we (dh and i and dd1 3.5 and dd2 20 months) are off on 2 feb to SA for 2 weeks (delayed from early JAn due to chicken pox fiasco!). we have our accom booked but wonder about car hire/ restaurants/ any other tip? i read somewhere that restaurants dont have high chairs? is monkey world suitable for a 20 month old (apart from the fact she is one of the world's biggest monkeys!). any hints or tips gratefully received!!!
thanks for all these tips. got back today. so many tips were used and i loved it. i had unfortunately booked the 10.40pm flight back and i defo would not do it again- both dds slept really well on flight on way there but were just overtired on way home so we both exhausted.... but wow what a trip. hope to go again but as dd starts school in sept these feb trips may be a thing of the past....
Yup, PrettyBird makes a good point. Children are loved and every adult around will generally treat any child like their own - you'll find there's always someone to help carry the LOs or entertain them or whatever.
We were in SA last APril for 2 weeks (and dh for an extra week), both North (Northern Trnasvaal and Kruger) and the Cape. We never had any problems altohugh we took sensible precautions. We also never hire a "flash" car: just a bog standard Japanese car (or something thay call a City Golf - VW).
Ds is now 8, so we no longer have an issue in restaurants - but when he was 13 months, it was very hit and miss whether there was a high chair in the restaurants. We took a "handbag high chair" as back up (one of those fabric things that slips over a chair back and holds the child on the chair) which comibines with reigns worked in most circumstances. You'll also find that SOuth Africans, white and black, love children. Ds was playing up while we were having lunch in the Winelands and the enxt thing we knew he had disappeared, taken on a tour of the kitcehns and the grounds and then holding court to all the waiting staff sitting on the bar. He was given his first crips then (with our permission).
Oh yes, I have to second the scratch patch (and will steal the idea for my next mammoth obsessive, "GO TO CAPE TOWN" post!). As children it was our absolute all time favourite thing in the whole world to do.
OhBling has added a lot of the things I would have said, but a couple of extras.
On a rainy day, the V&A waterfront mall and market is a god place to while away a couple of ours, the acquarium is really nice and they have childrens activities like colouring and quizzes etc - tons and tons of nemo's in a tank in the foyer so my DD loved it! There is also a "scratch patch" there, and another one in Simonstown I think. It's basically a bi pile of polshed rocks that you go in and you buy a bag which you get to fil with lots of rocks. It kept DD happy for ages trying to find all the pink ones for her and the blue ones for me. There are cinemas in the malls at the waterfront and the bigger mall slightly out of town too which are very cheap and good for rainy days.
Boulders is a must do! the water is very shallow there - so great for swimming and safe for sandcastles and because it is a private beach/reserve and you have to pay a small amount to enter, it's bascially one of the few places in SA where you are not hassled to buy craft, pay money etc to people all the time.
Camps Bay is lovely. There is the most amazing restuarant there (also branches on the coast and in the V&A waterfront) called something like Cape Town Fish Market. They have this huge menu with a whole sushi section, a fish section and meat section etc and you choose whatever you likeand they cook it for you really well. It's right on the waterfront in Camps Bay and has big balconies so you can dine outside with a view of table mountain one side and the ocean the other - absolute perfection! There was big fish tank inside which DD loved and they were happy for children to eat there (DD was 2 1/2 at the time).
There is also a lovely ice cream shop in the mini-mall under the market restaurant (near nice clean toilets - good to know where if you're on the beack for the day). This ice cream shop does the most awesome mixed fresh berries sorbet and fruity creamy ice creams in the world. I hope for your sake it was still there - it was heaven!!
Just be more careful with your possession and your safety than you have ever been in your life. I have yet to meet anyone who, in the last 3 years has been to SA and not been robbed/mugged or conned in one way or another. Never let anyone be near you at a cashpoint (only use the ones inside safe malls like the V&A waterfront) and keep your bags close to you all the time. Everywhere you park there will be self appointed car wardens who will want money. Be friendly to them and tell them you will pay them as soon as you get back to your car and your car will bde in one piece on your return. They don't want much money and they will protect your car from thieves etc so although they are basically bribing you to look after your car they are worth it.
The great thing about Kirstenbosch is that it has lovely lawns and you are allowed to walk on it and even take your own picnic hence very child friendly.
We found the Bird Sanctuary in Hout Bay, called the World of Birds a bit expensive and DD was frightened by the owls. The Aquarium at the Waterfront is loved by kids. Not sure about monkey world with toddlers. It was closed when we were there, but I think DD would have been frightened.
Cape Point is great too. We took DD for a lovely walk there in her backpack. Great antelope to be seen. And oh baboons too - so yes keep car windows closed otherwise you might have a fury hand steal any edibles lying around.
If you hire a car seat with your car be prepared for it to to be rubbish and expensive. We ended up buying one there and left it with family.
Nowwearefour - you may of course no all this already just noting these things for any other interested readers.
oh yes, you must get fish and chips from the take out at Mariners Wharf, and sit at the bench tables, just beware of gulls!
another retaurant I love is the one at the docks: Panama Jacks
My aunt used to live near Blaauwberg so we went to the beach there. The kids will love it! Beautiful beach with some good hamburger joints available and great views of surfers. I even got some video footage of a seal surfing the waves, He was loving it!!!!
then there's the Casino we went to for a family meal.
Of course if you'r going to do any of the Wine run then you must do Spiers for the chance to stroke a cheetah at the Cheetah Outreach (they purr like a tractor and their spots are silky smooth whereas the brown fur is rough)
Boulders of course, the Bird Sanctuary and if anyone decided to walk up Table Mountain you'll need a day and good footwear, plus you will need to eat and drink once you get to the top to stop your legs going completely to jelly . The car lift thingies (forgotten name) rotate and give a great view, if you wish to take the easy route and the kids will love the dassies
The sail to Robben Island is lovely.
If you hire a car, keep windows up and doors locked at all times, especially at junctions.
Cape Town is beautiful, so green, i love it! But you have to be sensible with security. There will be burglar bars on all windows, you might need to prepare the children for this
Am copying and pasting my obsessive cape town commentary. Camps Bay is probably slightly less child friendly in terms of restaurants, water temperature etc. although the beach is lovely - long and sandy and gorgeous and there are fantastic ice cream places along the promenade!
the LO will LOVE boulders beach so definitely do that.
Whatever you do though, definitely take some time to explore Kalk bay a lovely fishing village around there. There are some great restaurants that vary from cheap and cheerful to very posh and flash. There are also some lovely little markets and craft stores which are great for browsing. The Brass Bell is a Cape Town institution huge pub/restaurant over different floors and decks. If its lunch time and the weather is nice definitely sit outside on one of the decks. The Brass Bell. Just across the harbour from the Brass Bell is Kalkies a fish and chips place that is very cheap and cheerful but everything is totally fresh caught by the manager and/or his team that day! Brunch around there is excellent at Olympia café Olympia.
Towards the City, definitely try to go up table mountain you can walk it but with a LO you probably want to take the cable car which goes basically from the City to the top of the mountain. Cable Car.
I also highly recommend Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens theres a lovely restaurant and shop and its very beautiful. Children love it because there are these gorgeous green slopes to roll down, little streams to throw pebbles into the list goes on . They also have concerts on Sunday nights which are fantastic and totally worth doing. You can take or buy a picnic to have as well.
In the City, take time to wonder around the main city and explore greenmarket square a very touristy, but nonetheless fantastic African Market.
Obviously, theres the V&A Waterfront basically just shops and restaurants. But in the summer there are always things happening at the open air theatre or just generally around so you can easily pass a day or two there just chilling out.
I would also recommend a trip to Hout Bay. It also have a lovely beach although its quite windy. Another cape town institution for food there is called Mariners Wharf www.marinerswharf.com/ and if you are a prawn lover, these are the best prawns youll ever eat. And theyll only cost you a tenner! . Theres also a great market in Hout Bay on Sundays which is good value and very interesting. www.uncoverthecape.co.za/shopping/markets/hout-bay-market/. You should also find all kinds of interesting art shops around there if youre interested at all. Hout Bay is on the Atlantic side and its worth just driving from the city to there its a gorgeous drive. Camps Bay is the most popular, and richest! beach area in cape town with lots of boutique hotels etc if you'd like to stay there for a while. It tends to be expensive, even by UK standards, so might be worth sticking to day visits. But a visit to the beach there and a walk along the beach would be worthwhile.
For history, it might be worth looking into a walking tour of the city/de waterkant de Waterkant. Also a visit to the old Castle is quite interesting Castle. A trip to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned is an interesting day out as well boats go regularly from the waterfront and you dont need to prebook normally.
Is this enough? Sorry I tend to get a little overexcited as I love Cape Town and wish that everyone could go there!
I have been going to Cape Town annually with DD since she was 3 months old. Very child friendly. Lots of restaurants do have high chairs, or child seats as they are called there. Boulders beach fab for swimming, but plan to go at low tide as the beach disappears during high tide. Kirstenbosch gardens also lovely and has a good restaurant. Waterfront is also fun with loads of places to eat. Good idea to purchase a beach umbrella when you get there, if you plan to spend time on the beaches.
thanks the bumpf all says av temp of 26 degrees so that is v v useful info! we have chosne to go for the sun but i wwill be careful!! i will get some strong suncream tomorrow. appreciate that advice even if it sounds obvious. anyone know whether suncream from last summer will still be the factor it says on the bottle?
The sea in Camps Bay itself is icy, icy cold so not really good for swimming. But there's a nice beach with much warmer sea at Fishoek (sp?) about 30 mins drive from Cape Town, which is nice for swimming/sunbathing.
I'm sure you know this already but it will be blisteringly hot (high 30s) even if it feels breezy, so factor 50 for kids at all times! I missed a bit putting suncream on my leg and after just a couple of hours it was very burnt. The climate is deceptive as it feels cooler than it is cos of the breeze.
There are some lovely places in the wine regions (Stellenbosch etc), mostly slightly north-west of Cape Town.
Not sure about highchairs etc - we haven't been since ds was born <sob>.
I went quite a while back- 2001 was absolutely fantastic. we stayed in Haut bay which was lovely and had some very nice restaurants. Unfortunately I cant remember the names. Car hire was through a small company I think they were called Round about cars and was very cheap but the Rand exchange rate was excellent at that time.
Penguins are amazing but they smell and the water is cold!WE went to a couple of local animal places which were ok not exactly safari but still good. Try the vineyards. there are loads.
Can't help much as went there pre-ds but it is fab - really beautiful! You have to go to Boulders Beach to take them to see the penguins. There is an amazing restaurant at the Spier estate about an hour away - kids would love it as there are loads of live performances and there's also a leopard encounter thing at the conservation centre there. HTH at least a bit!