City Sightseeing Cape Town – Being a Tourist in my own City

I think that it’s necessary for every person to be a tourist in their own City every now and again.  There are so many things in your own city you might not know of.  We are so fast to jump on a plane and to explore other countries and their cities, but once you start exploring your own city, you understand why tourist comes to your city.  We decided to hop onto the Cape Town City Sightseeing bus and did the Blue Tour which is the “Blue Mini Peninsula Tour”.  There are multiple tours on which you can go, even a Wine Tour, which will be the next one for us to explore.  The Blue Mini Peninsula Tour has 18 stops on the route, starting at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) moving on through Town and past the beautiful Mount Nelson Hotel, Kirstenbosch Gardens, World of Birds, Imizamo Yethu township, Houtbay, Campsbay and all the way back to the Two Oceans Aquarium where the tour starts.  For more information on the Cape Town City Sightseeing Tours, go to: http://www.citysightseeing.co.za

The nice thing about this tour is that it’s a “hop on, hop off” type tour.  So you can hop off the bus at anyone of the stops to explore the City a bit more and hop onto the next City Sightseeing bus (every 25 minutes there will be a bus) at the bus stop where you jumped off.  This makes it convenient to explore every part of the city.  This can make for a full day of exploring and fun.ImageImageThere is also the Canal Tour which you can do.ImageImageBeautiful Cape Town ImageImageImageYou will see people running or cycling all over town.  Cape Town is full of very active people, running, cycling or walking dogs.ImageImageMount Nelson Hotel against a beautiful backdrop of Table MountainImageImageBeautiful view of Table mountainImageView of the HarbourImageRhodes MemorialImageKirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is one of the stops on the Blue TourImageStopping at the beautiful KirstenboschImageDriving through Constantia and Newlands, so beautiful with all the treesImageWorld of Birds, wonderful place to take the kidsImagePlaying soccer on a Saturday afternoon just outside of Imizamo Yethu townshipImageImizamo Yethu Township on the outskirts of HoutbayImageImageGetting off at Houtbay for some much needed lunch at Mariners WarfImageOne of my favourite restaurantsImageMariners WarfImageMariners Warf is decorated to give you the feel of being on a shipImageImageImageImageSurfing at Houtbay beach.  The waves are small and calm, so if you’re a biginner, this is perfect for a startImageThe sea is so calm, making paddle surfing so much easierImageSome real African music entertaining us while eating lunch at Mariners WarfImage

Big Bay Beach – Cape Town

Big Bay beach is quite close to Blouberg Beach.  It is a long stretch of beach to the right, which makes it perfect for walking the dogs and having the kids run around.  To the left of Big Bay Beach you will find Small Bay Beach.  These two beaches are very popular amongst surfers, kite surfers, paddle boarders, families walking dogs and kids playing in the water.  When it’s windy in Big Bay, it’s very windy, so it’s best to go when it’s a lovely summers or winters day with no wind.  The kite and wind surfers will fill up the water when the wind pick up.  Mostly you’ll find the surfers in the water early morning before it’s too windy and the waves are still good, but once the wind picks up you’ll see the surfers coming out of the water and being replaced by wind and kite surfers.

It’s the perfect beach should you want to take your dogs for a long walk.  This is one of the view dog friendly dogs where you can take your dog(s) for a walk at any time during the day and year.  Most dogs on this beach are socialised and play with each other.

You will also find loads of children running around on this beach playing cricket, soccer or beach tennis and learning to surf and doing some body boarding.  This is really the perfect family beach.  The only important thing to know is that the water is very cold and it’s advisable to wear a wetsuit when surfing, kite surfing or wind surfing.

Just off the beach, on the beach front you will find Eden on the Bay, which is a lovely little shopping centre with loads of nice restaurants and some surf shops.  The surf shops here also offer surfing lessons and you can hire a wetsuit and surf board, so you don’t have to go out and buy everything in order to go for surfing lessons.  If you are anything like me, first try it out and see whether you enjoy it before heading out and spending loads of money on a surfboard and wetsuit just to discover you might not enjoy it that much.  You can also hire SUP (stand up paddle boards), so if you are a surfer but the waves calmed down too much for your liking, you can always hire a paddle board and try that out for some fun.

On beautiful and clear days you will have a stunning view of Table Mountain and Lion’s Head as well as Robben Island which is an island in Table Bay, 6.9 km west of the coast of BloubergstrandCape Town, South Africa. The name is Dutch for “seal island”. Robben Island is roughly oval in shape, 3.3 km long north-south, and 1.9 km wide, with an area of 5.07 km².  It is flat and only a few metres above sea level, as a result of an ancient erosion event. The island is composed of Precambrian metamorphic rocks belonging to the Malmesbury Group. Nobel Laureate and former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela was imprisoned on Robben Island for 18 of the 27 years he served behind bars before the fall of apartheidKgalema Motlanthe, who also served as President of South Africa, spent 10 years on Robben Island as a political prisoner, as did current president Jacob Zuma.  There are daily tours to Robben Island which will take you to the museum and give you a more indepth history of the island.  You can go to http://www.robben-island.org.za/ to learn more about the tours on offer.ImageLoads of kite surfers here.  You will see they come out by the dozens as soon as the wind picks up a little bitImageWind surfers also enjoy the waves at Big BayImageYou will find the water filled with surfers, kite surfers and wind surfers when there’s wind and still good wavesImageBeautiful view of Table Mountain and Lion’s HeadImageThis beautiful couple asked me to photograph them and they ended up printing this photo on Canvas and put it up in their bedroom.ImageLoads of guys on the beach selling ice cream, perfect for those warm summer’s days.  Kids love running around with their ice creams.ImageSo many surfers on this beachImageImageThere is a surfing school at the centre “Eden on the Bay” by the beach front and they teach young and old to surf.  I believe that no one is to old to learn how to surf.  Definitely something on my bucket list.ImageOn clear days like this, you will have a beautiful view of Robben IslandImageDogs love playing in the water and running around at Big Bay – one of the last few dog friendly beaches in Cape TownImageImageEven crazy Harper is allowed on the beach and plays with everything and anything.  He absolutely loves the beach and playing in the water.ImageImageEven little kids enjoy surfing hereImageImageYou will even find some paddleskis at Big BayImageImageImage

Things to do with children in Cape Town – Two Oceans Aquarium

When you’re in Cape Town, it is a must to visit the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.  There are multiple shops, catering for all sorts of shopaholics, brilliant restaurants and loads of entertainment for adults as well as children.  One of the main attractions at the V&A Waterfront, is the Two Oceans Aquarium and is definitely one of the things to do with kids on a rainy, cold winter’s day in Cape Town.

The aquarium opened on the 13 November 1995 and comprises of seven exhibition galleries with large viewing windows.  The enchantment of this aquarium is due to its location, where the Indian and Atlantic ocean meet.

  • Atlantic Ocean Gallery – This gallery allows you to discover the life of the Atlantic Ocean. Such marine life as translucent jellyfish, tiny and rare Knysna seahorse and giant spider crabs.
  • Holcim Activity Centre
  • Cape Fur Seal Exhibit
  • I&J Predator Exhibit – In this gallery you will see ragged-tooth sharks and stingrays. If you have diving qualifications you can dive in the predators’ tank.
  • Indian Ocean Gallery – Showcases six exhibits of marine life found in the Indian ocean. The anemonefish (a.k.a.clownfish) seen in the movie Finding Nemo and his friends and a wealth of other colorful fish can be found in this Ocean’s coral reefs.
  • Kelp Forest Exhibit – One of the aquarium’s biggest attractions, this underwater forest is home to shoals of silver fishes sparkling through the sunlight.
  • Sappi River Meander Exhibit

It is possible to scuba dive with ragged tooth sharks at the Aquarium if you hold a Padi Open Water Certificate.

It is also possible to host your child’s birthday party at the Aquarium where they set up a table in the restaurant with fun snacks and drinks.  They also take the kids on a guided tour around the building around feeding time for all the different animals, like the penguins and sharks.  They also go to the activity centre where the children can draw pictures, make cards, play in the sand or sit and watch the penguins.

Luke always loves going to the Aquarium and he loves telling us about all the different fish and what their purpose is.  It is definitely a very educational and fun place for children and it doesn’t matter how old you are, it is still one of the most fun things to do.

There are plenty more things to do at the Aquarium and if you go to their website: http://www.aquarium.co.za/ you will find opening times, their rates, about hosting your function at the Aquarium and loads more.ImageThere are rides in and around the Aquarium for kidsImageImageImageImageClownfish or better known as Nemo from Finding NemoImageImageImageImageImage  ImageThe jellyfish are definitely one of my favourites ImageImageImageLittle sea horses – they are just beautifulImageImageImageSome sharksImageSpider Crabs – they really scare me, so so big!ImageSome big lobstersImageImageAbsolutely love the penguins – Rockhopper PenguinsImageActivity centre for the kids where they can watch fish swim, the penguins and make some fun drawings ImagePlaying in the sandpit brings a lot of joy to the little onesImageEven the parents can partake in the fun activitiesImageImageKids love seeing how tall they are in comparison the penguinsImageImageImageInteractive touch screen TV – learn all about the different frogs and where they come from and liveImageInformation boards and TV’s all over the AquariumImageLove the African Penguins which are an endangered specie ImageImageBaby African Penguin – too cute.  Busy losing all his fluffImageFeeding time for all the Penguins.  ImageImageThey each have a name and can be distinguished from each other by the amount of black spots and how the black spots are scattered on their chestImageOne big frogImageThey even have snakesImageFeeding time and a guide telling us all about the different fishImageLoved seeing the fish being fedImageHand feeding the sharksImageVery scary sharkImageRagged tooth sharks….you can go diving and swim with themImageImageBig and scary sharkImageBeautifull stingrays

Things to do with children in Cape Town – Ratanga Junction

It is very important to have children experience things in their life from an early age and sometimes we as parents wonder what can we do with them and what is “age appropriate”.  Well, I can tell you that Cape Town is one city which offers you with so much to do with children from all ages.  Luke (my son) is now 6 years old and I am always looking at things for us to do on weekends which the both of us would really enjoy.  I have decided to go on a journey of exploration with Luke on all the different things to do in and around Cape Town.  You will find photos and a review of how our experience was and especially what Luke thought of his day out.

I am going to start with Ratanga Junction Theme Park which is situated just off the N1 next to Canal Walk in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town.

More than 30 attractions including 23 rides ranging from Kids Rides to Family Rides and Thrill Rides for the more intrepid adventurers. The white-knuckle thrills and spills, are only one element offered by Ratanga Junction.

At every ride, they have a height measurement which acts as guideline to riders.  Kids can only go on the Thrill Rides should they be taller than the specified height measurement.  

Luke had a blast at Ratanga Junction and would love to go back there for another day of fun.  It was hard to get him to go home as all he wanted to do was go on the rides over and over and over.  Luckily for us as parents, they have food areas where you can get snacks, burgers, colddrinks and something sweet.

For more information you can go to: http://www.ratanga.co.za/ 

 

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As you can see, Luke just missed out on the Cobra.  He might look tall enough but he was standing on his toes just to reach the minimum required length.

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Luke absolutely loving the bumper cars.  Luckily there are ones for adults as well. 

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This was an absolute hit with the kids!  They didn’t want to stop going on this ride.

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Loving the swings as well

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Part of Ratanga’s Airforce

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Beautiful view of Table Mountain and The Cobra

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The amazing flying bus

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There are even some birds to look at like this beautiful Eagle

Ratanga Junction is definitely worth trying out when it’s nice and sunny.  The theme park is generally open during school holidays.  Their opening times and dates can be viewed on their website,  http://www.ratanga.co.za/

 

Beautiful Autumn day at Lagoon Beach, Cape Town

It was a beautiful autumn day in Cape Town, Luke and I were looking for a new beach where he could play in the sea and I could take some photographs.  I then decided to go to Lagoon Beach as you get some of the most beautiful views and what a beautiful afternoon we had.  Luke played in the sea and ran along the beach and played with all sticks he could find and looked for sea snails every where.  Definitely worthwhile to go for a nice sunset walk on the beach to take in the breath taking views.

Lagoon Beach is situated in Milnerton, Cape Town and offers some of the most spectacular views of Cape Town, Table Mountain, Lions Head and even Greenpoint Stadium.  Lagoon Beach flows into a lagoon where you will find loads of children playing around in the mouth of the lagoon, looking for sea snails and just enjoying the water.  The water on this side is relatively cold, so if you do decide to surf here, a wet suit would be recommended.  Lagoon Beach is not known for it’s surf, but you will find quite a few surf ski’s and kayaks out on the water.

At Lagoon Beach you will find the beautiful Lagoon Beach Hotel which is probably one of the only hotels in Cape Town situated right on the beach.  If you would like to go for sun-downers and have one of the best views of Cape Town, then I would definitely recommend Wang Thai in Lagoon Beach where you will not only find amazing cocktails, but they also have good food.Image

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Beautiful views of ships waiting to go into Cape Town Image

Lions Head and Signal HillImage

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Beautiful Green Point StadiumImage

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Yachts leaving Cape Town HarbourImage

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Beautiful Cape Town, Table Mountain, Lions Head and Signal HillImage

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Muizenberg Beach – Cape Town  

Muizenberg beach, situated east to the False Bay coast of Cape Town might not have the tropical turqoise water of Camps Bay or Llandudno, but the water is warm and calm which makes it perfect for novice surfers and young children.  Muizenberg beach is well known for it’s bright colourful Victorian Beach Houses and makes for the perfect photo opportunity.  The fun thing about Muizenberg beach is that it’s safe for kids to play and swim as the water is quite calm and there is a big stretch of white sandy beaches.  You will find surf schools all over Muizenberg offering surfing lessons to all kinds of age groups.  You will find young children on surfing lessons and older people who would just like to learn how to surf.  The surfing lessons in Muizenberg are very affordable and you do not have to worry about buying a wetsuit or surfboard in order to go for surfing lessons.  The surf schools there will provide you with all the necessary wetsuits and surfboards to make your lessons as enjoyable as possible.

There is also an abundance of restaurants, coffee shops, surf shops and ice cream parlours.  So whatever you and the family feel like, it will be right on the edge of the beach.  Muizenberg was once the premier swimming beach of Cape Town and really comes alive in summer with loads of surfers, families with kids and dogs.

The water at Muizenberg beach is perfect for body boarders, should they not want to attempt surfing there.  You will find alot of fathers with their young kids in the water body boarding in between the surfers.  This beach can become very crowded with surfers, paddle boarders, body borders and just normal swimmers and should you decide to go there, you will need to know that you’ll have to be patient as this is a very popular beach in Cape Town.

People from all over Cape Town come to Muizenberg for the warmer and calmer water.

But Muizenberg is not only known for it’s lovely beach, but it also has history to it.  Behind the beach, the historic town of Muizenberg boasts the oldest building on the False Bay coast – Het Posthuys in Main Road, dating to the 1600s. Nearby, the public is invited to visit the Battle of Muizenberg site, where the British captured the Dutch colony in 1795 – a significant marker in the history of Cape Town and South Africa.

Other heritage attractions in the area include Rhodes Cottage, the house overlooking False Bay where mining magnate Cecil John Rhodes lived and died in 1902 (246 Main Rd, Muizenberg; +27 21 788 1816), and which presents displays on this larger-than-life icon.

It is also worth having a look at the Edwardian-era Muizenberg Railway Station (177 Main Rd, Muizenberg). The train journey, know as “The Southern Line”, from Cape Town to Simon’s Town is highly recommended. Find out more information by contacting the Cape Town Tourism Muizenberg Visitor Information Centre or the Muizenberg Historical Society (+ 27 21 788 5542) for more historical information on the area.

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Some of the brightly colourful Victorian Beach Houses

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These beach houses are situated by a little play area for kids.  Kids love this area as they can climb and slide and do monkey bars and play in the sand.

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Old school bicycle on the beach

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More colourful Victorian Beach Houses to be found along Muizenberg beach

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You will find quite a lot of people on SUP’s as well, or more commonly known as paddle boarders.  The warm water and small waves are perfect for paddle boarding, so if you would like to make a change from surfing, this is perfect at Muizenberg beach.

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Beatiful views of the mountain by Fishhoek.

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Seagulls eating clams and basically anything they can find on the beach

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Some kids after their surfing lesson.  They had a lot of fun and the surfing instructors are very patient with even the youngest of surfers.

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Little surfer who is not a novice any more.  Will most likely surf a lot better than me.

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Even surfski’s can be found at Muizenberg Beach.

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Some of the surfers

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Two surfers who took part in a surfing competition.  The waves were quite small on the day, but they seemed confident in their skills.

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Another paddle boarder

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Newlands Forest – Cape Town

Newlands Forest is a conservancy area on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, beside the suburb of Newlands, Cape Town. It is owned and maintained by the Table Mountain National Parks Board, along with the City Parks Department of Cape Town, and includes a Fire Station, Nursery and Reservoir.

The forest itself is a popular walking and jogging destination, close and easily accessible from the city’s southern suburbs. Due to its location on the mountain slopes, there are impressive views eastward over the Cape Flats.

Newlands Forest is just off the M3 in Cape Town.  It’s a beautiful forest nestled in the hustle and bustle of city life.  So if you feel like getting away from the busy city life, whether it’s going for a nice family walk, trail running, hiking or taking the dogs for a run or walk, this is the perfect place.  There are loads of pathways, so you can choose whether you want to be adventurous and explore all the little rivers and bridges or whether you just wanted to get the dogs out of the house for a nice afternoon out.  It is imperative to take poo bags with you and to clean up after your dog.  The forest is full of doggie poo bins to make it easy for you to dispose of the bag with poo.  ImageAbandoned old building – beautiful for photosImage

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ImageLooks like an old broken down shed in the middle of the forestImageDoggie Poo Bin – this is the place to dispose of your dog’s pooImageWhat looks like parts of a broken down shed, full of GrafitiImageSigns are up in the Forest to remind dog owners to have their dogs on their leashes and to pick up their poo.ImageOne of many little streams and rivers in Newlands ForestImageEven Scruffy enjoyed a nice walk in the ForestImage

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Newlands Forest is suitable to walk and sit somewhere and have a picnic.  The scenery is beautiful, it’s quiet and serene.  The perfect break away from the rush of every day life.