So yet another hiatus taken after yet another baby, I became a proud member of the two under two club (2 boys now) but I’m determined to get my blog back on track. There’s so much I want to say and share and so much that has happened.
In addition to adding another little boisterous boy to our family we also relocated to the beautiful Western Cape, and what a year it’s been! I actually can’t even fathom why anyone with children would want to live anywhere else in the world. This place literally has it all!
I thought I’d summarize the top places to take kids too, and bear with me as this list is quite long. Jozi you have A LOT to learn when it comes to making things kid friendly. There is an abundance of places to take the kids and almost every farm is child friendly. After living in Johannesburg for so long I really am left in awe.
Here’s my top 16 list (in no specific order).
- World of Birds – Constantia – This is the largest bird park in Africa and its home to something like 3000 birds and quite a number of reptiles! All of the owls and predator birds are adopted and none of them have been bred in captivity. My toddler was in awe of all the colours and the monkey interaction is entertaining for everyone!
- Butterfly World – Stellenbosch – Best to go on a sunny day when all the glorious butterfly’s fly about in their element! There are also a number of other animals on display including reptiles (some colourful iguanas), tarantula’s, birds, small monkeys and LOTS of guinea pigs. BEST part is kids under 3 are free!
- Monkey Town – Somerset West – This place kinda has it all! Yes the park is a little “run down” BUT these places do rely on visitors for funding so go and visit! Not only do they have like 200 different primates, they also have Chimpanzees ! (Don’t worry they have been rehabilitated after various horrible stories). Monkey Town also has a small Petting animal section a huge garden with numerous Jungle Gyms AND you can picnic and braai there.
- The Giraffe House – Stellenbosch – Despite its name the Giraffe house is home to Zebra, Ostrich, crocodile, Jackals and a number of other animals too. We made the mistake of going on a “slight breezy” winters day with a 6 week old baby. Safe to say, dad did the tour with the toddler who was in his element and mum sat in the car for most of the time because the wind was reminiscent of Arctic Gail force winds !
- Vergelegen Wine Farm (They have the most amazing playground) – Have a lunch at Stables restaurant while your kids play in the most artistic Play area. A little stream for them to splash in , a giants bird nest, and a maze – what more do you need? Oh and they offer picnics in the forest as well.
- Vergenoegd Wine Farm (Famous for its Runner ducks and kids activities). Vergenoegd keeps about 1100 Indian “Runner Ducks”. These ducks head out each day into the vineyards and they eat all the snails and harmful pests that destroy the grapes, on their journey the give a little “Parade” which the kids adore! Vergenoegd also has dedicated child minders so you can enjoy your picnic in the most beautiful surroundings while your kids play a number of games and activities.
- Visit the penguins – dependent on which side of Cape Town you are there is the Stony Point Colony at Betty’s Bay and of course the famous Boulders Beach in Simons Town. It’s not often that you get to swim with Penguins, I’ve taken my toddler back 3 times 🙂 Did you know that there are only 3 land based breeding grounds for African penguins? Well here are two of them! I find Betty’s Bay a little more quiet as opposed to the ever popular Boulders Beach.
- Two Oceans Aquarium – Aquarium – enough said! Sharks, Penguins, Turtles and Sting rays, what more does a kid want? Right in the heart of the V+A Waterfront its pays tribute to both the Atlantic and the Indian oceans. Visit at about 3pm daily and the kids will get a chance to see the raggies being fed !
- Cheetah Outreach Program – 2 minutes from my doorstep, and you can take your toddlers in to stroke the Cheetahs ! I was super apprehensive, you can even tell from my picture 🙂 The Cheetah Outreach is an organization that is working to preserve Cheetah in the wild. Many farmers use traps, poison and hunting techniques to keep the cheetahs away from their farm and livestock, as a result, the cheetah population is dwindling. Here you learn about Cheetah conservation and the Famous Anatolian Shepherd Dogs, These are very, VERY large dogs that are used as Shepard dogs and protect livestock.By doing so you can save Cheetahs !
- Spier Wine farm and the Eagle encounters – Another famously child friendly wine farm. Spier wine farm offers literally the FULL experience. For non wine drinkers like us they offer grape juice tasting, 2 awesome restaurants and a range of activities for the kids. Best part is the Eagle encounters where you can learn more about these glorious predators and get to see them up close.
- Green Point Park –Seriously, This is where Joburg Parks needs to catch a wake up! Green Points playground is insane ! You can visit green pint for a picnic, walk or run, there’s an outdoor gym, a play park and an adventure park for the kids (with about 7 different slides). Evening and Morning Yoga and a whole zen garden section. Did I mention its free?
- The Blue Train and Mouille point park – Probably one of Mouille Point’s oldest attractions, a ticket on the blue train costs just R15 and takes you on two trips around the park. The Blue Train Park borders The Mouille Point park which has a lovely jungle gym and play area for the kids. The blue train park offers yet more play areas as well as a mini ice rink! My toddler loved the choo choo with the sea-side views! Afterwards you can ride your bikes and have an ice cream and walk along the famous Green Point Promenade !
- Table Mountain Cable Way – It’s not Cape Town without Table Mountain. My husband was the most apprehensive about going up Table Mountain with 2 small kids. We pre booked out tickets online (MUST DO) so the line wasn’t that tedious (I think about 45 minutes?) By the time we got to the front my 2-year-old was so impatient to go on the “Plane” (the cable car) that the kind lady in front scanned us through to the next leaving cart. (If you read this THANK YOU!). Much to my husbands delight there were no sheer drops for the pram to roll off at the top 🙂 There was entertainment in the form of a live bank which the toddler loved and we even got to appreciate the views! Once again I am forever grateful as we managed to get a concierge service off the cable car on the way down to the lift and skipped the exit line 🙂
- Root 44 Market – Great Food, Live bands, artesian food and craft and to a huge world of adventure for kids! No less than 5 play areas for kids, a massive indoor soft play area, water activities and putt putt. SERIOUSLY – Root 44 offers a BUSY day! OPEN EVERY SATURDAY AND SUNDAY FROM 10:00 – 16:00 Tel: 021 881 3052 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Audacia Wines, Corner of R44 & Annandale Road, Stellenbosch, 7600
- The Beaches! All of them! There is no explanation needed! Water + Sand is a great combination for any child and it offers free entertainment for hours! The Western Cape offers some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
- Polkadraai Strawberry Farm – The greatest blessing, being a mere 5 minutes from us. Polkadraai offers everything from Strawberry picking from just R40, Tractor Rides, Mini Golf and Pony Rides its a childs haven and fun for the entire family.
I must also make honorary mentions to the following places: Tokara Estate (unique little playground and they have heaps of toys around the restaurant for kids to play with), Helderberg plaas (one of the oldest farms in the region and it has a cute petting farm for the kids to feed the animals).
Western Cape – I am not finished with my explorations and I cannot wait to uncover all that you have to offer (though I don’t think ill ever get through it all!) Are there any places you would mention?