Things to do in the Cape winelands

Family-friendly activities make Paarl and Wellington absolute gems for multi-generational groups. Special kids’ menus, dedicated play areas and child-friendly tasting options will keep the youngsters happy, while adults explore the summer offerings. Skip the traffic jams in the city and the congestion at the beaches this season and head for the beautiful towns of Paarl and Wellington in the heart of the Cape Winelands.

Paarl

Young and old will be captivated by the fluffy creatures at the Alpaca Loom Coffee Shop & Weaving Studio.  The guided barn-yard tour, petting zoo, coffee shop and wool studio reveal the fascinating world of alpacas, while offering awesome views of Table Mountain in the distance.

Extend your animal adventures by getting up close and personal with a variety of reptiles at Le Bonheur.  Get your thrill on during a croc pond tour and snake show or chill with woodfired pizzas, while the kids enjoy the spacious kids’ play area and tranquil catch-and-release dam.

The Greenhouse, even more enchanting by night.

The enchanting Greenhouse by night! Credit: Babylonstoren

Go green by taking the kids on a garden tour at the gorgeous Babylonstoren. The 3,5-hectare garden was inspired by the first settlers in the Cape. The onsite restaurants serve menus inspired by fresh, seasonal produce. Kids will enjoy pottering in the gravity-fed water channels and exploring the tunnels and mazes.

Paarl Nature Reserve features some of the most spectacular views in the region with massive granite rocks surrounded by indigenous fynbos vegetation and trees, exciting hiking and mountain-biking trails.

Quad biking with Element Adventures. Image: Paarl Tourism

Adventure operators such as Wine Valley Adventures, Element Adventure and Hero Adventure Trails promise to get the adrenaline pumping with various rides and trails on horseback, wagons and quad bikes with superb hiking, trail running, MTB tracks and paintball challenges added to spice up your day in the winelands. Special wine excursions and tastings with child-friendly eateries and custom-built play areas provide alternative entertainment for the rest of the family.

A visit to Paarl would not be complete without visiting the iconic Afrikaans Language Monument with free guided tours of this magnificent architectural landmark, Fairview Wine and Cheese with their postcard-perfect goat tower and goat herd or the ever-popular Perdeberg Winery with its braai picnic baskets and kiddies’ activity boxes.

End your day on a cool note with the ultimate in family fun at Graceland Venues with its waterslides, beach pool and braai areas. Head out of Cape Town and within an hour’s drive, you’ll find the perfect escape for the whole family in the rural Boland town of Wellington.

Wellington

Visitors to Wellington can start with an educational visit to the Wellington Museum in the heart of this quaint village before heading off to several venues that are supremely family-friendly and will entice younger visitors.

Val du Charron Wine and Leisure Estate boasts magnificent views of the surrounding mountains with a hearty Italian eatery, ice cream parlour, sprawling lawns, kids’ splash pad and play centre to keep the kids entertained, while the adults enjoy the customary Val du Charron hospitality and award-winning wines.

The Stone Kitchen at Dunstone Estate is another venue that dials it up for families with its bistro-style dining, informal wine tastings and a great kids’ menu.  A large soft indoor play area includes a Lego table, climbing wall and mini-kitchen, while kids can enjoy the jungle gym, mini golf or soccer, swings, slides and more outside.

Imbuko Wines is also geared to keep kids busy outside, while adults enjoy palate-pleasing wine tastings. The farm is also home to the weekly Wellington Parkrun on Saturdays, when the whole family can join the 5km walk or run on this working wine farm.

Parked on the side of the magnificent (though a little bumpy) Bainskloof Pass. Photo by Tyson Jopson

Discover unspoilt nature and enjoy a leisurely picnic in Bainskloof Pass, which features the biggest rock pool in the Western Cape, hidden waterfalls and secret swimming spots and hosts the only population of Scottish trout in the country.

If you want to get the family closer to nature, visit the cuddly creatures at Quenti Alpaca or go for a game drive at Bontebok Ridge Reserve to appreciate South African wildlife in their natural habitat. This guided experience is the ultimate showcase of the rich bio-diversity of the area.

For more fun facts on family-friendly outings in Paarl and Wellington, visit www.paarlonline.com and www.wellington.co.za

Image: Supplied

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