Must-do holiday activities for families in and around Cape TownDecember 9th, 2019
The Mother City is the place if you’re looking for family-friendly things to do over the festive season. While there’s no shortage of guides and lists to help you fill your diary, our selection includes a few favourites that should keep everyone happy, from toddlers and in-betweeners to tweens and teens (oh, and you too!).
CITY – Explore Cape Town & surrounds with kids
• If it’s culture you’re craving then you’re in the right place. The newly-opened Zeitz Mocca Museum Of Contemporary Art Africa is an architectural show-stopper filled with extraordinary art in every medium thinkable. Check out the Children’s Holiday Programme on until the 20th of December and be sure not to miss the incredible William Kentridge exhibition; a highlight and wonderful way to introduce the next generation to the genius of one of South Africa’s most influential artists. The Norval Foundation in the southern suburbs is just as worthy of a visit with the family and has the bonus of wide-open outdoor spaces for children to gallivant. They’ve got a packed Summer Holiday Programme planned and offer kid-friendly gallery tours. Admission is free on the first Thursdays of every month and the restaurant serves excellent food with plenty to please the littles. Another favourite that has stood the test if time is the Iziko South African Museum in the historic Company’s Gardens that houses one of Africa’s finest collections of natural and pre-historic ephemera, specialist exhibitions, rock art as well as an impressive Planetarium that features daily kid-friendly shows.
• Instil a love of the performing arts in your children by treating them to a memorable show. The iconic Artscape Theatre is at the heart of cultural Cape Town and there’s plenty geared to the younger crew these holidays: the acclaimed Cape Town City Ballet company are putting on a lavish production of A Christmas Carol from Dec 14th to the 24th; the Imperial Ice Stars skate into town from the 15th of Jan to the 2nd of Feb in the delightful Peter Pan On Ice; and More Adventures Of Noddy, on until 21st December, is lots of fun for the under-eight set to the very young. Teenagers will be astounded by the universally loved musical, The Rocky Horror Show. It’s a mega-production with a spectacular cast, glam costumes and West End-worthy sets, but book now because time is fleeting…
• What could be better than popcorn and a movie… under the stars? The Galileo Open Air Cinema has an extensive holiday programme at various venues in and around Cape Town including Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens and the buzzing Battery Park at the V&A Waterfront. See classics such as E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial, The Princess Bride, Grease and The Sound Of Music as well as contemporary blockbusters such as Aquaman and The Greatest Showman.
• Speaking of Kirstenbosch, their Summer Sunset Concerts 2019/2020 programme never disappoints. There’s a stellar line-up of diverse local and international performances including Goldfish, the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and the famed Paris-born American cellist, Yo-Yo Ma. A brilliant night out for the whole family.
SEA – Cape Town’s best beaches to visit with kids
• Just a hop, skip and jump from the city centre is the picturesque and quaint strip that takes in Muizenberg, St James, Kalk Bay and Simon’s Town. One of our favourite ways to spend a day, there are myriad restaurants (the iconic Olympia Café and the Empire Café), safe tidal pools to swim in and rock pools to explore, whale-spotting opportunities, fishing off the Simon’s Town pier or at sea with a fishing charter (Big Blue Fishing Charters have a special package tailored just for kids and a parent), the colourful Kalk Bay harbour, quaint museums including the South African Naval Museum and the whimsical Warrior Toy Museum, the Scratch Patch where you can root around for semi-precious gemstones, antique stores, art galleries and specialist shops as well as the nearby Muizenberg Water Slides for some old-school waterslide fun. Sign up for Holiday Surf Camp with Surf Emporium or book yourself a once-off surfing, body boarding or SUPing (Stand Up Paddleboarding) lesson including optional wetsuit rental. Psst… While we love an early-morning swim at Dalebrook Tidal Pool on the fringes of St James and Kalk Bay you’ll do well to avoid the holiday crowds at the hidden-away Wooley’s Tidal Pool a little further on. And if you really want to make a day of it, push through to the Cape Point Nature Reserve with a stop at the idyllically situated Black Marlin Restaurant, formerly a whaling station, for a seafood lunch.
COUNTRYSIDE – The Cape Winelands with kids
• A treat for littlies (and the big kid in you), the Franschhoek Wine Tram offers a unique way to visit some of the best-loved estates in the beautiful valley including, of course, our very own Babylonstoren. There are eight packages to choose from with transport being provided by a quaint double-decker tram as well as safari-style, open sided buses.
• Even for avowed city slickers, there’s something deeply affecting about watching your kids pick and eat fruit straight from a tree, splashing in shallow waterways (under your watchful eye, of course), reaching for the clouds on a giant tree swing and marvelling at the sight of ambling tortoises, preening turkeys, fussing hens, our resident (and rather indulged) donkeys and an adorable ‘gang’ of bug-munching ducks… At Babylonstoren we genuinely delight in the experiences of children who visit our magical farm and make every effort to ensure our young guests leave happy and wanting to return. Conveniently located less than an hour from Cape Town (so you won’t need to listen to the beseeching cries of ‘are we there yet?’), our warm staff, child-friendly food options, wide-open spaces and the sheer beauty of Mother Nature makes this a paradise for kids where the only thing to concern them will be the question of what flavour homemade popsicle to choose.