If there’s one thing South African Mamma knows best, it’s how to keep the kiddos entertained with activities that still manage to be fun for the adults. Surrounded by stunning natural beauty, Cape Town hosts a handful of nearby sights and must-see attractions. Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly day hike or an afternoon at a museum, South African Mamma’s list has it all!
Dive Into Cape Town’s Natural Beauty
Cape Town is jam-packed with activities for the adventurous soul for every age, all the way from 4 to 64. The whole family can enjoy marvelous Mother Nature, thanks to Cape Town’s proximity to various beaches and scenic favorites such as Table Mountain.
Table Mountain Cable Car
Table Mountain is a top-rated activity, and rightly so. This sky-high attraction presents wow-worthy views of the city on the way up, and from the summit. The ride up only takes about 5 minutes, but expect to linger at the top to enjoy the 360-degree visibility. Some opt to hike up to the top, but the cable car is a truly unique experience—and much easier when traveling with kids.
Camp’s Bay Beach
Although there’s a grand variety of beaches to choose from in the area, Camp’s Bay makes our list for being a top-rated family destination. The calm waters are great for a dip, and we can’t complain about the nearby restaurants either. You might even have time to grab a glass of local chardonnay from one of the sea-facing restaurants with outdoor seating, right on the bay.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
You certainly don’t have to be an avid botanist to appreciate the beauty at Kirstenbosch. This relaxed garden is great for aimless wandering, picnics, and those classic family photos everyone takes on vacations. Since it’s right next to Table Mountain, you might be able to explore both on the same day.
Embark On An Educational Afternoon
If there happens to be a rainy day during your visit to Cape Town, turn it into an opportunity for an afternoon of learning. From science and technology to marine biology, families can take their pick depending on which subject they fancy most. South African Mamma recommends a stop at each—why not become an expert in giant spider crabs, while you’re at it?
Two Oceans Aquarium
Carve out a full afternoon for this one, because the kids won’t want to leave. Say hello to jellyfish, seahorses, and more—perhaps even some creatures you had never heard of previously, such as the “spotted grunter” fish. Children will love the touch pool and microscope exhibits, where they can come face-to-face with hermit crabs, starfish, and sea plants.
Cape Town Science Center
One of the best ways to ignite proper curiosity in a child is by a visit to a science museum. With more than 250 interactive exhibits and hands-on science experiments, this discovery land will keep everyone busy, and probably scattered across a handful of different areas in the center. Kids can travel to space by trying out the gravity-free human gyroscope, one of the more unique experiences available.
Cape Town is home to Africa’s most advanced digital planetarium, specializing in both research and “edutainment”—the winning combination of fascinating education that hooks you in like a binge-worthy TV show. The planetarium features a full dome theater, interactive learning exhibits, and enough digital displays to make you feel like you stepped into the future.
Hang Out With Local Wildlife
Both children and adults will love the experience of meeting some of Cape Town’s resident animals—considering there are plenty of them in both wildlife preserves and their natural habitats. South African Mamma recommends introducing the whole family to the local wildlife at these top picks.
Boulder’s Beach Penguins
In addition to soft waves and tremendous granite boulders, this beach is home to an energetic crowd of penguins, drawing thousands of visitors each year. These popular birds are most active during the summer months but can be seen year-round in the area.
The local colony has grown over the years, as a result of funded conservation efforts from a small entry fee. The beach has rock pools and powdery sand, making you feel like you’re much farther away from the bustle of Cape Town.
This small 5-acre island lives up to its namesake. Over 65,000 cape fur seals call this area home, which seems a bit cozy due to the size, but they don’t seem to mind. Getting to the island is an event in and of itself, with occasional shark sightings and thorough background information.
Stellenbosch Eagle Encounters
Combining fun with an important cause is definitely South African Mamma approved. A visit to this non-profit organization supports conservation, research, rehabilitation, and eco-tourism. Visitors are welcome to have a meet and greet with the eEagles, with the guidance of an experienced handler. The birds do not live in cages at Stellenbosch, creating a truly authentic experience.
Ostriches, seals, and eagles are only the tip of the iceberg for Cape Town animals, but they happen to be a few of our favorites.