Cape Town: Great Activities for Kids

By: Maxine Sheppard

February 6, 2012

Cape Town is one of our favourite cities on earth, and we’ve already written about its best bars, examined its alternative side, been on some fantastic wildlife encounters and learned about the best things to see and do for free.

But today we’re focusing on the stuff that’s just really good fun, with a look at a handful of the best activities and adventures on offer for kids in the city…


Drumming and African meal at GOLD Restaurant

Older kids of a creative bent will love the drumming experience and interactive meal at GOLD restaurant, just inside the Gold of Africa Museum. Your evening begins with a 30-minute djembe drumming session in a cosy, twinkly-lit courtyard surrounded by trees and tropical plants. Take a seat with your own personal djembe and be led through the basics (with a few comic interventions) until you’re confidently banging out some intricate African rhythms like there’s no tomorrow.


Djembe drumming at GOLD Restaurant © GOLD Restaurant

Djembe drumming at GOLD Restaurant © GOLD Restaurant


When your palms and fingertips can take no more, it’s time to head into the expansive two-storey restaurant where a sumptuous multi-course meal will be served, featuring dishes from across the African continent – Mozambican sweet chilli prawns, Cameroon corn cups with mango and ginger, Cape Malay chicken curry and gorgeous Algerian almond fritters with amarula mascarpone to name just a few. In between courses, spooky puppets from Mali do the rounds, visiting tables, ruffling hair and posing for photographs, while the waiters and waitresses show off their singing and dancing skills. It might sound cheesy, but the food is excellent, the music is seriously uplifting and it’s all tremendous fun.

GOLD Restaurant,  Gold of Africa Museum, 96 Strand Street, Cape Town. 

Cool Runnings toboggan track

© Cool Runnings

© Cool Runnings


This is the summer version of snow-tobogganing and it happens here at the first downhill toboggan run in Africa. Located in Tygerville, about 25kms outside central Cape Town, Cool Runnings operates a twisting 1.25km steel track, upon which it’s possible to reach speeds of up to 40km per hour. Open to all but the under-3s, anyone from the age of eight and upwards can ride solo, while 4 – 7 year olds must be accompanied by an adult. A handbrake puts the speed completely within your control, and when you reach the bottom there’s no need to get puffed out in the heat of the Cape Town sun because an automatic pully takes you all the way back to the top (if you’ve paid for more than one ride). The track is open all year round, though it doesn’t operate in the rain.

Cool Runnings Toboggan Family Fun Park, Off Carl Cronje Drive/Opposite Belleville Velodrome, Tygervalley 7530


Jolly Roger Pirate Boat cruise

Ahoy! If you’ve got your own little Jack Sparrow in tow, then a swashbuckling trip on the Jolly Roger Pirate Boat is probably in order, the only authentically-decked out pirate ship in South Africa. Trips leave every day from Quay 5 at the V&A Waterfront. If you’re pushed for time, then a one-hour cruise departs every morning at 11am with a similar outing in the afternoon. But for the best atmosphere, with golden-tinted views of Table Mountain as the sun dips behind her, take the 90 minute Sunset Cruise instead and make believe you’re setting off into the night on a secret pirate mission. If there are any complaints about coming back to land too soon, we find threats of being made to climb the rigging or walk the plank tend to work.


Jolly Roger Pirate Boat, Quay 5, V&A Waterfront  Header shot © Hongqi Zhang |

Virgin Atlantic offers a seasonal, direct flight to Cape Town from London Heathrow. For a full range of South Africa holidays, including a wide choice of Cape Town hotels, visit Virgin Holidays.


Maxine Sheppard

Maxine is the co-editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.

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