I’ve mentioned before that we were holidaying in Africa this summer – well, that started in the city of Cape Town. There were 6 of us – my husband and I, and our kids – who range in age from 15 down to 6.
Here’s a random selection of things we did during our stay:
- Our accomodationThe Cape Grace hotel – right on the V&A Waterfront was fabulous. All of us thoroughly enjoyed our stay there. The location was perfect, the views stunning, the service exceptional – and the wifi strong (which is a pre-requisite when travelling with children!)
We made use of the outside pool area – although admittedly were the only people in it due to it being midwinter! And I had a couple of excellent massages in the spa as I was struggling with a dodgy back.
The taster menu in their restaurant was stunning – but equally, room service was also excellent – and very convenient in our 3 bedroomed suite, and we even ate on the balcony being hardy Brits!
I had a slight work crisis whilst there – and the staff were great, printing out documents for me to work on.
The suite was stunning – and perfect for our large family. We would definitely stay there again and highly recommend it for anyone visiting whether for work, as a couple, friends or families.
- Random dog charitySo this is a slightly weird one – and wasn’t in our planned itinerary – but was a highlight for the kids in particular! Close to the hotel, in Nobel Square, there was a pop up dog rescue run by a charity for re-homing dogs. Whilst adopting a dog on holiday was clearly out of the question – you could also pay to take them for a walk for 10 minutes, or to play with the puppies and we did both!
The children loved it! You could also pay to name a dog – but there weren’t any nameless ones when we were there – however, the 8 year old has told everyone how she walked ‘Tonya Harding’ #nottheiceskater
- The Big Red Bus TourWe did this on our first day – and it gave us a real feel for the layout of the city and close surrounding area. The weather was kind so we could sit on the top deck of the bus and enjoy the sunshine and commentary. We’ve done bus tours in lots of cities and it really helps you understand the geography and history (I am such a geek!!) Sadly the cable car to the top of Table Mountain was closed for maintenance, but the bus took us to the base station which still gave amazing views across the ocean to Robben Island and beyond.
At one point we thought we’d spotted a whale – turned out it was a rock – but we’d somehow incited the whole bus into taking photos of it………
- Robben IslandTalking of Robben Island (or Robin Hood Island as my husband mistakenly called it – which is only amusing if you’re familiar with Hall Green in the South of Birmingham where a traffic roundabout is called that!) We were all really looking forward to this – especially the 6 year old who had learnt about Nelson Mandela at school last year. But we were thwarted because the weather was bad and all ferries were cancelled. So it’s the on planned thing that we missed out on during our whole trip!
- The Cape WheelWe’d spotted this from our balcony and thought we should give it a go. Like the London Eye – but smaller. You had some great views from the top – although it did make me feel a bit motion sick! (It doesn’t take a lot, I feel sea sick on a swing or a lilo!!)
- Cape TourWe had been driven from the airport to the hotel by the wonderful Nazeem from Ilios Travel – and he was our driver for our Cape Tour – assisted by the fabulous guide Rian. It was great to be driven around by such knowledgeable people – and they were both keen to answer any questions or queries we may have had. We visited some great locations – explained more below – but it was definitely worth investing in a private tour as it gave us such flexibility with what we wanted to see -or not see. We would definitely recommend Ilios to anyone visiting South Africa.
We stopped at various points on the route to admire the views. One was the beaches in Clifton which are numbered 1 down to 4. 1 is for the beautiful (or in some cases surgically enhanced) people – the husband is convinced that would be his?!? Then it’s beach 2 for sports activities, beach 3 for the local LGBT scene, and beach 4 for families to chill out. I feel we are far more beach 4 than 1 but didn’t want to burst his bubble!
We also stopped at the Farm Village in Noordhoek for a coffee where our 15 year old managed to find a tack shop. It sold the specific fly mask she’d been after for her horse that THE WHOLE OF THE UK had sold out of – so obviously we had to buy it and bring it back!!
- Cape Point LighthouseThis was great – although very windy! We caught the funicular up and down – but there is still a lot of walking up and down steps to see both lighthouses and the amazing views. Totally worth the effort though!
- Cape of Good HopeI had – mistakenly (although seemingly a common mistake) – thought this was the Southern most point of Africa – but in fact, it’s the most South Westerly. But anyway – it was beautiful to see. The sun was shining and it was REALLY windy – but great. We had to queue to get photos taken – but apparently it was nothing compared to the queues at the height of the season!
- Penguins at Boulders BeachThe penguins were fab! You get to learn a bit about them – and see all different sizes of penguins on land – and swimming. We’d been warned it was a bit smelly – but it wasn’t at all – perhaps because it was winter? The kids now also know all the facts about why African penguins are different to penguins that live on snow and ice!
- Kirstenbosch Botanical GardensThis was our last stop on our day trip – and everyone was getting a bit tired! But we still had a great time in the gardens. There’s lots to see – and we probably only witnessed a fraction of it. At least we could tick it off the list!!
- Two Oceans AquariumWe hadn’t planned to go to the Aquarium – but when our Robben Island trip was cancelled, we thought we’d try it (basically as we were up early and it was close to the hotel!) We were really pleased we did as it was great. There were lots of exhibits to look at – as well as some interactive quizzes for the kids to do. (Oh – and free wifi – which is always a winner!)
- Scratch Patch – and Cave GolfWe are lucky enough to have a number of friends from – or who’ve been – to Cape Town. A number recommended Scratch Patch – which we may not have found without the insider knowledge! The original one was in Simon’s Town and opened in the 1970s. This one, just behind the waterfront, was great. Our little girls loved ‘scratching’ to find beautiful gems to bring home from the millions of rocks covering the floor. We started off with little bags (thinking of the luggage allowance!) but ended up buying medium ones too, as there were just so many to chose from! Whilst the girls enjoyed this – the boys played Cave Golf – an inside mini golf course (thankfully with only 2 of them playing this didn’t descend into the argumentative chaos that whole family games of crazy golf have!)
- The Ferryman’s TavernWe ate and drank at the Ferryman’s Tavern on the V&A waterfront 2 consecutive days – and the waiter remembered our order! I’m not sure if this was because my husband massively over tipped him the first day due to a currency conversion issue, or because the husband was drinking gluten free beer – or just that he was a great waiter – but it made us feel like locals!!
- The V&A WaterfrontWe’ve already mentioned lots of places we visited on the waterfront during our stay – but it really was a great location. Lots of places to eat and drink and watch the world go by – and great shopping. The shopping mall was a mixture of familiar names from back home – and also familiar names from trips to the US that aren’t on the UK high street – all in all we had a great time. Generally things in SA seem cheaper than at home – which is always a good justification to buy more!
Having missed out on Robben Island – and the fact that as we had the kids in tow the husband and I didn’t do any wineries – we kind of feel that we have unfinished business with Cape Town – but are already looking forward to a return visit in the future.
Note: This is not a sponsored post, we paid for everything we did. All of it was organised by our wonderful Travel Counsellor Michelle. We just wanted to share the amazing trip we had – and keep a record of it for us to look back on.