Cape Town with the kids – a perfect half term family holiday
Cape Town in February half-term was perfect for getting away from the British winter and enjoying warm temperatures and long sunny days. From London it’s a direct overnight flight and with very little time difference it didn’t mess up the children’s (George aged 2 and Bella aged 5) sleep patterns too much.
On arrival we collected our hire car and set off for Camps Bay where we spent four nights in an apartment 20 minutes by car away from the hustle and bustle of central Cape Town. This gave us the perfect balance of spending a few hours a day on the beach combined with exploring the city and its many attractions.
On our first full day my husband hiked up Table Mountain and we joined him at the top having hopped into a cable car. He went with a company called ‘Hike Table Mountain’ on the India Venster route which was a slightly more challenging and rewarding trail than some of the others. For those taking the cable car, I’d recommend an early start to avoid the queues and the cloud cover which can build throughout the day. When it is clear, the views from the top are fantastic and we were able to point out our apartment in Camps Bay, the Twelve Apostles and Lion’s Head.
We were down at the bottom by 11 a.m. and headed to the exciting V&A Waterfront where the kids loved the Hamley’s Train and the amazing collection of stalls in the Watershed Arts & Crafts centre.
There are masses of places to eat and drink, and from here you can visit the Two Oceans Aquarium which I hear is fantastic.
We spent many a happy afternoon on the beach, our favourite being Clifton. The sea was mighty cold, and although a welcome cool down from the heat of the day, we weren’t in it for long.
On a another day we explored the Cape Peninsula. We left Camps Bay fairly early and arrived at Noordhoek Farm Village in time for breakfast. We loved it here; a relaxed and welcoming food hub with a couple of restaurants, a deli, bakery and some really fun shops. We ate next to the kids’ play area so we were all happy. I might well be dishing on a local secret as we felt there were very few tourists around.
Next, we drove across to Simon’s Town and Boulders Bay to spy on the penguins. It was already pretty busy at 10.30 so I would try not to get there any later. After admiring the penguin’s antics from the wooden walk way we popped onto the beach right among them. The children were fascinated and it was a fun experience for us all.
We didn’t make it down to the Cape Peninsula as the kids were getting slightly ‘hangry’ so we decided to go back in the direction of Hout Bay for some lunch. This took us along Chapman’s Peak Drive, a 9km scenic road that has 114 bends.
Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, which are really stunning and set against the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, provided a couple of hours’ entertainment one afternoon. The kids loved hiding amongst the trees and looking for the wonderful art installations dotted around the gardens.
Another highlight was an early supper at The Lawns at the Roundhouse, an outdoor restaurant overlooking Camp’s Bay. Picnic benches and beanbags are scattered around the lawn and you can eat and drink whilst taking in the breathtaking views of the Seven Sisters with live music playing in the background.
After four wonderful days we packed up the car and headed to the Winelands. Our first stop was the cheetah outreach centre at Grande Provence Wine Estate where we spent some time with one of the resident cheetahs while finding out more about the cheetah conservation projects. Moving on, Warwick Wine was the perfect spot for a delicious picnic lunch. Picnic tables and beanbags laid out on the lawn are perfect for relaxing and enjoying your pre-ordered hamper (available in kids’ sizes too) and delicious Rosé wine. The kids had a wonderful time running in and out of the fountains (this is encouraged, we were just warned to make sure they keep their clothes on!)
We spent two nights staying in an Orchard Cottage at the Boschendal Wine Estate. Separate from the main werf (lodge) and set on the farm amongst the orchards and fields, this two bedroom cottage with outside table and braai (bbq) was perfect for us. The cottages share a large swimming pool which has amazing views of the surrounding mountains.
We explored the farm on foot and bike, and ate delicious food at the restaurants or back at our braai using meat from the excellent deli. Bella had a lot of fun at the Tree House kids club where the emphasis is on outdoor fun with activities such as farm foraging, outdoor cooking and nature walks.
I slipped off to Babylonstoren one morning for a garden tour where I learnt about the meandering groves and the beautiful plants, vegetables and flowers that grow there. It really opened my eyes to the world of gardening (something that doesn’t come naturally) and I loved the Healing Garden full of medicinal herbs. After a look around the rest of the farm and its accommodation, which is completely stunning, my husband and children joined me for the lunch at the Greenhouse. It’s fabulous here, the grounds are just beautiful and the restaurants, wine tasting area and spa were to a very high standard.
We had a morning exploring Franschhoek, taking in the shops and a delicious pizza, before driving up the hill to La Petite Ferme. This was one of the highlights of my trip. It is a very intimate vineyard with incredible views down the valley. Our Manor House suite was fabulous – little touches like the children being given their own bathrobe (in their size) and us being given a delicious bottle of fizz, were just wonderful. Olly and I enjoyed wine tasting while the children rolled about on the lawns and we also had the most delicious dinner while the children were babysat back in our room.
From Franschhoek we drove to Langebaan and onto Paternoster on the west coast. Paternoster really struck a chord, with white cottages dotted along the coastline and plenty of fantastic restaurants to choose from. Along with great beach walks you can also kayak (be warned, the sea is freezing here) and horse ride. It was a lovely end to our trip and any time spent on a beach is a good time in the kid’s eyes.
To sum up, this was a perfect trip for us; a lovely mix of places to stay and things to do. I firmly believe that children enhance your holiday as you can experience it through their eyes, seeing things you normally wouldn’t and this trip was no exception. Next time we we’ll add on a safari element too.
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