Last updated September 2023
Keeping kids entertained during the holidays is a difficult job. There are few things as wholesome as kids getting up close and personal with Mother Nature’s majestic, weird, and hilarious critters.
Here are our picks for the best animal encounters for kids in Cape Town.
Aquila Private Game Reserve
Aquila is home to the Big 5 and makes for the perfect safari break from Cape Town, just a two hour drive away. There’s all a parent could ask for: a spa, game drives, luxury accommodation, and most importantly, a kid’s play area. The indoor and outdoor areas have a variety of activities aimed at all kids from toddlers to pre-teens. The outside area has a mini-golf course, a sandpit, and a wooden playground to delight your little ones. There are also daily activities and a Junior Ranger program, so send the kids off to discover the wild while you unwind at the pool, enjoy a massage, or go for dinner.
Imhoff Farm in Kommetjie makes for a great day trip with the kids. This quaint farmstead has a number of animal activities to keep your little ones entertained. There are also two restaurants where parents can unwind with a cup of coffee while kids can play on the lawns.
There’s plenty for the kids to do, from camel rides to the Higgeldy Piggeldy Farmyard, where kids can feed rabbits, goats, and ponies. After that, there’s the Imhoff Snake Park, a reptile sanctuary that’s a hit with courageous kids. Older kids will also enjoy the beach rides on offer at Imhoff Equestrian Centre.
Two Oceans Aquarium
The Two Oceans Aquarium is one of Cape Town’s best attractions for kids. Featuring over 3,000 marine animals, the Aquarium offers edutainment at its finest—giving kids the opportunity to learn about the rich biodiversity in our oceans while having an absolute blast. The Nemo display is a particularly big hit.
Step into another world at Butterfly World, one of Cape Town’s most unique family-friendly attractions. This tropical greenhouse and garden is a delight for children–and gives parents a great opportunity to sharpen their photography skills. There are also spiders and scorpions (don’t worry, they’re in glass enclosures), and the Jungle Leaf Café offers coffee and a bite to eat after a morning of fun.
Boulders Beach is one of Cape Town’s most famous beaches, with its characteristic granite boulders and calm, relatively warm waters. But it’s the penguins that are the real stars of Boulders. Kids love these waddling, braying little guys, and you can combine this unique animal encounter experience with some swimming and sandcastle building on the beach.
The Duck Parade at Vergenoegd Wine Estate
Have your kids ever seen over 1,000 ducks going for a morning jog? The Duck Parade happens at Vergenoegd Wine Estate daily at 10:30, 12:30 and 15:30, so go for a breakfast or lunch at the excellent restaurants and let your kids roam the rolling lawns.
Cape Town Ostrich Ranch
Ostriches are weird creatures, and your kids will love their cartoonish antics. Head out to the Cape Town Ostrich Ranch on the N7, and your kids will be able to ride an ostrich, watch the male ostrich do his funky dance to impress his lady, and play in the extensive play area.
The Alpaca Loom
The Alpaca Loom has got to be one of the most interesting animal encounters you can have in Cape Town. Created as a labour of love by Dietmar Keil and Kerstin Heisterkamp, this alpaca farm has a petting zoo and play area for the kids, and a coffee shop and gift shop for the adults.
You can also watch weavers at work in Alpaca Loom studio, weaving the unique alpaca fleece into scarves, beanies and jerseys.
Get hold of a City Pass to enjoy free ticket at the Alpaca Loom.
Le Bonheur Reptiles and Adventures
Two very different worlds collide at Le Bonheur Reptiles and Adventures. The first, a picturesque estate with stunning vistas of the surrounding Stellenbosch Winelands; and the second, over 1,000 crocodiles who call this place home. Take the family out for an exciting day of learning more about the Nile crocodile.
Buy a City Pass and get free entry to Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm.
Entry is very affordable for the entire family. One-on-one encounters are amazing for cat lovers!
Other beauties that can be seen on site: fox, meerkat, jackal and several other amazing animals.
World of Birds
Access to a walk-through tour of over 400 different species such as: squirrel monkeys, parrots, meerkats, baboons and some truly rare animals you may have never seen before.