The winter holidays are upon us and I know that a purposeful plan is needed! I actually love school holidays as it gives me the chance to reconnect more intentionally with my kids, get to all the ‘must dos’ that are kid related which have fallen by the wayside during a busy term (like shopping for new shoes!) and of course some quality pajama home days on a rainy morning are also most welcome!
As each family it totally unique so are our child-care plans. Many moms are working full-time and make use of the lovely variety of after school programs available. Our kids are certainly lucky that most of these programs are so interesting, stimulating and fun for our kids! Others like me do the kids and work from home juggle- a challenge but one that can be managed with a plan! Those moms who work hard at being a stay at home mum or a homeschooling mom I hope these suggestions will enthuse you as you continually work on your children’s schedules and offer them fun experiences.
This list focuses on the FREE fun that Cape Town has to offer our children. I don’t think we realize how lucky we are to live in such a diverse, rich city with so many places and wonderful sights to absorb. It may just involved a small spend on coffee (for yourself) or refreshments for the kids!
May these ideas help prevent cabin fever in your house these holidays and promote connections in your family.
The Book Lounge
This lovely book shop based in the city offers a delightful kids section and a special weekly story time. Join The Book Lounge for some bookish fun! The Saturday morning story time is from 11-12:00 a.m.
Cape Town has such a lovely variety of local libraries to visit.
Some of our favourites include: Claremont Library, Cape Town City Library, Meadowridge Library, Fish Hoek Library and Tokai Library. Many of the libraries are also offering free holidays programs so give them a call to find out more!
V&A Waterfront Museum Night
This fun event invites the public to visit museums after dark and see the museums in a new light!
Iziko Maritime Centre, Chavonnes Battery Museum, Cape Medical Museum, Robben Islands Jetty 1 Museum, Nelson Mandela Gateway, Circa Gallery & Everard Read, Two Oceans Aquarium (half price), Zeitz MOCCA (half price).
The evening is held between 5pm and 10pm on the 27 June 2019. Find out more here.
The Naval Museum, Simon’s Town
This lovely spot contains interesting naval items such as submarines and other ocean equipment. Kids will enjoy discovering more about the navy and how they protect our waters! It is a great interactive museum that is perfect for kids!
Who doesn’t love a trip to the movies? A reminder that if you are a Discovery member and have signed up for the children’s movie card they go free before 7pm. Adults will need to purchase a ticket to accompany them.
The Play Station
This is a lovely indoor play area with a wide variety of high quality, stimulating fun equipment and free play space for kids.
The Play Station free play area for kids under 2 is free for the first hour. Anyone older must purchase a ticket.
Make use of that kids V-Club gym membership and drop your kids off for a change of scenery and some socializing while you catch a smoothie or a workout! Older kids will enjoy joining mom or dad on the exercise deck where they can enjoy certain equipment (ask for advice). We enjoyed a fun row and ride together! Some clubs also offer a holiday club where children can get dropped for the morning. Alternatively, take your kids for a swim at the gym pool or for slightly older ones let them enjoy a gentle run on the treadmill under your guidance.
Call your club to find out details about the holiday program. These require you to sign up in advance.
The restaurant is without a doubt the most kid-friendly that we have come across! Most (if not all) contain a designated Play Valley where kids can enjoy some air hockey and other fun activities on offer.
You can also join their kids club. Which offers you other special offers.
Closer to Nature
Tokai Lower Plantation
This ring route is a favourite with locals and many afternoons plenty dog-walkers, kids on bikes and parents trailing them enjoy this lovely plantation. This ring track is perfect for prams and kids on bikes! Dogs are also welcome! Another fun activity is to spend some time searching for or hiding Cape Town Rocks in this forest as it has become quite a hot-spot for this initiative! My kids LOVE the thrill of finding new Cape Town Rocks and then re-hiding them!
Check out the Parkscape website or Facebook page to keep up to date on related news, initiatives and safety concerns. They also have a really lovely map on their site.
This small conservation area is perfect for a quick picnic and some bird watching. It is tucked away in a residential area and is a small space that locals are assisting to keep maintained. Make sure you have a look at their webpage to up skill yourself on which bird life and plant species you might come across! Enjoy reading more information about Die Oog on their website.
Upper Liesbeeck River Garden
Hidden away at the bottom of Bishopscourt off Upper Noreen Avenue is the most lovely canal-side garden. Local residents have put a lot of time and effort into creating the most magical garden with little pathways and benches along the way. We have spent many a fun afternoon with friends at this little patch of Cape Town beauty!
Explore this public garden and arboretum which is situated just off the Main Road in Claremont. It was originally established by a timber merchant and today still is home to many fascinating trees. Pack some snacks and enjoy a stroll in nature! You will be pleasantly surprised by this suburban gem.
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Who doesn’t love the stunning Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens nestled beneath those mountain peaks? Well we are in luck. Kirstenbosch is offering free entry to all kids this holiday. Did you know they also offer free 90 min tours from the Conservatory (perhaps better suited for older kids!).
Note: Moyo Restaurant is also offering a kids program and can be contacted directly on 021 762 95 85 for further information on cost, dates and times.
This surely is one of our favourite places to explore. Situated alongside the commons where horses graze freely, the Noordhoek Common provides the perfect spot for kids to run wild, fly a kite, explore the streams and enjoy the swings!
Note: On Monday 17th in aid of Hole in the Wall Horse Project there will be a fun horse jumping show. This project does amazing work looking after medical needs of horses and dogs on the Transkei Coast.
Pack a picnic to enjoy under the trees the day starts at 9 a.m. (Bring along donations of old tack and horse things)
If you head right to the bottom of the garden you find the most delightful garden for children to explore and enjoy! Little Streams offers the perfect spot to meet friends, grab a coffee (bring your own take-a-way mug) and let the kids breathe in that fresh air!)
Soil for Life
This NPO is situated behind lane Riding School in Constantia and is the most delightful place to visit. They grow food and host a variety of training courses. Highly recommended is to just pop in and enjoy this very green spot!
Cape Dutch Nursery with The Noordhoek Café and Deli
Take a wander through the plants at the nursery and then let your kids enjoy the simple play area while you grab some coffee. Perfect for a quick mom-date!
Oranjezicht City Farm
Enjoy this little oasis of nature in the city. This is a community initiative and visitors are welcome to come and wander around. OZCF is situated on Sidmouth Avenue, Oranjezicht, adjacent to Homestead Park
Visitors are welcome, Mon-Fri 8am – 4pm, Sat 8am – 1pm
The Company Gardens
Enjoy a wander through these gardens as you meet the little squirrels and stumble upon treasure after treasure such as bird aviaries and sundials!
Oranjezicht Food Market
Markets offer a great way to get out as a family. Entry is always free but you will need money for food or refreshments!
A weekly farmers market with the most delightful stores and produce! Saturday 8-2 p.m.
The Cape Point Vineyards Market
Join them for food trucks and fireplaces every Thursday from 4-8:30 p.m.
The Old Biscuit Mill
Saturday morning market with stunning crafters to inspire.
The Range Market, Tokai
Friday nights offering live music, family-friendly atmosphere and space for kids to play!
Blue Bird Garage, Market
An indoor market which happens on a Friday from 4 p.m.-10 p.m. and on certain Sundays.
Farm Village Market, Market
Held on a Wednesday from 4 p.m. this market offers a lovely selection of dinner options while the kids can enjoy playing and meeting kids in the enclosed playground.
Earth Fair Market, Tokai
An indoor food market on a Wednesday 3-8:30 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m.-2 p.m. They offer a fun place to enjoy supper with your family in a chilled environment.
Bay Harbour Market, Hout Bay
Always has a vibe and home to an array of inspiring traders and craftspeople. The market runs Saturdays and Sundays from 9:30 a.m. till 4 p.m.
Happens on selected Saturdays 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Kommetjie Christian Church.
Keep your eyes on the Cape Markets webpage for more inspirational markets and for all the contact details.
Spend some time hanging out on these famous steps and enjoy the lion statues- not to mention the brilliant view across the city! Breathtaking! Then enjoy a refreshment at the café which hosts a perfect play area for the kids too!
This is really a delightful Cape Nature Park to visit. There is so much to see. From the lighthouse to the lookout point, the funicular and a rich variety of seascape beauty. This makes for a really great day trip!
On Youth Day (16 June only!) they are offering free access to all under 35’s! Parents may have missed the cut off but at least the kids are free!
Signal Hill, Noon Day Gun
This is the oldest Cape Town tradition and stems from the early 1800’s where the blast was used to allow ships in the bay to log the correct time of day. This special tradition continues today and along with a brief history behind this routine kids will enjoy standing back and seeing them light and fire up the only cannons that are in daily use in the world! This is a must see for every Cape Town kid!
The guns are situated on Signal Hill Lion Battery, Military Road and you should arrive a little early to hear the history.
Plenty on offer for the family to enjoy. Most days there are buskers to enjoy, a wide variety of boats to see, the seal look-out deck in front of the Waterfront always intrigues us, the swing bridge and clock tower make for some fun discoveries and along with that there are plenty spots to enjoy some window shopping!
Champmans Peak Look Out Point
If you drive from one side of Champmans Peak and do not travel the entire distance you can make it to the lookout point and enjoy the sweeping views of the Sentinel Mountain jutting up from the ocean (at no cost). This is a lovely way to sight-see and be a tourist in your own city!
A lovely farm to explore and don’t forget some bread for the ducks!
Offers a great green patch of grass under an impressive tree. Open Door offers great coffee!
Down by the Sea Side:
Kalk Bay Harbour
Perfect for some fresh sea air. The short jetty offers a fun little walk, while enjoying the local fishing boats, fishermen, seals and the final stop the little lighthouse at the end. (Be warned there are no barriers so be really careful with little kids!) For some extra fun grab some fish and chips lunch at one of the restaurants.
Dale Brook Rock pools
Make sure you check the tides before embarking on a morning at the Rock Pools!
Slangkop/Kommetjie Boardwalk to the Ligthouse
Take a wander along this boarded path and enjoy everything that this stunning coastline offers. From seagulls to rock pools (low tide only). This walk can be quite isolated so perhaps best in a group or on a weekend.
Grabbing some freshly bakes treats at Knead and enjoying this beachfront is always enjoyable. If your kids are into surfing or body boarding this beach is tops for beginners. There is also a jungle gym and some fun outdoor gym equipment pieces to master! Younger children will enjoy building sandcastles or just running free on the sandy shore!
Sea Point Promenade
This stretch of coat has so many interesting things to offer. From bike riding to jungle gym climbing. There are some fascinating sculptures and art installations along the way. Enjoy a ramble as you discover what lies just a little bit further down the promenade!
Hout Bay Harbour
This Harbour offers lovely long piers to walk along and has the most stunning views to enjoy across the Bay.
Camps Bay Beachfront
Perhaps seen as less of a destination we were pleasantly surprised recently as we discovered the paved pathway which runs just up from the beach. We enjoyed stopping at each creative art installation and the kids loved running across the large expanse of sandy shore! This is definitely one to consider.
Cape Town is blessed with so many great options to choose from so pick your spot and enjoy a walk or a wander even if the weather is a little chilly!
Visit some Animals:
Harry Goemans, Kommetjie Road
Drop in here and enjoy the stunning array of plants along with a designated kids playground complete with the sweetest bird aviary! Coffee and refreshments are available from the Easy Dig Café conveniently located in the nursery.
Ferndale Nursery, Constantia
This delightful Nursery situated in the heart of Constantia is always a wonderful outing. Beside the stunning plants kids can enjoy visiting the ducks, playing in the hedge maze, enjoy the playground and visit the fish in the tanks too.
Black and Brew, Hout Bay
What a delightful spot to meet some special farmyard creatures. The donkeys are my favourite! This coffee shop and nursery offers some fun toys for little ones inside and a wonderful play gym for bigger ones outside.
The Blue Water Café, Imhoff
Sit down and enjoy the sweeping views of Chapmans Peak, Long Beach and across to Hout Bay. A jungle gym and large slide and swing keep the kids happy and there are even some animals to spot over the fence.
For a minimal fee you can visit the animal farmyard located next door.
Parks and Playgrounds:
Cape Town is blessed with a lovely array of fun and engaging public parks. We have always enjoyed our outings to them! From ones close to home to others on the far reaches of the city an outing to a park is always a good idea for kids who have been cooped up. Here are some of our favourites:
The V&A Battery Urban Park
We absolutely love this spot! Complete with free skate ramps, a flat mini-soccer pitch and fun pathways to boot. The views of Table Mountain and the canals below are also stunning! Younger kids can also get a chance to ride their smaller bikes on the ramps if it is not too busy. Don’t forget to take some balls along for some active fun!
Keurbooms Park, Rondebosch
Perfect for riding bikes and there is a small skate-board area.
Paradise Park, Newlands
We love the Winnie the Pooh theme!
Green Point Park, City
So much to do here and so many areas to explore! We love the little kids play area which is enclosed.
Parish Road Park, Constantia
A lovely flat enclosed area which is great for ball games like soccer.
Brocker Way Park, Tokai
This park hosts three different wooden jungle gyms for different age children- ideal!
Lever Road Park, Kalk Bay
Always a top choice with Bob’s Bagels a step away!
Deer Park, Vredehoek
This is always a perfect stop off for us when visiting town. With a restaurant opening onto the playground it makes for an easy morning out.
De Waal Park, Oranjezicht
A stunning space to explore with kids.
Fish Hoek Beachfront
The combination of beachfront playground, a lovely little cat walk and the most beautiful white sandy shores to play on make this really a wonderful spot for kids.
Noordhoek Farm Village
This little piece of countryside heaven is my son’s favourite place in the world! The park offers kids fun and in the holidays it is rare to find it empty- affectionately referred to by my kids as Friendship Park- because you always make a new friend there! Café Roux offers parents a great spot to sit and grab a coffee or get your take-away from the Village Roast!
Harbour Bay Mall, Murdoch Valley
This Mall is situated just past Glen Cairn n the Way to Simon’s Town and offers a small cluster of shops. This offers a really great spot to do a quick shop and keep the kids happy as they have a fun outdoor kid’s activity area which is small but honestly I can never get my kids to leave! A nice little idea to keep in your back pocket. Older kids might enjoy the chance to be inspired by the excellent art on display at The Studio Art Gallery.
Valyland, Fish Hoek
This little set of shops recently added the most delightful play structure and along with a pop in to the TEARS charity bookstore this makes for a fun outing. Take along some books to donate!
Here is to a happy winter holiday ahead!