What to do with kids in Cape Town? I recently had my 10 and 6 year old nephew and niece for a few days and had to keep them occupied. These little critters tend to get easily bored and also cost a fortune to maintain (LOL) so here are some handy tips on inexpensive things I found to do with them. Luckily, it’s Winter here and the weather wasn’t terrible, so we had plenty of options and Winter specials to enjoy as well!
This was an absolute hit with the kids! Cruising around town on an open top bus is fun on its’ own, but there are super-fun stops along the way. I’ve listed some of my favourites below separately because you can really spend hours at each of these places on their own. City sightseeing currently has a winter 3-for-1 kids special on at the moment (weekends and public holidays) where 2 kids get free tickets with each adult, cutting the cost down tremendously! I suggest checking out the stops and discounts beforehand so that you can make the best of the trip.
There’s loads to do in these beautiful gardens. A wander through the gardens of “smelly plants” where you touch and smell different nice and not-so-nice plant scents, useful plants and the garden of extinction are highlights. As are the Dinosaur exhibition in the cycad garden and the Boomslang treetop walkway, of course.
This is by far my favourite! You could probably spend the most part of a day here. I usually steer clear of anything animal-touristy or zoo-like, but this is not that. They have plenty of open, walk-in aviaries and sanctuaries for birds, monkeys, reptiles etc. and most of the animals there are rescued. A favourite here is the Monkey Jungle, where the monkeys like to jump on the visitors in their jungle!
You can also spend a considerable amount of time in here and it’s educational. The museum has various exhibitions relating to the sea, the earth, dinosaurs, natural wonders etc. They have real-size models of some of the world’s biggest animals – amazing to see how big our whales really are! Pair this up with a Planetarium show and your entire day is full (phone ahead to make sure that there is a show on that day).
Usually pretty expensive for a family outing, the Table Mountain Cableway currently has a 3-for-1 Kids Special on (weekends and public holidays) and is well worth the trip. You can stroll around on top of the mountain for a while and perhaps a picnic on the rocks somewhere at the top is an idea? Be sure to book online and arrive before they even open to avoid queuing for most of the day.
By far the most effective and inexpensive (free) thing to do with kids in Cape Town is to just go to the beach. Llandudno’s my favourite, but Clifton is always a safe best when there’s a bit of wind.
Exploring this beautiful city does not need to cost you money. We are lucky enough to have all of this nature and culture and opportunity around us constantly, so it’s easy to tap into when you’re on month-end 2-minute noodles (or anytime, really). Since I moved to Cape Town just under 7 months ago, I have managed to explore the crap out of it without even making a dent. What is even more exciting is that a lot of what you do here doesn’t have to cost you much, or can cost you nothing at all.
I’m constantly doing something fun (and posting my pics to Instagram as proof – ha ha) and my Facebook album “Exploring Cape Town” has become too full to manage anymore. It’s time I started sharing this stuff with you in categories, I guess! So here’s the top things to do in Cape Town for under R100, based on my experience in the past 7 months of living in and loving beautiful Cape Town!
Picnicking on Chapman’s Peak
Here’s a familiar scenario for you. Sunday afternoon, lazy, month-end and no money. Bored.
Option 1: Catch up on series and eat home made popcorn
Option 2: Nap
Option 3: Grab a book, a picnic blanket, a bottle of wine and a friend and go chill on Chapman’s Peak. You’re likely to see something in that water. I’ve often sat and watched dolphins playing in Hout Bay and on this day, caught a pair of whales having a frolick in the bay!
Cost: Nothing. Only a bottle of wine out of your wine rack.
One of my favourites! There are so many hiking trails to choose from that you can find one to suit your specific needs and abilities quite easily.
If you don’t have buddies who are into that, join Meetup and join a hiking group already organised, planned and ready to rock.
Cost: Nada, zilch, niks.
Failed at running due to back issues and trying to strengthen up again with regular walking, biokinetics, blah blah blah. That doesn’t stop me from joining the local races. My favourite is the Park Runs, which are timed 5km runs in various spots all over SA. It’s at 8am every Saturday and if you’re on Discovery, you earn Vitality points for them too! Walkers are welcome and so are dogs. It’s super-chilled. I mean, that is not even my dog. And I just met that other person at the run.
Grab your bike and go somewhere
Another favourite thing to do is just grab my bicycle and ride somewhere pretty. This is Lower Tokai Park and the route is about 6km and flat. Easy to peddle around a few times and easy to jog around. Kids and pets and horses and bicycles all welcome.
Cost: Zero again. See, I wasn’t lying!
Hit the waves!
Cape Town water is fecking cold. And I’m a little scared of waves. But there’s only so much I can keep myself occupied with on the beach so I decided to try body boarding! Blouberg’s Big Bay and Muizenberg are great places to rent some gear and get into the waves. It’s so much fun, I thought my heart was going to explode. I don’t care that I was partying it up with the 7 year olds in the sea, I was happy as a pig in mud.
(I’ve since upgraded to “real” surfing and the fun factor increased substantially)
Cost: R100 for wetsuit and body board rental for 1,5 hours at Surf Emporium in Muizenberg. Surf board hire: R70.
Picnic in Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens
Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens is breathtakingly beautiful and their new Boomslang Walkway is pretty rad too. Take a walk and picnic basket and have a nap on the grass.
Cost: R50 entrance for adults
Get your culture on at the National Gallery
You really should get all that culture on if you’re going to be in Cape Town. A good start is the South African National Gallery in Company Gardens. Take a journey through the years with art.
Cost: R30 for adults
Chill with the squirrels in Company Gardens
They’re so cute. Daring, but cute. I try and chase their tails because they feel like fluffy bottle washers. I probably shouldn’t but I do.
GREAT spot, guys, GREAT spot. Super chilled and beautiful. You can braai here too, which is pretty cool. And also tan without getting covered with sand, if that’s what you’re into. The rock pools are freezing, but worth a daring dip.
Cost: R30 for adults. Free for Wild Card holders
Visit the local seals in Hout Bay and devour the fish and chips
Hout Bay has their own little seal community, who hang around the harbour waiting for fish offcuts from the fishing boats. They’re pretty cool. Often angry at being disturbed, but mostly just pretty cool.
Fish on the Rocks is a great spot for some local fishy goodness and the outside area has a beautiful view of the bay. You’ll probably have some seals swimming around in front of you there too.
A glorious day out also calls for a boat trip out to “Seal Island”. It’s heavily touristic but is actually quite fun being out on the open water, seeing the bay from a different perspective. As a bonus, you’ll feel like you’re in another country because you’ll be the only South African on the boat 😉
Cost: Your fish and chips will cost you under R100, I assure you. A Seal Island cruise on the “Calypso” is R65 per adult.
Walk/jog on the Sea Point promenade at sunset
Because if you don’t, you are wasting your life. Just saying.
Wine tasting in Constantia
Okay, so this one barely makes the cut merely because you won’t go to a place for just one wine tasting. You’ll likely order something to eat as well (I highly recommend the cheese board at Constantia Glen) or move on to another farm for another tasting. If you’re clever, you can make it work nicely for you, though.
Most people head out to Paarl, Stellenbosch or Franschhoek for wine days, but the Constantia Wine Route holds some gems as well and is nice and close for those in the Southern Suburbs. Beau Constantia‘s tasting room view is phenomenal.
Cost: R30-R50 for tastings. Beau Constantia charges R30 for three wines, Constantia Glen charges R50 for 6 wines.
And there it is, folks! I will explore some more and write another one of these in the near future I’m sure! If you have any ideas of your own, please send them my way too by commenting on this post.
One thing that Cape Town has taught me is that we should look around every day and appreciate what we have. We should experience, every day, a moment when we just stop for a second and say ‘wow’. I want to share these moments with you from time to time, with Project Snap Happy. (*Warning – there may be plenty of sunsets and view shots for this. Possibly all there will be…)