Here’s a little something most people will neglect to tell you when you decide to have kids - weekends are not going to be your own for quite a while. This is why family-friendly activities are such a big thing!
See, before you become a guardian to small humans, Saturdays and Sundays are all about taking it easy. For some people this looks like a nice lie-in and brunch with friends. For others, it’s an early-morning ParkRun or a MTB trail with a bunch of other fit folks.
Whatever the case may be, the fact remains that there is only one person you need to please - AKA yourself. Perhaps you’re also inclined to consider your partner or your pet but in the end it’s all about relaxation and fun times.
Now, when you become a parent, this landscape shifts a bit. See, kids are not all that amped about brunch, nor lie-ins. They are also not too great at ParkRuns or MTB trails (at least not straight off the bat). Plus, the little minxes will 100% drive you up the wall if you decide to play it by ear and enjoy a ‘chill weekend at home with the family’.
At some point, cabin fever will get you. You will need to get out and go do something. This is when you need a handy list of family-friendly activities near Cape Town.
The good news is that we have got you covered! The following list of things to do with kids has been tried, tested and approved by actual parents with real kids who survived to tell the tale. So, here you go!
1. Golf & putt-putt at Hazendal
Golf is a great game to enjoy with older kids, especially on a world-class par-3 course such as the one at Hazendal near Stellenbosch. It’s the ideal option for keen golfers who want to show their kids the ropes.
However, even if your kiddos are a little too small to enjoy an actual golf course, there is also Kleine Hazen Putting Park to enjoy. This putt-putt course is tailor-made for lighthearted fun and suited for the whole fam.
Okay, so no kidding, Wonderdal is a little slice of heaven on earth. It’s colourful, fun, tech-forward and filled with all sorts of cool things to do, see and experience. The thing that makes it really great, however, is that it’s super safe.
Parents pre-book the experience via the Wonderdal website, and provide the details of their child and the person who will be dropping them off and picking them up. Strict security protocols are followed at all times and the kids cannot leave the Wonderdal premises unless they are accompanied by their designated caregiver.
So, basically, you drop your kid(s) off to have two hours of fun and then you choose how you would like to have fun! Wander around the estate to look at the amazing gardens, enjoy a meal at the Babushka Deli or Pivnushka Beer Garden, do a wine tasting or enjoy a Russian tea ceremony. The world is your oyster!
Picnics are a great meal option with kids in the mix because even if they make a huge mess it’s not going to be that obvious. Plus, you don’t need to keep energetic smallies confined to their chairs. Score!
There are great spots to picnic in and around Cape Town, so you can basically just pack a few snacks and head to a likely destination if that’s your vibe. If, on the other hand, you do not want to go through all that hassle, you can also opt for a picnic at Hazendal!
Here you can sit yourself down on the lawn and have a spread (and some wine or other beverages) delivered to your blanket from the Deli. Super convenient and extremely tasty!
Image source: Necessary Indulgences
If you want to get your kids nice and tired so they will hopefully fall asleep on the couch so you can watch some Netflix (other than Paw Patrol and Peppa Pig), take those energetic little humans on a hike!
When the weather is nice in Cape Town over a weekend, Table Mountain and Lion’s Head tend to be super busy, however. This is why we recommend getting out of town. Rather make your way to Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve for an amble and a braai (there are great braai spots!) or carry on to Doolhof Wine Estate to take a walk along the river.
5. Beach missions
Image source: Crush
The simple things in life are often the most enjoyable. Pack up the kids and go to the beach. Beta Beach and Bakoven along the Atlantic Seafront are great for children but parking can be a problem. So go earlier rather than later in the day if you want to get a spot nearby.
INSIDER TIP: If you can find Barley Beach - go there! It’s a little more hidden away and completely amazing.
6. Green Point Park
Green Point Park is ideal if you’ve got a kid with a bike who likes to make some moves. There are also a few rather epic jungle gyms in play. Pack everything you need for the day, choose a shady spot under a tree and see how the day progresses.
INSIDER TIP: Take some oats or chopped lettuce along to feed the ducks in the pond. Bread can go mouldy in the water and cause an algae bloom in their habitat.
7. Pottery painting
Image source: I Love Cape Town
Artsy kids will love an outing to Clay Cafe in the City or the original out in Hout Bay. Here, children (and parents!) can choose from an array of pre-made ceramic items that they can paint in any way they want. You choose your glazes, sit down, do your thing and book your item in to be fired. A few weeks later you can then return to pick up the finished product.
Image source: Cape Town Citypass
Indoor trampoline parks are another great way to channel some of that amazing energy children bring to the table. Rush, be.UP and Jump Street are all very popular. However, remember to book ahead to secure coveted weekend jump spots!
9. Art walks
Image source: @dylanlewissculpturegarden
Older children and their parents will adore an art walk through the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden. This special space is open with prior reservation only, so plan ahead and make the mission. It’s completely worth it!
10. Strawberry picking
Image source: Inside Guide
This is obviously seasonal but a summer in Cape Town is not quite complete until you’ve taken the kids strawberry picking. So make your way to Polkadraai Farm near Stellenbosch and fill those containers!
INSIDER TIP! Go early, take hats and wear sunscreen. Afterwards, make your way to Strand for a splash in the ocean before heading home.
There you have it - 10 amazing, family-friendly activities near Cape Town to keep the whole fam happily occupied this summer. Keep an eye on the blog for more inspiration on where to stay, eat, go and play in and around the Mother City in sunny South Africa.