The end-of-year holidays are a great opportunity to spend time showing your children some of the wonderful things Cape Town has to offer. There are theatre productions and exhibitions, and activities ranging from learning to surf to tobogganing on dry land. Here are ten things to do in Cape Town with kids this summer.
Garden fun at Kirstenbosch
Pack the kids, the picnic, and the blanket and head off to Kirstenbosch, acclaimed as one of the great botanical gardens of the world. In summer, there are plenty of shady spots to spread that blanket. The whole family—from grans and granddads right down to the smallest family member—can enjoy the rolling green lawns and beautiful surroundings. A “walk in the trees” along the tree canopy walkway known as the Boomslang is a thrilling activity that children will enjoy. Picnics can also be pre-ordered from Moyo or the Kirstenbosch Tea Room.
When: 8am-5pm daily
Where: Rhodes Drive, Newlands
A visit to the V&A Waterfront is a no-brainer for people with kids. In fact, you could probably fill a whole holiday with all activities available here! There are countless specials to keep your little ones happy: you can grab a free voucher booklet at the info kiosk. Future Park is great fun for kids and their parents. The Two Oceans Aquarium never fails to impress, and there’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not, with displays that are as fun as they are educational. There are also a number of kid-friendly restaurants and playgrounds, and the amphitheatre offers performances on most days to entertain people of all ages. Check out their other kids’ activities on their website.
When: 9am-9pm daily
Where: The Clocktower at the V & A Waterfront
Learn to surf at Surfers Corner
Surfers Corner in Muizenberg is recognised as one of the best beaches to learn to surf. There are several surf schools here offering lessons to aspiring surfers from the age of 4 to 94. The beach is lovely for swimming and sandcastles, and parents will enjoy the great beachfront restaurants and coffee shops. It is weather-dependent, so always phone ahead to see if conditions are good.
When: Most schools are open 8am-5pm
Where: Surfers Corner, Muizenberg
Website: There are a few options, like garysurf.co.za; learn2surf.co.za; and stokedsurfschool.com
This exhibition brings the planet of Cybertron to Cape Town where visitors can meet up with their favourite transformers, from the iconic toys of the ’80s to towering sculptures of the transformers we see in films today. The incredible sculptures are up to 11 meters (36ft) high and are animated with amazing animatronic technology. There is a dedicated kids’ zone where children can build their own transformers.
When: 10 November to 21 January; 10am-7pm
Where: Grand Arena, GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World, Goodwood
Cool Runnings Toboggan Family Park
Visitors from the Northern Hemisphere will be familiar with tobogganing, but at Cool Runnings, the activity has a Southern Hemisphere spin. There is not a snowflake in sight—instead, you’ll hurtle down a stainless steel track under the summer sun. You can choose to ride in a two-person toboggan and you control the speed, so it’s a great activity for all ages.
When: Weekdays 11am-6pm; weekends 9am-6pm
Where: Tygervalley, Cape Town
Movie night at the Galileo Open Air Cinema
There are few things more exciting for kids than being out at night under the stars watching one of their favourite movies. Various venues around the city are transformed into an open-air cinema with stalls selling food, drinks, and popcorn. There are all sorts of films on offer and their Family Sundays, screened at Kelvin Grove in Newlands, feature such classics as Up, Moana, and Home Alone.
When: Every Tuesday to Sunday evening between October and April
Where: Various venues, but Kelvin Grove in Newlands is their family venue
See the penguin colony on a sea kayak trip
Children over the age of 10 can join a parent in the 2-person kayak for this unique marine adventure with Kayak Cape Town. The route goes along the stunning coast from Simon’s Town jetty, towards Boulders Beach where you enjoy a unique view of the African penguin colony. You might even see the birds up close, darting through the water or sunning themselves on the coastal boulders. The activity is weather-dependant so it’s a good idea to call ahead.
When: Daily trips leave at 8.30am
Where: Simon’s Town
Cinderella on Ice
The ice stage at Artscape is a perfect way to escape the city’s heat and introduce some enchantment to your children’s holiday activities. Imperial Ice Stars bring this well-loved classic to Cape Town and their theatrical choreography, amazing speed and lifts, and stunning costumes add to the magic of the Cinderella story.
When: 10-28 January, 7.30pm on weekdays with matinees on Saturday and Sunday
Where: Artscape, Foreshore, Cape Town
For a fun-filled day outdoors pay a visit to the Imhoff Farm in Kommetjie. Here, kids can play a round or two of laser tag or paintball. Laser tag welcomes kids six and up. Camel rides are a popular activity as well. The snake park is filled with weird and wonderful reptiles, and the Higgeldy Piggeldy farmyard is where the kids can feed the ducks and goats. The Blue Water Café has a wonderful outdoor wooden jungle gym where parents can grab breakfast, lunch, or drinks while the little ones have a great time.
When: All year round – check website for opening times of various activities
Where: Kommetjie Rd, Kommetjie
Acrobranch Adventure Park
This tree-top obstacle adventure park provides an action-packed day of tree-top adventures for visitors of all ages. The Acro-twigs course is perfect for kids, with onsite safety guides keeping a close eye. Kids between three and six can tackle nine obstacles that will test their abilities and provide a heap of fun. The setting in the Constantia Nek forest is idyllic and it’s close enough to the Constantia Winelands to combine the day with some wine estate visits for the adults as well.
When: Wednesday to Sunday, school holidays and public holidays; 9am-5pm
Where: 1 Hout Bay Main Rd, Constantia Nek