Cape Town with kids

Most parents go to Cape Town with kids as part of a trip through beautiful South Africa. Cape Town, then, is a destination not to be missed. The city has enough to offer for families with kids to spend a few days there. The city is so diverse that there is a fun activity for everyone. We visited the city for a few days and list the best children’s activities in Cape Town below.

Cape Town with kids

Transportation in Cape Town with kids

You can explore the city in several ways. We walked quite a lot in Cape Town in the different neighborhoods, but it is also possible to ride the Hop on Hop off bus. We also did this for a day to see a bit more of the city’s suburbs as well. We ourselves always find this a nice way to see the city in a quick way. In addition, we had a rental car during our tour of South Africa, which we definitely used for the day trips from Cape Town.

Basically, you can park your car in Cape Town just fine. Both paid and unpaid. Sometimes, though, a little man will come to the car and supervise your car and give you some money. Do ask the price in advance so that you don’t have a nasty discussion with the person afterwards. Afterwards, of course, they can ask for whatever they want.

By the way, there are also buses in Cape Town, but you have to buy some kind of card, since you cannot buy tickets on the bus itself. We thought that was too much hassle. You would be better off downloading the Uber App on your phone and using this cab app. Then make sure you buy a local sim card in South Africa so you have coverage everywhere and then it works very easily. You enter your destination on the app and immediately see the price of the cab ride. Generally, the cab will then be in front of your hotel in a few minutes.

Cape Town with kids

Is Cape Town safe with kids?

Basically, Cape Town is safe, but you have to pay attention. When we visited Cape Town, we did a lot of walking, which is fine during the day, but when it starts to get dark, it is no longer recommended. We ourselves had a less pleasant experience when we had gotten groceries and were walking back to our apartment (when it started to get dark) and were harassed by a rather aggressive man who wanted money from us.

We ended up giving him some money, because we felt quite threatened, but for us that was an instant good lesson that even small bits of walking in the evening were best done by cab. In addition, in the city you have to watch out for pickpockets at busy points. We saw when we had taken the Hop on Hop off bus a tourist who almost lost his wallet if people on the bus had not intervened. Cape Town is generally safe, but be aware that the differences between rich and poor are great, so be wary.

Best travel time Cape Town with the family

The best time to visit Cape Town are the months of April, May, September and October. The seasons in South Africa are opposite to those of Europe, so winter in Cape Town is in the months of July and August. It will be about 15 degrees in Cape Town then.

On the contrary, in the winter months (December/January) it can be very hot in South Africa and you can have temperatures around 35 degrees. This is pretty hot for a city break with kids. In terms of crowds, the summer and winter months are also the busiest in Cape Town, making it ideal to visit the city just in the months in between.

Cape Town with kids

Children’s activities Cape Town

#1 Table Mountain

One of Cape Town’s most famous landmarks is the magnificent Table Mountain. You can get to Table Mountain in two ways. You can take the cable car or you can climb the mountain. Especially with small kids, we would always recommend just going up by cable car.

If you want to climb the mountain, there are lots of different routes up here for this, but one of the most popular trails up here is Platteklip Gorge. You then walk up via steps, but it still takes 2-3 hours to get to the top.

If you do want to hike, the best way is to take the cable car up the mountain and then hike down. That’s a lot easier than going up. Keep in mind that it can be very hot, so be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks for along the way.

We ourselves went up and down by cable car, which we found to be a fine option. You’ll be on the mountain in a few minutes, and you’ll have some great views along the way. The gondola spinning, giving everyone in the gondola a great view.

Keep in mind that it can be very chilly on Table Mountain. We ourselves had not taken this into account, so we found it quite cold on the mountain. Therefore, bring some warm clothing in a backpack for on the mountain itself.

Cape Town with kids

On the mountain itself you can take a small hike and, of course, have a beautiful view. Keep an eye on your kids on the mountain, of course, as there are no fences. You can also see many marmots living at the summit. Always fun to spot these critters with kids.

If you want to climb Table Mountain keep in mind the weather. Is it a good day go straight to Table Mountain. The first two days in Cape Town we had quite a bit of cloud cover and then you can’t see anything at all upstairs. So getting up the mountain at the right time is sometimes quite a challenge.

If you are visiting Cape Town with older kids and you as a family love hiking, it is also possible to climb Lion’s Head near Table Mountain. This climb to the top takes about an hour and you will have a beautiful view of Table Mountain from this mountain….

Cape Town with kids

#2 Bicycle tour of Cape Town

As we mentioned earlier, there are multiple ways to explore Cape Town with kids. One of these ways is to explore the city by bicycle with a guide. This bike tour takes about 3 hours and you will visit the highlights of the city. In between, you will stop frequently so the guide can give you more information about the sight.

We have regularly booked a bike tour through Baja Bikes and we always find it a fun way to get an initial introduction to a city. These bike tours are also suitable for families with kids. Children’s bikes are available for ages 8 and up, and it is also possible if you are with young children to have the kids ride along on a seat on the back of the bike.

#3 Robben Island

Robben Island is also one of Cape Town’s most famous attractions, which is why you really can’t skip this sight. We had booked this tour to Robben Island in advance because the tour is often sold out. Therefore, it is not recommended to buy tickets only on the spot. On the day, tickets are usually sold out.

You start the tour to Robben Island with a boat ride that takes about half an hour. When you arrive on the island, you are driven around the island and they show you the complex. Tours are given by former prisoners of the island. The “highlight” of the tour is, of course, the cell where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for many years.

Robben Island with kids
Robben Island with kids

#4 Victoria & Albert Waterfront

A fine place to spend time in Cape Town with the family is the Victoria & Albert Waterfront. This is also really the most touristy area in Cape Town and a nice place to walk around. You have stores, restaurants and cafes here where you can go for shopping or a bite to eat. Near the waterfront, street performers sometimes perform and there are attractions for kids as well.

For example, at the V&A Waterfront there is a Ferris wheel, where you can view Cape Town from a great height. In addition, you can take a boat to go see sea lions. There is also a statue of Nelson Mandela and it is possible to take a tour in a small tourist train. We have been here several times when we were in Cape Town, so we definitely recommend the Waterfront to visit during your city break to Cape Town with kids.

#5 Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden

If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, we always enjoy walking through a botanical garden in a city. In Cape Town you have the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden and this garden is located near Table Mountain. Therefore, you can also combine these two activities perfectly well. It is one of the most beautiful gardens in the world, and for kids, the 130-meter walkway that runs between the trees is obviously fun to walk on.

Other children’s activities Cape Town

In addition to the children’s activities in Cape Town mentioned above, there is more to do in the city. We briefly list below the other best children’s activities in Cape Town:

#6 Beaches Cape Town: you can also go to the beach in Cape Town with kids. Cape Town is located on the beach and therefore it is possible to visit a number of beaches. We ourselves did not do this because when we visited Cape Town (in the summer months) it was too chilly for this. You have three nice beaches to visit in Cape Town.

Located in one of Cape Town’s hippest neighborhoods, Camps Bay Beach is near Table Mountain. Just make sure you keep an eye on your kids and that they swim only in the designated areas. In fact, there can be quite a bit of current in the water.

Clifton Beach is Cape Town’s second largest beach. You have white sand on this beach and near this beach also lie the natural pool Maiden’s Cove Tidal Pool. From this pool you have a beautiful view and, of course, it is a safe way to get in the water with kids. At least you are sure not to encounter sharks ;).

Muizenberg is the beach to visit if your kids are into surfing. You have nice colored houses here and kids can take surfing lessons here if they like.

Best beaches Cape Town

#7 Two Oceans Aquarium: this is a fun children’s activity to go to when the weather is not so good in Cape Town. In the beginning there are a few small aquariums with different sea creatures like seahorses and different jellyfish and the further you get the bigger the aquariums get. They have many different kinds of fish, of course, but also marine animals such as the penguin. Feeding times are clearly marked, so of course it’s fun to go check on the animals then.

#9 Bo Kaap: This is a very colorful neighborhood in Cape Town. It’s fun to walk around this neighborhood and take pictures of the colorful houses that line the area.

Bo Cape Town with kids

#11 Worlds of Birds: this is the largest bird park in Africa and in addition to the various birds you can admire, it also has other animals such as monkeys, foxes and raccoons that you can view. It is quite a large park, so you can easily spend an entire morning or afternoon walking around the park.

#13 Ziplining: you can also go ziplining in Cape Town with the family. At SA Forest Adventure, you have 14 different platforms that you can zipline between. The longest zipline you have here is almost 500 meters long. We have done this in several places around the world and always find it a very cool activity to do with the family.

#14 Township tour: you can do several township tours in Cape Town. We went on one of these tours and found it impressive. That way we still got a special glimpse of the other side of Cape Town. We ended the tour in a kind of bar where you could have a bite to eat and a drink.

Township tour Cape Town

Day trips from Cape Town with kids

The first three day trips in this list we did ourselves by car and the last day trip we did not do ourselves because we went to game parks in South Africa in other places like the Kruger Park.

#15 Boulder Beach: we found this to be a very nice day trip from Cape Town. You drive to this beach in just under an hour and you go here for the many penguins that are on the beach. We pay a small entrance fee to the national park in which the beach is located and then continue walking along the wooden platform toward the animals. You can smell from a great distance that there are penguins here.

We visit this beach in the early morning and therefore it is still quite quiet on the beach. It is advisable to go early, though, as it can be quite crowded during the day as it is a popular day trip from Cape Town.

Boulder Beach with kids
Boulder Beach with kids

#16 Cape Point: After visiting Boulder Beach in the morning, we drive our rental car on to Cape Point. This is still a lot further south than Boulder Beach, and by car you can get to Cape Point in 15 minutes. It is known for being the southern tip of Africa and we certainly enjoyed taking the famous photo at the sign.

You can also spot different animals here such as the Macaque monkey, for example. We have encountered these monkeys in many places around the world, and these monkeys have become so used to people in so many places around the world (partly because they feed the monkeys) that these monkeys are quite brutal. Therefore, do not bring plastic bags either, as this will give the monkeys the idea that there is food in them.

From the parking lot of Cape Point, you can take a cable car up the mountain and from this mountain you have a nice view of a lighthouse and the surrounding area.

Cape Point with kids

#17 Hermanus: this place is just over 1.5 hours drive from Cape Town and here it is possible to spot whales. We were lucky enough to be able to spot the whales from the water’s edge and take quite a picture as well (see photo below). We visited Hermanus in the summer months and that’s when the whales are here.

This is about until the end of the year. In the first half of the year, it is difficult to spot whales from the waterfront, but in the latter part of the year that chance is much greater.

Hermanus with kids
Hermanus with kids

#18 Aquila Private Game Reserve: If you are only taking a city trip to Cape Town with kids and not visiting the rest of South Africa, it is possible to go on a day trip to spot wildlife near Cape Town. At the Aquila Private Game reserve, you can look for the famous Big 5 animals. The nature park is a 2-hour drive from Cape Town and it is possible to spend a night here.

Cape Town Pass:

Like most major cities in the world, Cape Town has its own card, which allows you to enter many of the city’s attractions “for free. You can enter more than 80 attractions for free with this pass. Many of the sights mentioned above you can visit for free with this pass such as the Table Mountain cable car, the Hop on Hop off bus and the Two Oceans Aquarium.

Family-friendly restaurants Cape Town

You have plenty of family-friendly restaurants in Cape Town where you can have a great family meal. We list below two family-friendly restaurants that are fun to visit.

Mojo Market: this is a kind of foodhall with all kinds of stalls selling food from all kinds of countries. We always really like this concept, because you can basically get something for each family member separately at a stall and then eat it together. When we were there there was also live music which of course makes it extra atmospheric.

Beluga: this family-friendly Cape Town restaurant is located at the V&A Waterfront. We found the place very cozy and had delicious sushi here. You also have vegetarian options here. They have European-Asian food here.

Family-friendly restaurants Cape Town

Family-friendly hotels Cape Town

Also, of course, a metropolis like Cape Town has plenty of family-friendly hotels. Surely, as a family, you prefer to sleep as close to the city center as possible, and there you have several great options. We list some family-friendly hotels that have all been rated 8.5 average or higher by hotel guests. We list nice options in different price ranges. Click on the blue link for more information!

Organized trip South Africa with kids

Of course, you can also go on an organized tour of South Africa with kids. You then often have the choice that the tour company will arrange everything for you and then you can go out on your own with the family or you can go out with a guided group. For more information on this type of organized travel, check out the website of tour operator TUI.

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