Top five things to do in Cape Town with the Kids
Think of the world’s most child friendly destinations and a city break in Cape Town may not immediately spring to mind. But you’d be surprised at just how much there is to keep the whole family entertained in the South African capital. Here’s our pick of the best kids attractions in Cape Town.
Two Oceans Aquarium
It’s the sheer size of the tanks in this vast aquarium which immediately awe its visitors. Without a doubt, the most popular species here are the sharks, housed in a vast two million litres of water. Time your visit to watch the aquarium divers hand feeding these amazing predators. You can also book a 30-minute close encounter with one of the cute Rockhopper penguins, for children under eight, and there’s a play centre where little ones are kept entertained with shows featuring delightful shark, octopus, penguin, eel, turtle and sunfish hand-puppets. One of the top attractions in Cape Town, the Two Oceans Aquarium on the V&A Waterfront houses more than 3,000 living sea animals so give yourself a whole day to get round everything.
Buy a bag and have fun filling it with some of the thousands of polished semi-precious gemstones that literally cover the floor at Scratch Patch in Simon’s Town. You can pick up stones of every colour under the rainbow, including Tiger’s Eyes, Rose Quartz, Amethyst, Agates and Crystals. An inexpensive place to visit that’s perfect for getting the kids out of the midday sun, or for when the weather’s not great.
Sunbathe and picnic with the African penguins. Boulders Beach, near Simon’s Town, is home to a growing colony of African penguins who remain remarkably untroubled by visitors sharing their habitat. You can take to the boardwalks that lead over the dunes and thread your way through the noisy colony of birds or get even closer by climbing over the boulders that give the beach its name to while away a few hours sitting within metres of the adorable penguins, or even swimming alongside them. Don’t get too close though, they can have a nasty bite.
Take a cable car ride up South Africa’s most iconic attraction. You can hike to the top, but it can take up to three hours so the best way of getting there with children is definitely the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway. The car rotates as it goes so everyone gets a 360 degree view of the city laid out beneath them. There’s a restaurant and deli at the top if you get peckish and a criss-cross network of walkways. You might even spot a Rock Hyrax, or Dassie as they’re often called in South Africa, little mammals related to elephants but which look similar to guinea pigs.
Fish and Chips at Kalky’s
A Cape Town institution, Kalky’s serves arguably the best fish and chips in the city. Sitting right on the harbour in Kalk Bay, you can watch the fishing boats come and go and the seals playing in the water as you eat generous portions of hake, yellowtail, calamari, or whatever has been pulled fresh from the sea that day. It may have a laidback vibe but Kalky’s is always busy. It’s self service so order from the counter, collect your food and grab a table if you can.