By Farzanah Ebrahim
After nearly a year of being in 'Lockdown,' my family and I were only too ready to start exploring again. Obviously we were a bit apprehensive at first because safety before anything else but Cape Town felt like the safest option in December. We assumed everyone would opt for Durban... and to our not-so-surprised surprise we were right.
Cape Town in December is always a winner because apart from it being South Africa's summer months, Cape Town during December receives virtually no rain so you can always guarantee sunny beach days on the agenda. Added to this is the fact that Maghrib is at 8pm, so you have ample time to explore. You might want to spend a day out, visiting the great mosques of the city, or you might be a foodie looking to try all the Halal restaurants in Cape Town to dine in.
But if you're planning a day out with your kids in Cape Town, here are our top-picks!
Image Credit: Cape Town Tourism
This beautiful landmark named after the British Monarchs Victoria and Alfred is a man-made sight to behold. On the edge of the Harbour and in the very heart of the city it is what my family considers a 'Fardh' stop while in Cape Town.
The waterfront contains the harbour with many outdoor activities and eateries as well as a sizable mall in the centre. The mall features a large number of everyday South African shops as well as many international boutiques.
During Covid however, especially while being in a foreign place, we prefer to stay out of confined spaces but luckily there is still an array of activities to do outside. The boat rides, although significantly less now due to Covid, are still up and running. I can't say they have the most stringent of covid policies but they do sanitize and masks need to be worn throughout the ride. The boat takes you on a delightful cruise around the Harbour with the captain explaining both the historic as well as more modern landmarks.
You also get a glimpse of the acclaimed Robben Island which can be visited with a ferry from the harbour. Robben Island is a fascinating tourist stop but I wouldn't advise it with young children because the boat ride is relatively long, the island is very cold and the trip is mostly just based on history. There are many other activities though to enjoy such as the outside play area, The Cape Wheel, which offers spectacular views of the harbour and the amphitheatre which always hosts a show or two.
Looking for salaah times in Cape Town? Here's a handy guide!
Image Credit: Alf Igel on Flickr
Also bordering the outskirts of the harbour is the two ocean's aquarium which although small is still a delight for the kids. Cape Town being on the southernmost tip of Africa is the point where the Indian and Atlantic Ocean meet, thus motivating the Aquarium's name.
Despite Covid, the aquarium was still fully functional with all the displays opened except for the iconic fish tube, a makeshift tube that you get to stand in while fish swim around you – a perfect photo op – as well as the interactive touch station where you could usually feel and play with the various sea specimens.
Apart from that, everything else was open and there were sanitizing stations throughout the aquarium. The penguins (which is usually the highlight) were a treat for the kids and the full dome sea exhibition could still be easily enjoyed.
Just outside the aquarium one can find the booking office and drop off point for the internationally known Hop on Hop off busses. If you are without kids I would definitely suggest you consider this option which offers two breath-taking routes but the stops on the route are mostly scenic landmarks which may not appeal to a younger audience.
Image Credit: Cape Town Tourism
Tucked away in Tyger Valley just outside of the City bowl you will find this mini amusement park consisting of Toboggan carts.
Entry into the actual park is free but you have to purchase tickets to ride which is R70 for adults and R60 for children. You need to be over 7 years to man the cart but if both you and your child have a smaller build you can most definitely go together. The track itself is quite short so you will be tempted to have another go, so if you are a family of 4 or 5, I would suggest a combo pack.
It's also a bit of a steep incline to the top which can be a bit of a strain on the back and if you are unfortunate enough to have someone slow in front of you it could break your speed drastically. There's a fully-fledged restaurant on the premises which unfortunately is not halal but there is a convenience store from which you can purchase snacks.
Apart from this though there isn't that much to do so you are looking at spending about 2 hours tops here. The lines also move relatively fast and if you arrive early, you have virtually no lines at all. All in all though it's a good experience which I wouldn’t pass up trying at least once.
Image Credit: Polkadraai Strawberry Farm
Another activity that Cape Town is well known for is the picking of summer fruits, especially grapes and strawberries. Due to the massive amount of farms in Cape Town, many farms allow outsiders to come into the farms and to enjoy a bit of fruit picking during their peak season.
One of my favourites to take my kids to is Polkadraai Strawberry Farm in Stellebosch. My husband can't seem to understand the joy we derive out of picking strawberries but it truly is very therapeutic and I find it also to be a very informative activity for the kids.
The pricing is not too bad either as buckets come in 3 sizes ranging from R20-30 and once a bucket is purchased you can pick strawberries until the bucket is filled to the brim and then you can take all the strawberries you have collected home.
If you're like us and can't wait that long, there is a lovely grassy play area where you can picnic with your bucket while the kids play on the jungle-gym. Coupled with that there are tractor rides that go through the farm as well as a quaint farm stall where you can purchase not just strawberries but an assortment of freshly made jams and dried fruit. Whether you’re a strawberry eater or not it's a must see when in Cape Town with kids.
Image Credit: Cape Town City Pass
Paragliding off Signal Hill and Lion's Head is a bucket list must-do for any adrenaline junkie. So when my 9 year old asked to do it I was very very sceptical at first, because who wants to see their feather weight 9 year old jumping off a cliff?
To be honest with you I prayed Ayatul Kursi even while driving up the hill because every fear imaginable popped into my mind. In the end though I was pleasantly surprised because not only were the guides extremely professional but the entire experience was actually quite safe.
When the operators hear a child wants to jump they call in their most trained and experienced instructors. Your child is perfectly secured and jumps with a guide ensuring all Covid protocols are met. The flight itself is about 5 minutes long but the view you get is out of this world as you get a full bird's eye view of the Cape Peninsula. The kids land in Sea Point which is a well-known beach area and you have either the option to pick them up from the beach or the guide can bring them back up the hill to you. Although it is a bit pricey, it is worth the experience and the view.
There’s so much to do in Cape Town but these are some of my favourites! Where would you bring your kids? Let us know in the comments section below!
Want some inspiration for your next trip? Check out more HalalTrip blog articles here!