Family Getaways from Cape Town

Introducing guest bloggers Campbell & Alya from Stingy Nomads

We’re very fortunate to live in Cape Town, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. It’s an amazing place with many great things to do. Like most residents of a big city sometimes we want to escape the bustling life of Cape Town and spend a couple of days in a small quiet place.

There are many spectacular places for a perfect family staycation within a couple of hours drive from the city. The options are truly infinite; from in-nature camping getaways to wildlife experiences and stargazing in the desert. Below are some ideas for weekend escapes from Cape Town.

This post is part of our Explore My City series – come and visit cities around the world through the eyes of locals


A family weekend in the Cape Winelands

  • Distance from Cape Town – 50km to Stellenbosch, 80km to Franschhoek
  • Recommended number of days – 1+
  • Best season – for outdoor activities between October and April, for visiting museums and wine estates any time.
  • Suitable for children of all ages depending on the chosen activities.

The Cape Winelands is one of the locals’ favorite places for a weekend escape from Cape Town. The two main towns Stellenbosch and Franschhoek and the surrounding area offer a great variety of activities for families with children of any age. Thanks to the proximity to the city the Cape Winelands can be visited as a day trip from Cape Town, but spending a couple of days here is the best way to explore the area. There are many beautiful wine farms around Stellenbosch and Franschhoek that offer cottages and farmhouses for rent.

The Route 44 market near Stellenbosch is a great place to start the weekend. It’s open Saturdays and Sundays from 9am to 4pm. The market is a fun place with many food stalls, outside tables and benches, live music and a big gated playground for children.

Out of many wine farms in the Stellenbosch area Fairview is one of the best to come with children. Parents can enjoy wine and cheese tasting while kids play and feed cute goats that live here.

Goats Fairview Farm family weekend Cape Town
Goats Fairview Farm family weekend Cape Town

Spice Route is another great place to visit on a family weekend. The place offers many activities from hiking and cycling to chocolate tasting and glass blowing. There are enough activities here to keep your family busy for the whole day.

If you travel with boys they will enjoy visiting the Franschhoek Motor Museum. It has an impressive collection of cars from the first motorized vehicles to the newest F-1 racing cars. On the way to the museum stop at the Boschendal Wine Farm, a spectacular place with a beautiful garden, a deli cafe and restaurant, a wine tasting room, several walking and cycling trails. Boschendal is a great place for a picnic on the grass. Picnic baskets can be ordered at the restaurant.

For families with older children that enjoy outdoor activities visiting the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve is a must-do on a weekend in the Winelands. There are several hiking and mountain biking trails of different lengths and difficulties that offer stunning views of the mountain ranges and the surrounding area.

Franschhoek Motor Museum staycation Cape Town
Franschhoek Motor Museum staycation Cape Town

Top things to do in the Cape Winelands

  • Visit the Route 44 weekend market near Stellenbosch.
  • Taste great local wines.
  • Do wine pairing; wine and chocolate pairing at Spier, bubbly and nougat tasting at JC Le Roux, wine and cheese pairing at Fairview.
  • Pick strawberries at Polkadraai Strawberry Farm, between September and January.
  • Visit cute goats at Fairview.
  • Watch the Duck Parade at Vergenoegd Wine Estate.
  • Go on a hike in the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve.
  • Learn and taste at Spice Route.
  • Taste chocolate at Huguenot Chocolate Factory in Franschhoek.
  • Visit the Franschhoek Motor Museum.
  • Drive the Franschhoek Pass.
  • Explore the beautiful gardens of Babylonstoren.
  • Picnic at Boschendal Wine Farm.
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Life's a beach as a Seychelles Mama

A hiking getaway at Cape Point Nature Reserve

  • Distance from Cape Town – 70km
  • Recommended number of days – 2
  • Best season – between October and April
  • Suitable for children over 12 years old

Visiting the Cape of Good Hope is one of the most popular activities in Cape Town but not many people explore the park beyond it. The Cape Point National Park is quite big. There are many stunning places that very few people get to see. The Cape Point trek offers the opportunity to visit some of the secret corners of the park.

The scenery on the trek is spectacular; unspoiled sandy beaches with big boulders, rugged coastline, beautiful fynbos, breathtaking view-points and diverse wildlife. Spending a night in a wooden hut on the top of the mountain is a unique experience. Waking up in the morning to the sound of birds’ singing and watching the sun rising above the Atlantic Ocean are the highlights of the weekend.

Sunrise at Cape Point 2 day hike Cape Town
Sunrise at Cape Point 2 day hike Cape Town

The total distance of the trek is 33km. It takes 2 days to complete the route; 20km on the first day and 13km on the second. On the first day the trail goes along the beach, on the second day it climbs up and down over the cliffs. The trek starts and finishes at the park entrance gate where hikers can park their cars. Due to the limited number of huts the trek has to be booked in advance.

Cape-Point-hiking-getaway-Cape-Town
Cape Point hiking getaway Cape Town

A weekend by the Sea

  • Distance from Cape Town – 90km to Betty’s Bay, 120km to Hermanus
  • Recommended number of days – 1+
  • Best season – for a beach holiday October – April, for whale watching July – September.
  • Suitable for children of all ages depending on the chosen activity.

What can be better than spending a family weekend by the sea surrounded by the amazing nature. Betty’s Bay and Hermanus are perfect beach towns for a family holiday. The scenery is truly spectacular here; rugged coastline, dramatic cliffs, wide sandy beaches, and the beautiful mountain range. There are many secret spots in the area that not many people know about.

Beautiful-drive-Cape-Town-Hermanus
Beautiful drive Cape Town Hermanus

Start the trip driving along the coast past Gordon’s Bay. This part between Gordon’s Bay  and Betty’s Bay is one of the most scenic drives in Cape Town. The road follows the coastline offering stunning views of the area. There are many look-outs along the route to stop for photos. If your family enjoys hiking make sure to stop for a hike up the Steenbras River Gorge to Crystal Pools. The hike to the rock pools is about 4km, return. Advanced booking is required.

Betty’s Bay is a beautiful small town with perfect sandy beaches, many holiday houses, and a couple of restaurants. It’s famous for the penguin colony. The Stony Point penguin colony has significantly less visitors and more penguins than the more popular one at Boulders Beach near Cape Town. Over 3500 species reside here.

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On Alien Lands: Exploring eSwatini with Kids

From Betty’s Bay, the road continues along the coast to Hermanus. The town is one of the best places in the country for whale watching. In the peak season between July and September Southern Right whales can be seen here from the shore. There are boat tours that offer a closer encounter with these majestic animals. Besides the whales, visitors can see great white sharks, copper sharks, dolphins, Cape seals and penguins. There are several small beaches and bays in Hermanus that are nice for swimming. 

Penguins Stony Point Bettys Bay
Penguins Stony Point Bettys Bay

Top things to do in Hermanus

  • The scenic drive along the coast from Gordon’s Bay to Betty’s Bay
  • Go on a hike to the Crystal Pools
  • Visit the Stony Point Penguin Colony in Betty’s Bay
  • Walk at the Harold Porter National Botanical Garden, Betty’s Bay
  • Visit wine farms around Hermanus
  • Watch whales in Hermanus/Gansbaai
  • Spot dolphins, sharks and seals from a boat
  • Relax on the beach in Hermanus/Betty’s Bay
  • Visit Hermanus Saturday Country Market
  • Stop for coffee with cake at the African Penguin & Seabird Sanctuary in Gansbaai
  • Quad bike or cycle in the vineyards near Hermanus

Camping getaways from Cape Town

  • Distance from Cape Town – between 100km and 175km depending on the chosen place.
  • Recommended number of days – 2+
  • Best season – between October and April
  • Suitable for children of any age

Camping is the most popular way of spending a family holiday in South Africa. Pitching a tent on the grass next to the river, making a fire and braai (local for BBQ) some meat is the ideal weekend for many families. Campsites around Cape Town get busy and very social over weekends and summer holidays. You’ll need your own camping gear or a caravan for camping. If you want a more comfortable stay you can rent a cabin at many campsites.

The best places for camping in summer are those located close to a river or a dam. It’s nice for cooling down on a hot summer day. There are usually several water activities to keep your kids busy. 

There are many amazing places for camping with great facilities near Cape Town.

  • Tweede Tol camping site at the Limietberg Nature Reserve, 90km from Cape Town.
  • 22 Waterfalls, Porterville, 150km from Cape Town
  • Khomeesdrif, Riviersonderend, 160km from Cape Town
  • Beaverlac, Porterville, 175km from Cape Town

Things to do on a camping trip

  • Swimming
  • Kayaking, paddle boarding
  • Fishing
  • Hiking
  • Cycling
  • Playing ball games
Waterfalls family camping holiday
Waterfalls family camping holiday

A trip to the southernmost tip of Africa

  • Distance from Cape Town – 220km
  • Recommended number of days – 2+
  • Best season – October to April
  • Suitable for children of any age

Stuisbaai is a small beach town on the South coast of South Africa. It’s a popular place for locals to come on weekends and holidays with their families. Stuisbaai is famous for being a great spot for fishing and spearfishing but there are many other things to do here.

The town is located close to Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point of the continent and the meeting point of the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. Struisbaai boasts long sandy beaches and warm (compared to Cape Town) water. The local harbour is a home for Pari, a huge stingray that has been living there for many years. It’s easy to see him in the shallow water from the pier.

Arniston, another beautiful coastal town, 40km from Stuisbaai is a great place to come with kids for a couple of hours. The place is famous for its traditional fishermen cottages and the Waenhuiskrans Cave. The Cave is big with a wide opening into the ocean, a real pirates’ treasure cave. It can be accessed only at low tide through another smaller cave. The cave is a hidden gem of the coast, not even many locals know about it.

Waenhuiskrans Cave Arniston
Waenhuiskrans Cave Arniston

To get to Struisbaai from Cape Town take the coastal road from Gordon’s Bay, it’s one of the most beautiful drives in the region.

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Stunning Stellenbosch, South Africa with Kids

Things to do in Struisbaai

  • Visit Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point of Africa
  • Hike in the Agulhas National Park
  • Visit the Cape Agulhas Lighthouse
  • Swim and chill on the beach
  • Watch Pari the Stingray at the harbour
  • Explore the Waenhuiskrans Cave in Arniston
Cape-Agulhas-Lighthouse-Cape-Town
Cape Agulhas Lighthouse Cape Town

An off the grid family getaway in the Karoo

  • Distance from Cape Town – 340km
  • Recommended number of days – 3+, it can be done over 2 days but with a lot of driving
  • Best season – for stargazing and safari drive any time. Winter is a great time to see snow in Sutherland.
  • Suitable for children of any age though it’ll be more interesting for kids older than 7

The Karoo is one of the least populated areas in South Africa. The scenery here is totally different from the Cape Peninsula; wide open spaces, sparse vegetation, bizarre shaped mountains, different shades of yellow dominating in the landscape.

The main attractions of the area are Sutherland and Tankwa Karoo National Park. Sutherland is a very small town, famous for being one of the best places on the continent for observing the stars. The night sky here is amazing with millions of stars that can be seen without a telescope. You can see far more stars here than anywhere else near Cape Town.

The Sutherland Observatory boasts one of the largest and the most powerful telescopes in the Southern Hemisphere. One can visit the Observatory with a tour. There are guided day tours and stargazing night tours. Both tours will be interesting for parents and children.

Observatory Sutherland-staycation Cape Town
Observatory Sutherland-staycation Cape Town

Tankwa Karoo National Park is a big protected area in the Tankwa Karoo Region. It’s an amazing place for 4×4 driving, game viewing and camping.

Things to do in the Karoo

  • Drive the Ouberg Pass
  • Visit the Sutherland Observatory
  • Stargazing
  • Make a snowman, Sutherland is one of the few places in South Africa where you can see snow in winter
  • Self-drive safari in the Tankwa Karoo National Park
  • Bird and animal watching in the park
Antilope Tankwa Karoo National Park
Antilope Tankwa Karoo National Park

About the Bloggers

Campbell-&-Alya-Stingy-Nomads

Campbell & Alya are an adventurous travel couple based in Cape Town. We both love hiking, outdoor activities, road-tripping and camping. We’ve spent a lot of time exploring Cape Town and its surroundings. We love discovering new off the beaten track places and sharing them with our readers.

You can follow along with Stingy Nomads here:

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With thanks to Campbell & Alya for their bumper contribution to our guest series.  You may also like to read about eSwatini, or further reading on Stellenbosch with kids.


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