Following on from the success of my original post – Top 10 things to do with kids in Cape Town for free – I thought I would give you a few more free outing options as we head into the summer months and a long school holiday!
1. Go scavenger hunting in the rock pools between Muizenberg and St James during low tide, take buckets and hunt around and discover the amazing variety of life to be found in the nooks and crannies usually hidden beneath the waves. Remember to put them all back safely after your exploring! Early mornings are usually great as the sun isn’t too harsh and fishermen are out too. While you are there pop in to the Save our Sharks (SOS) centre on the Main Road in St James to learn about sharks and what we can do to preserve these fascinating animals.
2. Watch helicopters take off and land at the Heliport at the V&A Waterfront. Go to the end of the parking lot past the Table Bay Hotel and park and walk along the raised cat walk for a great vantage point view. Exciting stuff for boys of all ages – just be prepared for the inevitable nagging to go on a helicopter ride!! We are saving up – it’s more than 6 purple notes each…. afterwards you can always go for a stroll around the V&A Waterfront and watch the birds, buskers and boats – but beware there are many, many places to sap your wallet dry so best avoid it if you’re wanting to go for a low cost outing!
3. Find a spot to watch an incredible African sunset over the Atlantic Ocean. The best is a boulder on Llundudno or Clifton beach but a blanket on the sand would do equally well, as long as you take some paper packets as hurricane lamps for your candles. On summer evenings the beaches are usually busy with plenty of families enjoying the longer days. If you’re not a fan of sand (like some of our family members) then pick anywhere along the Atlantic Seaboard and park your car or pack a picnic supper and enjoy your own version of “sundowners”
4. A walk in the woods – or forest – is always invigorating. Newlands Forest or Cecelia Forest are good options – you might just have to walk a bit further to find the trees in the latter one these days! Catch tadpoles in a nearby river, collect different coloured leaves, look for mushrooms (but don’t eat them!), build forts with broken branches, breathe the crisp forest smells in deeply, exercise those legs and lungs!
5. Visit Die Oog in Bergvliet – a bird sanctuary right in the middle of the suburbs – there is plenty of parking and grass for kids to run on, as well as a walk around the edge of the dam to get a closer look at the weaver nests and wetland area – be warned that there is open water if you have little people who don’t get swim!
6. Take a walk along the new Lower Tokai Forest boardwalk. This has become very popular with families and Sunday afternoons it can be a bit congested, but it is lovely to be able to enjoy this public open space with other people and the presence of many means that it is relatively safe. Horse riders, kids on scooters, bike riders, pram pushers – our own version of Central Park!
7. Climb on of the New 7 Wonders of the World – Table Mountain. Good routes for kids are the Pipetrack above Camps Bay, Lions Head (before the chains!), Constantia Nek to Eagles Nest, Silvermine to Elephants Eye, Tokai Forest, Cecelia Forest Contour Path to Kirstenbosch. Let me know if you have any other suggestions as I used to be an avid hiker with my gran but since she is no longer with us I have not been on the mountain quite as often and would really like to again! Be aware that there have been a few serious crime incidents recently so always walk in areas where there are many people and go in a group yourself. The area above Rhodes Memorial is not recommended and there have been reported incidents on Lions Head but it would such a shame to avoid this huge, natural space due to one or two individuals.
8. Visit your local nursery – a ride on the plant trolley is always a hit! Some of the better nurseries have plenty of entertainment for kid including a variety of birds and animals to feed, such as Stodels in Belville, Cape Garden Centre in Joostenbergvlakte and Ferndale in Constantia. My kids just seem to love running along the little paths between all the plants – who needs a maze!
9. Pop in for a free story time at your local library or bookstore. I’m particularly keen to take my kids to visit the Cape Town Central Library during the next school holidays but for a free weekly outing (for mom’s sanity) we often pop out to the story hour at our local library. The times vary but here are a few:
Bloubergstrand – Monday and Wednesday 3pm (ages 8 – 9)
Brackenfell – Wednesday 10.30 – 11.30 (ages 3+) excludes school holidays
Claremont – Wednesday 10am – 10.30am (ages 1 – 3)
Durbanville – First Thursday 10.30am – 11am
Fish Hoek – Friday 11am (preschoolers)
Hout Bay – Friday 10am – 11am (ages 2 – 5)
Kloof Street – Monday 3pm – 3.30pm (ages 2+) AND Tuesday 9.30am – 10am (ages 0 – 2)
Kraaifontein – Wednesday 10am (ages 2 – 10) Afrikaans and English
Observatory – Wednesday 11am – 11.30am (ages 1 – 4)
Rondebosch – Wednesday and Friday 10am (ages 3 – 5)
Sea Point – Wednesday 10am – 11am (preschoolers and younger)
Tableview – Tuesday 10am.
Tokai – Wednesday 3pm.
Other libraries which host story times are Belville, Camps Bay, Milnerton, Mowbray, Muizenberg, Pinelands, Somerset West and Vredehoek. Check directly with the library for story times, see this list of your local libraries for contact details. Some book stores also offer this service such as The Book Lounge in Roeland Street, City Centre or Readers Warehouse in Tokai (for special events). Keep an eye out in the local press for details.
10. And the last option is to keep an eye out in local newspapers and magazines such as Cape Town’s Child’s wonderful events section for any events, markets or fairs that are being held in your area. Ones coming up shortly include the SPCA’s Wiggle Waggle Walkathon, the Volunteer Wildfire Services Open Day at Newlands as well as a host of Christmas Markets, Farmers Markets and School Fun Days. Let me know if you know of any I might have missed or would like to publicise an event which families might enjoy!
Hope you find these helpful – let me know if you have any ideas to add to this list, I’m always looking for fun and free places that please the parent and the purse!
Here are few more articles I have written about “Things to do with kids”.
Free things to do in Cape Town with kids
Things to do in Cape Town for a special treat
Things to do in Cape Town that won’t break the bank
Things to do with kids on the Garden Route
images: Kathryn Rossiter