One of the highlights of 2018 for our family was visiting Dubai and Cape Town. I’m sorry it’s taken me so long for the 2nd part of this post, but I’m finally sharing all the details on the second part of our family vacation. I always get asked why did we go to Cape Town and why would we bring our toddler? I think Cape Town is so absolutely beautiful it really should be on everyone’s bucket list… whether you are traveling with kids or not. If you are traveling with little ones, you should never let that hold you back from doing what you want to do or going where you want to go. You can always make it work and even though the kids won’t remember, you will remember everything and you will have pictures and stories to tell them for a long time! So my last post HERE I talked all about the first part of our trip which was to Dubai. In case you haven’t read the first part of our trip, we traveled from California to Dubai which was a layover on the way to Cape Town.
The flight from Dubai to Cape Town was kind of a long one. It was 9.5 hours and it was a daytime flight which meant Olivia was up most of the time. I always recommend timing flights around your kids sleeping schedule if you can, it just makes things so much easier for everyone. Kids adapt so easily and can sleep pretty much everywhere, but it’s a lot harder to entertain a nearly 2 year old for that long. She had her fussy moments but we got through it with lots of movies, her favorite TV show, coloring, playing with her cars and many, many trips down the isles of the plane haha. I was 14 weeks pregnant I think when we went on our trip so I had to get up and walk a bunch anyway. I will do a whole post soon on traveling internationally with a toddler. I feel like each time we fly far with Olivia I streamline things to make it easier for the next trip. I love sharing tips for traveling with kids so others can see how much fun it can be. Make sure to check on any travel regulations when traveling to other countries you are not familiar with too. South Africa for instance, you need to be sure to bring your child’s birth certificate along with a passport to travel into or out of the country.
We stayed at the Marriott Protea North Wharf and rented a car right at the airport. It honestly wasn’t one of the nicest Marriott’s we have stayed in, but the rooms were really big and had kitchenettes which was convenient when traveling with kids. We also liked the location of this hotel, you have to be careful where you stay because some areas can be a little sketchy, especially at night. Our hotel had a garage with a guard so we knew our car was safe on the property.
Camps Bay Beach
One of the best things we did was take a day long road trip all down the coast and stop at the most beautiful places along the way. Once you get out of the city you truly see the beauty of Cape Town! Camps Bay Beach was our first stop and we could have stayed here all day! With the white sand beaches and cute little cafes and restaurants along the main strip there was really something for everyone. We had a smoothie at one of the local shops then continued on to the next part of our trip.
Chapman’s Peak Drive
The Chapman’s Peak Drive was absolutely gorgeous! It was a small road through the mountains overlooking the water. Around every turn was another turnout to pull over and take pictures. We spent a lot of time during this part of our drive and I’m so glad we did. Make sure to bring local cash with you as there are tolls on this road and they do not accept foreign credit cards, only South Africa credit cards. So if you are not able to pay you wouldn’t be able to do the whole drive.
Boulder Beach was another stop on our road trip that was probably Olivia’s favorite! She LOVED seeing the penguins on the beach and riding the waves into the shore. I was a little disappointed you couldn’t get too close to them but they did have really nice walking paths to lead you out to the beach so the penguins would not be disturbed. There were a lot of little street vendors in this area so if you like that sort of thing this is a great place to look for your souvenirs.
Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope it a total bucketlist place to see! It’s the very southern most tip of the African Peninsula and boy was it windy! We had a hard time even standing up but it was so amazing just being there you really wanted to take in the moment. There was a hike up the side of the mountain in this spot too that would have been so amazing to do, it was just way to windy for us to do that with a toddler in tow. There is also an area with a restaurant and gift shop which was a nice stopping point for us. But you really had to be aware of the wild baboons that roam in this area. Some of them are huge and they are very fast and I was actually a little bit scared of them. I included a pic of one that jumped from one car to the hood of our SUV. They were very cool to see but from a distance.
Table Mountain is another must see while visiting Cape Town. You can buy your tickets in advance or you can purchase them right at the desk. We decided to buy them at the desk so we could make sure the weather was good on the day we decided to go. If it’s too cloudy you won’t have clear views from the top. Tickets were very reasonably priced and there is a tram ride to the top of the mountain. From the top the views were absolutely stunning! Pictures just cannot even do it justice. I would recommend booking your tickets on the day of and make sure to get there early, it can get very crowded.
So really my favorite thing we did in Cape Town was a sunset hike to Lions Head. Just a warning this is a pretty serious hike and you should not attempt to go all the way up unless you are an experienced hiker. It can get pretty steep in spots and can be very dangerous. Our plan was for my husband to carry Olivia in the front pack for the hike like he usually does, but when we got here she was flipping out and screaming and crying and would only let me carry her. We tried to put her on my back and she was not having it so I had no choice but to wear her in the front pack. I didn’t want to miss out on this great adventure and who knows if we will ever make it back to Cape Town or not. My husband and I agreed that we would go as far as I felt comfortable and when I was done or if it got too dangerous that we would head back. I will say that the beginning was very hard to get moving being pregnant, carrying a toddler and going for a huge hike but I just stopped and rested a bunch until I got into my groove and then I felt great! There were a few parts of the hike that I had to go really slow and we never made it to the very top which I was a little disappointed in. But the closer you get to the top the steeper and more dangerous it gets and I just did not feel comfortable after a certain point, plus I did not want to be hiking down the mountain after dark for fear of falling or sliding on the rocks. We still got to see the sunset from pretty high up and made friends with some locals so it was such a great night! I got mad props from many experienced hikers for doing the hike carrying a toddler so I felt like Super Mom! This hike would also be really pretty early in the morning too! The pictures just do not do it justice!
Groot Constantia Winery
One of the things I really wanted to do when we planned our trip was go wine tasting! South Africa has some of the best wineries in the world! Since I was pregnant for our trip I wasn’t able to go wine tasting like I wanted, but I did want to buy a bottle to have for after baby arrives this spring. Groot Constantia is one of the oldest wineries in the world dating back to 1685. I did get to take a few sips of a few wines and we ended up going home with 6 bottles haha! If you are planning on going wine tasting on your trip this is the place to go. Everyone was so knowledgable and their wines have won countless awards. There is a beautiful restaurant on sight and it’s for sure a full days worth.
This beach is known for it’s colorful beach huts right on the water so of course we had to stop for some pics. We didn’t spend too much time in this area but we really enjoy just driving around and stopping a bunch when we do vacations like this. We truly had the most amazing time in Cape Town and I would go back in a heart beat!