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December 28, 2009

Family fun in the Mother City

Blog Featured Image

Photo courtesy Ian Junor

Cape Town hums with activity over the December school holidays and, whether you’re visiting or resident, there are barrow-loads of activities to choose from to keep your kids occupied and happy.

We live in budget-constrained times, so creative and fun things to do with very little financial outlay are doubly welcome, aren’t they?

Everyone outside
Cape Town’s beaches make her the queen-bee of free outdoor activities. For family fun, I recommend the False Bay beaches – warmer water and gentler surf! For teens, you may need to take a different approach: Camps Bay is generally the accepted “Baywatch and bling” option.
Don’t skimp on sunscreen, T-shirts for protection and a broad-brimmed hat for each family member. Invest in some simple equipment – bats and ball, Frisbee, buckets and spades – and, if you have enough stamina, you could make it right through to sundowners!

Deal the wind a blow
Beat Cape Town at the wind game and invest in a kite. A small kite need not cost a fortune and will give you a sense of being one up on the weather on those sunny days when the wind is just a little too fresh for watery activities.

A bit of bling
Viewing the Christmas lights in the city centre is an exciting option for younger kids, especially if they get to ride on someone’s shoulders to stay above the crowd! We usually picnic in De Waal Park or the Company Gardens until sunset, then park and walk down Adderley Street until we’ve had enough of the crowds.

Picnic in peace
If you’d rather avoid the city and crowds but still like to picnic, head for Boschheuvel, the oak woodlands beyond the quaint stone church opposite the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden main gate. You’ll find deep shade, emerald-green grass and a gurgling stream – and you’ll likely have little competition for space!

Toddlers’ turn
If your family falls into the under-five bracket, an outing with a playground is always a bonus – even if it turns into a latte-sipping-while-they’re-swinging affair. Our sanity-saving favourite has always been Noordhoek Farm Village, with its numerous excellent eateries around the village green. The scenic drive over Silvermine or Chapman’s Peak is an inspiring part of the journey.

Out in the northern suburbs, Stodels Nursery at the Old Oak Road offramp from the N1 offers a great option with its railway restaurant.
If you and your tot are berry fans, consider heading for the winelands. Mountain Breeze Farm Stall (on the R44 between Stellenbosch and Somerset West) offers an excellent, toddler-friendly option and you can stock upon homemade konfyt (jam) and all sorts of other goodies while you’re there.

Now we are six (and more)
Once toddlers become tweens, they can tackle new challenges. For a very small investment from the entertainment kitty you can play Putt Putt (about R12 per person in Sea Point or Muizenberg) or go for a camel ride at Imhoff Farm near Kommetjie (about R40 per ride).

Teen scene
Quad biking in the Boland can make for an amazing family memory and is well worth the investment. If your heart can handle the strain of seeing your kids in charge of four wheels and an engine, it may be time to explore the outdoors on wheels for a change!

Further inspiration…
Alison Beere is a Cape Town mom and the owner and editor of Cape Town Family Holiday Magic, a website dedicated to family-friendly holidays in and around the Western Cape. Click here for a list of Cape Town Family Holiday Magic suggestions for 50 things to do with the kids in Cape Town.

For more information on family friendly activities in Cape Town please visit Cape Town Tourism’s website www.capetown.travel/visitors-like-you/family or call Cape Town Tourism on +27 (0)21 487 6800 for more information on family-friendly events, accommodation and activities.

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