When planning a family getaway, there’s no better travel advice than from a parent who has been there.
With that in mind, we’ve got the lowdown from travel-loving mums from recent trips with their children including where they stayed and shopped to their favourite restaurants and activities.
This month, we speak South African-in-London and Wardrobe Icons co-founder, Petro Stofberg, who gives us the insider scoop on home town Cape Town. From the best beaches for kids to the family-friendly lunch spots and attractions, Petro shares her tips for the perfect family holiday in this spectacular city.
Give us the lowdown on Cape Town.
It’s one of the most fantastic cities in the world. The food is incredible, the scenery is spectacular and there is tons of amazing wildlife. One of the best things about the city – and South Africa as a whole – is the friendly people who are incredibly welcoming of visitors. I was born in Cape Town and lived there until I was nine; it still feels very much like home. I love going back to visit as often as possible, and I love the smell, the sea air, the flora and fauna and the people. I am a Capetonian through and through – I even love the freezing ocean!
Where should families stay in Cape Town?
My family home is in Onrus, near Cape Town, so often we stay there. I recommend checking Airbnb for places nearby Hermanus, it’s a lovely part of the Cape Province with plenty of great options for accomodation. We also have a guest house, Bosjes, in the Breede Valley. It’s an old wine-farm turned guesthouse in a real foodie destination. I love it there and so do my children.
Other places that are fabulous – but also family friendly – are the boutique hotels The Robertson Small Hotel and Babylonstoren. The latter is one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms and is set at the foot of Simonsberg in the Franschhoek wine valley. It has a super selection of accommodation to suit all families.
In the centre of Cape Town, the Belmond Mount Nelson is a real institution that has a lovely feeling about it; it’s classic but great for kids with a lovely pool. For something more modern, stay at the Silo Hotel at the V&A Waterfront, just above the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) which houses Africa’s largest collection of contemporary African art – well worth a visit. Or check out the One&Only which I’ve been told has a great kids club.
Why should families visit?
There is so much to do! We always head straight to the beach. Camps Bay is one of my favourite places to hang out, the sand is so soft and white and the rolling waves are beautiful. It’s a great place to take kids as the beach itself isn’t too big, the sea is shallow enough for little ones to have a swim and there are tons of facilities including parking and wonderful restaurants. Book a table for lunch at the Lawns on Camps Bay – the food is fabulous.
I also really enjoy going to wine farms. Lots of farms are geared up for families with play areas and restaurants that welcome families. Groot Constantia is one of them.
Then there are all the sights to visit. Taking the cable car up Table Mountain is such a fun way to spend a day, taking in the spectacular views from the top. Or visit the stunning Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, which is a 36-hectare World Heritage site. Kids will also really enjoy the Two Oceans Aquarium. Being in there almost feels like standing in a scene from Finding Nemo.
What else do you love to do while visiting?
There are some fantastic galleries and you can find quite inexpensive art that is worth investing in. My favourites are Chandler House and the What If The World. Cape Town has some great shops too: I always try to pop into the V&A Waterfront as there are so many great clothing and interiors stores there. Don’t miss lunch at The Grand next door, it has delicious food, beach vibes and amazing views.
I would also recommend anyone coming to South Africa consider a safari. I go whenever I get the opportunity. There are family-friendly game reserves just a few hours drive from Cape Town. Check out Aquila Private Game Reserve or Inverdoorn Private Game Reserve, which is in the malaria-free area of Ceres Karoo. Seeing the Big Five in SA is an adventure older children relish.
What do your children enjoy most?
For them it’s all about seeing family and going to the beach. They still love pottering around in the sand. Cape Town has lots of beautiful beaches such as Clifton and Llandudno (but Camps Bay is still my favourite). We also go to Boulders Beach which is just a short drive out of the city and home to the famous resident penguins. Another one to add to the list is Clay Café in Hout Bay where you can paint your own pottery while you eat.
What should we try while there?
Braaing (the South African term for BBQing) is a national institution. At Hermanus there is a place called De Vette Mossel (the Fat Mussel) which serves a traditional fish braai – I highly recommend it.
Who should visit Cape Town and why?
Open minded people who have a carefree attitude. It is somewhere that will appeal to nature lovers, surfers, foodies and open-water swimmers. It does have a high-end side to it but I wouldn’t go there looking for silver service. You go to South Africa for the laidback lifestyle and chilled-out approach.
What do you look for in a holiday as a parent?
Somewhere fuss-free that is kid friendly. I would say hands down that is South Africa; it’s geared up for families with a lovely, relaxed pace of life and it’s hard to find anywhere that doesn’t welcome kids. So many restaurants have playgrounds and menus for kids.
Where are you off to next?
Menorca this summer. We’re spending three weeks there and I’m looking forward to discovering everything the island has to offer. I’ve heard great things. It looks super chilled-out, kid-friendly and has the type of beautiful beaches we love.
What should we pack?
And for your children?
Any Questions or Tips to add?