Skip through a South Africa sojourn on this family adventure.  You'll sail out of Cape Town on a pirate cruise, meet the famous Boulders Beach penguins, make friends on the farms of Franschoek, and more.

Highlights

  • Take a rotating cable car to the top of Table Mountain
  • Ride the ferris wheel at the V&A Waterfront
  • Sample the wine and chocolates of the Winelands
  • Lounge on the beaches off Cape Town

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Cape Town, Family Time on the Beach Cape Town
Day 2 Mountain Peaks & Pirate Ships Cape Town
Day 3 Peninsula Day: Cape Point, Penguins, & Playgrounds Cape Town
Day 4 Family Fun in Franschhoek Day Trip Cape Town
Day 5 Depart Cape Town  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Cape Town, Family Time on the Beach

Cape Town with Table Mountain in the background
Cape Town with Table Mountain in the background

Welcome to South Africa! Arrive at Cape Town International Airport and transfer to your accommodation to unpack and unwind. After you settle in, spend the rest of your day exploring the city. 

Known as the 'Rainbow Nation,' Cape Town and South Africa have a long and complicated history involving a multitude of ethnic and cultural groups. The area's history starts with the indigenous Khoisan and Bantu people, who were the primary residents of the area until the Portuguese and Dutch arrived in South Africa, beginning a centuries-long occupation. 

These days, South Africa is home to a diverse population. Roughly 80% of South Africans are of Bantu ancestry from a variety of ethnic groups, each with a distinct language. The remainder of the community is made up primarily of European, Asian (Indian, Chinese, and others from the formerly enslaved and indentured population), and mixed-race (Cape Coloured) ancestry. 

After checking in to your accommodation, spend the afternoon relaxing, taking in the views, and exploring the town. Shop for art and crafts at the expansive Watershed Market, visit the Two Oceans Aquarium to explore underwater life, or enjoy a harbor cruise as you watch the sunset. Other options include the Diamond Museum, which explores the history of the diamond rush in South Africa, or a helicopter flight to see Cape Town's sights from the sky. 

In the evening make your way to one of the family-friendly beach bars to enjoy your first sunset. Let the kids swim in the centrally-located pool or beachfront, then dig into gourmet pizzas and giant milkshakes.

Day 2: Mountain Peaks & Pirate Ships

Table Bay view from Table Mountain
Table Bay view from Table Mountain

In the morning, head out to for a hike on the 'Mother of all Mountains': iconic Table Mountain. A popular choice is to hike up (a four-hour medium fitness hike with a few steep sections), then take the cable car down after taking in the views from the top.

Keep in mind that hiking to the top might not be suitable for younger children. Give little legs a rest with a cable car ride up and down the steep slopes. Strong winds and rain can make the hike more challenging, so be sure to check if "mother" is "setting the table" before you go—the local phrase for the blanket of white clouds that occasionally engulfs the top. 

If time and energy levels allow, head to nearby Lionshead to enjoy views of the entire Cape Town landscape below you. Break for lunch at the restaurant at the top of Table Mountain, or bring a packed picnic lunch with you to Lionshead. The V&A Waterfront, located just a few minutes from the mountain base, offers a variety of cafes and restaurants. 

In the afternoon take to the seas in the Jolly Roger pirate ship, an authentic replica of the real thing. The young and young-at-heart will love seeing Cape Town and Table Mountain from the water on the hourlong sail around the bay. Return to the waterfront in time for a sunset ride on the Cape Wheel ferris wheel.

Other afternoon activities include the Planetarium and Science Center. 

Day 3: Peninsula Day: Cape Point, Penguins, & Playgrounds

Sea kayaking with penguins
Sea kayaking with penguins

As the saying goes, "the early bird gets the worm"—or in this case, the penguin. Get an early start for the best views of Cape Point, an hour south of Cape Town on the Cape Peninsula. Here, the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet, creating a unique ecosystem where flora and fauna flourish. Fynbos, baboons, Cape mountain zebra, ostriches, eland, and sugarbirds all reside here. 

Bring a snack to share on the rocks next to the lighthouse, then head to Simon's Town (half-hour to the north) for a seafood lunch with a view. 

In the afternoon, head to the nearby Boulders Beach to explore the African penguin sanctuary from the comfort of elevated platforms. To see the charismatic birds up close, rent a sea kayak and bob on the waves as you watch the penguins dive deep for the catch of the day. 

Other afternoon activities include visiting the Kommetjie Imhoff Village farm animals, playing a round of paintball, going for a horseback ride along the beach, or enjoying a coastal train ride from Simon's Town to Muizenberg. 

Afterward, take in views from the Cape Point Vineyards with a glass of wine for the adults and a gourmet picnic dinner for the whole family. 

Spend the evening strolling through the Noordhoek Village Market. Adults will love shopping for crafts and foodie delights, and kids will love the nearby playground. As the sun sets, finish your day with a drive along Chapmans Peak Drive on your return trip to Cape Town.

Day 4: Family Fun in Franschhoek Day Trip

Walking the gardens at Babylonstore
Walking the gardens at Babylonstroen

Leave the city behind today as you drive out of Cape Town into the Winelands countryside. The drive to Franschhoek (French corner in Dutch) takes 1.5 hours, winding through rolling vineyards and orchards as you near your destination. 

Your first stop today is the Babylonstroen Winelands and Gardens, one of the oldest examples of a Cape Dutch farm. Join a garden tour to learn about the techniques that have transformed this restored property into a botanical masterpiece. Kids and adults are encouraged to touch, taste, smell, and fully experience the fruits, vegetables, and herbs that flourish in the garden beds. 

From here continue to Boschendal, South Africa's second-oldest wine farm. After a period of neglect, the farm is bursting at the seams with new life and biodiversity. Grass-fed cattle, forest-fed pigs, and free-range chickens graze among the fruit trees. Alongside the farm, over 600 species of fynbos and protected nature reserve thrive. Send the kids off for a free-range afternoon at the new educational play center, with farm learning experiences for kids ages 4-14. While the kids play, sneak off for a glass (or three) of award-winning wine at the cellar. 

For added fun throughout the day, take the Wine Tram between wineries. Although the region is famed for wine, there's plenty of options to keep the whole family entertained. Learn to make chocolate at the Hugenouts Chocolate Shop or spend the afternoon at the Franschhoek Motor Museum before you return to Cape Town.

Day 5: Depart Cape Town

Take to the skies
Take to the skies

Transfer to the airport for your connecting flight home.