Category: Parks & Gardens

Bird Watching at Table Bay Nature Reserve

Table Bay Nature Reserve - The Mommy City

After driving down the West Coast R27 road for over 3 years and admiring the Rietvlei Wetlands from the car, we finally visited the reserve and bird hides. Part of the Table Bay Nature Reserve, the wetlands and water area offer boating, sailing, picnic and braai areas, fishing, hiking and two bird hides. There are some 196 bird species including pelicans, flamingos, ducks, coots, herons, plovers, weavers and swallows. The walk to the bird hides is along a gravel road and then wooden walkways over the vlei. You can bring a pram or bikes for older kids, otherwise be prepared for some carrying of tots. Nice escape from the city and for the kids to see the birds, watch the boats and fishmen reel in carp. The entry fee is dependent on which activity you choose, vehicle, number and age of persons.

Information:

Location: Corner Sandpiper and Grey Avenue, Table View (Directions)
Telephone: (021) 444 0315
Opening times: 07:30-17:30 (daily); water sports hours 10:00-17:00 (weekdays), 09:00-17:00 (weekends)

Table Bay Nature Reserve - The Mommy City

Cape Town for Tots

Cape Town for tots - what to do in the Mother City by The Mommy City

So you have packed your baby bag, got the snacks, sunscreen and tons of patience, and now want to know where to take your tot for the day. I’ve put together my choice of family fun activities in and around Cape Town which are suitable for younger children and make the most of the natural beauty around us.

Free activities

Green Point Park

The park is located behind the Stadium and there is ample parking behind the Virgin Active and along the Mouille Point entrances. The park offers activities for all ages with a toddler play area for 1 to 6 year olds, the adventure play area for 6 to 16 year olds, designated ball game area, and a fitness area with outdoor gym equipment. There is plenty of space to relax in the grounds or at the shaded picnic spot by the pond. The toilet facilities are clean with two baby changing rooms. Read more here …

Location: Park Road (behind the stadium), Green Point (Directions)
Tel: (021) 417 0111
Opening times: Mon-Sun 07:00 – 19:00
Website: http://www.gprra.co.za/green-point-urban-park.html

Sea Point Promenade and Pavilion Rotary Park

Take a stroll along the promenade with the kids and enjoy the open play areas and smaller beaches with rock pools. Situated around the corner from the public pools on Beach Road you will find the Pavilion Rotary Park. The Park is fenced, manned and entry is strictly for children under 8 years with adult supervisors. Read more here …

Location: Beach Road, Sea Point (Directions)
Opening times: Mon-Sun 08:00 – 18:00

The Company’s Gardens

Green, lush and relaxing, you could easily spend a couple of hours walking around the well-maintained gardens and chilling on a picnic blanket. The children will enjoy feeding the squirrels, spotting birds in the aviary and a light lunch at the restaurant. You can also explore the South African Museum, Planetarium, National Gallery, Jewish Museum and Parliament, which form part of the gardens. Please keep your possessions safe as there are beggars about. Read more here …

Location: 19 Queen Victoria Street (Directions)
Tel: (021) 426 1357
Opening times: Mon-Sun 07:00 – 19:00 (winter), 07:30 – 20:30 (summer)
Website: https://www.capetown.gov.za/en/parks/Pages/TheCompanysGarden.aspx

Activities for under R150

Treasure hunting at Scratch Patch

Jump into the pile of gemstones and your kids can scratch for their favourites. Fill packets which are available in different sizes and prices, and the shop stocks beautiful jewellery items for mom. Read more here …

V&A Waterfront Outlet
Location: Dock Rd (near the Aquarium). Tip: Park on the 2nd floor of Portswood Parking Bay (Directions)
Tel: (021) 419 9429
Opening times: Mon – Sun 9:00 – 17:30

Simon’s Town Outlet
Location: Dido Valley Road, Simon’s Town (Directions)
Tel: (021) 786 2020
Opening times: Mon – Fri 8:30 – 16:45; Sat, Sun, Holidays: 9:00 – 17:30
Website: http://www.scratchpatch.co.za/

Blue Train Park

The miniature blue train and adventure park is situated along the water in Mouille Point, and has a number of activities for kids 1-12 years. Park activities include climbing rock, jungle gyms, bike track, mini zip line and outdoor creative arts studio. All proceeds go towards the Rotary Club of Sea Point. Nearby activities include the Sea Point Promenade, Green Point Park and V&A Waterfront.

Location: Beach Road, Green Point (next to Mouille Point lighthouse) (Directions)
Tel: 084 314 9200
Opening times: Tues-Sun 09:30 – 18:00
Website: http://www.thebluetrainpark.com/

Intaka Island at Century City

The conservation park at Century City is home to 212 different indigenous plants and 120 bird species. Enjoy a 30 minute boat trip around the canals, walk around the 2km nature trail with rest stops along the way. The path on the nature trail is a little bumpy but still pram friendly, though probably a little narrow for twin strollers. Be sure to pack some water, sunscreen and a picnic to make the most of this day out. Read more here …

Location: 2 Park Lane, Grand Central precinct, Century City (Directions)
Tel: (021) 552 6889
Opening times: summer (Oct – April) Mon-Sun 07:30 – 19:00; winter (May – Sept) Mon-Sun 07:30 – 17:30
Website: http://intaka.co.za/

Kirstenbosch Gardens

Take a stroll through the beautiful gardens and watch the kiddies chase the guinea fowls as you enjoy a picnic in the many shady spots. Learn about the different types of plants, crawl around for bugs and walk up high in the trees on the tree canopy walkway. Entrance fees for adults and older children, whilst children under 6 years enter for free.

Location: Rhodes Drive, Newlands (Directions)
Tel: (021) 799 8783
Opening times: summer (Sept – March) Mon-Sun 08:00 – 19:00; winter (Apr – Aug) 08:00 – 18:00
Website: http://www.sanbi.org/gardens/kirstenbosch

Activities for over R150

Bugz Family Playpark

Rides, jungle gyms, party venue, indoor and outdoor play areas, food court and petting zoo, there is plenty to keep the kids entertained. Children around 4 years and older will get the most out of all the activities. Pack a costume and towel so the kids can enjoy the water slides. Read more here …

Location: 56 Tarentaal Street, Joostenbergvlakte, Kraaifontein (Directions)
Tel: (021) 988 8836
Opening times: Mon-Sun 09:00 – 17:00
Website: http://www.bugzplaypark.co.za/

West Coast National Park

SA National Park a one hour drive from Cape Town, with game viewing, seaside picnic spots and swimming. Best time of year to visit is during flower season in August-September. Wildlife to see include Wildebeest, Zebra, Ostrich, Bontebok, Springbok, seals and birds of prey. Pack a picnic, your camera, walking shoes and some sunglasses and enjoy what the Park has to offer. Read more here …

Location: R27, West Coast (Directions)
Opening times: winter (April – Aug) Mon-Sun 07:00 – 18:00; summer (Sept – March) 07:00 – 19:00
Website: http://www.sanparks.co.za/parks/west_coast/

Boulders Beach

Boulders Beach is world famous and home to a colony of African Penguins, making it a popular tourist destination. There are 3 beaches, 1 penguin viewing area and 3 boardwalks, and we have enjoyed a few good meals at the restaurant. The beach is sheltered and children can swim with the penguins, but don’t touch – they will bite!

Location: Kleintuin Road, Sea Forth, Simon’s Town (Directions)
Tel: (021) 786 2329
Opening times: Mon-Sun (Dec – Jan) 07:00 – 19:30, (Feb – Mar / Oct – Nov) 08:00 – 18:30, (Apr – Sept) 08:00 – 17:00
Website: http://www.sanparks.co.za/parks/table_mountain/tourism/attractions.php#boulders

Two Oceans Aquarium

The Aquarium is situated at the V&A Waterfront and is open all year round and a perfect family outing, especially on rainy days. Besides all the wonderful creatures to see, children can also enjoy playing in the play centre and watching a puppet show. The baby facilities are great and they even have a separate baby change room for the dads. Baby carriers are available free of charge at the visitors desk for when your little one gets too heavy to hold. Purchase tickets online as it is slightly cheaper and an annual pass could make a great pressie. Read more here …

Location: Dock Road, V&A Waterfront (Directions)
Tel: (021) 418 3823
Opening times: Mon-Sun 09:30 – 18:00
Website: http://www.aquarium.co.za/

Please share your recommended outings for tots in and around Cape Town in the comments below, always looking for fun things to do.

Intaka Island at Century City

Intaka Island @ Century City - The Mommy City

We love the outdoors and we cannot believe it has taken us so long to visit Intaka Island which is a hidden paradise so close to the city. Just 10 minutes from central Cape Town, this award-winning conservation project is tucked behind Century City and is home to 212 different indigenous plants and 120 bird species. We took a 30 minute boat trip around the canals which was just the right amount of time for the kids to enjoy before wanting off to go for a walk around the 2km nature trail. It was so relaxing listening to the sounds of the birds, the scurrying of little creatures and flowing water. The view at the top picnic bench is worth the little climb and a good stop off for a drink and a bite to eat. The path on the nature trail is a little bumpy but still pram friendly, though probably a little narrow for twin strollers. This makes an ideal outing for young children as it’s an easy walk, there’s lots to see and is a short drive from town. Be sure to pack some water, sunscreen and a picnic to make the most of this day out.

Information:

Location: 2 Park Lane, Grand Central precinct, Century City (Directions)
Telephone: (021) 552 6889
Opening times: summer (Oct – April) Mon-Sun 07:30 – 19:00; winter (May – Sept) Mon-Sun 07:30 – 17:30
Website: http://intaka.co.za/

Prices*:

Day Visitor Fee Boat Ride & Day Visitor Fee
Adults R14.00 R40.00
Children (U 12 yrs) R 8.50 R30.00
Pensioners R 8.50 R30.00

*Correct January 2015. Please confirm current prices on their website. Annual member rates also available.Intaka Island @ Century City - The Mommy City

Bugz Family Playpark

Bugz Family Playpark - The Mommy CityWe recently had our second family outing to Bugz Family Playpark in Kraaifontein, and we had the best weather before the storm clouds rolled in. We got there really early, along with all the other parents with really young kids, and spent our time playing with new friends in the freeplay areas in the sandpit, the jungle gym and the dragon swing (the best). Paige and I went on the choo choo train around the park, which was just long enough before she wanted off to play on the next ride (she was a like kid in a candy store!) She is still a little young at under 3 years for most of the token rides, and children around 4 years and older will get the most out of all the activities. Remember to pack a costume and towel for the kids, so they can enjoy the water slides. What I like is even if it’s busy, you can find a quiet spot to relax at a table shaded by all the trees, and appreciate the kids having fun. If you want to move indoors, there is an indoor play area and Bugz Tent Kitchen for eats. There were plenty of parties going on that day, each in their own reserved area, which Paige did her best to gatecrash. A fun morning out, and best of all they both slept in the car on the way home.

Bugz Family Playpark - The Mommy City

Information:

Location: 56 Tarentaal Street, Joostenbergvlakte, Kraaifontein (Directions)
Telephone: (021) 988 8836
Opening times: Mon-Sun 09:00 – 17:00
Website: http://www.bugzplaypark.co.za/

Bugz Family Playpark - The Mommy City

This is not a paid post but I was allowed free access to explore the park with my family. Images are my own. 

50 photos of Cape Town that will make you want to live in the Mother City

Cape Town has to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world and I’m very fortunate to live here. Travelstart have compiled 50 photos of Cape Town which will make you fall in love with the city. It’s difficult to narrow Cape Town down to 50 photos and there are other places that would make the list of best spots, and here are just a few of my favourite places. You can see the rest of the top 50 by visiting the Travelstart blog page.

Graeme-Myburgh-Boulders-BeachBoulders Beach by Graeme Myburgh 

Len-Theivendra-VA-WaterfrontI always feel like I’m on holiday at the V&A Waterfront. Photo by Len Theivendra.

Michael-Morris-Trekking-Tripod-Kirstenbosch-GardensKirstenbosch Gardens for picnicking and summer time concerts by Michael Morris from Trekking Tripod.

Rose-en-Bos-Company-GardensThe Company Gardens by Rose en Bos.
South-North-West-Coast-Spring-FlowersjpgSpring flowers on the West Coast by south-north.co.za.

Steven-Cunliffe-Sea-Point-PromenadeMy home for 2 years, the Sea Point Promenade by Stephen Cunliffe.

Lightning over Table Bay, Cape TownThe night sky by Warren Tyrer.

 

The Company’s Gardens

Company Gardens

We had a lovely outing to The Company’s Gardens in the Cape Town city centre behind Wale Street. I was pleasantly surprised by how green, lush and relaxing the well-maintained gardens are and I could easily spend a couple of hours walking around and chilling on a picnic blanket. We explored the grounds and aviary before enjoying a light lunch at the restaurant. It took me back to my childhood days, particularly the old-fashioned restaurant, and the simple enjoyment of taking a stroll with the family. The gardens are open 7am -7pm daily and you can also explore the South African Museum, Planetarium, National Gallery, Jewish Museum and Parliament, which form part of the gardens.

Company GardensThe squirrels are extremely cute and for R5 a packet of raw peanuts, you can feed and make friends with these hungry little fellas. The Egyptian geese have made the ponds their home and of course, you can’t go far in the city without finding pigeons and we also saw 2 monster rats! To find out more about the history of the park, the attractions and for a map, please visit the City of Cape Town website.  Company Gardens

Flower season at West Coast National Park

Yesterday we had a stunning day out at the West Coast National Park enjoying flower season with Aunty Dee and Uncle Wayne. During flower season the Park opens up to the public the 1800 hectare privately-owned Postberg region from 1 August to 30 September so that everyone can enjoy the beauty and some game viewing. We spotted a Wildebeest, Zebra, Ostrich, Bontebok and Springbok on our drive. Pack a picnic, your camera, walking shoes and some sunglasses (doesn’t Paige look too cute in her pair, Aunty Jo and I had fun choosing her those sunnies) and enjoy what the Park has to offer. It is a wonderful day out and only an hour’s drive from Cape Town.

This week it’s South African National Parks Week and South Africans can enjoy free entry between 10 and 14 September.