My top 15 list of Child Friendly activities around Cape Town

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So yet another hiatus taken after yet another baby, I became a proud member of the two under two club (2 boys now) but I’m determined to get my blog back on track. There’s so much I want to say and share and so much that has happened.

In addition to adding another little boisterous boy to our family we also relocated to the beautiful Western Cape, and what a year it’s been! I actually can’t even fathom why anyone with children would want to live anywhere else in the world. This place literally has it all!

I thought I’d summarize the top places to take kids too, and bear with me as this list is quite long. Jozi you have A LOT to learn when it comes to making things kid friendly. There is an abundance of places to take the kids and almost every farm is child friendly. After living in Johannesburg for so long I really am left in awe.

I will  write longer reviews on each place, but for now, here’s my top 15 list (in no specific order).

  1. World of Birds – Constantia – This is the largest bird park in Africa and its home to something like 3000 birds and quite a number of reptiles! All of the owls and predator birds are adopted and none of them have been bred in captivity. My toddler was in awe of all the colours and the monkey interaction is entertaining for everyone!1741
  2. Butterfly World – Stellenbosch – Best to go on a sunny day when all the glorious butterfly’s fly about in their element! There are also a number of other animals on display including reptiles (some colourful iguanas), tarantula’s, birds, small monkeys and LOTS of guinea pigs. BEST part is kids under 3 are free!

     

  3. Monkey Town – Somerset West – This place kinda has it all! Yes the park is a little “run down” BUT these places do rely on visitors for funding so go and visit! Not only do they have like 200 different primates, they also have Chimpanzees ! (Don’t worry they have been rehabilitated after various horrible stories). Monkey Town also has a small Petting animal section a huge garden with numerous Jungle Gyms AND you can picnic and braai there.988
  4. The Giraffe House – Stellenbosch – Despite its name the Giraffe house is home to Zebra, Ostrich, crocodile, Jackals and a number of other animals too. We made the mistake of going on a “slight breezy” winters day with a 6 week old baby. Safe to say, dad did the tour with the toddler who was in his element and mum sat in the car for most of the time because the wind was reminiscint of Artic Gail force winds !
  5. Vergelegen Wine Farm (They have the most amazing playground) – Have a lunch at Stables restaurant while your kids play in the most artistic Play area. A little stream for them to splash in , a giants bird nest, and a maze – what more do you need? Oh and they offer picnics in the forest as well.
  6. Vergenoegd Wine Farm (Famous for its Runner ducks and kids activities). Vergenoegd keeps about 1100 Indian “Runner Ducks”. These ducks head out each day into the vineyards and they eat all the snails and harmful pests that destroy the grapes, on their journey the give a little “Parade” which the kids adore! Vergenoegd also has dedicated child minders so you can enjoy your picnic in the most beautiful surroundings while your kids play a number of games and activities.956
  7. Visit the penguins – dependent on which side of Cape Town you are there is the Stony Point Colony at Bettys Bay and of course the famous Boulders Beach in Simons Town. Its not often that you get to swim with Penguins, Ive taken my toddler back 3 times J Did you know that there are only 3 land based breeding grounds for African penguins? Well here are two of them! I find Betty’s Bay a little more quiet as opposed to the ever popular Boulders Beach.
  8. Two oceans aquarium – Aquarium – enough said!Sharks, Penguins, Turtles and Sting rays, what more does a kid want? Right in the heart of the V+A Waterfront its pays tribute to both the Atlantic and the Indian oceans. Visit at about 3pm daily and the kids will get a chance to see the raggies being fed !1465
  9. Cheetah Outreach Program – 2 minutes from my doorstep, and you can take your toddlers in to stroke the Cheetahs ! I was super apprehensive, you can even tell from my picture 🙂 The Cheetah Outreach is an organization that is working to preserve Cheetah in the wild.  Many farmers use traps, poison and hunting techniques to keep the cheetahs away from their farm and livestock, as a result, the cheetah population is dwindling. Here you learn about Cheetah conservation and the Famous Anatolian Shepherd Dogs, These are  very very, VERY large dogs that are used as Shepard dogs and protect livestock.By doing so you can save Cheetahs !IMG_20160229_152516
  10. Spier Wine farm and the Eagle encounters – Another famously Child friendly wine farm. Spier wine farm offers literally the FULL experience. For non wine drinkers like us they offer grape juice tasting, 2 awesome restaurants and a range of activities for the kids. Best part is the Eagle encounters where you can learn more about these glorious predators and get to see them up close.
  11. Green point Park –Seriously, This is where Joburg Parks needs to catch a wake up! Green Points playground is insane ! You can visit green pint for a picnic, walk or run, theres an outdoor gym, s play park and an adventure park for the kids (with about 7 different slides). Evening and Morning Yoga and a whole zen garden section. Did I mention its free?IMG_20160329_130156
  12. The Blue Train and Mouille point park – Probably one of Mouille Point’s oldest attractions, a ticket on the blue train costs just R15 and takes you on two trips around the park. The Blue Train Park borders The Mouille Point park which has a lovely jungle gym and play area for the kids. The blue train park offers yet more play areas as well as a mini ice rink! My toddler loved the choo choo with the sea side views! Afterwards you can ride your bikes and have an ice cream and walk along the famous Green Point Promenade !
  13. Table Mountain Cable Way – Its not Cape Town without Table Mountain. My husband was the most apprehensive about going up Table Mountain with 2 small kids. We prebooked out tickets online (MUST DO) so the line wasn’t that tedious (I think about 45 minutes?) By the time we got to the front my 2 year old was so impatient to go on the “Plane” (the cablecar) that the kind lady in front scanned us through to the next leaving cart. (If you read this THANK YOU!). Much to my husbands delight there were no sheer drops for the pram to roll off at the top 🙂  There was entertainment in the form of a live bank which the toddler loved and we even got to appreciate the views! Once again I am forever grateful as we managed to get a concierge service off the cable car on the way down to the lift and skipped the exit line 🙂758
  14. Root 44 Market – Great Food, Live bands, artisian food and craft and to a huge world of adventure for kids! No less than 5 play areas for kids, a massive indoor soft play area, wate activities and putt putt. SERIOUSLY – Root 44 offers a BUSY day! OPEN EVERY SATURDAY AND SUNDAY FROM 10:00 – 16:00 Tel: 021 881 3052 Email: info@root44.co.za Audacia Wines, Corner of R44 & Annandale Road, Stellenbosch, 7600
  15. The Beaches ! All of them ! There is no explanation needed! Water + Sand is a great combination for any child and it offers free entertainment for hours! The Western Cape offers some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

 

I must also make honorary mentions to the following places: Tokara Estate (unique little playground and they have heaps of toys around the restaurant for kids to play with), Polkadraai Strawberry Farm for strawberry picking, Helderberg plaas (one of the oldest farms in the region and it has a cute petting farm for the kids to feed the animals).

Western Cape – I am not finished with my explorations and I cannot wait to uncover all that you have to offer (though I don’t think ill ever get through it all!) Are there any places you would mention?

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Christmas and Summer Desserts…

I cannot believe its nearly Christmas… I have T minus 3 days left at work! I cant Wait! Seriously behind on the Christmas shopping, have lots of little things but still need two main gifts for my family… Where do you start??

On Friday we fly to Cape Town for 4 days of utter RELAXATION! NOT THINKING ABOUT WORK! Enjoying the beautiful scenery, walking on beaches and just spending quality time, (hopefully I’ll spot a couple of sharks). This body needs to catch up on a whole year of summer so the weather better play along !

Then its off to the Beautiful Botswana to spend some quality time with my closest Friends and Family. I don’t know what it is about Botswana but I am always so so excited to go back! The heat, the bush, quality relationships… It’s the simple things.Rounding off the holidays is a trip to the incredible Chobe National Park. Two of my favourite places in the world are the Okavango Delta (probably one of the most majestic places ever) and Chobe National Park. Chobe is in the North of Botswana and Borders Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia. Never short of activities you can even take day trips to the Victoria Falls!! ( I will most certainly Blog about this trip)

Holidays, whether you Celebrate Christmas or not. It’s a time to always spend with Friends and Family, get togethers and beautiful memories. Of course with that comes Food 🙂 Lots and Lots of food… This year there will only be 4 of us at the Christmas Table (And my brother is a strict Vegan) but trust me we will still have the whole “shebang” and probably end up cooking for 10!

So here are my two recipes for the festive season (Trust me in the last 2 weeks I have made these desserts 4 times!!!)

Strawberries-and-Cream-Cheesecake 

Recipe:

(Cake Days by The Hummingbird Bakery – Possibly the best baking book ever)

For the base:

220 g ground biscuits (tennis/ marie)

100g butter, melted

For the filling:

200gr fresh strawberries (chopped)

180gr castor sugar

600gr Cream Cheese

2 eggs

Place the strawberries in a saucepan with 80gr of the sugar and 30ml of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until the strawberries are soft and the liquid has reduced by half. Set aside until completely cold.

Preheat the oven to 160℃. Prepare the filling by beating together the CREAM CHEESE and the remaining sugar on a medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time. Pour in the cooked strawberries (plus the syrup!) and stir in by hand.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for ca. 45mins. Allow the cheesecake to cool to room temperature still in the tin, then place in the fridge to chill and set for 1-2 hours.

For the topping:

100gr mascarpone

20gr icing sugar

100ml double cream

Beat the mascarpone and icing sugar on a medium speed until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the double cream until soft peaks form. Then fold the double cream into the mascarpone mixture. BE VERY CAREFUL HERE, YOU CAN OVERBEAT IT VERY EASILY.

Spread on top of the cheesecake and chill again for 1 hour. Decorate cheesecake with fresh strawberries.

BEST CHEESECAKE YOU WILL EVER TASTE (THAT’S A PROMISE)

AND PERFECT FOR A SUMMER DAY …. PAVLOVA!

3 egg whites

175g sugar

1 tsp cornflour

½ tsp vanilla essence

½ tsp white vinegar

  1. Preheat the oven to 130 Degrees C and place the rack in middle of the oven. Line a baking tray with foil and draw a 7 inch circle on the foil OR just use a pie/ flan dish.
  2. In a clean, medium-sized glass bowl, beat the egg whites with a clean electric mixer on medium speed. Beat until the whites form soft peaks.
  3. Gently sprinkle the sugar into the egg whites, one teaspoon at a time. Returning egg white mixture to the same stiffness each time. Beat and Beat and Beat (the more you beat the better 🙂 ) Your egg whites should now be glossy stiff peaks.
  4. Sprinkle the cornstarch and vinegar on the meringue and fold in gently with a plastic spatula. Add the vanilla and gently fold the mixture again.
  5. Spread the meringue in the container. Make sure the edges of the meringue are slightly higher then the centre so you have a very slight well in the middle.
  6. Bake the meringue for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until it goes a very pale, pinkish colour.
  7. Turn the oven off and leave the door slightly ajar to let the meringue cool completely. As the meringue cools, it will crack slightly.
  8. Whip the cream. Prepare the fruit by washing and slicing. (Two options: a beautiful combination of strawberries, bannanas and kiwis OR a berry Pavlova (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries etc)
  9. Gently spread the cream to the top of the meringue with a spatula and arrange the fruit on top. Either Serve immediately or cool in the fridge a bit 🙂

 

Remember as well that it is definitely the season for giving! Even the smallest act of kindness can have a HUGE impact on anothers life, from a simple item of clothing to a soccer ball. Show your kindness to others by giving.

Happy Happy Holidays to all! To my family spread around the world, I love and miss you all so so much, Holidays are never the same without you x