Two Oceans Aquarium
Experience the magic of the underwater kingdom and the incredible diversity of the marine life of the warm Indian Ocean and the cold Atlantic Ocean. The aquarium displays over 3000 marine species including sharks, fish, turtles and penguins with large viewing windows. The displays are well laid out and presented with educational information on all species and raised viewing platforms for children. Click here to read more
Boulders Beach African Penguin Colony
Boulders beach, located near the historical naval base town of Simon’s Town, is home to an endangered colony of the cutest African Penguins, one of the only colonies in the world. It’s impossible not to fall in love with these adorable waddling webbed birds. Click here to read more
Drakenstein Lion Park and Chimp Haven
Drakenstein Lion Park is home to rescued lions from abusive situations and is an incredible sanctuary providing lifetime care in a safe environment and providing the animals with compassion and the respect they deserve. Click here to read more
Giraffe House Wildlife Awareness Centre
The Giraffe House Wildlife Awareness Centre provides an educational experience on African wildlife and bird species. Education is the main focus with a wildlife educational programme where the conservation message is conveyed in an appealing way to the little ones. Click here to read more
Eagle Encounters at Spier
Eagle Encounters, located at Spier Wine Estate, is a rehabilitation centre for birds of prey that have been injured, poisoned, abused or hand-reared. Once they are fit and healthy and able to hunt they are released back into the wild. Only hand-reared birds are kept for education purposes. Click here to read more
Big Cat Park at Vredenheim Wine Estate
Located in the beautiful Stellenbosch Winelands on the Vredenheim Wine Estate you will find the Big Cat Park where you can meet lions, cheetahs, leopards, caracal and tigers. Vredenheim provides a place of sanctuary for these animals in large enclosures with the purpose to educate the public about the animals. Open daily from 9am to 4pm. Cost is R65/adult and R40/child.
Set in a tropical garden in a green house here you will find an amazing variety of exotic, tropical butterflies. There are also other interesting animals including reptiles, snakes, tarantulas, birds, marmoset monkeys and meerkats divided into different sections. There is an interactive section and an indoor aviary. The Jungle Leaf Café serves breakfast, lunch and has a kids menu. Located on the R44 just off Exit 47 from the N1 in the Winelands (at the cross roads to Paarl and Stellenbosch). Open daily from 9am to 5pm.
Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm
Located in the beautiful Cape Winelands there are approximately five hundred Nile crocodiles to view in their dams. Informative interactive tours are conducted every 45 minutes crossing concrete walkways above the open crocodile ponds and you will have the opportunity to hold a baby croc. They also offer catch and release bass fishing in their well-stocked dams. You can rent a rod or bring your own. There is a licensed, self-service café or you can pre-order a picnic to enjoy on their lawns. They have a kiddies play area. Located on Babylonstoren Road, just off the R45. Open daily from 9am to 5pm. *Please note this is a commercial crocodile farm
Intaka Island is an award-winning 16 hectare wetlands and bird sanctuary. It is home to 177 species of indigenous fynbos plants and 120 bird species. Take the kids on a scenic ferry ride around the canals, which takes approximately 35 minutes. Intaka, means ‘bird’ in Xhosa and is a unique example of nature conservation and urban development co-existing in harmony. They offer guided tours, bird watching, boat rides and educational school outings.
Sanccob Rehabilitation Centre for Seabirds, Table View
SANCCOB is a non-profit sea bird rehabilitation centre. Their aim is conserve and protect sea birds and other sea life, especially threatened species like the African Penguin. If you have a love for Penguins they offer a Behind the Scenes Tour by a trained guides. You will get the opportunity to experience the working life of a busy seabird hospital to see how the birds are cared for, treated and fed and if you are lucky you could have the opportunity to have a personal encounter with a penguin. If you love seabirds then this is must for you.
Behind the Scenes Tours: Monday to Saturday 10am – 4pm, Sunday 10am – 2pm. The tour includes a 20minute tour of the facility and 40-minute activity with an ambassador bird. Booking essential: [email protected] or Tel: 021 – 557 6155
Cheetah Outreach is an educational and informative community programme to create awareness and to raise funds for their survival. At the Outreach you can view these magnificent cats, listen to a talk, watch them at full sprint or experience a personal encounter with a cheetah or cub with knowledgeable and professional staff and volunteers.
Monkey Town Primate Centre
Monkey Town is a Wildlife Centre for monkeys and apes with over 230 animals and 28 different species of exotic monkeys with many of the species on the endangered list. There are also chimps, a koi pond, bird species, small antelope and a reptile park. The centre aims to educate about monkeys and the unrelenting threats they face in the wild. Most of the monkeys have been born in captivity and use to be pets or have been rejected by their mothers due to the mothers living in isolation and not learning how to nurture the young. They have an Adopt A Monkey Programme to support these wonderful animals. See their website for further details. There is a restaurant, picnic and braai area, play-park and swimming pools.
World of Birds
Set in a tropical garden in Hout Bay, World of Birds has plenty to see. It is the largest bird park in Africa with over 3000 birds and small animals to view of 400 different species. You can watch the penguins, pelicans or birds of prey being fed or have a personal encounter with a monkey. The kids absolutely loved this experience, and so did mom and dad. The cheeky squirrel monkeys provide plenty of entertainment. The Monkey Jungle is open from 11:30am to 1pm, and 2 to 3:30pm. The talking parakeet with have your children in fits of laughter. They also have owls, macaws, flamingos, porcupines, marmosets, guinea pigs, ducks, eagles, swans and plenty more. They have a playground and picnic area. Located on Valley Road, Hout Bay. Open daily from 9am – 5pm. Click here to read my blog on Hout Bay
Seal Island Tours
Enjoy a scenic cruise to visit the adorable colony of Cape Fur Seals and watch then basking in the sunshine and playing in the ocean. There are two options:
• Tours departing from Hout Bay Harbour to Duiker Island take approximately 45 minutes (perfect for little ones)
• Tours departing from Simon’s Town to Seal Island take approximately 1.5 hours
For young children I suggest the shorter tour departing from Hout Bay Harbour. There are a few options for boats, my tip is the Nauticat is a catamaran and therefore more stable. You might also be fortunate to see dolphins, whales or great white sharks in False Bay. Southern Right Whales are plentiful in False Bay between July and November. Click here to read my blog on Hout Bay
Whale Watching in Hermanus
Hermanus is approximately a 90-minute drive from Cape Town where you can watch Southern Right Whales, Humpback or Bryde’s Whales. It is here that these majestic animals come to birth and care for their newborn calves. The whale season is from May to November with September and October being the most popular months to spot whales. Whales can be seen from the land or you can choose to go on a whale watching boat. This is a wonderful experience for all and Hermanus has been nominated one of top 12 best whale watching destinations in the world.