1. Climb Table Mountain
Towering 1,086 metres over Cape Town, Table Mountain is the most iconic landmark in South Africa and reaching the summit of this famous mountain is something that every visitor should do.
For older and more active kids, the summit can be reached on foot via a number of beautiful trails. Walking from the base to the top should take between one and three hours. Once you reach the top, simply relax and take in the spectacular scenic views of Cape Town, Table Bay and the surrounding mountains, then take the cableway back down.
Table Mountain Cableway
The best views of Cape Town, Robben Island and the Peninsula are from the Table Mountain Cableway. The cable car rotates, giving you incredible 360-degree views of the city as you gently make your way to or from the summit.
If you prefer, you can explore the summit further by joining a guided walk in Table Mountain National Park, or hiking along one of three trails that start at the Upper Cable Station. For adventurous kids looking for a adrenaline-fuelled experience, there’s even an option to abseil back down the mountain.
2. Visit Robben Island
We believe that all visitors to South Africa, young and old, should take the time to understand the country’s complex history as this will offer a much more meaningful travel experience, although may be better suited for tweens and teenagers.
Robben Island is synonymous with Nelson Mandela, who spent 18 years in the island's maximum security prison. Visiting Robben Island is a sobering and inspirational experience that you will never forget, and a powerful history lesson for your youngsters.
3. Meet the ex-residents of District Six
Another key place to visit to learn about South Africa's past, the District Six Museum is located in the former inner-city residential area. The museum was founded in 1994 as a memorial to the residents of District Six, who were forcibly removed from their homes during Apartheid in South Africa.
The museum hosts an impressive collection of historic materials, such as photos, artworks, artefacts and books, plus there are audio-visual recordings. Most of these were donated by District Six's former residents.
This fascinating museum has been designed in such a way that a visitor can wander in off the street and take a self-guided tour, however it is much better to take a tour with an ex-resident of District Six, as they will provide historical information and commentary as well as answer questions.
The site has been nominated as a National Heritage Site and is therefore a conservation area of Cape Town and should be treated with sensitivity and respect.
4. Take a cycling tour of Langa Township
The townships of South Africa are the place where the heart of the nation beats and it’s here where you’ll have a chance to see "The real South Africa."
The term township refers to urban living areas that were reserved for non-whites from the late 19th century until the end of Apartheid. During Apartheid, non-whites were evicted from areas that were designated as “white only” and forced to move into separate settlements.
These sprawling settlements, designed to alienate communities, were essentially slums with no running water and tiny houses made of scraps of wood and metal. Living conditions were cramped and unhygienic. Post-Apartheid, shacks are being replaced by government subsidised houses, roads are being improved, and basic services are being installed.
Responsible township tourism
A visit to a township can be a fascinating and insightful cultural experience for tourists of all ages and responsible township tourism is welcomed by the residents, as it offers an opportunity for them to promote their heritage, generate an income and develop community initiatives.
To gain an insight into the unique lifestyle of the residents of Cape Town’s oldest township, Langa, opt for a walking or cycling tour with a guide who still lives there. The tour will include community projects, craft markets, restaurants and taverns (also known as “shebeens”) run by local residents.
Langa is a hive of activity and you’ll be amazed by the vibrant and positive atmosphere and the spirit of entrepreneurship and creativity that surrounds you.
5. Relax at the beach
Cape Town's stunning rugged coastline has a wide choice of impressive beaches, each with its own unique appeal. Whether you’re interested in surfing, swimming, sheltered sunbathing, sunset cocktails or penguin spotting, there’s a beach to suit every family.
1. Bloubergstrand Beach - A long, white sand beach on the Atlantic Ocean side, just north of Clifton, Bloubergstrand Beach is known for its incredible view of Table Mountain and for kitesurfing. Walk along the promenade with an ice-cream or pick a kitesurfing observation spot from one of the beachfront restaurants.
2. Clifton Beaches - Clifton has four beaches called 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th beach and has blue flag status (an eco-friendly certification), boasting turquoise water and white sands. Clifton beaches are Cape Town’s premier beaches, therefore they can be crowded in the summer.
3. Camps Bay - Camps Bay, just up the road from Clifton, is a long, sandy beach with palm trees and a wonderful promenade lined with trendy restaurants, cafes and cocktail bars, with a spectacular backdrop of Lion’s Head and the 12 Apostles. Camps Bay also has an inland tidal pool, which is perfect for young children.
From Camps Bay you can walk to Glen Beach, a small beach set in a little enclave and great for surfing; as well as Maiden’s Cove, which is a lovely family beach located in front of the nearby Glen Country Club.
4. Llandudno Beach - Llandudno, set in an exclusive neighbourhood, is one of the most beautiful beaches in Cape Town. If you’re not a strong swimmer, then settle for a dip as the currents are strong, but it’s great for surfers. Sunsets at Llandudno are incredible.
5. Hout Bay - Hout Bay is a protected harbour bay perfect for walking and horse riding. The Chapman’s Peak side of the beach is better for sunbathing and it’s a good place for swimming as the waves here are gentle.
6. Noordhoek Beach - A white sand beach with strong waves, Noordhoek is known for its natural beauty, though can get windy. Arrive early in the morning to enjoy a horseback ride along the sand.
7. Scarborough Beach - With white sand and craggy rocks, secluded Scarborough beach is a hidden gem most frequented by surfers and kitesurfers. For a fun family-friendly activity, book a coastal foraging course to see what you can find around the area.
8. Muizenberg Beach - The laidback town of Muizenberg is located in False Bay, which makes for warmer waters than the beaches along the Atlantic seaboard. Muizenberg Beach is the ultimate family beach, with its colourful Victorian beach huts. It’s also a blue flag beach, which means it gets top marks for safety, recreational facilities and eco-consciousness.