Cape Town with baby & toddler

By Nomad Mum

We stayed in Cape Town with baby (5-6 month old) and toddler (almost 2) for two months. Cape Town, South Africa is a place with the highest density of day trip possibilities. You will get it all: little-hidden & surfing beaches, mountains for easy hikes, kids-friendly wineries, spectacular botanical gardens, daytime concerts, animal sanctuaries, farms, markets, street food, harbor etc.

It really is one of our most favorite spots in the world so far!

Is it safe in South Africa?

After all, Cape Town and its surroundings is a safe place as long as you follow some easy rules:

  • Don’t let doors and windows open, when you leave the house
  • Lock your car
  • Don’t leave bags unattended
  • Stay in safe neighborhoods

As you see, these rules would apply to any other bigger city in the world. Most of the criminals act quite stupid and don’t make complicated plans. If a door is open, they would sneak in. They would not try to unlock a complicated alarm system. These are just casual thieves. We felt very safe during our stay and would definitely recommend a visit with a baby or toddler or older kids!

Vaccination & health precautions

First of all, no special vaccination besides the regular vaccination is needed for South Africa. There is no Malaria or Dengue, as the climate is not tropical. The water quality is one of the best worldwide. So you can drink tap water. Private hospitals have very good health care standards. The world’s first heart transplant was performed in Cape Town! However, public hospitals are not recommended.

Travel hint: take a light baby carrier with you!

Ad | We were using our Rookie baby carrier all the time. We did not even have a stroller for the baby (only for the toddler)! Some roads are very uncomfortable for strollers and we were much more flexible that way. Rookie’s fabric is very light and breathable (contains linen) and is even on hot days still convenient for mum und bub.

 

Where to stay with your baby and/or toddler

  1. Camps Bay: an expensive neighborhood with beautiful houses, very close to the beach & not far from the city center, with bars and restaurants along the beach. One of the safest places, which means that there is a high density of private security companies.
  2. Tamboerksloof & Oranjezicht: Cute neighborhood, not far to beaches, close to the city center, a few bars & restaurants around.
  3. Sea-Point: Not far from the beaches and the city center. Bars restaurants are around. It’s a good neighborhood but not great.
  4. Rondebosch & Claremont: Good neighborhoods for families but it is a 30-minute drive the beaches.
  5. Hout Bay: A bit out of town but they have a beautiful beach over there. Stay away from the township Imizamo Yethu.
  6. Bloubergstrand, Table View, Big Bay: These neighborhoods are a 30-minute drive away from the city center but you can get cheaper accommodation very close to the beach. There are also a lot of daycare facilities if you plan to stay longer.
  7. Muizenberg: Very cute surfer town with amazing vibes. It still is part of Cape Town and a 30-minute drive away from the center.

Don’t stay here: City center close to Long St or Woodstock. These are hip but dodgy neighborhoods. You wouldn’t feel safe here.

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Do I need a rental car?

The answer is simple: no. There are UBER drivers all over the place. You will get an UBER within 3 minutes no matter where you are within Cape Town. If you are planning day trips outside the city, a rental car might be more convenient.

How to deal with car seats? For our baby, we took the Doona car seat which has retractable tires and we used it as a stroller outside the car. For our toddler, we used the Mifold booster car seat. For rental cars, we took a proper car seat for our toddler.

 

Top 12 To-Do’s with babies & toddlers

  1. V&A Waterfront: Yes, it is very touristy but also a pretty & great spot for families! Make sure to visit the V&A Food Market and the Watershed for an authentic shopping. Occasionally, you will see an impressive African music choir. The aquarium is nice but not necessarily a must-see. If your baby or toddler falls asleep, maybe you should also visit the Zeiss Art Gallery at the Waterfront! You will see African contemporary art in a very special building.
  2. Concerts in the botanical garden: Kirstenbosch is an exotic botanical garden with an unforgettable view on the Table Mountain and the most stylish Capetonians – this will be a highlight during your stay! It’s a great entertainment for a toddler. If you have a baby it might be a bit too loud, so just stay close to the concert area but don’t go inside. That way you can still listen and even don’t have to pay for entry. There is also a nice shady playground in the botanical garden close to the restaurant.
  3. Clifton Beach: A picture-perfect beach and especially good on a windy day as it gets less windy here. This beach is divided by stones and therefore named Clifton 1-4. We preferred #3.
  4. Camps Bay: A wide beach with stunning views on the Table Mountain. Lots of restaurants, cafes, and bars are here. But depending on the tide, the sea water might be dirty, unfortunately.
  5. Bakoven Beach: A nice beach for little munchkins as it is a well hidden, less crowded beach with no waves.
  6. Llandudno Beach: A stinkingly beautiful beach! But don’t go on a windy day!
  7. Constantia: This area is famous for wineries. They are all beautiful and also kids-friendly. Our most favorite was the Green Wine Eatery. It is cozy, charming and has wonderful views.
  8. Lion’s Head Hike: The original hike takes you up to the top. However, it is way too dangerous with kids. You can either go half way up and down or you do the circular walk. You will be rewarded with spectacular views on Table Mountain, the Bays, and the city!
  9. Table Mountain: go up with the cable car and have a coffee with the best view or go on a hike. If you arrive early in the morning it will be much less crowded.
  10. Signal Hill: for Sunsets.
  11. World of Birds: The name is actually a bit misleading, as this wildlife sanctuary also has (super cute!) monkeys and giant turtles. It’s a beautiful tropical park with a little playground and a small coffee & snack restaurant inside.
  12. Markets: Oranjezicht City Market on Saturdays, Hout Bay Market.

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Top 8 Cafes & Restaurants with babies & toddlers

If you want to stroll around and decide spontaneously where to have a coffee or a meal,  Kloof St in the Center and Victoria Rd in Camps Bay are good areas. All the restaurants are great and very reasonably priced, so just walk down the streets and pick the one you like! Besides that, here are our top places:

  1. The Roundhouse: Oh this place is absolutely perfect for sunsets with a view on Table Mountain and Camps Bay. They even offer dinner on their picnic area Fridays-Sundays, so make sure to book in advance. It’s quite a hipster place (dress code: stylish but not fancy); with enough space for babies to crawl around and toddlers to play in the garden.
  2. Kloof St House is particularly beautiful with a little garden to play around.
  3. Nourish’d: It’s a tiny place and not that baby friendly BUT the bowls are SO delicious and it’s such a cute place! Try not to go during typical breakfast and lunchtime as it will get crowded.
  4. La Parada Camps Bay: Good coffee, yummy breakfast, delicious Tapas and super-friendly stuff! Our toddler had her best times here while we were watching the ocean 🙂
  5. Chinchilla Rooftop: The interior is just perfect with great views of the bay. You may come for lunch with kids but after 5 pm kids are not allowed anymore.
  6. Clay Cafe in Hout Bay: A cafe, restaurant, pottery painting and most importantly, they have a kids area!
  7. Dunes in Hout Bay: A white restaurant at the beach. No more words needed 😉
  8. High Tea: Cape Town has an old English tradition enjoying teatime and especially now it is back in vogue. The Mount Nelson Hotel is THE place to experience a high tea ceremony. They have a garden outside for kids to run around. You may also come with a baby and it will hopefully sleep in the garden, so you can enjoy the very delicate “snacks”. By snacks, we actually mean loads and loads of oh so good finger food. So don’t be naive to think it is just having tea 😉

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Day Trips around Cape Town

Chapman’s Peak Drive

This coastal drive is spectacular! It starts in Hout Bay and ends at the most gorgeous beach Noordhoek Beach. Unfortunately, this beach is windy most of the time and has no shady areas. But it really is worth visiting even with small kids! Just take your baby in the baby carrier and go for a walk. Your toddler will have fun running around with no limits 🙂 You will be most probably hungry when you arrive in Noordhoek. There are two kids friendly lunch options: The Red Herring Restaurant or the one next to it. They have a shady garden and it’s a cute place. You will find it on the road just a few meters before you reach the parking area of Noordhoek Beach. The second option is the Noordhoek Farm Village with several restaurants, little shops, and a playground.

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Cape Peninsula

Are there really penguins in Cape Town? Boulders Beach is the place you want to go. Make sure to enter at the end of the beach as it gets less crowded here. Just before you reach Boulders Beach you will pass a Victorian-style town, Simon’s Town,  which might be a good place to have lunch. And finally, you probably want to see the Cape of Good Hope. The way leads you through untouched vegetation and unspoiled beaches. It almost feels like being at the end of the world. (With a few other tourists feeling the same 😉 On the way there you will most likely see Baboons. Although it is so exciting to see those crazy monkeys, DO NOT leave the car! They are very aggressive and wild animals. Also, make sure all doors a locked. They are smart enough to open the doors of a car! When you arrive at the Cape of Good Hope and want to see how the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean meet, you will have to climb up a rock. To be honest, this part is not very kids friendly. So maybe one adult stays with the kid(s) while the other one hikes upstairs.

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Muizenberg

You feel like you are miles away from big cities as soon as you enter this relaxed surfer town. It sure is worth a day trip to just relax and catch some waves.  There are also lots of families with babies! Don’t miss Joon’s Cafe on the picturesque Palmer Rd!

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Stellenbosh

There are hundreds of wine farms in Stellenbosh and they are all great! Our favorite was Spier. It is a big area with green grass, a little lake, shady areas, a playground and relaxed restaurants. You will find their wines in most supermarkets, so it’s not an insider. But it’s also not overcrowded. You will feel the perfect idyll when you enter the place. Our second recommendation is Warwick due to their cute picnic offer. You can book a picknick lunch and they provide you with everything: bean bags, blankets, sun umbrellas, picnic baskets etc.! Let the baby lay around on the blanket while you enjoy the wine 😉

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Baby food & diapers

You will get baby food, formula milk, and diapers in Cape Town. If you are looking for organic food or other conscious baby products Wellness Warehouse on Kloof St is a good address.

 

Visa requirements

South Africa is probably the only place where a kid’s passport is not sufficient to enter the country. As long as you are not a South African citizen, you will definitely need the original or a certified copy of the birth certificate of your child. If the birth certificate is not written in English, you will need a certified translation. If your documents are not certified they will not be valid! They are very strict about that may not let you enter the plane!

Besides that, you should check the VISA requirements on the site of your countries’ foreign office. Most western countries’ citizens will get Visa upon arrival. Somehow New Zealand has troubles with South Africa. So if you’re Kiwi you should apply for a visa several months before your trip.

 

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8 thoughts on “Cape Town with baby & toddler

  • Magdalena September 1, 2018 at 6:18 pm Reply

    Hey, we are going to Cape town (and surroundings) in Jan 2019 with our then 10 month old baby. Super excited but are looking for accomodation. Where did you stay? Where did you go on safari? Would you recommend one week outside Cape town? Maybe Muizenberg?

    Warm regards from Stockholm
    Magdalena

    • Nomad Mum September 3, 2018 at 6:58 pm Reply

      Hi Magdalena! We stayed in Camps Bay for 2 months and were lucky to get accommodation through the local site Gumtree. But there you only find long-term rentals. Other than that I would check Airbnb and Home Away.
      Actually, Muizenberg is just a 45 minutes drive from Cape Town and it’s technically part of Cape Town 😉 So I would recommend a day trip there. I would definitely stay in Wilderness for 3-7 days! The Garden Route Game Lodge is offering day safaris where you can bring the little ones. It’s around 1 hour drive from Wilderness.
      ENJOY!!

  • Claire October 1, 2018 at 8:35 pm Reply

    Love your posts–could you share how your kids did with sleeping and adjusting to jetlag? This is the only concern we don’t know what to do with just yet considering overseas traveling.

    • Nomad Mum October 12, 2018 at 6:29 am Reply

      Hey Claire, I found that kids adapt to new time zones much better than we do 🙂
      However, there are a few things you can do to make it easier. When you arrive in the morning, don’t go to sleep until the evening. Try to do activities where the kids don’t fall asleep. That way everyone will be super tired and instantly fall asleep in the evening. The time transition will be much easier.
      If you arrive in the evening, you should try to sleep or at least lay in bed. The next day I would recommend not to wake up too late (which is tough, haha!), so you will be tired enough in the evening.
      Cheers
      Nomad Mum

  • Elena M.B. October 27, 2018 at 7:11 pm Reply

    Love your blog. We are travelling for the 4th time to Cape Town, but for the very first time with our 8months old baby boy. We are staying in Hout Bay (guest house) and the Spier in Stellenbosch (I was very happy to read that you liked it there). Aby recommendation for dinner spots with baby, just in case we manage not to fall asleep at eight p.m. 😀
    Thank you.
    Elena

    • Nomad Mum October 30, 2018 at 10:21 am Reply

      Hi Elena,
      many thanks! You can actually have Dinner at Spier. Also, https://www.babylonstoren.com is very popular. And you can check out Paarl and Grand Roche. But I’m not sure if there is also Dinner.
      Enjoy!
      Val

  • Marius November 1, 2018 at 8:46 am Reply

    Hello,

    We are a young couple with a toddler (7 months at travel time) intending to travel to Cape Town for 10 days in January 2019.

    Your insights are very useful. Some more questions, if possible, around the safety topic:

    i) Is walking safe to visit the main spots in Cape Town (Botanical Garden, VA Waterfront, Groot Constantia, Mile by mile city tour, Table M aerial cable way, for example)?

    ii) Driving by rented car from Cape Town to Stellenboch and then towards Garden Route, and back, is safe? Or is it better to use a travel agency?

    We plan to stay a few days in Cape Town, and a week driving towards Stellenboch and Garden Route, by a rented car.

    iii) Do you recommend any rent-a-car agencies?

    iv) As we will arive at night in Cape Town airport (22.40), is it safe to take the airport taxi towards hotel (airport website mentions there is only one taxi company allowed to operate) ? Can you pay by card the taxi? Or you would recommend to arrange a transfer in advance with the accomodation.

    Many thanks.

    • Nomad Mum November 1, 2018 at 10:55 am Reply

      Hi Marius,

      wow, you are really digging into it 😉 Here are my answers quick and dirty:
      1. Yes
      2. Yes
      3. No
      4. Yes

      Cheers!
      Val

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