Cape Town’s red bus tour: top 5 picks for kids

29 September 2016

City Sightseeing’s annual 3-for-1 Kids’ Special, which runs from 1 May 2016 until 9 October 2016, is drawing to a close – but with school holidays almost upon us, there’s still time to enjoy this excellent offer.

Valid only on South African public holidays, school holidays and weekends, this special extends to both the one-day red bus ticket and the Waterfront Harbour Cruise. In terms of the special, when you buy an adult one-day red bus ticket (at a cost of R200), two kids (under 18) ride along for free.

Cape Town’s Red City Tour, in particular, is sure to delight adults and children alike, with 12 great stops. These include, to hand-pick a few, the V&A Waterfront, the Clock Tower Precinct, the world-famous Two Oceans Aquarium, the Table Mountain Aerial CablewayGreen Point Urban Park and the trendy, yet relaxing Camps Bay.

As an added bonus, if gramps and granny wish for some quality bonding with the kids, then, during the school holidays, they can make use of the Pensioner Special. It’s only valid on Tuesdays and Fridays, but it allows pensioners (with a South African green barcoded ID or smart card) to buy half-price tickets for the red bus or Waterfront Harbour Cruise – and while they pay just R95, two grandkids ride along for free!

So, without further ado, let’s introduce you to some of the best kid-friendly stops on Cape Town’s Red City Tour:

1. V&A Waterfront (stop 1)

(Image: Tamlyn Ryan)

The starting point (and also the end of the tour) is the V&A Waterfront. Here, you can enjoy a meal or shopping with the kids. Children will love the amazing toy store, Hamleys (you may not get them to leave), as well as the nearby outdoor play area, which has been revamped.

But it’s the Two Oceans Aquarium, just across from the Watershed and near to the City Sightseeing ticket office (which has temporarily moved home due to construction work), that is the biggest draw card for the whole family.

Find Nemo, see penguins and sharks up close, or simply enjoy taking in thousands of amazing fish and other sea life that have made this aquarium a hugely fun, popular and educational attraction.

Aquarium: 9.30am to 6pm, tickets R65 to R135. Red bus ticket holders get a discount on entry.

2. Table Mountain Aerial Cableway (stop 7)

Arguably Cape Town’s biggest attraction, Table Mountain is perfect for all ages.

Please keep a careful eye on your children but do enjoy taking a fun ride with them in the cable car, before tucking into a special meal, touring the mountaintop facilities, or spotting the adorable resident dassies (or “rock hyrax”), which are always a hit with children.

Cableway tickets: R125 to R255.

3. Camps Bay (stop 8)

Who doesn’t love the beach? At Camps Bay beach  the whole family can enjoy safe fun in the sun on a truly beautiful, world-class beach.

Its soft, clean sand, crisply refreshing waters, amazing granite boulders and natural tidal pool will have the kids happily splashing in the waves, running along the sand or building sandcastles into the sky.

The best part? It’s free to visit (though you will have to pay to rent an umbrella or deckchair).

4. St John’s Road, Sea Point (stop 10)

This stop puts you within walking distance of the famous Sea Point Promenade, an amazing place for everyone to have some fun.

Allow the kids to get active as they tear across ample green lawns or explore the many awesome play facilities. Or take them to see the sea and collect sea shells along the shore at nearby beaches; or simply enjoy a tasty ice cream and stroll along the scenic city promenade together.

This is another free place to enjoy – but if those hunger pangs strike, Beach Road offers food trucks, cafes and seaside restaurants to enjoy.

5. Green Point Urban Park (stop 12)

The last stop on the tour, and some may argue that City Sightseeing has left the best family-friendly spot till last, as this relatively new addition to the Mother City is perfect for everyone.

With its waterside benches and picnic areas, rolling lawns, amazing, educational gardens, and great kids’ play facilities, this one is not to be missed.

The views and atmosphere are wonderfully relaxing, and for football-obsessed kids, you can enjoy pointing out the nearby Cape Town Stadium, where some FIFA 2010 World Cup matches were held.

Visiting the park is free.

So next time the kids ask you, “Where are we going?” or wearily announce, “I’m bored!”, tell them you’re taking them on a bus tour of note – and hop on (and hop off) the awesome red bus!

*Tamlyn Ryan is a final-year journalism student, aspiring travel blogger and writer. As a reformed farm girl-turned Mother City dweller, she is a hopeless wanderer who loves exploring the great outdoors, and reviewing exciting places and spaces in Cape Town and the Western Cape as often as she can. tamlynamberwanderlust.com