There are so many reasons to holiday in Cape Town but as I sit in the hot wet glove that is the Queensland Coast’s humidity, having just been to the beach and taken my children to a cafe for a late morning tea, one reason in particular becomes glaringly obvious.
Before I get into this however I probably just need to point out a few things: I am an adult and I have children. Who are with me most of the time. Who like to eat. And move. And sometimes let out a little kid noise. They also ask questions. I also pay for them when they eat stuff and ensure they don’t interrupt other patrons. So this morning, in a pretty much empty cafe when the waitress had a hissy fit as my son tipped over a chair in his attempt to get up onto it at our table, I was a bit aghast. And embarassed and admonished. How dare I bring my devil children out in public!? I mean they have devilish aspects to them, absolutely- anyone else getting attitude from their 6 year old? Just me? But this was not one of those moments.
Here on the East Coast of Australia, being an adult with these conditions attached is certainly not an 18 year sentence to dine at McDonald’s or Chipmunks Play Centre until your kids grow facial hair or an appreciation for a latte over a flat white. But establishments (and I mean even just a cafe where I can hook myself up to caffiene and get the kids some scrambled eggs) where children are welcomed beyond an upcycled tin can of broken crayons and a photocopy of the menu are few and far between. Sigh… Will we ever be in favour with the wait-gliterrati again? Ever? I’m sure they can smell the kiddy stink on us even when we’re out and don’t have them with us.
And this is amongst the reasons why Cape Town should be on your list of places to go with your little ones.
It’s a Mecca for adults whose yearning of good food and wine and an eye poppingly picturesque place to experience it all in come together. Capetonians don’t mind if you have kids. In fact, they love it- they cater for them on a level I haven’t seen since we were in the Margaret River region of Western Australia a year ago.
Here’s an example. In Stellenbosch, overlooking the amazing Simonsberg mountain range, you can go to the wine estate of Dornier, taste their wines, sit at the onsite restaurant, Bodega, and eat wanky things like Springbok Flammkuchen (meat lovers pizza) or Salmon with Red Pepper Foam and Lemon Pearls (salmon with red wet air and weird gelatinous blobs of lemon). You can get your food snob on big time. And the best part? There is an ENORMOUS playground, slide and sandpit right next to one end of the restaurant. It’s like they understand that people who have kids also like to eat and that they have money so they’ll probs come spend it there if they can eat really nice food and don’t have to plug their kids into an Ipad or threaten the cancellation of Christmas if they move or emit more than 1 decibel of noise.
And Dorrnier is NOT an exception but rather the rule. High end wineries (Simonsig or Nitida) along with ones which are more pub with some vines attached (like Skilpadvlei or The Thristy Scarecrow) have amazing playgrounds- trampolines, two storey slides, sandpits and all the usual trappings of a child’s wonderland are included as a matter of course. You know, because parents more than any group on Earth need to slug some drinks down while their kids have a quick play.
Just want a burger? Most Spurs have an indoor playground. In and around Cape Town there are restaurants fronting some sort of beach (Dunes in Hout Bay)- even obtuse places like the Cape Town International Airport has a playground. We went to a plant nursery with a cafe and a playground! I mean- really!!
And the best thing is that they have babysitters in this Mecca and you can also go places where children definitely aren’t welcome so you too, dear parent, don’t need to be near someone else’s little twerps for a few hours.
There’s a million other reasons to travel to Cape Town with your kids, but South Africans seem to understand that your tastebuds and sense of aesthetic weren’t ripped out in the birthing suite (though your diginity certainly was) when you had your children. Rather, they are an extension of yourself which must also be catered to. And that’s a pretty bloody good reason to visit the Mother City.