Kids from City to Country
The Cape Country Meander is an ideal destination for families with children. There is fresh air, wide-open spaces and small country towns all waiting to be explored. You can let down your city guard, your kids can shrug off their shoes (and so can you), and you can have fun in one of the country’s most exquisite regions.
Here are some ideas to get your started:
Old Mac Daddy Luxury Trailer Park
Leave Cape Town behind you by heading up the picturesque Sir Lowry’s Pass and on to Elgin. Nestled among the country’s premier apple and pear orchards there’s Old Mac Daddy designer trailer park. Vintage Airstream trailers have been decorated by leading designers so your kids can let their imaginations run wild as you settle into a themed caravan. If you want more space or are planning to travel with friends, Daddy’s Villa sleeps six. There’s a restaurant focused on fresh, organic produce and a designated children’s play area with experienced child minders.
Contact (021) 462-1709 or e-mail email@example.com.
Mofam River Lodge and Ski School
Have fun with your children and learn to water-ski at the same time as them. Also in Elgin, you’ll find the Mofam River Lodge and ski school situated on a pristine dam. Children as young as five can sign up for ski lessons. You can spend a weekend in one of the self-catering bungalows overlooking the water and have a great time outdoors testing your balance and doing something out of the ordinary.
Contact (021) 846-8345 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Imagine touching a cloud-soft alpaca and watching women spin alpaca wool on old-fashioned spinning wheels? You can by visiting Helderstroom Alpacas situated outside Villiersdorp. The 300-year-old farm has been revitalised by the introduction of the alpaca pack. Visitors are welcome, but by appointment only.
Contact (028) 840-0158 or e-mail email@example.com.
Tractor Museum in Villiersdorp
Villiersdorp is less than an hour’s drive from Cape Town and if you have kids who love to figure out how old things work, the vintage tractor museum is a fascinating playground. The 45 tractors on display have been lovingly restored by the Villiersdorp Tractor and Engine Club and are all in good working order. If you telephone ahead and your group is big enough, they will even fire up some of the old beauties for you. This club has recently been involved in preventing the oldest steam ship in South Africa being cut up for scrap, and the boat - currently in Cape Town’s harbour – will be transported to Villiersdorp within the next few months. They also have other old engines on display. The museum is behind Kelkiewyn Farm Stall, where you can have a hearty country meal.
Contact (028) 840-1104.
Visit www.savtec.co.za or www.villiersdorptourism.co.za.
Caledon Hot Springs
The hot springs in Caledon are an institution for Mother City visitors. Established in 1897 as a healing resort for wealthy Capetonians, today the baths attract lots of families wanting to enjoy the different pools. The Victorian Bath House has been fully restored and is a national monument, but there are plenty of other pools of varying temperatures where you can happily spend a day floating around.
Contact (028) 214-5100.
The picturesque village of Greyton is a children’s paradise. The roads are quiet enough to cycle on without worrying about traffic and the leiwater furrows are refreshing to splash in on a hot summer’s day. Most of the restaurants are child-friendly but Vanilla Café is one of the best places to relax. There’s a jungle gym, sandpit and swings in an enclosed garden. Little Birdy bookshop in the Main Street offers a storybook reading on Saturdays, while the farmers’ market is a sociable place to congregate. You can relax under the trees to eat pancakes and stock up on fresh farm produce.
Each year, one of the highlights in Greyton is the Children’s Festival, when the entire town goes out of its way to entertain and stimulate children with craft workshops, pantomimes, puppet shows, drama and bike rides.
For families with older children, there are some wonderful walking trails that start (or end) in Greyton. One of the most popular is the hike from Greyton over the mountains to McGregor.
There are a couple of inns and B&B’s in the village and the historic Post House has recently launched a luxurious family suite. There are also plenty of houses to rent in the village, but be warned that many of them have uncovered dams for their leiwater, which can be potentially dangerous for very young children.
Contact (028) 254-9564.
Old water powered mills in Botriver
Once an 18th century outpost for the Dutch East India Company, Compagnes Drift farm in Botriver is now home to Beaumont Wines, a family-run winery that produces excellent wine. On the farm you’ll also find a historic water mill that has been restored and is in full working order. Each Saturday, grain is ground into flour, which you can purchase from the farm. Mechanically-minded children will be fascinated by how the old mill functions and how water can be harnessed to work for us.
Contact (028) 284-9194 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.