Tag Archives: cape town

Girls at Play on the Mouille Point Adventure Playground in Cape Town (2017-11-18) Kid Activities | Photo Gallery 05 JUN 2018

The whole Sea Point, Mouille Point, Green Point stretch of Cape Town is always fantastic for family outings, with walks along the promenade, wave dodging through the railings, play on the various jungle gyms along the way, putt putt, a mini maze, the Blue Train Park, the Mouille Point Adventure Playground, and the Green Point Urban Park all on the cards for the little ones.

Talking about the Mouille Point Adventure Playground, I only just discovered how beautifully this kids playground has been upgraded during an outing with my girls to the Blue Train Park back in November last year. Open to all, it is the perfect mixing spot for all the kids of Cape Town to run around and play with one another.

So, while the Blue Train Park and its little blue train was definitely a hit, the fun ship themed jungle gym, inviting green sea monster and giant wooden jungle gym of the next door Mouille Point playground turned out to easily be the biggest highlight for my two munchkins on the day!

Seeing as we were in the area on a Saturday morning, we next dropped in by the bustling Oranjezicht City Farm Market, but given how busy they were (locals tell me the trick is to arrive super early), the girls and I instead shuffled off to a place of their choosing for lunch – and given that they are 7 and 4, naturally we ended up at Santa Ana Spur in the V&A Waterfront.

Sigh, at least the beer is nice and cold.

Not that I minded all that much I suppose – people watching at the Waterfront almost never gets old…  (Also, we did end up visiting Lagoon Beach in Milnerton for ice cream afterwards. So I can’t really complain.)

In summary, a lovely little playground that is perfect for rewarding the kids with some play time after first forcing them to walk along the promenade with you.

Related Link: Mouille Point | Cape Town

Celebrating Mother’s Day with a Picnic in Green Point Park, Cape Town (2018-05-13) Photo Gallery 15 MAY 2018

Instead of the usual big Sunday lunch at one of our houses with the rest of the family for Mother’s Day, this year Chantelle came up with the idea of getting everyone together for a big celebratory picnic – settling on the gorgeous Green Point Park (in Cape Town) as the perfect venue for the event.

We arrived early on the day, and as luck would have it, we snagged a table and, more importantly, the weather played along brilliantly, dealing us with a sunshine-filled, windless Autumn day – perfect for all the little ones to run around and play.

In terms of family joining in on the fun, it was Chantelle’s mom and dad, my mom and dad, my brother, my sister and her husband, and of course all the kids – our two girls, and Claire’s three boys!

Loads of food, plenty of conversation, and lots of fun. Basically the perfect recipe for spending a full day enjoying both the company and the stunning surrounds!

With my phone’s battery currently playing up (it needs to be replaced ASAP), I didn’t exactly bother to even try and take any photos on our special picnic day – so I guess that you will just have to take my word for it then that the Green Point Urban Park is an absolutely PERFECT spot for these sort of outdoor family gatherings.

Definitely not the worst way to have celebrated this year’s Mother’s Day then.

Related Link: Green Point Urban Park

Puzzles and Play at the Cape Town Science Centre in Observatory (2017-11-04) Kid Activities | Photo Gallery 30 APR 2018

If you are looking to entertain your kids (and maybe yourself) on a day out when perhaps the weather is not all that wonderful in the Mother City, then a trip to the Cape Town Science Centre in Observatory comes highly, highly, recommended.

Back in 1998, mobile phone giant MTN provided start-up funding for a science centre in Cape Town. This lead to the creation of the Interactive Science Foundation being established, who then oversaw the opening of the hugely popular and successful MTN Sciencentre in the Canal Walk shopping mall, where it operated from 2000 to 2010.

(Excluding its outreach programmes, the MTN Sciencentre received more than a million visitors through its doors over that period!)

As the agreements and leases all came to an end in 2010, the innovative science centre closed up shop, rebranded as the Cape Town Science Centre, leased the old Lamson-Paragon Building in Observatory (from the Western Cape Provincial Department of Transport and Public Works), and opened the doors to its newly refurbished premises in December 2011.

And it hasn’t looked back since.

The reason for this is of course that this is simply a fantastic space to learn while playing. There are seemingly hundreds of colourful, cleverly constructed interactive puzzle/science exhibits spread across the expansive floor, all of which teach fundamental aspects of science, technology, mathematics and engineering through some seriously fun interactions.

Both kids and adults can spend hours working their way through everything offer, and I can quite confidently state that even you WILL emerge having learnt something new on the day. (Unless of course you actually are a physics teacher or something like that…)

The cleverness of the installations, the thought provoking discussions that playing with the exhibits leads to is just wonderful, and honestly, both girls (and let’s be honest, and their dad)  absolutely loved the experience.

The Science Centre runs a number of interesting programmes, holiday activities, and even hosts birthday parties – perfect for those little ones who are always interested in taking things apart to see how they work!

It’s a seriously enjoyable outing that should entertain both young and old, and is also good enough to kill more than just a couple of hours in your day! So basically impossible not to recommend as a kid-friendly outing option in Cape Town then…

Bonus: Oh, and they even have Mark Shuttleworth’s spacesuit on display, which is pretty cool in itself.

(For those of you who need a slight jog of the memory, back in 2002 Mark became the second self-funded space tourist and the first-ever South African in space, blasting into orbit aboard a Russian Soyuz TM-34 before docking with the International Space Station. All in all a pretty proud moment for South Africa.)

Man, I really enjoyed this outing.

Related Link: Cape Town Science Centre | Observatory | Cape Town

A Gourmet Burger and Oscar the Seal at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town (2017-05-11) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 27 APR 2018

Table Mountain Aerial Cableway gives you a free cable car ride for you birthday, and my work gives us the day off on our birthday, meaning that I’m forever trying to go up Table Mountain on my birthday. Sometimes I get this right, but most of the time, thanks to my birthday falling in the middle of bad weather May, the route is closed and I need to come up with something else.

That is precisely what happened last year, and after spending some time walking around Signal Hill, Camps Bay and Sea Point, I headed towards the V&A Waterfront, a place that we visit surprisingly little come to think of it.

As any Cape Town tourist will tell you, the Waterfront does offer a lot of fun things to photograph, and on this particular day I found myself for some or other reason focusing on the hard to miss, gleaming bronze seal statue standing proudly in front of the magnificent Sun International Table Bay Hotel.

Standing adjacent to Jetty 2 and in front of the hotel’s main entrance, “Oscar”, the 2.7 meter high bronze seal statue sculpted and delivered (1997) by South African sculptor Danie De Jager, was commissioned by the hotel group in memory of Oscar the Cape Fur seal (and his fisherman friend – whom Oscar had inherited his name from), the beloved furry figure that called the Table Bay jetty home and whom the opening team had “adopted” during the construction phase of the hotel itself.

For many years Oscar the Seal delighted both Waterfront tourists and locals alike, before sadly dying due to injuries sustained in a boating accident around 2003. However, seeking out a place to bask in the sun, Oscar’s pups continue his legacy of visiting the Table Bay jetty on a daily basis, basically becoming much sought after photographic fodder in the process!

Anyway, Cape Fur seals aside, after a nice photographic stroll around the quieter than what I’m used to area, I decided to stop for a bite to eat, treating myself to one of the delicious gourmet hamburger creations that Gibson’s has become so famous for.

Craft beer in hand, I eagerly tucked into my food, fed the seagulls, watched people zip about, and took in all the sights. Not the worst way to spend lunch hour by one’s self I guess!

(In case you are all wondering where Chantelle was on the day, well she was back home busy frantically baking a cake in front of the camera, appearing as one of the challengers on Via’s – an Afrikaans channel on DSTV – Bak of Brou television show. Apparently this was quite the stressful event!)

One of the reasons I suppose that we don’t as a family visit the V&A Waterfront very often is because it is always so jam packed with people all the time, meaning that I found myself rather enjoying this rare mid-week visit for a change!

Lunch done, photos taken, next up for my birthday walkabout – a visit to the Springbok Experience rugby museum!

Related Link: V&A Waterfront | Cape Town | Gibson’s

A Train and the Colourful Changing Rooms of St James Beach (2017-10-30) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 13 APR 2018

Ah, the brightly coloured Victorian bathing boxes of St. James Beach. What Cape Town travel blog could truly call themselves local without including at least one post detailing this internationally recognised view, right?

St. James itself is a suburb of Cape Town, situated alongside the Atlantic Ocean on the shores of False Bay, tucked away between Muizenberg and Kalk Bay. As with a lot of old Cape Town suburbs, St James is constrained to a piece of land that is sandwiched between a rocky shore and the steep slopes of a mountain.

Deriving its name from the early St James Catholic Church (built around 1880), the majority of the current suburb was built between 1910 and 1950, following the completion of the railway line that connected Cape Town to False Bay.

(Incidentally, this line remains the most scenic train ride that you can catch in Cape Town today).

The main attraction for the area is of course St James beach, a lovely sheltered spot that provides a welcome break from the westerly winds, centered around a large man-made tidal pool that provides a splash free seawater experience that is perfect for families with kids.

The small stretch of sand quickly makes way for some fantastic naturally formed rock pools, perfect for observing small pockets of ocean life, and for added excitement, every now and then sees a train pass by right above your head!

And then there is of course the iconic row of little Victorian bathing boxes to provide a brilliant burst of colour to the scene.

In order to reach the beach you need to either cross underneath the railroad line using one of the the railway tunnels near the old train station, or you could perhaps take the enjoyable stroll along the lovely St James walkway which stretches all the way from St James beach to Surfers’ Corner, Muizenberg.

So, pretty much all the ingredients needed for a nice, free to enter, family friendly weekend visit then.

(Seeing as I’m more of a Helderberg basin, Overstrand and Stellenbosch Winelands travel blog these days, this just so happens to be my very first post featuring the famous St. James beach – though to be fair I have had the brightly coloured bathing boxes synonymous with Muizenberg’s Surfers’ Corner appear on these pages before!)

Related Link: St James | Cape Town

The Springbok Experience Rugby Museum in Cape Town (2017-05-11) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 01 APR 2018

As a treat to myself for my birthday, I paid a solo visit to the Springbok Experience Rugby Museum down in the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town last year May. It was my first time visiting the rugby museum, and honestly, if you are a long time South African rugby fan then this place will blow you socks off.

First things first – this is a museum experience unlike any other that I’ve experienced before.

The concept is that of an interactive, audio-visual driven experience, with the museum building being split into essentially 3 major sections – the Springbok memorabilia/rugby shop, the skill games section (perfect for you and your kids to have some rugby themed fun), and the the main and most important bit – the actual self-guided museum walk, which forces you along a path that talks, lights up and seeks to inform you with every step of the way.

You start at the very beginning, learning about how the game reached our shores, how it grew into a club level activity, and from there how it progressed from amateur to professional, from local to world class along the way.

Pleasingly, the museum does not shy away from difficult topics like the black smudge of Apartheid and race relations in general, and in fact, forces you as  visitor to understand exactly just how ridiculous and hurtful this dark mark on our shared history really was.

Visually the museum is stunning, running its bold yellow and green motif throughout the displays, with important figures and moments highlighted with stunning monochromatic mannequin displays.

Trophies, uniforms, pamphlets and photos, the museum has a treasure trove of South African rugby memorabilia that stretches throughout South Africa’s rugby playing history on display.

Larger than life inspirational quotes aside, just about every information panel you encounter comes with either a voice over effect, button to press, screen to watch, or tactile experience to digest – meaning that if you really want to, you can easily make a walk through this museum last longer than what your wife would spend in a well-stocked Woolworths store on one of its 50% off everything sale days.

(Technically, my wife doesn’t do this, but from what I understand you could be sitting on a bench that entire day if she has her good credit card in hand).

The experience itself ends off with a video screening in a small, darkened amphitheater, the result of which is you exiting through the final door beaming with pride at being a South African rugby fan. (Or at least that is exactly how I felt after making my way through the experience).

Hats off to SARU and the team that set this experience up then – if you are a Springboks fan, and have yet to visit this remarkable ode to SA rugby, then this should definitely be on your list of things to do in Cape Town!

P.S. Handy Tip: That amphitheater is super dark, so beware the step up to the viewing bench. Otherwise you’ll repeat the swift tuck and roll maneuver that I performed once the final film credit had rolled…

Related Link: The Springbok Experience Rugby Museum | Cape Town

Touchwork and Hypenica Year End Function at Monkey Valley Resort in Noordhoek (2017-12-07) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 20 FEB 2018

At the end of 2016 Hypenica and Touchwork capped a good year off with a fun staff function at the Outspan seafood restaurant in Kalk Bay – complete with a reggae band and Anne Hirsch’s improv troupe in tow. However, given that the venue was a little on the cramped side, 2017 saw our annual year-end staff function moved to Noordhoek’s rather pleasant Monkey Valley Resort.

If you are not familiar with Monkey Valley Resort (which has been a staple of the Noordhoek tourism scene for years), in essence it is this sprawling, surrounded by trees, wood-built beach nature resort that lies above Noordhoek Beach, offering accommodation, conference facilities and a pretty nice restaurant – not to mention its role as a rather popular Capetonian wedding venue!

In terms of our strangely Hawaiian themed staff function, the beer was flowing, the braai on the go, marimba was played, belly dancing was watched (?), and the pool utilized – in other words, a pretty good way to spend a perfect Summer’s day celebrating the year’s successes.

Monkey Valley Resort is a particularly relaxing space, and if you haven’t visited it before, you should probably consider a visit to Thorfynns Restaurant as an excuse to dip your toe into its tranquil vibe.

P.S. The walk down to the beach is a lot longer than what it looks from the deck.

Related Link: Monkey Valley Resort | Noordhoek | Cape Town

Ice Cream at Lagoon Beach in Milnerton (2017-11-18) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 28 JAN 2018

The girls and I had been out and about on a weekend adventure as always, first with a trip to the venerable Blue Train Park at Mouille Point for some play time, then a stroll over to the Oranjezicht City Farm Market (quickly abandoned because it was far, far too busy for one dad and his two little girls), followed by some Spur time for the munchkins in the V&A Waterfront, and then finally wrapping it all up with some ice cream on the beach.

For this final part of our day, I decided to pay a visit to Lagoon Beach in Milnerton, a place that I don’t think I’ve necessarily visited before.

The GPS and Google Maps took us up through Paarden Eiland, past the Milnerton Flea Market (which I’m sure used to be in Milnerton back when I was a kid), and into the parking lot in front of Wang Thai and the Lagoon Beach Hotel (where I was promptly accosted by a gang of wandering homeless kids and a couple of guys wanting to sell me shark teeth).

At this point the girls were already bothering me for ice cream to no end, so I relented, flagged down a passing Ola ice cream vendor on his bicycle, and bought the girls each a chilled chocolate coated treat on a stick.

This of course didn’t go that well, because it was almost instantly just dropped chocolate and melting ice cream everywhere!

(I was not impressed, and embarrassingly, a little shouty about this. I have no idea why this act of messing sticky ice cream everywhere bugs me so.)

Anyways. It is a bit disconcerting to see all the polluted water warnings for where the Dieprivier river flows towards the sea, but outside of that, the wide concrete walkway makes for a lovely walk along the beach, with the end reward being of course those utterly magnificent views of Table Mountain as you come around the hotel grounds.

Hard not to appreciate the view really.

(In truth, I am a tiny bit jealous that none of my local beaches have such a classic view of Table Mountain as what those on the Milnerton/Bloubergstrand side of Cape Town do!)

Related Link: Milnerton

High Tea at the Belmond Mount Nelson in Cape Town (2017-11-07) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 09 JAN 2018

On the 7th of November last year, Chantelle and I celebrated eight years of marriage to one another. To commemorate this special occasion, we decided to head out to Cape Town for High Tea at city’s famous Pink Lady: the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel.

With its name taking inspiration from Cape Town’s Table Mountain and the fame of Lord Horatio Nelson, the historic Mount Nelson Hotel (now owned by the Belmond group) first opened its doors on the 6th of March 1899. It was the first hotel in South Africa to offer hot and cold running water, and it was described back then as being ‘even better than its London counterparts’.

Today this five star luxury hotel, complete with gardens, restaurants, a spa and a host of other amenities, holds on to its status of being a place of accommodation that achieves that perfect mix of tranquility and class in the middle of a bustling urban environment.

(To be honest, I kind of have to believe what they say – this place definitely does amaze when it comes to first impressions!)

For Chantelle of course, afternoon tea (or high tea as it is otherwise known) at the Mount Nelson is old hat – she’s done it more than a few times in the past, but for me it was definitely a first.

And admittedly, I have to say that I rather enjoyed the experience.

For a start, the newly renovated tea room is now light and airy, apparently very different to the darker, more reserved space Chantelle has previously experienced.

The setup is simple enough: you get shown to your table, you get assigned a tea sommelier (or a waiter if you’re unlucky), get a stand of savour finger eats placed down in front of you at your table, and then proceed to select two teas from a very exotic (and extensive) list of teas (while continuously heading over to the exquisite dessert buffet table to fill up on treats whenever you run short).

For reference, my first pot of tea was the Pu-Erh Royal 2009 red tea, followed by a pot of Lapsang Souzhong smoked black tea. Chantelle on the other hand gave the rather dramatic Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearls oolong tea a go.

We had a particularly interesting tea sommelier (which is apparently now a thing) who spent a fair time talking tea with us, plus, given the fact that we were there for our wedding anniversary, we were even treated to a special little Happy Anniversary plating – much appreciated of course.

Sadly though, our romantic outing for two took a strange turn towards the end of the tea service – turning on our phones revealed that Emily’s school had been trying to get hold of us. Thanks to a MAJOR fire that was moving in onto Gordon’s Bay from Sir Lowry’s Pass, schools were being evacuated and basically we needed to abandon everything and get home fast!

Of course, being stuck more than an hour away from home meant that we had to phone up anyone and everyone in order to make a plan that ensured the kids were safe, and after a quick but slightly panicked stroll around the gardens to admire the exquisite Dylan Lewis sculptures out on display, we strapped in for a rather nail biting drive back home  through traffic.

(For reference, we were all safe, but the blaze on the mountain was massive, gutting a few houses and causing much panic and evacuations, before eventually turning back in gale force winds and heading up over the mountain again. Quite a spectacle to see the mountain at the back of our house burning so bright orange for the next couple of evenings! Also, turns out the saying is true – if you live in a fynbos rich area then you are pretty much guaranteed a major fire every ten years or so!)

Anyway, back to the high tea experience – it was actually really enjoyable to have done:

In Summary: Afternoon Tea at the Mount Nelson is an expensive outing to be sure, but definitely one worth doing if you’re looking to treat your partner to something that is special and perhaps just a little bit out of the norm.

Related Link: Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel | Wikipedia