Tag Archives: cape town

Shopping at the Lindt Chocolate Studio in Cape Town (2019-01-09) Photo Gallery | Shopping 12 FEB 2019

Did you know that the Lindt chocolate classes hosted in Cape Town and Johannesburg were a first for Lindt worldwide? It is something that Chantelle has always been keen to do at some point in time, and now that we’ve actually stumbled upon the Lindt Chocolate Studio in the reinvigorated Silo District of the V&A Waterfront, I reckon that the ‘maybe’ has now moved much more firmly into the realm of ‘definitely’.

We were in fact wandering about that area thanks to our first ever visit to the gorgeous Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa) gallery, and of course once we spied the gleaming gold logo of Lindt, Chantelle was reeled in and immediately bought a handful of exotic flavours for us to try and compare.

Secretly, this made me super happy.

Decadent.

Related Link: Lindt Chocolate Studio | V&A Waterfront | Cape Town

All Aboard The Blue Train Park in Mouille Point (2017-11-18) Kid Activities | Photo Gallery 08 FEB 2019

December 1956 saw the opening of the Blue Train in Mouille Point, and 60+ years later, the old girl is still running strong, now the last surviving South African beachfront miniature railway attraction still in action.

With the gorgeous Cape Town backdrop of Lion’s Head, Signal Hill and Table Mountain to the one side, and the splashing ocean waves of the promenade on the other, The Blue Train Park is home to the famous “Old Lady” mini blue train, a mini-skate park, cement push bike track, zip line, climbing rock, multiple jungle gyms, obstacle courses and even a small astro turf soccer pitch – basically more than enough to keep any visiting kids super entertained for quite a while!

To be honest, I don’t know if we ourselves visited this spot as kids, but I do know that my girls had an absolute blast being introduced to this iconic Cape Town kiddies attraction. Even more so after the train conductor let them sit up front and ‘drive’ the train around its track!

Oh, and we were rather chuffed to bump into Jack Parow of all people during our visit. Turns out the Blue Train Park is super popular to host children’s birthday parties at!

Related Link: The Blue Train Park | Mouille Point | Cape Town

A Lion Cake at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town (2018-06-02) Events | Photo Gallery 01 FEB 2019

Last year the animal welfare organisation Four Paws teamed up with South African Wildlife Project’s Elda Thomas and big name baker Dot Klerck to ignite the launch for their latest SA lions canned hunting awareness campaign #RiseUpAndRoar. The result? A giant lion cake which popped up in the V&A Waterfront for a couple of days in June.

Naturally, as the baker behind the best cakes in the Helderberg, Chantelle had to make a trip to see this baked marvel.

As for the girls and myself, we just wanted an excuse to go and sight-see at the Waterfront! :)

Admittedly, it was a pretty cool cake.

Related Link: Four Paws | V&A Waterfront | Cape Town

Owls, Eagles and Squirrel Monkeys at The World of Birds in Hout Bay (2017-06-24) Animal Attractions | Photo Gallery 27 JAN 2019

Hout Bay’s impressive World of Birds avian-focused animal sanctuary and its exotic garden theme has been a staple of the Cape Town tourist scene for years now.

The birds, the greenery, the animals, the sheer size, everything combines to make for a fantastic family outing option (for both locals and tourists alike), and is certainly a visit that we’ve all enjoyed in the past.

So of course, the girls and I paid them a visit.

And yes, as far as the girls were concerned, the interactive squirrel monkeys enclosure was by far the biggest hit of the day.

Related Link: World of Birds | Hout Bay | Cape Town

The Champion Trees of the Arderne Gardens in Claremont (2017-11-04) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 26 JAN 2019

A proper hidden gem of Cape Town, Claremont’s Arderne Gardens is home to more than 300, mostly exotic, species of trees – and if you are on the hunt for South African champion trees, then this is surprisingly quite a good place to start. (It has six of them in its collection!)

Having previously written about the garden it became imperative that the girls and I head out on a trip to see it for ourselves – and so one trek into the deep Southern Suburbs later, we found ourselves peacefully ambling about in this most tranquil of green spaces!

It was magnificent.

And yes, the six Champion Trees, the Morton Bay Fig, the Cork Oak, the Aleppo Pine, the Norfolk Island Pine, the Turkish Oak, and the Queensland Kauri, were all VERY impressive to see.

Related Link: Arderne Gardens | Friends of Arderne Gardens

Scratch Patch Gemstone Delight in the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town (2018-05-05) Family Attractions | Photo Gallery 05 OCT 2018

Honestly, taking your kids to go semi-precious stone hunting at the Scratch Patch is pretty much a Cape Town institution now. The original Scratch Patch in Simon’s Town was started in 1970, but of course it was the opening of the V&A Waterfront branch back in the late 90’s that really saw the experience take off as a fun little distraction for parents with small kids.

Anyway back in May this year, the girls and I got to head out to Pinelands for a friend’s birthday party at the hugely fun be.UP Park in Pinelands, a huge indoor trampoline and clamber activities haven that is guaranteed to put a grin on pretty much any kid’s face. (It was a first time visit for us, so the girls were HUGELY excited).

Successful party concluded (with remarkably few injuries to boot), I next decided that a long overdue visit to the V&A Waterfront was in order, more specifically a stroll over to the Scratch Patch – only fair considering that the last time we had treated the girls with a visit there was three whole years ago!

We don’t visit the Waterfront all that often, meaning that I almost always actually enjoy a trip there, primarily because there is always something to see and grab a nice photo of. Of course, this then means that I like to wander about, inflicting a massive amount of frustration upon two small girls impatiently champing at the bit to find out what the surprise for the day is going to be.

Pleasingly (they literally had NO clue as to our final destination), as we finally snaked our way over to the big unpolished stones serving as an advertising marker at the foot of the Scratch Patch building, they twigged where they were and literally ran around in circles yelling with excitement. Mission success I reckon.

From there it was through the door and straight into admiring the jewelry on display (they are girls after all), grabbing a container, and gleefully scratching about for brightly coloured stones until their cups literally runneth over – with daddy put on strict quality control duties of course.

Sadly, Emily is still a little too young for putt putt (mini golf) so we skipped out on a round of Cave Golf for this particular visit, but I reckon that it will be on like a scone the next time we pay a visit to this tiny little kid friendly wonderland.

Oh, and in case you didn’t know about it, in addition to the classic Simon’s Town and V&A Waterfront locations, these days Scratch Patch/Mineral World also has an outpost at the tourist friendly Cape Town Ostrich Farm. All the more reason to head out ostrich feather hunting again I guess…

Related Link: Mineral World Scratch Patch | V&A Waterfront | Cape Town

Cape Town Sevens Rugby at the Cape Town Stadium (2017-12-10) Events | Photo Gallery 23 SEP 2018

Easily one of the most eagerly awaited days on the Cape Town sports calendar, the Cape Town Sevens (more correctly known as the South Africa Sevens) is ridiculously popular. Grabbing tickets is a tricky affair, but if you manage to land a couple, then go you absolutely must.

My dad and Ryan asked me to join them for last year’s addition, the second tournament within the 2017-18 World Rugby Sevens Series. Seeing as I had up until then never been to a sevens tournament before, I eagerly said yes. Best decision ever!

Using the free pass guaranteed by our tickets, we parked in the city itself and grabbed a MyCiti bus to the gorgeous Cape Town Stadium, where after a short walk and a very slick gate operation, we filtered into the stadium and grabbed our seats.

We were there for the last day of the tournament (i.e. the most exciting day), and thanks to a particularly easy first round draw for South Africa’s Blitzbokke (namely Kenya, France and Russia), our team safely navigated their way to day 2, top of Pool A and ready take on Fiji in the first quarter-final of the day.

It was actually quite interesting to see first-hand. You see, the Cape Town Sevens isn’t popular because of the rugby itself, but rather for the massive amount of fun and atmosphere it generates, which means then that other than when the Blitzbokke are playing, the large majority of people are for the most part actually outside (in colourful costume), listening to music and catching some sun with drink FIRMLY in hand.

However, as soon as the South Africa team ran on to the field, the stadium would almost immediately fill up as the crowd grabbed their flags and started roaring in local appreciation. As it was, South Africa and Fiji put on a fighting game, ending with the Blitzbokke trotting away with a 31-26 win.

Next up was a clash with New Zealand, but sadly this battle did not go the partisan crowd’s way. Despite the thousands of waving flags and much, much cheering, the islanders put in a great effort, downing our local heroes 19-12.

That loss did of course leave a bitter taste in the mouth of most people there, meaning that the final, literally the last game of the day, played between New Zealand and Argentina (which New Zealand easily won) wasn’t as well supported as what it should have been. That said, thankfully the Bronze Medal Match between South African and Canada was still good enough to invoke a good old stadium roar.

Just as well that we won that then. (For the record, South Africa’s Seabelo Senatla ran out as the tournament’s top try scorer with 7 tries under his belt).

It was a very, very long day of quick, try-filled rugby. Loads of action, almost no down time to speak of, and plenty of festival atmosphere all around – in other words a thoroughly enjoyable day out and something which I can now fully appreciate the hype around. I liked it.

Also, fireworks.

(And a very windy night time walk back to our car. In fact, we saw a lady get blown down some steps. She was more concerned about her skirt than anything else. It was kind of hilarious – if it wasn’t for the fact that the wind was sucking the hilarity out of pretty much everything around us!)

Related Link: South Africa Sevens | Blitzbokke | HSBC World Rugby Sevens | Cape Town Stadium

Dinosaurs and Whales at the Iziko South African Museum in Cape Town (2017-08-20) Historic Attractions | Photo Gallery 14 SEP 2018

I pretend that any visit to a museum is for the benefit of my girls of course, but obviously that is very much a straight up lie – It is for me. Pretty much always. Case in point, I really really  wanted to see what the Iziko South African Museum, the national museum of South Africa, looks like nowadays. So off on a family outing we went.

Actually, given its location at the top of the Company’s Garden in Cape Town (where it has been located since 1897), a trip to the Iziko South African Museum always makes for a good family outing. You have the greenery, squirrels and nice eatery that comes with the Company’s Garden, the splendour of the various statues and memorials dotted about, the entertainment value that comes from a viewing at the now very impressive planetarium, and of course the wonder of the museum itself.

Founded by Lord Charles Somerset in 1825, the South African Museum started out as a general museum but later moved its focus to almost purely that of natural history, with a notion that very little divides the animal world from the human subjects it documents. In other words, there is a reason that there is relatively so little cultural history and material culture on display, despite this being a national museum!

The museum is organized on four levels, hosting a variety of exhibitions, from rock art to fossils, marine animals and meteorites. The ground level is home to “People past to present”, looking at aspects Southern African tribal history, “Karoo Fossils”, examining ancient dinosaur-like life in the Karoo region 250 million years ago, “World of Water”, depicting life in South Africa’s oceans, “Southern Oceans”, detailing animal life in the Subantarctic region, and the “Whale Well”, which features a unique collection of whale casts and skeletons – including a 20.5 meter long suspended blue whale skeleton that can be viewed from all floors.

(If there is one thing that I CAN remember as a kid going on all the museum bound school excursions, then it is most definitely that huge whale skeleton!)

Level 1 is home to “Sharkworld”, showcasing sharks, skates, rays and chimeras, “Our Place in the Universe”, a display depicting a cosmic zoom to view the universe on an ever-increasing scale, reaching back to almost the very beginning of the universe, “Meteorites”, three large iron meteorites, and of course the fantastic “Iziko Planetarium” (which I now really want to return to in order to watch an actual adult space themed feature following our viewing of the kiddy friendly “Tycho to the Moon”).

Level 2 showcases “Mammals”, “Birds”, “Wonders of Nature”, as well as the “History of the SA Museum”. It also houses a section entitled “Indigenous Knowledge”, which is a window on indigenous ways of using natural resources. Finally, level 3 is home to the “Stone Bones of the ancient Karoo” and focuses on the 250 million year old fossils from the Karoo. In other words, dinosaurs!

The museum is neat and tidy, the displays well looked after, the layouts great, and honestly put, I rather enjoyed the time strolling about. That said, the girls didn’t last very long before the “ugh, my legs are tired” moaning began, meaning that inevitably the visit was cut shorter than what it needed to be, ending with a grumpy dad stomping along in tow.

Next time I am going to lose the girls in the gardens with the squirrels I think.

P.S. That photo in the gallery above of Jessica running towards me? That’s her rushing over to tell me that a flock of the garden’s famous pigeons had just flown overhead and one of them had pooed on her leg! Extremely amusing and in the end, nothing that a bite to eat and some play time over at Deer Park Cafe couldn’t fix…

Related Link: Iziko South African Museum | The Company’s Garden | Cape Town

Freedom Day at the Green Point Urban Park in Cape Town (2017-04-27) Family Attractions | Photo Gallery 27 AUG 2018

The expensive whirlwind of hosting the FIFA World Cup back in 2010 brought a lot of welcome development and renewal to the Cape Town suburb of Green Point, ultimately transforming the road network, Green Point Common and of course stadium all for the better. One of my personal favourite legacies stemming from the hosting of the tournament is the establishment of the Green Point Urban Park, otherwise simply referred to now as Green Point Park.

This large, bright green lawn slathered slice of family outing heaven is the perfect venue for families to enjoy some outdoor life, or for people wishing to get some fresh air and a stretch of the legs in without having to leave the city or climb the mountain.

There are expansive lawns for picnics, a dedicated stage for performances, a delightful little restaurant perfect for a tea and light lunch stop (which naturally we make use of because planning ahead for something like a picnic is something seemingly beyond us), multiple play areas for the kids, outdoor gym equipment for those of us who never rest in bettering our bodies, and curved walkways perfect for both walkers and young cyclists alike.

The park is also home to a carefully curated Biodiversity Showcase Garden, whose sculpted pathways reveal some 25 000 indigenous plants, trees, shrubs, bulbs and ground-covers, all in all representing about 300 different plant species!

Also scattered about is a multitude of wonderfully quirky little nature sculptures and other exhibits, with all the important bits covered with some wonderfully informative signage.

So in summary, romantic fynbos strolls aside, the park is thus perfect for family get-togethers, picnics, birthday parties, and outdoor exercise. Also, don’t forget the scenic views either. In other words, the perfect place for Chantelle, the girls and I to spend a lazy Freedom Day public holiday together then!

Side Note: The kids play areas are amazing. Split into two, one for the older kids and one for the smaller tots, the equipment is very much unlike the standard stuff (i.e. way more exciting) that you would find in our older municipal parks. Explains perhaps why then the girls seem to absolutely love visiting there!

Related Link: Green Point Park | Cape Town