station).

Location: Tafelberg Road, Gardens, Cape Town

Website: www.tablemountain.net

Contact: +27 (021) 424 0015, info@tablemountain.net.

 

13) Harold Porter National Botanical Gardens

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This gorgeous garden lies hidden away in the vibrant, diverse Cape Overberg Region. Blink and you miss its entrance.

But if you venture inside, a glorious world of beauty, Cape fauna, unique flora and hidden waterfalls awaits.

I have said on the blog before that I personally rate this garden more highly than Kirstenbosch – and I stand by that view. Sure, Harold Porter may be less well-known but that makes it all the more appealing to me.

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As it is situated in the region where coastal fynbos is at its best and richest, Harold Porter promises breathtaking gorges, crystal clear streams and amber pools, lush garden beds and best of all, stunning indigenous Cape flora.

With hikes, nature walks along the river, lawn picnics and incredible flora and fauna, the garden is a joy for all to explore.

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Family-friendly Attractions at Harold Porter Botanical Gardens

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  • Obviously, just spending the day exploring the garden and peaceful lawns with your family is a treat. There is ample space and plenty for curious little ones to see, without parents needing to embark on anything more than a leisurely stroll. Please just ensure children stick to the paths and lawns – and do not enter the flower beds, ponds or streams.
  • Pack a picnic lunch in and enjoy a quiet lunch spread out on the spacious lawns. Remember to clean up afterwards and do not litter in this beautiful garden.
  • If you enjoy birding or even seeing insects, summer is a good time to visit. Bring a species book and teach little ones about new birds and critters as you explore together.
  • For families who wish to see some wild flowers, spring is always a good time to visit. But honestly, you can see plenty of flowers year-round.

Family Fun with the Disa Kloof Trail

  • A great nature walk for families is the beautiful Disa Kloof Trail. With plenty of shade and a pretty path hugging the Disa River, this trail is great even on a hot, windy day. It is short (950 metres from the entrance to the waterfall) and takes you to the gorgeous waterfall, where a wooden boardwalk and seat have been built. Highlights include the Olive May Porter Bridge, waterfall and streams, wooded area and pretty dam. Best of all, this route is suitable for both wheel-chairs and prams so everyone can enjoy the beauty of this gentle trail.
  • Usually the gardens offer a simple, yet pleasant restaurant experience in the Red Disa Restaurant. This is normally ideal for families too, as it is relaxed and unfussy. But, according to the SANBI website, it is currently closed and will reopen whenever new management take over…

harold-porter-bettys-bay

Location: Betty’s Bay, Western Cape

Website: www.sanbi.org

Contact: +27 (028) 272 9311, Harold.Porter.NBG@sanbi.org.za.

 

14) City Sightseeing Cape Town – Harbour Cruise Tour

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Although I consider all of City Sightseeing Cape Town’s hop-on, hop-off tours to be excellent and generally very family-friendly, the City Sightseeing Cape Town Harbour Cruise stands out above the rest.

When I went on the harbour cruise a few years ago, there were some very young kiddies aboard and they were absolutely captivated and thrilled from start to finish. As, too, were the adults – always a telltale sign of a great family experience for me.

The best thing about this tour is it is incredibly affordable so even cash-strapped students can enjoy a special harbour cruise. It’s inclusive and fun for everyone and that makes it a standout attraction for me.

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Family-friendly Attractions at the V&A Waterfront

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  • For families with restless kiddies, the harbour cruise is great because it is short (tours last for around 25 minutes), yet packs a lot into such a short space of time.
  • Enjoy soaking up the local scenery of the harbour, including the SAS Somerset, the Bascule Bridge, Clock Tower and all the resident yachts and boats moored in the marina.
  • Tours are informative, with knowledgeable guides, so you also get to learn a lot about the city’s maritime history and indeed the V&A Waterfront Harbour, which is South Africa’s oldest working harbour.
  • Pack your camera in because, if you are lucky, the Cape Fur seals might wave a lazy flipper at you as they float in the waters. On the day I went, we were also lucky enough to see some great sunfish and seabirds.
  • Before or after your cruise, take some time to explore the V&A Warerfront. With its many restaurants, fast food outlets, movies, numerous shops and great outdoor play area, the Waterfront is easily child-friendly and offers plenty for everyone to see and do, no matter their age. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Important Harbour Cruise Information

  • Although tours are weather dependent, the little cruise boats do offer some shelter from the heat. But sunscreen and possibly a hat are definitely a good idea in summertime or on hot days!
  • Tours depart from a central location: Bus Stop 1, near the Two Oceans Aquarium, V&A Waterfront.
  • Tickets can be bought at the City Sightseeing office at the Waterfront or online.
  • Tours depart every 20 minutes and run later in summertime, so you have plenty of opportunity to catch a trip if the weather is fair.
  • Best of all, you can buy a family ticket (suitable for two adults and two kids, aged four to 17) and save even more.

harbour-cruise-city-sightseeing-cape-town

Location: V&A Waterfront, Cape Town

Website: www.citysightseeing.co.za

Contact:+27 (021) 511 6000, info@citysightseeing.co.za.

 

15) Green Point Urban Park

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Green Point Urban Park is one of the best additions to the city in recent years.

I love the expansive green space, resident birdlife (everything from red-knobbed, honking Coots to Egyptian geese) and freedom this tranquil place offers city dwellers.

I have been several times in recent years and I am always impressed by the peacefulness, educational biodiversity and overall safety this family-friendly park emits.

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Entry is free and there is security around so it is a safe and great place to visit.

Green Point Urban Park is open to the public from 07:00 am – 19:00 pm daily.

Family-friendly Attractions at Green Point Urban Park

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  • Aside from the excellent, wheel-chair and pram-friendly pathways, the park is blessed with incredible flowerbeds and garden sections, gorgeous views, ample rolling lawns and benches and some of the best children’s play areas around.
  • The jungle gyms here make me envious of children who can still enjoy such adventures. There are two separate play parks. Tot-Lot Play Park is great for toddlers and children ages one to six. While the Adventure Play Park is ideal for older kids, ages seven to 16.
  • I also like that pooches are welcome here, except in the Biodiversity Garden. This allows the whole family to get out the house for some fresh air and quality bonding. However, dogs must be on a leash at all times and you must clean up after them.
  • Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a wonderful meal with your family. You can picnic on the lawns or use one of the excellent, sheltered picnic areas. Just remember to clean up afterwards and please do not litter in this beautiful park; there are rubbish bins all over the park for responsible waste disposal.
  • Although there is plenty of fun to be had here, skateboarding and swimming (in the water features and ponds) is prohibited. Please also watch your children at all times, especially around the water.

Outdoor Fitness, Biodiversity Garden and Kids’ Party Venue:

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  • The park’s green fitness park is great for outdoor exercising, with ample outdoor fitness facilities. But families can also walk, jog or cycle in this wonderful park.
  • Teach the little ones about the different birds who inhabit the waterways and wetlands in the park. But please do not feed the birds.
  • Explore the unique Biodiversity Garden, a highlight for children and adults alike. Here, you can learn all about natural flora and fauna, admire beautiful art sculptures and works, see interactive displays and use the educational boards to discover more about nature and the important role everything from water to plants play.
  • The park is also a wonderful outdoor venue for kids’ parties. Every time I have visited, there has been a party underway and children seem to have a blast. Get there early to secure the picnic benches as you cannot reserve these. And remember: no alcohol is allowed in the park.

Location: 1 Fritz Sonnenberg Road, Green Point, Cape Town

Website: www.gprra.co.za/green-point-urban-park.html

Contact: +27 (021) 417 0111

 

16) Babylonstoren

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Babylonstoren is one of the loveliest working Cape farms and wine estates around. With its incredible labyrinth of gardens (each individually beautiful and mesmerising), family-friendly fun and beautifully appointed food, accommodation, spa and shopping offerings, it makes for a great day (or extended weekend stay) out in the Cape Winelands.

Tucked away in the Franschhoek Valley, Babylonstoren is both one of the oldest and yet, most modern Cape wine estates around.

In recent years, the estate has exploded in popularity and has become famous for its gardens, opulent accommodation and all-round excellent experience visitors can enjoy here.

If you can only visit a few of the Cape’s fine wine farms, make sure Babylonstoren is on your itinerary. It is ideal for families, groups of friends and couples alike.

Although Babylonstoren has a small entrance fee (please see here) – it is so worth it.

Family-friendly Attractions at Babylonstoren

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babylonstoren-gardens
Photo credit: Babylonstoren
  • Babylonstoren’s impressive garden is an unmissable attraction for visiting families. Little ones love playing in the waterways, around the flower beds and garden spaces and yes, even hiding out in the exotic bird nests. Garden highlights include the +300 plant varieties, 7 000 gorgeous clivias (that burst into colour come springtime) and rather famous, photogenic cacti garden.
  • If you would like a more curated garden experience (especially with older kids and teens), join one of the daily garden tours. These start at 10:00 am in front of the Farm Shop and are hosted by one of Babylonstoren’s experienced gardeners.
  • For those who wish to enjoy a luxurious overnight stay, Babylonstoren offers hotel-, manor house- and cottage-accommodation.
  • Another highlight for kiddies are Babylonstoren’s adorable donkeys, which reside opposite the Farm Shop. There are also some tortoises and lots of feathered friends, including ducks, turkeys, geese and chickens, in addition to the 78 wild bird species, to see around the farm.

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Child-friendly Eateries, Garden Exploration and Delicious Ice Lollies

  • For hotel guests (and in some instances, for day visitors too), children are invited to help feed the donkeys, gather eggs from the chicken coop and fruit, vegetables from the garden and even help the bakers knead the daily bread.
  • Additional fun activities for hotel guests include cycling (you can hire adult- and child-bikes from the estate), hiking, rowing on the dam and more.
  • While both of Babylonstoren’s eateries – chic Babel and relaxed Greenhouse Restaurant – are child-friendly, Greenhouse feels like a better option for young children. There are child-changing facilities, child seats and some child-friendly options at the Greenhouse, although Babel can also cater to little ones. But the best part about their Greenhouse Restaurant is how children can run and play nearby, while parents keep a watchful eye from their al fresco tables. Please note: Booking is essential for Babel but not for Greenhouse (unless you are visiting in a group of between 13-25 people.)
  • Greenhouse also normally has the most incredible, natural sorbet ice lollies for sale. Made up of seasonal fruits and garden herbs, these are a hit with children and adults alike and a perfect summertime treat! ๐Ÿ™‚
  • The Farm Shop is also fun to explore as a family, especially if you wish to shop for homeware, gifts, cheeses, meat and other treats, like almond rusks or vegan fudge.

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Location: Franschhoek Winelands

Website: babylonstoren.com

Contact: +27 (021) 863 3852, enquiries@babylonstoren.com.

 

17) Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve

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Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve is one of the best places for families, couples and friends to enjoy an incredible, safe and fun day out in the Cape countryside.

Located a stone’s throw away from central Paarl, this beautiful reserve offers plenty of great activities and facilities to enjoy.

Not only is the nature reserve iconic for its unique, ginormous Paarl Rocks – immense granite outcrops that famously stick out of the mountainside – but it also offers delightful strolls and hikes, picnic- and braai-spots, MTB fun, a beautiful botanical garden and more.

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Family-friendly Attractions at Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve

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Picnicking, MTB Fun and Family-friendly Nature Walks

  • Arguably one of the best things about Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve is that it is also the home of the Meulwater Botanical Garden. This enchanting garden offers lovely picnic- and braai-spots and the chance to admire flowers and natural flora throughout the year. It is especially beautiful during September and October when springtime rings around.
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Photo credit: Non Stop Destination
  • Another wonderful attraction for families is the Paarl Rock hike. It is safe and family-friendly, we passed plenty of families walking up – but you can even drive to the rocks if you don’t feel like walking.
  • There is a viewing point at the main Paarl Rock is and another at Bretagne and Gordonโ€™s Rocks too. Kids can accompany parents up onto the main Paarl Rock – just be sure to hold onto them tightly and keep them away from the edge. There is an incredible drop off the one side – and the wind is something fierce on top of the vast, rocky outcrop!
  • Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve is also great for avid MTB lovers. There are plenty of other great trails in the general Paarl region too… For information on the different Paarl MTB trails, rules, bike rentals and cost of day permits, please contact Paarl Adventure Trails.
nonstop-destination-ash-lies
Photo credit: Non Stop Destination

Location: Jan Phillips Mountain Drive, Paarl, Western Cape

Website: www.paarlonline.com

Contact: +27 (021) 807 6231, 073 748 6325, Lindsay.Lewis@drakenstein.gov.za.

 

18) Rhebokskloof Wine Estate

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Another Paarl gem is the wonderfully family-friendly Rhebokskloof Wine Estate.

This estate offers so much for families to see and do together – everything from quad biking to trail runs and horse riding.

Add to that delightful cuisine and wine and you have a truly beautiful Paarl wine farm, perfect for day trips with your loved ones. Better still, even pets are welcome on the estate, provided they are kept on a leash and owners clean up after them.

Family-friendly Attractions at Rhebokskloof Wine Estate

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  • Aside from the obvious incredible lawn and garden spaces, which offer children and families the freedom to explore and play together, Rhebokskloof has a number of child-friendly activities and food offerings.
  • ย Rhebokskloof Restaurant, which is delightfully child-friendly, is perfect for hearty breakfasts and easygoing, al fresco lunches. It has a children’s breakfast and lunch menu, with their a la carte menu option, as well as child-changing facilities (ladies’ bathroom) and child seats.
  • The Pizzeria, meanwhile, also offers a nice selection of kid-friendly meals, thanks to its dedicated ‘Little Buck’ menu. Options include: eggs and toast, margherita pizza, ice cream and chocolate sauce and of course, yummy milkshakes.
  • Rhebokskloof also offers lovely-sounding picnic baskets. These can be enjoyed under the trees on the beautiful lawn. They allow you to enjoy quiet, relaxing family time.
  • Ifย  the little ones need some playtime, Rhebokskloof has that covered too… Thanks to its child-friendly jungle gyms, playground, toddler-friendly mini bikes and spacious lawns, ideal for carefree running and playtime.
  • For older children, Rhebokskloof offers quad biking, horse riding, trail runs and MTB rides on their tracks. This makes the estate ideal for all ages, as there really is something for every age group to enjoy.
  • The estate also happily hosts children’s parties. For summer birthdays, celebrate in the beautiful gardens – while for the winter babies, parties can be hosted in the lovely Rhebok venue.

 

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Location: Paarl Winelands, Western Cape

Website: www.rhebokskloof.co.za

Contact: +27 (021) 869 8386, info@rhebokskloof.co.za.

 

19) Dunstone Country Estate

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Situated in the lovely Wellington Winelands, Dunstone Country Estate offers families, friends and couples alike the most amazing escape from the city.

Whether you are looking to host a special occasion (like a baby or bridal shower), enjoy a romantic getaway or spend some quality time together as a family, Dunstone has you sorted with efficiency and passion.

The estate itself is gorgeous, with impressive mountain-, vineyard- and farm-views to soak up and the facilities are a dream – everything from the charming Stone Kitchen Bistro to the luxurious cottage, country house and manor accommodation.

Add to that, Dunstone’s great wines and delicious, wholesome food and you are in for a veritable treat!

Use Dunstone as your food and/or accommodation base from which to explore Wellington and its surrounds.

Family-friendly Attractions at Dunstone Country Estate

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Child-friendly Restaurant and Family Accommodation

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  • In particular, Dunstone’s Guava self-catering cottage is ideal for families – in fact, it is even pet-friendly! The cottage could not be better; we have stayed in Guava cottage and it remains one of my best accommodation experiences, nation-wide, to date! ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Another option for big families is the Dunstone manor, which is also self-catering-style accommodation and honestly looks like something straight out of the English countryside.
  • Dunstone’s Stone Kitchen Bistro is one of the most child-friendly eateries I have ever visited. Both its elegant indoor and outdoor seating are a delight – and the bistro offers a great kids’ menu, as well as some excellent play facilities. There are both indoor and outdoor play areas, near the seating so parents can keep track of little ones while they play. Some of the available activities include a large, soft play area with a fun Lego table, a climbing wall and a mini play kitchen. Outside, children can run and play in the garden, which offers a jungle gym, sand pit, swings, slides and much more.
  • If you are lucky, you might even get a chance to say hello to the adorable resident farm animals near the bistro. Including the lazy pigs, ducks on the dam and playful goats.
  • Best of all, the Stone Kitchen is dog-friendly. So if your dog is well-behaved and socialable, bring them with for the day!
  • The Stone Kitchen Bistro is also able to cater to special occasions, including kids’ parties, bridal- and baby-showers and more. Please contact them directly for more information.

dunstone-stone-kitchen

Location: Wellington Winelands, Western Cape

Website: dunstone.co.za

Contact: +27(021) 864 1504, (078) 860 9721, stay@dunstone.co.za.

 

20) Blaauwklippen

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Found in the Stellenbosch Winelands, Blaauwklippen is a truly lovely, family-friendly estate. I visited it for the first time in 2019 and I loved our experience – and since then, the estate has added even more to its offerings!

With incredible wedding facilities, luxury accommodation, a family market and great food and wine, Blaauwklippen is a well-rounded estate that offers something for everyone.

It is also one of the oldest wine farms in Stellenbosch, having been founded in 1682.

Family-friendly Attractions at Blaauwklippen

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  • One of the longest-standing attractions at Blaauwklippen is the Blaawuklippen Family Market. And if you ever attend this excellent market, you will quickly understand why. With a wonderful selection of food, crafts, homeware and jewellery stalls, long picnic benches ideal for catching up and sharing a meal with loved ones, beautiful shady trees and expansive lawns made for child’s play – and perhaps above all, the excellent child play facilities on market day… it is a family’s dream outing. Especially with an array of sweet farm animals near at hand! Best of all, this market focuses on local, organic and sustainable food, produce and goods, making it good for our planet, as much as our souls.
  • Hamm and Uys Eatery is one of Blaauwklippen’s finest, still-new additions and honestly, it’s been drawing rave reviews. Offering farm-to-table elegance, this eatery is all about wholesome, hearty food and casual country dining. It has a jungle gym for kids and large garden nearby to keep young ones entertained during mealtime.

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Location: Stellenbosch Winelands

Website: www.blaauwklippen.com

Contact: +27 (021) 880 0133

 

21) Bloemendal Wine Estate

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To me, Bloemendal is the most child-friendly estate in the Durbanville Wine Valley but more than that, it’s one of the most family-friendly wine farms anywhere.

This historic estate offers everything from MTB fun to child-friendly pairings and a kid-friendly eatery in Bon Amis, which comes complete with an epic outdoor playground.

Family-friendly Attractions at Bloemendal

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A Bike Park, Epic Play Areas and Kiddies’ Pairing

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  • For children, Bloemendal packs a real punch, especially with its excellent play facilities at the child-friendly Bon Amis Restaurant. Bon Amis also offers a lovely kids’ menu for little eaters to enjoy. Additionally, the restaurant also offers colouring in, board games and cute bunnies (although these are not for petting).
  • The fun Biosport cycle track (suitable for all ages and skill levels) is one of the greatest additions to Bloemendal. Here, parents and children can enjoy time together, as they bond over mountain biking fun and the incredible bike park.
  • One of the things I love most about Bloemendal is their beautiful tasting room. With lovely, sheltered outdoor seating, a play area nearby and beautiful lawns and garden flowers to admire, it’s one of the prettiest tasting rooms around. The estate has some great wine pairings too. Best of all, there is even a fun pairing for kids to try. While parents enjoy a traditional wine tasting or evenย  a wine and nougat and/or ice cream pairing, children can enjoy their own apple (or berry) juice pairing with a small bowl of Smarties to snack on and mini strawberry and bubblegum or Bar One ice cream sugar cone. (The ice-cream flavour depends on whether they order an apple or berry juice pairing.)

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Location: Durbanville Winelands

Website: bloemendalestate.co.za

Contact: +27 (021) 976 2682, info@bonamis.co.za.

 

22) Boulders Beach

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Boulders Beach is one of the most gorgeous, popular beaches in Cape Town. It’s famous around the world for its resident colony of uniquely land-based African penguins, who co-exist with we meddlesome humans.

In fact, the little tuxedo-donning dudes are fairly unbothered by us, so much so that they walk on the pristine, white shoreline, laze in the sun or even swim in the warmer waters right alongside you.

Boulders is also a wonderful, safe and secluded beach for families, especially those with young children. Due to the beach’s protected, sheltered setting, warmer waters, pristine stretches of beach and chunky, fun granite boulders, it is ideal for little ones.

Boulders often gets full, especially in summertime, so it’s best to arrive early to snag a patch of beach and remember that Boulders has paid entry, as it is a protected natural space.

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Family-friendly Attractions at Boulders Beach

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Safe Beach Time with the African Penguins

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  • What could be more fun and exciting for a child than swimming or playing at the beach right next to sweet penguins? Well, that’s precisely what makes Boulders such a popular beach among children and parents alike. Please just ensure the little ones are respectful of these precious birds and make sure they give the penguins space. Penguins can bite if threatened and they have serrated beaks… ouch! Also, please do not feed or touch the penguins – this is a hard no!

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  • Another lovely part about Boulders is how the beach is so clean, cosy and beautiful. With the aqua waters, mountain views and pristine beach, Boulders is arguably the best beach in Cape Town for safe, carefree family beach fun.
  • Boulders comprises of three sections within the Table Mountain National Park, with three glorious beaches, one penguin viewing area and three boardwalks. Families love the penguin viewing area and the boardwalks. Keep an eye out for local flora (including flowers), dassies and other birdlife when you stroll along the well-maintained boardwalk. You also get to see the penguins in their provided little nests on the other side of the fencing. Please stay on the boardwalk at all times. Also, give others a chance to enjoy the penguin viewing site too… don’t just stand and hog all the free space.ย 
  • When you are done at the beach, head for a family meal at one of the local restaurants.

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Location: Simon’s Town, Cape Town

Website: www.sanparks.org

Contact:

23) Elgin Railway Market

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Although Cape Town and surrounds have many top markets (many of which I have had the pleasure of exploring) – Elgin Railway Market has a different energy. There is something so peaceful and exciting about this market.

With its steam-punk interior (in a reformed apple shed), visiting steam train, acoustic live music performances and incredible stalls, with everything from mouthwatering food to gin and crafts finds, Elgin Railway Market would impress anyone.

Even more so when you add to that, child-friendly play areas and attractions, like the popular climbing wall, and other activities that can be enjoyed from this central hub. (Including Elgin Adventure Centre’s MTB, e-bike and segway tours.)

Elgin Railway Market is a market for everyone – but, most importantly, it’s the market for even people who don’t normally enjoy markets because it will win you over instantly.

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Family-friendly Attractions at Elgin Railway Market

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Fabulous Food, Family-friendly Fun and Fantastic Outdoor Experiences

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  • Arguably one of the coolest things about Elgin Railway Market is the visiting Ceres Rail Company steam train that runs from Cape Town to Elgin. If you want a really epic family adventure to the market and back again, why not save up and splurge on this once-in-a-lifetime experience? Or, if you prefer to simply admire the train when it stops at the market, that’s fine too… Enjoy watching it pull to a grinding halt from the lovely upper deck or stand on the platform and channel your inner traveller.
  • Elgin Railway Market is also the perfect food- and shopping-hub from which to base your Overberg adventures or weekends around. Whether you visit to grab a good meal, browse the amazing stalls or simply soak up the atmosphere, it’s ideal as a starting point for further Elgin and Overberg experiences or even as a final destination on your journey home.
  • Children not only love seeing the steam train – they also have a blast exploring this family-friendly market. There are excellent outdoor play facilities and a very chilled vibe, making it ideal for all ages, without any added fuss or worry.
  • For families craving adventure, why not book a tour with Elgin Adventure Centre or visit Oak Valley Wines to enjoy some stunning MTB trails? Elgin Adventure Centre are also responsible for the glorious Cape Canopy Tour ziplining adventure – another exciting, family-friendly outdoor experience ideal for slightly older kids and teens.

climbing-wall-elgin-market

Location: Elgin, Western Cape

Website: www.elginrailwaymarket.co.za

Contact: 27 (021) 204 1158, info@elginrailwaymarket.co.za.

 

24) West Coast National Park

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The West Coast National Park is one of the best West Coast attractions. Famed for its rich birdlife, wildlife and local flora, breathtaking seasonal flower spotting and gorgeous beaches, braai and picnic spots, it’s no wonder this national park draws visitors in their drones every year.

It also has lovely overnight accommodation in the form of beautiful cottages or unique houseboats, fun hikes and nature walks and some excellent MTB adventures too, making this one of the most well-rounded national parks that the Cape has to offer.

Family-friendly Attractions at West Coast National Park

Safe Swimming at Kraalbaai, Seasonal Flower Spotting and Braais and Picnics

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  • As this is a national park, there is naturally a daily conservation/entry fee for visitors but it’s so worth it. When you think of all you can do, see and enjoy, it’s actually so affordable.
  • I have visited the West Coast National Park at least three times since we moved to the Western Cape… And honestly, I could go back every year. I love this park for so many reasons. Mostly because, no matter how much I try cram into one day, there is also something else to see ‘next time’. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • For families, West Coast National Park has it all. Aside from the rich wildlife and birdlife you can show your children, there is so much natural beauty to be seen and savoured here. As ever, please be respectful of nature and the wild animals. And follow all the park’s rules. This includes obeying speed limits, not taking alcohol to any of its public places (including braai and picnic spots, beaches and around the lagoon) and not littering in this beautiful natural haven.
  • One of the best family-friendly drawcards of the West Coast National Park is the incredible annual flower season that can be best enjoyed here. Every year (August – September), the park even opens the Postberg Nature Reserve to the public, allowing them to really enjoy seeing the wonderful wild flowers in all their splendour. Whether you decide to drive around or walk along the designated paths, you are in for a treat with the wild flowers. This is sure to delight all ages.

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Beaches, Birds and Biking

  • Both at Tsaarsbank and Kraalbaai, there are wonderful picnic and braai spots for families to use. The facilities are top notch and very well-maintained. You just need to snag a spot, remember your braai grid and pack in all necessary food for feasting.
  • Kraalbaai also offers the most gorgeous stretches of white, soft beach sand, quirky granite boulders and calm, safe swimming, suitable even for the littlest ones. It’s a hugely popular spot for families, as you can enjoy a truly special beach outing here.
  • For parents and kids who enjoy birding, the West Coast National Park is home to some 250+ bird species, so there are plenty to spot here! The park has four bird hides, two of which are right near the Geelbek Restaurant.
  • As a bonus, during August and September, visitors to the Tsaarsbank section of the park may even spot some visiting whales. This is because the Southern Right whales often swim past this stretch of coastline.
  • The park also has some cycling and MTB trails. Remember to stick to the designated paths and roads and ensure you ride with a helmet at all times.
  • Families can also enjoy booking the overnight accommodation or houseboats – and enjoying a meal at the quaint, Cape Dutch-style Geelbek Restaurant.

plankiesbaai-postberg-nature-reserve

Location: Langebaan, West Coast, Western Cape

Website: www.sanparks.org

Contact: +27 (022) 772-2144/5, moipone.thathane@sanparks.org.

 

25) Vergelegen Wine Estate

vergelegen-manor-house

As one of the Cape’s most historic and timeless estates, Vergelegen is a wine farm I would recommend everyone visit at least once.

There’s something almost hallowed about the rich beauty of this estate – everything from its immaculate gardens to its giant, old camphor trees enchants me.

Famed for its rich history, impressive wines and quality cuisine, Vergelegen is also, happily, an extremely family-friendly estate. There is so much space for families to roam about and soak up every magical corner of this vibrant wine farm – and a host of special child-friendly activities available too.

Vergelegen is one of the few estates that has a small entry fee – but it’s really so minimal you hardly notice it.

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Family-friendly Attractions at Vergelegen Estateย 

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Garden Strolls, Camphor Picnics and a Child-friendly Restaurant

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  • Although Vergelegen has two gorgeous restaurants in Camphors and Stables – only Stables is child-friendly. But almost to make up for it, it’s arguably one of the most child-friendly wine farm restaurants I have yet encountered. There is a lovely play area adjacent to the relaxed, yet stylish restaurant, which also offers a dedicated kids’ menu for Little VIPs. There is nothing about Stables that feels like a sacrifice for parents either because it really is one of the most delightful eateries I have visited.
  • Children and adults alike love exploring Vergelegen’s many different garden spaces, everything from the garden maze to the incredible rose garden and vast lawns… The views the estate enjoys are quite something too! We spent hours exploring Vergelegen’s gardens and I still didn’t feel it was long enough.

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  • Vergelegen is also quite famous for the sumptuous picnics it hosts. And with the forest setting, amidst the imposing camphor trees, it is one of the most impressive-looking picnic experiences around. Best of all, children can get their own picnic basket (suitable for ages three – ten) – and to enhance the experience for them, Vergelegen even provides their own little picnic blanket beside the table for them to sit and play on.
  • If you would prefer a guided garden tour, Vergelegen also offers these for an additional fee. They run daily from 09:30 am (departing from the Wine Tasting Centre) and last for an hour.

vergelegen-tamlyn-amber-wanderlust-blog

Location: Somerset West Winelands

Website: www.vergelegen.co.za

Contact: +27 (021) 847 2100, info@vergelegen.co.za.

 

26) Groote Post Vineyards

Situated near Darling, in the West Coast, Groote Post Vineyards is one of the more charming country wine farms you will find anywhere in the Cape. It feels like a warm, welcoming embrace for young and old.

With their incredible wines, family-friendly country market, esteemed Hilda’s Kitchen and more, this estate offers plenty for visitors year-round.

Family-friendly Attractions at Groote Post

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A Country Market, Pony- and Tractor-Rides and All-round Farm Fun

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  • Arguably the biggest family-friendly attraction at Groote Post is its incredible Country Market. This is usually held on the last Sunday of the month (except during winter). The market offers the very best in local food, gifts, live music and crafts. But it also has some fun activities like guided horse- and tractor-rides or other estate offerings, like the expansive lawns (great for cricket and soccer games), jungle gym and bird hide (great for older kids who are interested in birding).
  • Families can also enjoy delicious picnic platters from Hilda’s Kitchen. The picnic platters are made fresh daily and allow guests to soak up the estate’s beautiful views, while enjoying the very best food and wine around. Children can also enjoy their own picnic pack (complete with a sandwich, yoghurt, chocolate brownie, juice and fruit). Baskets must be ordered at least 48 hours in advance and a deposit is required to secure your booking.
  • Game drives around the farm are another excellent idea for visiting families to enjoy together. Groote Post is home to some 2000 hectares of conservation-worthy vegetation, including the highly threatened Swartland Granite Renosterveld, Swartland Shale Renosterveld and Atlantis Sand Fynbos species. In addition to the unique flora on the estate, you can also enjoy some wildlife spotting, with black wildebeest, kudu, bontebok and more residing on the farm. Game drives must be booked 48 hours in advance and are suitable for adults and children. (Game drives are free for children under three years of age.)
  • If you visit during flower season, Groote Post is also an ideal place to enjoy roadside flower spotting.

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Location: Darling, West Coast, Western Cape

Website: www.grootepost.co.za

Contact: +27 (022) 492 2825,ย wine@grootepost.co.za.

 

27) Oudekraal Beach

oudekraal-beach-camps-bay

Oudekraal might be a short drive away from Camps Bay and Clifton beaches but it feels like it’s in a different city when you consider how this is considered a ‘lesser known’ beach.

Despite having the same gorgeous setting – think, unparalleled mountain views and gorgeous aqua waters dotted with giant, granite boulders – Oudekraal does not draw the same crowd volumes as its nearby sisters.

And I understand that both the Camps Bay and Clifton beaches have endless stretches of dreamy, soft white sands, making them far more appealing for romantic beach strolls or sun-dazed beach days – but Oudekraal has patches of gorgeous shoreline too! Plus, it has the added benefit of being immersed in the heart of wild Cape beauty.

Historically, Oudekraal has always been a popular beach – and to me, it’s something of a hidden gem in Cape Town.

Everyone speaks about Camps Bay, Clifton, Blouberg, Muizenberg or Boulders – but you never hear anyone speaking about Oudekraal… so let me tell you all about this stunning beach and what it offers families. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Family-friendly Attractions at Oudekraal Beach

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Lovely, Secluded Picnic- and Braai-Spots with a View

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  • Unlike Camps Bay and Clifton 1-4, Oudekraal is not a free beach to visit, as it falls within the Table Mountain National Park. There is a minimal entry fee but to me, it’s a drop in the ocean (pun intended) when you consider just how much beauty and charm this beach offers. Aside from the obvious, incredible surroundings, Oudekraal is an escape to nature for families – and you don’t even have to drive far from the city to enjoy it!
  • Oudekraal is also home to some wonderful braai- and picnic-sites, making it a real catch for those perfect days when the weather is fine and tummies are growling.
  • Braai up a storm or pack a mean picnic lunch and spend the time bonding with your family and friends in this stunning setting. With the trees, patches of lawn and beautiful water just a few steps away, it’s a truly idyllic place to enjoy a picnic or braai.
  • Although there is no lifeguard on duty here, the sea is calm and generally safe for swimming, so it’s especially great for older kids and parents to enjoy, if children are competent swimmers.
  • The beach can get crowded in summer so try get there early to get a spot.
  • Please remember that no alcohol, free-standing gas braais or gazebos are allowed within Oudekraal.
  • Please also remember to leave only footprints behind – do not litter. And be careful of causing wildfires… Always ensure your braai fire is properly put out when you are finished braaing.ย 

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Location: Table Mountain National Park, Cape Town

Website: www.sanparks.org

Contact: +27 (021) 712 7471, +27 (021) 422 1601

 

28) Lourensford Wine Estate

lourensford-wine-estate-gardens

Another of the stunning Somerset West wine farms, Lourensford Wine Estate is an excellent estate to visit, both for couples and families alike.

Aside from its many attractions and beautiful wines, Lourensford has one of the best markets around and is also a conservation champion, which is no small feat considering the estate possesses some 4000 hectares of forest, fynbos and vineyards – as well as their own gorgeous estate gardens.

With its wide spaces, lush gardens and water features and all-round family-friendly atmosphere, Lourensford is a delightful estate for families to enjoy together and is one of the more popular wine farms among young families.

lourensford-wine-estate

Family-friendly Attractions at Lourensford Wine Estate

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A Bustling Market, Family Fun and Gorgeous Gardens

  • Lourensford Market is one of the Cape’s most popular markets – and after visiting it, I was an instant fan as well. The market offers the very best in local food, produce, homeware, gifts and live music entertainment, but more than anything, it’s the ambience and bustling atmosphere that makes the market feel so electric and fun. Housed within a permanent structure and boasting some 70 permanent stalls (as well as pop-ups), this market offers plenty of fun for the whole family. Browse the stalls, grab a bite to eat and then meander around the estate’s immaculate gardens, enjoying the fresh country air.
  • Lourensford Market is held every Friday, from 17:00 pm – 21:00 pm and every weekend from 10:00 am – 15:00 pm.
  • The Coffee Roasting Co and their delightful Red Riding Hood Deli keep estate visitors sorted as far as additional food and drink needs go. It’s a family-friendly spot that offers a lovely setting and good food at the estate.
  • The Millhouse Kitchen is another go-to food option at Louresnford. I have never eaten at the restaurant but it looks lovely and generally gets good reviews. There is apparently also a nice play area for children around the back.

Playtime and Adventures at Lourensford

  • For those seeking a more adventurous experience, Lourensford is also home to the Ropeyard, a treetop adventure course. There are three main courses that cater to small kids, tweens and teens and yes, adults too. Each course ends with a fun zipline, the longest being 100 metres.
  • Wunderkind play barn is another excellent child-friendly attraction at Lourensford. Here, children (ages three to 12) can enjoy supervised pottery classes, sports, laser tag, painting, gymnastics and more, while parents explore the estate or enjoy a wine tasting. Wunderkind is also available as a venue for kids’ parties with activities and fun thrown in for good measure!

lourensford-cafe-courtyard

Location: Somerset West Winelands

Website: lourensford.co.za

Contact: +27 (021) 847 2333, info@lourensford.co.za.

 

29)ย Simon’s Town Scratch Patch

scratch-patch-simons-town-cape-town

Scratch Patch has two Cape Town branches, one at the V&A Waterfront (perhaps the more famous of the two) and another at Simon’s Town, as well as an Ostrich Farm shop.

Having experienced both, I personally prefer the Simon’s Town branch, which also happens to be the original branch that opened in 1970.

Scratch Patch is an inexpensive, yet fun experience for all ages… including adults. The idea is simple: buy a bag and fill it up with tumble-polished gemstones that you get to personally choose.

Family-friendly Attractions at Simon’s Town Scratch Patch

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scratch-patch-simons-town-cape-town-family-friendly-attraction

  • With options ranging from small bags to cups and gemstones literally covering the floor, in every type, shape and colour imaginable, ‘scratching’ for gems is a very fun, rather calming experience. Children love it and it’s even great for adults, whether they join in or simply assist.
  • While you are visiting Scratch Patch, why not try your hand at cave golf? The Simon’s Town course is more spacious and longer than its V&A-based counterpart, so it’s a good idea to play here. The 18-hole course has a series of underground areas, featuring rock walls, eye-catching mineral displays, cave obstacles and even an underground waterfall. I haven’t tried this personally – but honestly, it sounds like a lot of fun and is seemingly great for all ages.
  • When you visit the Simon’s Town Scratch Patch, be sure to pop into the Rock Shop. It’s worth a visit even if you don’t buy anything – although they have everything from specimens for professional collectors to those ideal for hobbyists and children. Find something beautiful or unique that catches your eye as a gift to yourself or a loved one – or simply spend a short while admiring the different displays, which are quite something to see.

scratch-patch-rock-shop-simons-town

Location: Simon’s Town, Western Cape

Website: www.scratchpatch.co.za

Contact: +27 (021) 786 2020, tumbled@topstones.co.za.

 

30) Hamleys Toy Store and Express Train at the V&A Waterfront

lego-hamleys-store

Last but by no means least, is the incredible Hamleys Toy Store at the V&A Waterfront. Honestly, I think adults have as much fun as kids exploring this store (or maybe that’s just me…).

It’s a treasure trove for every kind of toy – including Lego sets to British-style teddy bears and miniature cars.

As the website says – it’s not just a toy shop, it’s an experience – and every time I visit Hamleys at the V&A Waterfront, I completely feel this. With over 255 years of joy brought to children around the world, it’s nice to have a bit of Hamleys in South Africa.

Family-friendly Attractions at Hamleys V&A Waterfront

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  • Admittedly, it would be difficult to visit the store with a young child and not buy something – but if you have a special gift in mind or wish to treat them to something, then this store is amazing to explore together.
  • Revisit your childhood, even as you see the world through your child’s own eyes – and take note of all the ways toys have both changed – and essentially, stayed the same.
  • What I love about this Hamleys store is parents and children are actually encouraged to play, in a sense, when visiting the store.
  • And the fun doesn’t have to stop there because Hamleys also offers the Hamleys Express Train. Hop aboard with your kids and enjoy a tour around the V&A Waterfront. This cheerful, little train operates all day, every day as long as weather permits and can be found opposite the Cape Wheel.ย 
  • While you are at the V&A Waterfront, enjoy browsing its many stores, catch a movie together, dine out at a restaurant or grab a takeaway meal and make the most of the day out at this popular tourist attraction.

hamleys-v-and-a-waterfront-family-friendly-attraction-cape-town

Location: V&A Waterfront, Cape Town

Website: www.hamleys.com

Contact: +27 (021) 418 2927, managementVandA@hamleys.co.za.

 

Closing

These are just 30 of the best family-friendly attractions in Cape Town… I hope you get to enjoy them with your family! ๐Ÿ™‚

verglegen-family-friendly-attraction-near-cape-town

 

Author: Tamlyn Ryan

Content writer by day and blogger by night, Tamlyn Ryan passionately runs her own travel blog, called Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust, from her home base of Cape Town, South Africa. And, despite a national diploma in Journalism, in her free time, Tamlyn’s preferred niche remains travel writing.

Tamlyn is a hopeless wanderer, equipped with an endless passion for road trips, carefully planned, holiday itineraries and, above all else, an innate love for the great outdoors.

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