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.
One of the best parts about living in the Mother City is the abundance of beautiful Cape Town markets, each with their own charm and offering. It’s such an easy thing to do to get you out of the house and to explore a new area and I’m finding it quite fun.
So I have decided to put together a list of markets I visit and love so that you can visit and love them too. This is a working post and I’ll update it each time I visit a new one worth mentioning, so please make sure you’re following me on social media to be kept updated (links on the right hand panel of blog).
Just because holiday season is over and your bank accounts are somewhat smaller, doesn’t mean that you have to wind down on the fun factor.
If you haven’t already heard about The Entertainer App, you can thank me in the comments below. It’s a mobile app that you buy for the year that provides thousands of “Buy one get one free” offers. There are no catches, no hassles and you can find an offer or few wherever you are. What is even more exciting for me is that they have added offers for hotels throughout the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia & Indian Ocean as well as North America!
SHUT UP, ENTERTAINER.
The Cape Town 2016 app includes over 1,540 offers for the best restaurants, bars, informal dining, attractions, leisure activities, spas, salons etc. Want to learn to kite surf? Buy one lesson, get one free. Wine tasting? Buy one get one free. B&B in Paternoster? Buy one night, get one free. Apps are available for Johannesburg & Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban.
It’s a no-brainer.
Here’s the clincher: Use my promo code popcorncandi and receive 10% off your purchase price of the 2016 app. (The full price is R495). Simply download the app from your app store and use the promo code.
*Discount is valid for purchases until 30 April 2016.
I recently got a bee in my bonnet (so to speak) and needed to shake it off (so to speak), so I signed my man and I up for Beginner’s Salsa Dancing lessons with Just Dancing Salsa Cape Town.
To give you an idea of what you will not look like, here’s the guys that teach you, performing at the Cape Town Salsa Festival last year:
You will, however, learn some of the basic steps used in salsa dancing and get a feel for the dance in the 8 weeks of learning. You’ll meet some other two-left-footed humans and some left-and-right-footed humans and dance with them all. It’s really not difficult and it’s pitched at a pace that is comfortable and easy to follow, even if you’ve never danced before in your life. (You also don’t need a partner to do the course with, everyone dances with everyone and it’s really chilled).
You’ll be learning moves more along these lines:
It was a lot of fun, and even though the man grumbled his way into the studio sometimes when he would rather be dipping into the sea after work, he laughed and smiled the whole way through, actually 🙂
This concept is nothing new to me but it seems like it is quite a novel idea to others. I love to travel, explore, adventure and have been fortunate enough to travel to mammoth of beautiful and exciting destinations (be on standby for some posts about my recent trip to Bali and Lombok, Indonesia!). If I had all of the money in the world and no responsibilities, I’d just travel all the time and experience as much of the world as I can.
But that is not reality.
That being said, there is no reason that you can’t ‘travel’ and experience adventures right on your doorstep, for a fraction of the time, cost and admin involved with international travel. I just spent the past weekend in the middle of Cape Town city, making Strand Tower Hotel my base for city exploring. My boyfriend and I soaked up the city, much like you would as a tourist and loved every minute of it. I challenge you to do the same!
So Vital Health Foods has just brought Voost South Africa into the country and as part of their launch, they treated a few of us bloggers to a full Cape Town adventure day on Saturday and this was the agenda:
Sand boarding in Hout Bay
Visit to the Penguin Colony in Betty’s Bay
Zip line tour in Hermanus
Quad bike trail amongst the vineyards and olive plantations in Hermanus
In between was some beautiful coastal road driving and a hearty lunch in Hermanus… all in one day! They could not have picked a more perfect person for this adventure, if I do say so myself.
But this blog post is not to tell you about what I did that day, you probably don’t really care. It is to tell you that you can do it too, with an early rise, minimal planning and a whole lot of energy for the day.
Here’s a few pics of the day and what we got up to:
SA Forest Adventures were our guides for the day, so you can arrange something similar directly through them. (Ask for Eddy in Hermanus if you want the best time!)
How much can YOU fit into a day? (Hint: The answer is “however much you want to).
Inevitably, I needed a bit of Voost vitamin energy the next day to get out of bed, so well played Voost, well played…
*Side note: If you’d like to follow the other ladies who took part, see their Twitter handles below.
In usual PopcornCandi style, my first time up Table Mountain in daylight where I can actually see the view (the first time up was a 5am trek up Platteklip Gorge in the rain and mist to try find snow. There was no snow. And no view.) was for the sole purpose of attaching myself to a rope and tipping backwards off of it to abseil off Table Mountain.
Abseil Africa host daily abseil trips off Table Mountain and offer a 112m abseil at just over 1000m vertical, making it the highest commercial abseil in the world. At a cost of R750 and the priceless adrenalin rush, you get to experience the mountain in a very different way.
It’s not so scary until you are tipped off the edge at 1000m, putting your life in the hands of some ropes and some crazy guys at the top. One of the reasons I decided to do this was to experience the literal sense of letting go and placing trust in someone/something else. And that is exactly what you have to do. When you tip over the edge, they ask you to release everything and lean back, arms in the air. Trust the rope, trust the people operating it all at the top and just let go. It’s all about accepting it all and just letting go. It was a fantastic feeling.
Granted, I spent a lot of the time on the abseil focusing on the rock face, trying not to look down and remembering to breathe, but once I jumped past the overhang and knew that there was a ledge somewhere underneath me (still pretty far away, but not 1000m!), just hanging out and looking around at the crazy views was unreal.
Looking back, it was a walk in the park. Table Mountain National Park, but just the mountain bit. And literally a walk down it.
*If you’re afraid of heights, this is NOT the activity for you!
If you’re going on a weekend, go at least 2 hours before the time as the queues for the cable car up can be excruciating and you could miss your slot, particularly in peak season. Alternatively, try and book the earliest slot to try and get in before the mad rush. Book your tickets for the cable car online and use that queue as it moves quicker.
Wear lots of sunscreen. When you get to the ledge at the bottom of the abseil, you still have a 20-30min walk back up to the top in full sun.
Wear pants that are quite thick. The harnesses they use are not padded and not very comfortable, so will cut into you if you’re hanging around too long with thin pants. If you’re a rock climber or that kind of guy, you can take and use your own harness
Take your own food and have a picnic afterwards. The restaurant at the top is overpriced and busy busy busy. Annoying when all you want is an ice cold drink and to sit and chill after your adventure.
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.
Okay, so I know that Cape Town is having some crappy weather for the next few days, but as soon as the sun comes back out to play, you should do this!
Oudekraal is a protected area just past Camps Bay along the beautiful Victoria Road costal drive. It’s a picnic/braai/beach area nestled just under the 12 Apostles mountains, with beautiful views at each little spot. Entrance is R30 for adults and R15 for kids (or free with a Wild Card as not is part of SANParks Table Mountain National Park) and you can chill there the whole day (until 6pm) with your picnic stuff/braai stuff/whatever. The water is kak-cold, but that’s expected, and worth a dip or two in the calm rock pools during the day.
Turquoise waters, white sand, big boulders… it’s a hidden little paradise.
Tip: Go early (like before 10am) to pick the best spot and also to get a parking! Also, it is an alcohol free zone, so take this time to detox while you chill.
You start your journey at Kaskazi Kayaks in Three Anchor Bay and paddle around at sunset at your own pace with a guide. It’s so easy and breathtakingly beautiful. On our trip we came across seals, penguins and a whale up close! Nevermind the reflection of the sunset off the water for 2-2,5 hours of bliss!