Oh South Africa… you stole our hearts. We were so fortunate to spend just over a week exploring Cape Town on the tail end of a stunning safari. We flew on a little hopper plane from Limpopo airport to Cape Town, picked up our rental car, and headed for the Protea Hotel on the Wharf.
After tons of preparation and research, we had lots we wanted to see and needed to cram everything in! Here are the things we loved about Cape Town with our kids in no particular order!
Both boys wanted to do it so desperately, yet the mom voice in my head said “are you f-ing crazy?” Regardless, at our family meeting, I was unanimously outvoted, and we had shark cage diving as a line item on our itinerary (gulp). We (they) felt if we were in South Africa, we just HAD to take this opportunity as this is where most of the shark footage for shark week is taken.
This was a complete bucket list experience for us all, and to experience this as a family was incredible… was it scary as heck…. YES!
Would I do it again? Probs not… but I’m so glad I took the plunge into the ice cold bay in Simon’s Town, South Africa. Read about the complete experience here.
After Shark Cage diving we headed to Boulders Beach, to see hundreds of African penguins in their natural habitat. It was the cutest thing ever, although the smell was quite ripe!
We saw these sneaky little fellows as we were walking down to the beach!
It was about a 2 hour drive from our hotel in Cape Town to the Cape of Good Hope. However the drive was simply stunning, and we stopped at lots of little towns on the way.
This was quite a challenging hike, but the stunning views from every angle made it so worth it.
We were fortunate to be there on a clear day, and could see across the whole cape.
We were at the end of the world. Literally. The southern most tip of Africa!
We drove the sketchy cliff hanger of a road, Chapman’s Peak Drive, on our way back to Cape Town. This road is about 500 meters above sea level and has a sheer drop into the ocean below.
Chapman’s Peak Drive is a 9km route from Hout Bay to Noordhoek full of hairpin bends, sheer drops, and is widely regarded as one of the most scenic stretches of road anywhere in the world.
The sun, fog, height and narrow roads with no barriers, are definitely not for the faint hearted of drivers!
You probably wouldn’t want to have a tire blow out on this road either! Hot Hubby is a pretty seasoned driver, but even he was sweating a little on this road with the sun shining into his eyes. One wrong move and we were all gone.
We spent a day visiting the Langa Township. Langa is one of many areas in South Africa that was designated for black Africans before the apartheid. Townships in South Africa are usually underdeveloped segregated urban areas that were reserved for non-whites until the end of the apartheid.
Under apartheid, black South Africans were forced to live in these townships that were built as far away as possible from the city centers, and were very run-down.
This lady cooks sheep heads all day to sell. She shared with us that the tongue and the cheeks are the best part, but Jules didn’t want to try her free sample! 😉
The boys played soccer with some local kids and we gave them all of Julian’s clothes from his bags and left him with one outfit to fly home in! We try and do this when we travel, and it was fun to see the African boys in Hermosa Beach t-shirts!
They played with a flat ball and the goal posts were two rocks in the road. No private coaches, matching back packs, or turf fields here… but these kids were so good and so happy.
This is why it’s important to us to travel with the boys and raise global children. For this brief moment in time, it’s just a bunch of kids hanging out together doing what kids do. I spent time chatting with their mom in her 10 x 10 room that her family of 4 shares with another family. For that hour it was just two mom’s, with the same worries and concerns, talking proudly about their kids.
I always want to bring home each and every sweet face with me… seriously, those faces get me every time!
We felt safe and comfortable the whole time we were in Cape Town. We found the people to be welcoming and as curious about us as we were about them. We wandered through local food and craft markets, art districts and found many local restaurants to sample the delicious local food.
Important to note that the cable car that takes you up to the top of the mountain is often closed due to the fog. I would recommend you check with your hotel whether the cable car is running before you make the 40 minute drive to the entrance.
The cable car opened up as we were halfway up the mountain… figures!
We had a few hours to kill before our loooooong 32 hour journey back to Los Angeles, so we stopped to visit the Cheetah rehabilitation center which was fairly close to the airport. The boys learned how cheetah’s live, and were able to get up close and personal with them.
I’m a travel and health writer, digital and brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two active boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising teenage boys, family life after a cancer diagnosis, and family travels around the world! Each story is shared with my dry, and sometimes naughty sense of humor.