Cape Town with Toddlers

Cape Town: An Insiders Guide

By Jill Forbes

We first discovered the wonders of Cape Town with my 18 month old daughter in tow when my best friend moved there. I had assumed that an 11 hour flight carried with it a severe jet-lag warning, only to discover that must have been the geography lesson I’d missed. With just a two hour time difference, the night flight to Cape Town works surprisingly well with children. Supper on the plane, a marathon of movies, after which they will eventually sleep and you arrive at 7am ready for breakfast and the day ahead.

Now, five years on, and with a brother for the little girl added to our family mix, we have been back every year. At the airport we hire a car which is the best way of getting around, especially for day trips with the kids. But Uber works here too, you can use your UK account just as you would at home. The journey into town takes 45 minutes and although Cape Town might be cosmopolitan and westernised, the drive from the airport reminds you of the harsh reality of life in South Africa for many as you pass sprawling townships where homes are carefully constructed tin shacks.

The Western Cape where Cape Town is situated has it all: sandy beaches, mountains, vineyards, sun (best from November to March), incredible native animals, delicious food and wine and a wonderful outdoor way of life. There’s so much to do you could drive for hours every day and end up leaving more exhausted than when you arrived, so do give yourselves time to drink in the scenery and enjoy it.

(Click on the pictures to read more in each section). 


Cape Town: Table Mountain

Table Mountain is a must-see. The cable car itself is fun and the kids love the fact that the floor revolves. Try and get up the mountain early in the morning as it gets very busy; the view is breathtaking.

Cape Town: Beaches

Much of what we love about Cape Town is outdoors and the general vibe here is inherently child-friendly and relaxed. Our first stop is always Camps Bay beach.

Animal Magic

Save the Big 5 for when the kids are older, there are plenty of native animals with wow factor; the penguins on Boulders Beach will delight any Happy Feet fans!