When planning a trip to Africa, one of the most important cities to put on the agenda is Cape Town. One of South Africa’s capitals, Cape Town is the center of the government’s legislation efforts. As the largest city in the region, Cape Town is casually known as the Mother City. A stand-out geographic feature: Cape Town’s City Bowl surrounds the city on two sides, appearing as if it sits in the middle of a large bowl.
Cape Town is filled with things the whole family will love. From petting zoos to miniature golf, paintball and museums, there is an attraction to suit every member of the family. Whether the family enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, swimming in a tidal pool or walking through the iconic waterfronts, it’s possible to fill an entire trip.
Start out with a trip around the V&A Waterfront and Food Market. The waterfront is one of the oldest operating harbors in the southern hemisphere and a great spot to start any tour; walking tours depart regularly. Explore the waterfront, do some shopping and eat local cuisine. The market has options for every taste and diet, including seafood, meat and vegan. There are also a number of vendors selling crafts nearby.
Like any major city worth visiting, Cape Town has plenty of neighborhoods and suburbs worth visiting. Bo-Kaap should be No. 1 on your list. This part of town is visually stunning as well as greatly important historically. Once known as the Malay Quarter, this is the part of town set up as housing for the slaves brought in to work the Cape. Many of the slaves came from Malaysia and Indonesia, hence the name. The buildings maintain a bright color, because according to Cape Town officials, slaves were forbidden from changing the color while the homes were leased.
There are also plenty of animal attractions to visit while in the area. Imhoff Snake Park is a reptile sanctuary where guests can meet and learn about all kinds of dangerous snakes — with the comfort of an experienced guide supervising the visit.
Continuing on the animals track, make sure to check out World of Birds, the country’s largest bird park. There are more than 100 walk-through aviaries and more than 400 different bird species. There is also a nearby monkey park, perfect for kids.
One more must-see is Butterfly World, which houses butterflies, spiders and scorpions from all over the planet.
There is also a ton of entertainment perfect for families. One of the most thematically appropriate, especially for young children, happens on the ocean. The Jolly Rodger Pirate ship is a daily cruise service that runs each morning and afternoon. The itinerary includes chances to see whales and dolphin and an entertaining pirate-themed show.
Older kids and sports enthusiasts will love to check out the Springbok Experience Rugby Museum. Here, guests can learn about the history of the sport and visit a number of exhibits centering on greats of the sport and local stand-out stars.
While you are in the region, it is a good idea to explore the city’s surroundings. Make sure to visit the Cape of Good Hope, the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, the Winelands and everything surrounding the city.
Of note to see, check out the Karoo. This active game reserve offers half- and full-day safaris and the chance to see exotic animals like lions, leopards and African elephants up close. Many of these must-see destinations are as close as an hour away from Cape Town proper, but well-worth the visit.
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