If you are considering taking a family trip to Cape Town, South Africa you have made a fantastic choice! We have outlined our Cape Town itinerary with kids to hopefully help you with planning your trip. Cape Town is full of so many family-friendly activities and bursting with fun things to check out. So many great things to do in Cape Town as a family, your toughest part will be deciding which things to do first!
As part of our 3-week itinerary to South Africa, we spent time in Cape Town before heading off to a safari in Kruger National Park. There are easy direct flights from Cape Town to Kruger, so the best advice would be to book your safari first and then arrange your Cape Town visit around your safari availability.
What You'll Find in This Post
- Cape Town Itinerary with Children
- Other Things To Do in Cape Town with Kids
- Overnight Trips from Cape Town
- Things to Do on Rainy Days in Cape Town
- Day Trips from Cape Town
- Safety in Cape Town
- Places to Stay in Cape Town
- Insider’s Tips for Cape Town
Cape Town Itinerary with Children
Day 1: V & A Waterfront
Strolling along the V & A Waterfront (Victoria & Alfred Waterfront) will give you a great introduction into Cape Town. We walked around the waterfront which provided great views of the harbour, Table Mountain and great pedestrian walkways for a relaxing atmosphere.
Enjoy a meal at any of the restaurants for some tasty seafood and local wine. There is also some boutique shops, souvenir shops, local artist or a bigger shopping center located nearby too. A couple of playgrounds are scattered throughout the area and don’t forget to check out the famous swing bridge. There is also the Cape Wheel if you are wanting a smaller scale ferries wheel to go on for some fun.
There is always something unique and entertaining happening in the amphitheatre and Nobel Square in the V & A Waterfront so stroll along those spots. The kids loved to go and find Oscar the seal in front of The Table Bay hotel. So walk around and discover hidden gems in the waterfront and keep your eyes open for the seals that you can frequently find playing in and around the harbour.
Day 2: Table Mountain – Cable Car
Table Mountain is the flat-topped mountain… hence the name… that is almost visible from every angle of Cape Town. The views from up top are truly amazing and gives you an eagle eye perspective of Cape Town and the area. Breathtaking views which now I can understand why it is one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.
A single cable car will take you up to the top for a short ride and then comes the best part – the view of Cape Town! Spend a few hours walking around up top the mountain and inhaling the views. Our kids love trying to spot the dassies (a furry little animal) amongst the rocks and going on some short walks up top on the table.
Table Mountain Tips:
- Don’t leave Table Mountain to your last day. High winds can cancel the cable car, so be sure to put this at the front of your visit so you aren’t disappointed if it is closed for a portion of the day.
- Buy your tickets in advance for the day that you want. There is a shorter queue that you can take, and if there are high winds you can go you can get an extension on your ticket. I’m fairly certain they only sell a certain amount per day.
- Check Table Mountain website for weather conditions and cable car timings for the day.
- Be prepared with warm clothes, we found it to be much cooler temperatures than lower below.
- Go early and beat the rush of the tour buses and for smaller queues.
- Pack a lunch and water so you can enjoy a little picnic with the family along the hiking paths up top.
- Bathrooms are located at the top, so take a bathroom break for you walk around up top.
Day 3: Cape Point, Cape of Good Hope & Boulders Beach Day Trip
Visiting Cape Peninsula is an absolute must when going to Cape Town! This was one of the most spectacular drives and amazing to see where both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. There is something powerful and energizing about this place… or maybe it was the wind ;)
There are many options for tours through Viator or other local tourist shops that are around Cape Town. But, we decide to go with the City Sightseeing bus tour. We took this tour last minute because of the high winds on Table Mountain so we had to fill up our day short notice, and we lucked out. With 15 minutes to spare we managed to get back down to the V & A Waterfront to hop on the day trip tour bus.
The tour took us to the famous Boulders Beach where you can see all the penguins swimming, playing and chilling on the beach. So cool to see – a highlight for sure for our family!
Then out to Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope, which is the most south-western point of the African continent! We had a few hours to explore which was the right amount of time to check things out and needless to say, a place that we will never forget visiting or those baboons who tried to steal Luca’s sandwich. The gorgeous drive back took us through Scarborough and scenic Ou Kaapse Weg mountain pass.
What we liked about taking the tour was that both us parents could enjoy the scenery and share in the excitement with the kids. We didn’t need to rent a car and felt that it was the right amount of time at each place. The downside is that there were so many places along the way we wish we could have pulled over to explore, but that would have made a much longer day trip!
Any way that you can get out to Cape Point, Cape of Good Hope and Boulders Beach will be well worth the time and money.
Day 4: Promenade Walk or Bike
Feel like a local and enjoy the day walking along the Promenade. There are so many playgrounds and parks along the way for the kids to stop and play, while us adults sat and enjoyed the ocean view. Pack a lunch and have a picnic along the way or grab an ice cream on a hot day.
There are also bike rentals along the walkway that can make it quicker if you are short on time or prefer. Bikes can be ridden along the pathway and no worries about cars or traffic.
You can also enjoy watching all the paragliders come down from Lion’s head which is located just behind this walkway. Or if you are daring enough to try they can pick you up and drive you up for the experience.
Where we were staying was very close to this walkway, so we ended up going here a few times both during the day and at sunset after supper.
Day 5: Wine Tour to Stellenbosch Day Trip
Ah, South African wine! Even if you are not a wine fan the area in the Stellenbosch is beautiful landscape and worth the day trip to the vineyards. Mountains, vineyards, wine tasting, golf courses, animal sanctuaries and local farm-to-table food can fill up your day with a good balance for both kids and parents.
We went to the following spots for the day:
- Fairview Winery – Wine, Cheese & Goat Farm
- Great cheese and wine pairing. Kids got to enjoy feeding the goats and sample some grape juice.
- Eagle’s Encounters
- Located very close to the next vineyard this provided the day with some kid-friendly animal encounters to see birds of prey, reptiles and other small animals native to the area.
- Spier Winery
- Sit down atmosphere for wine samples. Kids loved the wine and red grape juice samples plus they got some fun kids packages to entertain them while mom and dad finished their wine samples. Brilliant!
- Ernie Els Winery
- Jamie is a golf fan and when we had to choose a final spot, this one was on the way and seemed to be a good fit. Hit a few golf balls in between sampling some wines and tapas.
We hired a guide from our Airbnb host and he drove us and arranged all our wine tastings. This allowed us parents to enjoy the wine tasting and scenery without having to worry about driving. It cost us approx $400 CDN for the private tour. There are other tours that can be offered with bigger groups, but we wanted to be able to have flexibility with the kids. Plus, we weren’t sure if the wine tours would be kid-friendly, but we were wrong. Although it was more of an adult fun day, the guide took us to wineries that were well suited and kid-friendly so we were happy with the decision to take the private tour.
Day 6: Robben Island
Visiting Cape Town wouldn’t be complete without trying to learn from history and the great leaders who have transformed this great country over the years. A visit to Robben Island is one way that provides a glimpse into that part of their history and visiting the Nelson Mandela museum.
We took our kids, knowing they were a little young to truly understand the immensity of what Nelson Mandela and all the other political leaders had persevered through. But to our surprise, the visual context of seeing where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned provided us with a tangible thing to talk to our kids about. We boiled it up to our 5 & 7 year old as – they were put in jail for 35 years because they believed everyone should be treated the same and used their words to try to make change happen. And after he was released Nelson Mandela was the president of the country.
Now, I know there is much more to all the history behind it, but for our young kids they got it and even if they only got a small message as simple as that – it was a great learning day for all of us. For me, having been walked around the prison by a former inmate and political leader filled my heart and soul. It was a day full of high and low emotions, learning and exuberating sheer respect for so many people who truly stood up for what they believe it and never gave up.
Robben Island Tips:
- Book your tour online ahead of time and at the beginning of your trip. Weather and demand can alter the tour operations since you are taking a ferry out to the former prison island. We were very lucky that we were in Cape Town for almost 2 weeks and were able to squeeze this in. Do not just show up and think you will be able to take the tour that day, you need to pre-book in advance.
- If you buy tickets at the museum you will need your passports to show for ID.
- You will also need your passports or photo ID to pick up your tickets.
- The seas can be rough so if you are prone to seasickness then take some medication precautions. We had a really rough sea day, where the tour was close to being cancelled.
- Booked for the first morning (9 am) tour, just in case of weather you may be able to get onto later ferries that day.
Day 7: Two Oceans Aquarium
The Two Oceans Aquarium is a great spot to spend a few hours with the kids. So many cool animals for the kids to see and learn about. The aquarium is very kid-friendly with some areas for the kids to get hands-on and engaged. Penguins, turtles, fish and so many other animals for the kids to go check out. Our kids loved asking questions to all the knowledgeable staff who truly love their jobs.
Aside from the animals they also have some good learning exhibits for the kids to learn about water conservation, pollution and other factors that impact wildlife. These exhibits change over time which keeps it fresh for new material. Our kids also loved the children’s area which had crafts and games for them to have some fun.
The aquarium is located very close to the V & A waterfront, so you can combine these activities very easily in one day if you are short on time.
Two Oceans Aquarium Tips:
- Try to line up when you visit with when they have feeding – penguins or shark feeding was our kids favourite. Get there a bit early to find a spot to sit.
- Check their website in advance and see if there are any special events or exhibits going on so you can take advantage of those.
- Great for a rainy day in Cape Town
Day 8: Camps Bay Day Trip
A short drive from Cape Town can take you to more of a beach town called Camps Bay. We took an afternoon and went to stroll and chill out at the beach. Ice cream shops and restaurants line the beach and some beautiful scenery as you take the windy turns to get through the hills down to the beach.
We really enjoyed this beachside town, so if you are looking to split your time between the city of Cape Town and another spot, Camps Bay may provide a good option to stay here for a couple of days too. Next time we will definitely spend a few more days along this coast.
Camps Bay Tips:
- Take an Uber to Camps Bay for a quick way to get there if you don’t have your own car.
- Next time I would also consider staying in this area if we were wanting to spend more time at the beach.
Other Things To Do in Cape Town with Kids
- Lion’s Head – Hike Lion’s Head and get an eagle’s eye view of the coastline and city
- Paraglide – Adrenaline alert – If you are up for it, you can go paragliding off of Lion’s Head and end up down below at the Promenade. We enjoyed just watching from down below but might be on our bucket list next time.
- Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens – Spend the day wandering around and admiring the botanical gardens!
- Cape Town Stadium Tour – Sports history and get the behind the scenes tour of the Cape Town stadium.
- Attend a Rugby Game – If you are lucky! For any sports fan, this would be an incredible experience. Check out the websites in advance and try to see if a game line up. But, be warned the tickets are hard to come by… so if you are a true rugby fan line up your trip after you have acquired tickets.
- Township Tour – If you are interested in visiting the townships to learn more about the areas, I would suggest you book with a tour. We were advised the best way to visit the township areas was to be welcomed by either a local and/or elder from the area. We did look to arrange a school visit with our kids, but the week that we were there school was out.
Overnight Trips from Cape Town
- Safari – If you are limited for time and unable to spend time over in Kruger National Park, but an African Safari is on your bucket list there are some options for some overnight trips from Cape Town to get a safari experience. A few of the best options we looked into were the following:
- Aquila Private Game Reserve
- Inverdoorn Game Reserve
- Sanbona Wildlife Reserve
- Fairy Glen Private Game Reserve
- Garden Route Drive – This was an option that we heavily looked into, this is on our list for our next time to South Africa! If we missed out on one thing, this was it. You can either take a tour or rent a car (which we would do) and drive along the approx 200km Garden Route with making stops in a few places:
- Day 1: Scenic drive to Hermanus for whale watching or shark cage diving
- Day 2: Scenic drive to Oudtshoorn
- Day 3: Animal encounter in Oudtshoorn
- Day 4: Hike Robberg Peninsula
- Day 6: Knysna to Port Elizabeth
- Addo Elephant National Park
- Garden Route Game Lodge
Things to Do on Rainy Days in Cape Town
- Indoor mini golf
- Two Oceans Aquarium
- Movie – Located in the V & A Shopping Center
- Springbok Experience Rugby Museum
- Indoor Shopping – Located in the V & A Shopping Center
Day Trips from Cape Town
- Wine Tour to Stellenbosch
- Cape Point, Cape of Good Hope & Boulders Beach
- Camps Bay
Safety in Cape Town
To be completely honest, we had safety at the top of our minds when we booked our trip to Cape Town. We weren’t exactly sure how safe it was going to be and had fallen into the hype of the western media fear tactics of Cape Town and South Africa. To sum it up – I would take my family there again (in a heartbeat) and would have no issues recommending others taking their kids there too.
In general, from our observation and experience, Cape Town is like any other big city in the world when it comes to safety. We use the same common sense principles that keep us safe back home in a big city as we did there. We aren’t typically walking around at night (kids are asleep by 8 pm), we don’t walk around with expensive camera equipment or fancy clothes and jewelry. Another thing to note is that we don’t go into areas of the city that we have no purpose being there. We were advised by our Airbnb host not to go into the townships unless we were being hosted or invited by someone from that community.
What you should be aware of in advance is that it is typical for homes to have locked gates and barb wire around many, if not most. Our Airbnb had a locked gate and barb wire with a doorman at the entrance and it was all fairly typical. In my interpretation, it doesn’t indicate whether the area is good or bad.
Places to Stay in Cape Town
My suggestion would be staying somewhere close to the V & A Waterfront area. We stayed in an Airbnb that was within walking distance and this allowed us to explore the area a few times when we wanted.
We also stayed at the Protea Hotel by Marriott Cape Town Cape Castle for the last night before our flight our to Kruger National Park for our safari adventures. Check out some hotels in the V & A Waterfront, and use the satellite map to see where things are located in the area.
Insider’s Tips for Cape Town
- Give yourself and family a day of rest upon arrival. Depending on the time change or length of flight be sure to give yourself some time to adjust to the time if you can. That’s why I suggest walking around V & A Waterfront the first day, it isn’t too strenuous and gives you some fresh air, exercise and get your exposed to the area without being too much for the first day.
- Uber was the best form of transportation that we used for in and around the city for our family of 4. We did use a taxi initially from the airport but after getting data on our phones Uber was the easiest.
- Phone cards – tourist data cards can be purchased from their mobile providers and at the airport.
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