Set between the foot of Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Town (colloquially referred to as “the Mother City”) is one of the most exciting and action-packed cities in Africa to visit with children and also one of the most picturesque in the world.
Best time to visit Cape Town
The best time to visit Cape Town is in the southern hemisphere summer months (December to February) when there are glorious hours of sunshine and the best beach weather. The city and its surrounds are pleasant year-round if you are visiting out of season, but you will get the most out of the outdoor lifestyle in the summer months.
- December are January are warm but can also be a time of high winds.
- Expect hotel prices in December and January to be significantly higher too.
- February to April would be our ideal pick, when the weather is still mild but the crowds (and the winds) have died down.
- Wildflower season from early September can be a magnificent time to visit Cape Town.
How to get around Cape Town
A lot of Cape Town can be reached on foot or is just a short taxi/Uber ride way, but we do recommend you get out and explore the beaches and surrounding areas too down into the Cape Peninsula. You can do this by hire car or there are many tour companies that offer day trips. Cape Town airport (CPT) is serviced by both domestic and international flights. To get to central Cape Town from the airport, you can hire a car, take the bus, a taxi or arrange a private shuttle transfer with your accommodation.
- The best way to get around Cape Town for a family is to hire a car.
- For safety reasons, visitors to Cape Town are advised not to walk around the city at night.
- Cape Town has a reliable bus system and kids under the age of 4 and less than 1 metre travel for free.
- Taxis in Cape Town are cheap and can be flagged down or pre-booked.
- Many hotels offer a free shuttle bus service.
Where to stay in Cape Town with kids
The City Bowl area of Cape Town, nestled between the ocean and the mountains, is where you will find most of the city’s accommodation. The V&A Waterfront is one of the most popular choices for families with its busy working harbour and access to Robben Island along with plentiful shopping and dining options.
Staying near the beach is also a popular choice, but do note that beaches on the Atlantic seaboard can be a little cold, wild and windy compared to the much calmer waters in False Bay.
Top things to do in Cape Town with kids
Cape Town is such a great city for outdoor exploring and hands-on activities for kids. We recommend you not only explore the Waterfront and inner city but get up into Table Mountain and beyond into the Cape Peninsula to fully enjoy everything the region has to offer. The weather in Cape Town can change quickly though, so make sure you always have a Plan B lined up.
What to Pack for Cape Town
Cape Towns weather can quickly turn so while hats and sunscreen are essential to pack, so to are layers and a raincoat! You will find distinct seasons with summery beach weather through to cold grey days in the winter where some woolly layers will help. If you are travelling with small children you may need booster seats for day tripping to the many attractions around the Cape Peninsular. An infant carrier and sturdy walking shoes are also a great idea for the many walks you are likely to take.
Safety and other important information for Cape Town
Although the safety situation in Cape Town has much improved over the years, petty crime does exist. There are a few basic precautions you should follow as a tourist.
- Try and stick to the main tourist areas.
- Do not walk in isolation after dark, try to walk in bigger groups or catch public transport.
- Keep flashy jewellery, expensive cameras and anything of value hidden or better yet, leave them in a safe in your hotel.
- Do not walk around talking on your phone.
- Never leave valuables in sight in your car.
- Careful of your pockets when walking through busy places.
Important numbers to note in Cape Town
- Police: 10111
- Ambulance: 10177
- Taxi service: 021 434 4444
- Roadside assistance: 083 843 22
Very important note for families visiting South Africa!
Travelling with a child under 18 to any South African destination, you must bring with you their full unabridged birth certificate (UBC) in addition to their passport. If travelling without both parents the child will need to have a Parental Consent Affidavit or Guardianship Order. Check the Department of Home Affairs Website before travelling to ensure you have the right documents.