Cape Town – What we did there with our kids and the ins and out of all that this city has to offer!
Lifewith2cub’s was born to inspire parents to travel with their infants and toddlers. With daughters aged 2.5 years and 11 months old, they started their international travels when their older daughter was a mere 3 months old. They believe that travelling will teach their girls what they will never learn in a classroom – to be humble and to appreciate and accept the diversity and culture this world has to offer. To know more about them or to follow along their adventures, check out their blog posts on destinations, travel tips and lifestyle.
Cape Town! I have so so much to tell you guys about this stunning city – all about the food, the people, the sights, the beaches, the souvenirs and the entire vibe of this place. Cape Town is by far our most favourite city that we have travelled to simply because there is a mix of everything that this vibrant city has to offer – from mountains to beaches to parks to food – it is literally a paradise for ANYONE and EVERYONE!
First off, let me start with accommodations. When travelling with our girls, we prefer to have an apartment style hotel for an extended stay mainly because they wake up early and ask for breakfast, there is laundry available in the suite and there is tons of space for them to run around. Cape Town has many apartment style hotels that you can find directly on any booking website. We found one such place – I am only talking about this place so you guys are aware of the red flags to watch for when booking your accommodations, as this is apparently common there. DO NOT always trust the pictures advertised – we got a room completely different from what we saw. Keep all communication through your booking website – we got excused from paying the remaining 50% only because of this! Read the fine print and double check with the owner – it stated no kids and we asked him and he said if we were okay with it, he did not mind! Also, the ad stated king bed and we got a double, the measurements he had send us were for a king but he denied and asked us to leave and kept 50% of our money. When we contacted our booking website, they were informed by this owner that we never mentioned we had kids and he had specifically said it was a double bed. While I even had proof of our conversation, he had changed his ad up in the meanwhile. We were left to book a new hotel and with very very limited availability, we chose what we could find.
Our days in Cape Town were packed with things to do! Being a total Bollywood buff, I had seen this city way too many times in movies and I wanted to explore every corner of it and visit the places I had only seen on screen. I am writing this blog post to show you guys a variety of things that Cape Town has to offer and how we kept our kids entertained through it all! We had rented a car – a thing we absolutely love to do when traveling with kids because we can really work on their schedule and give them downtime when needed.
Bo-Kaap: Is an area in Cape Town – quite famous for their cobble stoned streets and colorful bright houses. This street will definitely cheer your mood up if you’re in need of it! It is a residential neighborhood and it was honestly a pure treat for the eyes. It kinda reminded me of downtown Puerto Rico where we had come across a similar street with the brightest colored homes!
Tabletop Mountain: The views from the foot of the tabletop mountain are absolutely spectacular! You get to see the entire city with a bird’s eye view. It was very windy that day and the cable cars going up to the top of the mountains were closed but we learnt that had we checked online, we would have known if they were open for the day. The wind picks up at any random time and the cars shut down during this time. If that happens during your visit there, make sure you drive along the road to the farthest point and there are some awesome lookouts along the road.
There was also a hike up the Lions Head, which we had to skip because it’s a mission taking up a stroller, and it was pretty chilly in November
Another MUST DO – and I have said this a 100 times and posted so many pictures of it is the Chapman’s Peak Drive. There is a minimal fee you pay to use this road BUT it is totally worth it and you will come across some of the best views you may have ever seen! This drive is a drivers delight and literally a visual treat for your eyes. We stopped at every single lookout point to take in the most gorgeous views of the city, mountains and the ocean. We enjoyed this drive so much so that we drove it a couple of times during out time there. Breathtaking is an understatement to describe this drive!
Muizenberg was another beach we enjoyed a lot. The beach is lined with colorful surfer huts that serve as a change room for the surfers. They are so much fun to visit and look at because we have never seen anything similar in all of our travels – it truly was one of a kind! The girls enjoyed this as well because they got to sit in those huts and get their pictures taken!
Just after getting off the Chapman’s Peak Drive, you drive through an area called Houts Bay! This area has the best seaside restaurants with some of the most delicious seafood we ate! You can Click Here to check out what we ate there!
Camps Bay is considered an area where celebrities often live when visiting Cape Town. There is a gorgeous beach there that was packed with locals and some tourists. There are restaurants along the road and local roadside shopping. Camps Bay is home to one of the tidal pools there and had the water not been freezing cold – I would have spent most of my time there!
When we visit Cape Town again, we would definitely live in this area because there was so much to do and see here plus it was centrally located to all the attractions of Cape Town. If you are planning a visit there, consider living in this area. You can find wonderful AirBnb’s and hotels here. We lived near the V&A Waterfront in the heart of Cape Town and the prices were the same to live in both these locations! At the end of Camps Bay is a spot called Maidens Cove! It’s a lookout spot and DO NOT MISS stopping here. This is one of the best places to view the 12 apostles. The formation of these apostles is mesmerizing and another great site to see – YES, there are lots of these in Cape Town!
Shopping tip: A little ahead of Camps Bay and before you hit the Chapman’s Peak Drive, there is a roadside market. It has beautiful handmade wooden artifacts to take back home. Do not forget to bargain!
Who does not like to see penguins? Imagine not having to visit Antarctica or some cold place and wear your parkas to see them? You can actually see these majestic birds at the Boulders Beach! There is a colony of penguins that still reside at the beach. Although you sort of cant go up-close to see the penguins, you are able to view them fairly close from the boardwalk! I say sort of because the beach right by this colony is swimmable and even though you have to pay to get in, you have a chance to swim with penguins there – if they cross the boulders to get to the beach – which they do! We saw a lot of people swimming behind penguins and I am sure they were having a total blast. Be ready to pay a hefty amount to get onto the boardwalk as well! It is definitely a big amount for the little time you end up spending there but so worth it.
Cape of Good Hope – this place was quite a drive from Cape Town but we went. We went mainly because it is one of those must do things when your there! And I feel like we could have definitely skipped it. After seeing some splendid sights in and around Cape Town plus driving the Garden Route (Click Here to read more on this), we were not too pleased with what we saw. Plus there were many tourist buses there that made it impossible to explore at our pace. This is our own personal opinion but if you guys would love to go – by all means do! If your short on time, definitely miss this place cause the drive makes it a day trip! We had to wait in a massive line up to get into the park area, the tickets were ridiculously overpriced, parking was impossible to find and all in all it was just not what we had expected it to be. We literally left this place in under an hour and hoped we hadn’t made the drive.
Shopping tip: On a brighter note though, right before you enter the park gates and pay for the entrance, there is a roadside souvenir market. Definitely worth a visit! You can bargain here – A LOT and you can find some really beautiful pieces to take back home. They were handmade wooden artifacts and safe to pack in your bags. I wish we had bought way more stuff from here because the prices were really some of the best we saw on our entire trip.
V&A Waterfront: This place is so lively with live traditional African music playing in different corners of the waterfront. It is connected to the mall at one end and literally an area you can get lost exploring. With restaurants, shopping stores, local souvenirs to fine dining and food and handcraft markets – you will find every single thing here. There is an indoor market where you find things one of a kind! Local African women living in smaller towns and villages around the country make a lot of the items sold there. A purchase at this market means you are supporting the work of other women who are trying to earn a living. We ended up finding such beautiful and vibrant soft toys and purses for the girls to bring back and also some really pretty shoes made in authentic African fabric! You can spend a day at the V&A Waterfront and trust me! The kids will not get bored! There is a little train that takes you around the waterfront and a massive park for them to enjoy! They will love the live music too and be taken aback with all the huge animal figures present throughout the waterfront.
On our very last day, we had an evening flight to catch and with half a day to kill after checking out, we decided to visit the very famous and world-renowned Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. These gardens were absolutely stunning. A great area for a picnic or a beautiful lunch amongst the luscious greens of the Eastern slope of the tabletop mountain present there. These Botanical gardens have so much to see that we wish we had actually spent an entire day here.
Food: Cape Town is home to some of the best and most diverse foods. We found some really nice places to eat! Have you ever travelled and missed home food? When in Toronto, we quite often drive to eat some Indian food on the other end of town. Yes, we make it at home but not as often and of course not as good at the restaurants! In Cape Town, we were lucky to find the Eastern Food Bazaar! This place is paradise if you are a fan of Indian food! There are literally stalls from every single corner of India and the food tastes delicious. The portions are huge and we were able to eat left overs for the next few days. The girls absolutely loved the food there. There are also tons of grocery stores in Cape Town – specially the Pick n Pay that had hot food stations and a piece of chicken breast with fries will cost you no more that 2.50$! Food Lovers Market was another place that was heaven! It has various food stations inside and the most delicious food – lucky for us there was one right in the building we were staying and were able to eat hot and delicious meals at any time on a budget! They had hot breakfast stations, fresh bread, sushi stations, smoothie and coffee stations, pizza and burger stations, pasta station, fish and chips, a dessert station, fresh fruits and vegetables, a wall full of dispensable treats – you name it and they have it. It was a blessing to have this place right where we stayed and a lot of our meals were from here! They sell out really early on and close by 6pm – so make sure you grab your meals earlier on.
All in all, Cape Town was amazing! It was our first time there and definitely will not be our last. When we were hunting for a destination, we were very keen on visiting Africa. We were rooting towards Eastern Africa but had to give up on the idea because Amarra was only 6 months and we wanted to find a malaria free area. A place which still had good healthcare facilities and we soon learnt that South Africa is considered a first world country and their medical healthcare is top notch! The tap water there is as clean as North America and is drinkable. After reading all this, we chose this destination and we were so glad we did!
Our trip to South Africa was 10 days long and our itinerary looked like this:
Day 1 – Landed in Cape Town
Day 2 – Drove half the Garden Route and stayed over in Knysna
Day 3 – Explored Knysna
Day 4 – Drove the second half of the Garden Route and stayed in the Kuzuko Lodge
Day 5 – Game drives at the Kuzuko Lodge
Day 6 – We flew from Port Elizabeth back to Cape Town
Day 6-10 – Explored Cape Town
When we went to South Africa it was peak whale watching season. Hermanus is a world-renowned city known to watch these whales as they come very close to the shore. They offer walking tours as well as boat tours to see the whales. We had planned to make the 2-hour drive from Cape Town to take one of these tours. Unfortunately, after all the driving we had done in the past few days, we were not sure if the girls would be up for another long drive and had to give up on this idea. But this is definitely high on our recommendation list and if you have the chance to visit, please do!
Another place we decided to skip and have heard really good things off were the wine country regions of South Africa. There is Stellenbosch and Franschhoek that were highly recommended to us. Again, it is very evident why we decided to skip this but if you have the chance to – another area to consider going to.
I always talk about being vigilant to the cues your kids give and know when to give up or when to pursue it. These places were definitely off limits for us and we had to be very flexible and give up on them – but hey! There is always a next time and we already have a list of things we would like to see when we visit South Africa again!
We are always here to help you with your itinerary or answer any questions you may have if you’re planning a trip to South Africa. Also, if you need any additional travel tips, we are only an email away and do not hesitate to reach out by either filling the form below or by shooting us an email!