Treehouses, trampolines, train rides, and more…
When the outside temperature drops, it’s very tempting to stay indoors and watch endless re-runs of Sing 2. But actually, the fun doesn’t need to stop during winter because, let’s face it, our little darlings need to burn energy all year round!
From a clay café to an aquarium, to wine farms and the beach, these adventures and activities are guaranteed to make good memories for the whole family! There is absolutely no reason that grown-ups can’t have a little fun of our own while the kids play…
What are your favourite family outings? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
Part-fishing village and part-buzzy high street, Kalk Bay’s eclectic mix of historic buildings, cobbled streets, quaint cafés, restaurants, bookstores and galleries are what make it so charming. Add colourful fishing boats and equally creative locals, and the backdrop of ocean and mountain vistas… it’s no wonder it Forbes dubbed it one of the Top 12 neighbourhoods. With kids in tow, there are a couple of must-visits: Ice Café for soft-serve ice-cream, Kalky’s for fish and chips at the harbour (complete with swooping seagulls and lolling seals), Lekker for a milkshake topped with a doughnut and an Oreo, and the Save Our Seas Shark Centre (across from Dalebrook tidal pool) where you can “speak” to a whale by telephone and other fun stuff. Also, don’t miss St James tidal pool and beach, with its colourful huts straight out of a storybook.
While the kids play For a food or coffee break, head to Bob’s Bagel Café (up Rouxville Road) and sit in the park opposite (it has slides, swings and lawns). Or enjoy Napoli-style pizzas inside a 1914 train carriage called “Umsinga” at Sirocco.
This is where the kids can roam free like they did in the good ol’ days, exploring streams, climbing rocks and trees, discovering the fairy-tale Lady Anne Barnard’s bath, and enjoying the wide-open spaces and the little creatures that live here (tortoises, squirrels and mongooses). Take a tree-top walk along the Boomslang Canopy, then stop by the Fynkos Tea Room for a cup of tea and cake (or a milkshake), or settle in for a picnic.
While the kids play Bring your smartphone, download the app and enjoy the augmented-reality exhibition Seeing the Invisible (a showcase of 13 works by international artists), as you move around the gardens. Like Pokémon Go, but more interesting and brain-stimulating.
Good to know Kirstenbosch is a stop on the City Sightseeing Bus route, a super-fun way to get there.
Opening times April – August: 8am – 6pm
September – March: 8am – 7pm
Cost Adults: R90 (SA with ID); R130 (SADC); R210 (international)
Children: R30 (6 – 17 years; under 6 free)
Senior citizens (SA with ID): free on Tuesdays
Contact 021 799 8782/3, KirstenboschInfo@sanbi.org
Where to find it Rhodes Drive, Newlands, Cape Town
Kids no longer have to listen to their parents yapping on about how “in our day, we used to climb trees”, because at this park they get to take tree-climbing to a whole new level. The four obstacle courses – Acro-Twigs and Monkey Moves for young children; Swinging Tarzan and High Flying for teens and adults – have all the ziplines, cargo nets and elevated platforms a budding Indiana Jones or Lara Croft could wish for. Tackling the 12-metre-high “Big Zip” is only for the brave!
While the kids play Acrobranch is located on Klein Joostenberg wine farm – great for those who don’t have nerves of steel and who’d prefer hanging out at the Stellies Taproom, stocking up at the deli or tasting organic wines. Plus the bistro does fab Sunday lunches.
Good to know Picnics are available from the Taproom.
Opening times Wednesday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm (May – August); last slot 3pm
Wednesday – Sunday, 9am – 6pm (September – April); last slot 4pm
Cost R150 – R280 (depending on which course you tackle)
Contact 086 999 0369, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Klein Joostenberg Farm, Muldersvlei Road, Stellenbosch
The Outdoor Experience at Boschendal
It’s unadulterated free-range fun for children (5 to 14 years), with activities such as foraging, scavenger hunts, spoor-tracking, fire-making, survival skills, and more. Not only do kids learn a lot from these nature- and eco-based activities, they’ll get their hands dirty and have old-fashioned fun. An added (free) attraction at Boschendal is the big Tree House play area (with pump track) – probably the best and biggest “jungle gym” in the Cape.
While the kids play The Werf lawns are right next to the Tree House, so parents can chill with a bottle of wine and a picnic hamper while keeping an eye on the kids. If the littlies are taking part in the outdoor experience (booking essential), settle in at the Werf Restaurant for wine-tastings and a delectable sharing-plate or à la carte menu. There are also garden tours, a farm shop, an art gallery in the Manor House, hiking and mountain-biking trails, and horse-riding.
Good to know Each session caters for 10 kids and lasts two hours. The Winter Programme runs from 27 June to 7 July, with four different programmes of 4 hours each (10am – 2pm).
Opening times Outdoor Experience: Monday – Sunday, 10am – 4.30pm
Cost R610 full day; R180 – R250 per session (2 hours)
Winter Holiday Programme: R400 per day; R1 440 for all four days (10% discount)
Contact 021 870 4211, email@example.com
Where to find it Boschendal Wine Estate, R310/Pniel Road, Franschhoek
While adults will be impressed by the designer gardens, children will appreciate them on a different level – as an adventure of discovery akin to the storybook Secret Garden. It’s a series of spaces, with hidden nooks, water sculptures and an elevated canopy walk with ziplines and slides – in the midst of which stands the fantastical Bosjes Chapel with its magically floating roof and spine-tingling acoustics.
Beyond the gardens there’s a working farm to discover, and wilder spaces on hiking trails where your family might encounter a giraffe or springbok.
While the kids play The award-winning Chapel is a modern marvel and a serene space to grab a little “quiet” time. Then head to one of the two lovely restaurants. Kombuis has a more refined menu and feel; if you have smaller kids in tow, Spens has casual café-style food, farm picnic platters, milkshakes, spacious lawns and a wonderful playground alongside it.
Times Wednesday – Sunday, 8am – 4pm
Contact 023 004 0496, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Off R43, between Worcester and Breerivier
There’s no age limit on creativity. This popular arty hub has been delighting grown-ups and children for more than 20 years. Once seated, your friendly server will explain the drill, after which you’ll choose your paints, brushes, tools and unfired ceramic items (bisque) – the perfect “blank canvas” on which to express yourself, whether it’s a plate, mug, jug, plant pot or piggy bank. When painting is done, kids can run around in the vast garden and playground – it has everything from trampolines and bouncy slides to sandpits and fountains.
While the kids play The grown-ups can simply relax over a meal (eggs Benedict, burgers, pizzas, pasta, buddha bowls) with a glass of wine, a beer or a G&T.
Good to know Booking is online.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm (last session 3pm)
Cost R40 (plus the price of your item to paint).
Contact 076 810 5120, email@example.com
Where to find it 177 Main Road (M63), Hout Bay
Book through DinePlan
The Bike Park at Constantia Uitsig
Your little daredevils will adore biking over bridges and ramps, through tunnels and rock gardens and along dirt paths at this expansive bike park. It’s like playing a video game… in real life! It’s also a chance for children to explore the great outdoors (and their limits) while honing their cycling skills. The park has various pump tracks, some geared towards beginners and children (as young as three) and others offering exhilarating drop-offs for more experienced bikers.
While the kids play If you’re not keen on cycling, being at Constantia Uitsig has other perks: wine-tasting, of course, as well as a variety of food offerings along the Heritage Market strip, such as Italian at La Grotto, sushi at SushiBox, grills (Blockhouse Kitchen), fish and chips, breakfast (Four & Twenty), light lunches, and more.
Good to know Booking is online. Ask about bike hire as stock is limited.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm
Cost R50 per hour (free for spectators)
Contact 081 833 4488, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Constantia Uitsig, Spaanschemat River Road, Constantia, Cape Town
The Sea Point Promenade
The 11-kilometre-long Promenade has been a classic family outing for decades. While the one end has the Pavilion pools, and the middle stretch is good for rollerblading, skateboarding and dog-walking, it’s the Mouille Point side we’d head for with the kids. Here, in the shadow of the lighthouse, you’ll find the old-school putt-putt course (no bells, whistles or flashing lights but still fun for the whole family) – its sea-scraping location is the real winner. Then there’s the Blue Train, the only beachfront miniature railway left in SA, which has been chugging since 1958.
Coastal Cycles has a kiosk here for renting beachfront cruiser bikes (or try Up Cycles on the Pavilion side).
Good to know Green Point Park is close by (free entry), with its biodiversity garden, wetland zone and spacious lawns. It’s a good place to walk, cycle, play games, fly kites or picnic, plus there are three play areas for children (and pooches) and the Park Café for food and refreshments.
While the kids play You play with them! Seriously, there is no need for alternate “adult” distractions here. Afterwards, head to one of the dozens of great restaurants and ice-cream parlours along this strip.
Where to find it Beach Road, Mouille Point (Green Point Park is accessed from Bay Road, one block behind Beach Road)
Learn to surf at Muizenberg
Riding the waves is a rush, no matter your age. All you need to bring is a swimming costume, towel and a bucket of enthusiasm – Surf Emporium provides the wetsuits and boards. The clubhouse is at Surfers Corner, the best spot in Cape Town (and among the top 10 in the world) to learn the ropes because of the gentle rolling waves, sandy bottom and warmer water. Plus, conditions are at their very best in winter. The 90-minute sessions are suited to your skill level, proceed at your pace and can be booked as a private group session (a family, for example). Groms under 10 get special one-on-one “freezer” lessons.
While the kids play If surfing’s not your thing, the beachfront is lined with coffee shops and cool cafés. Or take a short walk along the promenade to St James – maybe for a cold dip in the tidal pool?
Times Monday – Sunday, 7am – 6pm
Cost R280 – R420 per person (depending on number of people sharing a coach; maximum 1:5 coach to participant ratio)
Four-lesson package: R840 – R1 260 (depending on number of people sharing a coach)
R335 (one-hour “freezer lesson” for children 10 and younger; 1:1 coach to participant ratio)
R1 340 (package of 5 “freezer” lessons for children)
Contact 021 788 8687, email@example.com
Where to find it Surfers Corner, 70 Beach Road, Muizenberg
An eco-ocean safari in False Bay
A boat trip on the open ocean is exciting enough; add close-up views of dolphins, seals, penguins and whales, and you have an outing that could spark a lifelong love for oceanlife. Winter is peak season for southern-right spotting, and while Hermanus is ground zero, the whales also swim in Cape Town’s waters – particularly False Bay (along with Bryde’s and humpback whales). Simon’s Town Boat Company is the only licensed operator in the city, with trips guided by an experienced naturalist (you may have seen them in NatGeo documentaries).
While the kids play This boat cruise offers equal enjoyment for all ages and includes light refreshments.
Times Monday – Sunday, 10.30am and 2pm
Cost Real Seal Island cruise: R600 (adults), R480 (children under 12)
Cape Point cruise: R800 (adults), R670 (children under 12)
Whale watching trip: R1 200 (adults), R800 (children under 12)
Contact 083 257 7760, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it 2 Wharf Street, Simon’s Town
This rustic farm, famous for its deliciously sweet strawberries (in season), offers lots of open space for young and old to burn off energy. It’s a popular spot for mountain-biking and hiking, and youngsters can bring their scooters, push bikes and balls to take full advantage of the lawns. For the less sporty – and specifically for families – there are 4×4 and viewpoint routes, a play park for toddlers, and paintball and Laser Quest for older kids (booking essential). And did we mention there are bunnies, goats and ducks to be fed?
While the kids play There’s a tea garden and a kiosk for barista-crafted coffee, and in winter Die Stal offers indoor seating with a cosy fireplace. Or make a day of it, pack some braai stuff and head into Granny’s Forest, a magical spot for chilling and grilling (booking essential).
Good to know Dogs are welcome (on a leash); register for a permit when you arrive.
Times Monday – Sunday, 8am – 5pm
Cost Braai and picnic spots: R50 per spot + R50 (adults), R25 (kids and seniors)
Private venues: R300 + R50 (adults), R25 (kids and seniors)
Hiking permits: R35 (adults), R25 (kids and seniors)
MTB permits: R60 (adults), R30 (kids and seniors)
4×4 permits: R200 per vehicle (R200 key deposit; cash only)
Viewpoint permits: R150 per vehicle (R200 key deposit; cash only)
Dam hut: R200 per night + R70 (adults), R50 (kids and seniors)
Contact 021 855 4308, email@example.com
Where to find it Klein Helderberg Road, off R44, Somerset West
Wonderdal at Hazendal
Children (aged 5 to 13 years) are led through a fantasy land by Amuki (the virtual inhabitants of this awesome world), who are only visible if you’re wearing a special bracelet. As they explore, the quirky creatures will give them tips on how to complete activities, which include science, nature and life skills. This one-of-a-kind edutainment centre blends creative design, education and world-class tech in an interactive indoor and outdoor space. When they’re finished at Wonderdal (it’s a one- or two-hour experience), they’re welcome to head to the 27-hole putt-putt course (it has a playground, jungle gym and giant chess, too), or enjoy a Hazendal Tea Ceremony.
While the kids play Wonderdal is access-controlled and supervised, so grown-ups can enjoy the many other attractions on offer at this estate: wine-tasting, a walk around the Marvol Art Gallery ot the owner’s classic car collection, a game of golf on the 18-hole par-3 golf course, or dining at The Glasshouse or Babushka Deli (with a toddlers’ playground alongside).
Times Tuesday – Sunday, 9am – 5pm
Cost Tuesday – Thursday: R85 (one-hour session), R125 (two-hour session),
Friday, Saturday, Sunday + public holidays: R140 (one-hour session), R190 (two-hour session),
R35 (compulsory safety socks, reusable for future visits)
Kleine Haazen Putting Park: R60 (children), R80 (adults), R260 (family of four)
Hazendal Tea Ceremony: R255 (children), R395 (adults)
Contact 021 205 5624, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Where to find it Hazendal, Ronelle Street (via Kruis Street), off Bottelary Road (M23), Stellenbosch
West Coast National Park
This vast reserve has beaches, dunes, picnic spots, outdoor adventures aplenty and many different animals to spot. Geelbek Visitor Centre is a good place to start (it has fossil displays, bird hides and a restaurant with a playpark) – two relatively easy circular hiking trails leave from here. Other places to head for: the lagoon beaches of Preekstoel (with its remarkable rock formation) and Kraalbaai; Tsaarsbank on the wild Atlantic coast (for beachcombing, rockpools, whale spotting and a braai) and Postberg for spring flowers. Kayaks can be rented from Cape Sports Center in Langebaan.
While the kids play En route there or back, stop off at one of the R27 farmstalls (Vygevallei or Weskus Padstal), which have play areas and farm animals to keep the young ones busy while you browse or take a break in the restaurant.
Times April – August, 7am – 6pm (Postberg gate may close earlier)
September – March, 7am – 7pm
Cost R70 (SA adult with ID), R35 (SA child); flower season R100 (adult), R50 (child)
R105 (SADC adult), R52 (SADC child); flower season R150 (adult), R75 (child)
R105 (international adult), R52 ( international child); flower season R220 (adult), R110 (child)
Contact 022 772 2144 (info), 071 212 2579 (emergencies), sanparks.org
Where to find it R27, near Yzerfontein (gate 1) or Langebaan (gate 2)
Elgin steam train
Is there anything more evocative than a vintage steam-train ride? Ceres Rail’s three-hour trip to Elgin departs early morning on weekends from the Foreshore and puffs up and over Sir Lowry’s Pass, past beautiful Overberg landscapes and farmlands. The best seating for small groups is in a private coupe or family compartment, both of which offer great views and a variety of snacks and drinks. Once the train arrives at the Art Deco steampunk-themed Elgin Railway Market, your kids can let off a little steam of their own in the playground.
While the kids play Browse the craft stalls, then sit back and enjoy the live music, tasty street food and a range of wines, ciders, beers and gin from the valley.
Good to know The train is doing a Cape Town-Ceres trip on 12 June (with a bus transfer back to Cape Town in the afternoon) and a Ceres-Cape Town on 19 June (starting with a bus transfer to Ceres in the morning).
Times Selected Saturdays, 7.30am – 6pm
Cost R625 (daysitter booth seat) Book Now
R750 (lounge seat) Book Now
R850 (observation car seat) Book Now
R1 500 (family coupe: 2 adults + 2 kids) Book Now
R2 900 (2 – 4 adults + 2 – 4 kids) Book Now
Where to find it Departs from Harbour Bridge Hotel, Dockrail Road, Foreshore, Cape Town
Two Oceans Aquarium
An underwater wonderland awaits at this world-class aquarium, with more than 8 000 sea creatures of all shapes, sizes and colours on display – including Nemo (clownfish)! It’s an exciting peek into the world off our shores, with a mesmerising swaying kelp forest, schools of shiny fish swimming in unison, gliding turtles, and even sharks, which can also be viewed from within a 10-metre glass tunnel.
There are more exotic fish, too, such as jellies, octopus, seahorses, pufferfish and moray eels. The popular penguin exhibit is always a hit, and kids will also love the Touch Pool, where they can get up close with anemones and starfish.
While the kids play There are marine-themed puppet shows and arts and crafts for kids at the Play Centre, so while they’re busy with that you can head to nearby Bootlegger Coffee Co for a pick-me-up. You will be allowed back into the Aquarium with your ticket.
Opening times Monday – Sunday, 9.30am – 6pm
Cost R220 (adults); R165 (adults after 3pm)
R165 (teens, pensioners); R125 (after 3pm)
R105 (children 4 – 13 years); R80 (after 3pm); free (under 4 years)
Contact 021 418 3823, firstname.lastname@example.org
Where to find it Dock Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
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