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South Africa with Kids
South Africa is a country on the southernmost tip of the African continent, marked by several distinct ecosystems. Inland safari destination Kruger National Park is populated by big game. The Western Cape offers beaches, lush winelands around Stellenbosch and Paarl, craggy cliffs at the Cape of Good Hope, forest and lagoons along the Garden Route, and the city of Cape Town, beneath flat-topped Table Mountain.
DAY 1: Cape Town wth kids – Table Mountain and Signal Hill
We arrived in Cape Town in the morning and drove to our hotel. As the time zone is practically the same in South Africa as it is in Europe and we had a good night’s sleep on the plane, we were all surprisingly awake. We let the children play in the garden of our hotel and then decided to go and do some sightseeing.
The weather was good and we could see that the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway was open, so we headed there.
You can hike to the top of Table Mountain (3-4hrs) or take a gondola as we did (hiking is not really an option for kids). There are several viewpoints on top, as well as a restaurant and bathroom facilities. Some pathways on top of the mountain are accessible by a stroller, the rest we did on foot. Our boys loved running around, climbing on the rocks, and chasing rock badgers.
DAY 2: Simon’s Town Penguin Colony, Cape Peninsula and Cape of Good Hope, Chapman’s Peak Drive
We started our day with a visit to the Simon’s Town penguin colony at Boulders Beach. A large group of penguins live here all year round and you can admire them from very close for just a small entrance fee. Seeing penguins in the wild while wearing t-shirts and shorts is not an experience you will quickly forget. A must do in Cape Town!
After this short visit we headed towards the Cape of Good Hope. On the way there we stopped at several viewpoints and had our first picnic of this trip with the most beautiful view. Our kids love to picnic and picnics have become an unmissable part of all our road trips ever since.
At the end of the Cape Peninsula you have two main points of interest – the Cape of Good Hope and the Cape Point, a short distance from each other.
We first went to the Cape of Good Hope where we took some pictures with the sign (a must!) and made a short walk up the hill. The views were just amazing and we also saw a couple of rock badgers. While the landscape doesn’t say much to the kids, wildlife is always a big success with them. They also loved watching the big waves hit the cliffs.
Our last stop today was the Cape Point. You leave the car at the car park from where you can either walk up to the lighthouse or take the Flying Dutchman Funicular. We took the funicular up and walked down. All three children could do this walk without any problems. Great experience and wonderful views!
DAY 3: Drakenstein Lion Park, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch wineries
We started our day with a visit to Drakenstein Lion Park near Cape Town. There are more than 30 lions in the park, but we hardly saw any as they all seemed to be either sleeping or too far away from the side.
It was a hot day and the children got tired and bored with nothing very spectacular to see. Just when we were about to leave, one of the people working at the park came up to us and said she could take us closer to a lion as she just saw one near the area where (in principle) only overnight guests could come. And indeed, a few minutes later we stood within a hand’s reach of an old lioness. We’ve never been this close to a lion so it was a very special experience, and not just for the children!
After this short visit we continued to South Africa’s most famous wine region – Franschhoek and Stellenbosch.
We really liked the little village of Franschhoek and the surroundings. We also stopped at an old winery in the Stellenbosch area and bought some wine to take with us. We never made it to the town of Stellenbosch itself, somehow the part we saw didn’t look very inviting so we drove by.
DAY 4: Cape Town to Knysna and Bontebok National Park
This was one of the two long driving days with more than 5 hours distance between Cape Town and Knysna. We stopped a couple of times as there is a lot to see on the way.
We contemplated going all the way to Cape Agulhas, but it was such a long detour that at the end we decided against it – we have been there before, and for the kids the drive would be too long.
Instead, we stopped at Bontebok National Park where we had picnic lunch, made a couple of short walks and saw some bontebok antelopes. We also stopped at Sir Lowry’s Pass and a few other places just to break the long ride.
- Cape Town wth kids – Table Mountain and Signal Hill
- Simon’s Town Penguin Colony, Cape Peninsula and Cape of Good Hope, Chapman’s Peak Drive
- Drakenstein Lion Park, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch wineries
- Cape Town to Knysna and Bontebok National Park
- Knysna Elephant Park and Tsitsikamma National Park
- Noetzie Beach and Knysna Heads
- Monkeyland and Birds of Eden, Plettenberg Bay and Brenton Beach
- Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve
- Map of Africa Lookout, Wilderness and Knysna Downtown
- Knysna to Cape Town
- Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and The Two Oceans Aquarium, Cape Town
Where to stay in Cape Town with kids
The best place to stay for Cape Peninsula is of course the Cape Town itself. Here is the list of my hand-picked Cape Town accommodation for families.
Main criteria for all types of accommodation: good location, family rooms, swimming pool, free Wi-Fi and parking available. Booking.com review score of at least 8.
LUXURY CAPE TOWN HOTELS FOR FAMILIES
- Cape Grace Hotel & Spa
- Taj Cape Town
- The Table Bay Hotel
- Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront
MID-RANGE CAPE TOWN ACCOMMODATION FOR FAMILIES
- aha Mandela Rhodes Place Hotel and Spa
- Pepperclub Hotel and Spa
- Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! by Marriott Cape Town
BEST PRICE-QUALITY CAPE TOWN ACCOMMODATION FOR FAMILIES
- Lagoon Beach Hotel & Apartments
- Canal Quays Apartments
- Bantry Bay Suite Hotel
BEST CAPE TOWN APARTMENTS FOR BIG FAMILIES (5, 6 PEOPLE AND MORE)
- Lawhill Luxury Apartments – V & A Waterfront
- Mountain Marina Luxury Apartments
- V&A Marina – Waterfront Apartments
- Peninsula All Suite Hotel
FAMILY-FRIENDLY BUDGET ACCOMMODATION IN CAPE TOWN
- Bantry Bay Suite Hotel
- Peninsula All Suite Hotel
- The B.I.G Backpackers