As families prepare to send the kids back to school, most will be in need of a little distraction. What better way to take everyone’s minds off of the uncertainty of the situation than by heading to Stellenbosch for some last-minute family bonding? Here’s a round-up of the best kid-friendly activities to sign up for (all protocols firmly in place!), as well as the best kid-friendly places to visit, where you’re guaranteed the chance to create memories that you’ll all treasure for many years to come.
Mother-daughter bonding at Lanzerac Spa
If you have a teen daughter, some pampering is definitely in order at the ultra-luxe Lanzerac Spa. This is a fantastic mother-daughter bonding activity suitable for kids aged 12 and up. Sit back, relax, sip on a steaming cup of tea or coffee, and enjoy a hearty chat while you’re both treated to a manicure or pedicure. Relish in all of this while drinking in views of the Stellenbosch mountains and lush vineyards through the massive sash windows only adding to the experience.
Before or after your pamper session, be sure to head over to Lanzerac Deli for a hunger-busting spread of artisanal produce and homemade culinary delights outside on the terrace.
Father-son bonding with Adventure Shop
Get active and closer to nature with guided bike tours or a guided hike, courtesy of Adventure Shop. If you opt for the former, the two of you will have a choice between a traditional bicycle or an e-bike. Regardless, you’ll experience some of the region’s most beautiful scenery and historic must-sees in town and within the sprawling Jonkershoek Valley.
During your guided bike tour, you’ll also stop at one of Stellenbosch’s best-loved wine estates for a taste-bud tantalising wine and chocolate pairing (sparkling grape juice is available, too) before cycling through the grounds of Stellenbosch University.
Of course, it’s perfect for the whole family (moms and sisters too) – and if a guided hike is more up your alley, you’ll be able to select from three different options, each varying in length and difficulty.
A leisurely walk through the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden
Grab a free detailed map of the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden at the entrance and stroll along to your heart’s content. The garden represents the Jungian notion of ‘the wilderness within’ and is awash with over 60 unique sculptures across 4km of winding pathways. The kids will have lots of fun spotting the artworks and spending some time out in the sunshine, while mom and dad will also appreciate the contrasting surroundings of the perfectly manicured suburbs of Stellenbosch and the untamed mountains that encircle the premises.
Children under 18 get in for free, and adults pay R180 per person as a standard entry fee. Students and pensioners enjoy a discount and pay R120 per person – but do give them a call to book your slot.
Zoom through Jonkershoek on a scenic Scootour
There is no better way to take in the glorious beauty of the Jonkershoek Reserve than on board a Monster Mountain® Scooter, operated by Scootours! Kids over the age of 10 should feel comfortable piloting their own scooter, while children between 4 – 9 can catch a ride with their parents. The tour lasts around 2 hours and takes you past breath-taking vistas of the towering mountains and the region’s rambling fynbos. Keep your eyes peeled for some of the resident bird and animal life, including kingfishers, honey badgers, and mongooses, to name a few.
Tea and teaching at Hazendal
Hazendal is home to Wonderdal, a welcoming interactive edutainment centre for children between the ages of 5 – 13, and the first of its kind in Africa. Curious kids will become fully immersed in a world that will teach them important lessons relating to science, physical aptitude, and life skills. The trained onsite supervisors and vibrant Amuki characters will be their guides, so parents can grab the opportunity to take some time out. Wonderdal is open from Tuesday – Sunday between 9am and 5pm, with the last play slot at 3pm.
While the kids enjoy a little learning through play, why not treat yourselves to some tea by partaking in a Hazendal Russian tea ceremony? Your tea is be served to you from a steaming samovar and paired with a mouth-watering spread of both sweet and savoury Russian delicacies. Choose from meat, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and kid-friendly spreads. Don’t forget to book your spot at least 24 hours in advance. You can choose any time between 10am – 3pm from Tuesday to Sunday.
A soothing garden tour at Babylonstoren
Babylonstoren is where you’ll find a sizeable garden comprising 15 serene clusters filled with fruits, vegetables, and herbs. What’s most interesting about this garden is the fact that all of the produce grown here is either edible, has medicinal value, or both. An experienced gardener will walk you through it and explain the details regarding the plants, encouraging you to pick, taste, smell, and touch as you go. The children will love walking alongside the waddling ducks and colourful chickens, as well as making their way through an enthralling maze made out of prickly pears.
Where to eat
Blaauwklippen – Hamm & Uys
Think homely South African comfort food with modern finishing touches in a laid-back country-style setting and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what sort of experience to expect from a meal savoured at Hamm & Uys at Blaauwklippen wine farm. The eatery is open for lunch from Friday – Sunday and it is required for all visitors to book in advance.
Grab a filling brekkie, a hearty lunch, or a satisfying dinner at Skilpadvlei Restaurant. The chefs here specialise in South African favourites, like tripe, flame-grilled pork ribs, and creamy lamb curry. The children will enjoy the thick, bubble-topped milkshakes, the cheesy woodfired pizzas, and the juicy burgers.
As already mentioned, Lanzerac Deli is a wonderful choice for lighter meals and platters filled with homemade culinary creations. It is hidden away within the vineyards and the shady oak trees, offering kids lots of space in which to run around and play. Families can tuck into the all-day breakfast menu, nibble on pastries, or munch on freshly-baked bread with an assortment of toppings.
Somerbosch Wines and Bistro
Sit down to a classic English breakfast or a three-egg omelette at Somerbosch Wines and Bistro. Breakfast is on the table 7 days a week from 9am – 11am, and all breakfasts are served with a complimentary filter coffee, fruit juice, or tea. Alternatively, pop in for lunch and select from a diverse menu of favourites, from crispy roast duck with reduced red wine sauce to gourmet burgers plated with a side of potato skins and crème fraiche. The dedicated kiddies’ menu includes cute lettuce cups filled with BBQ chicken mayo and charred corn, and delicious soda floats.