No matter how much time you have here, it won’t be enough. Take a glimpse at what you can do and see in this paradise…

1. Tour UNESCO World Heritage site Robben Island. The reviews on TripAdvisor are unjustly harsh. I felt it was a special experience to see where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated.

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2. Try legitimate South African food at Karibu’s in V&A Waterfront. Also there, is a restaurant chain called Spurs which has balloons and a kid’s playground inside.IMG_0433

3. Visit the dentist if you have any work you need to get done. You won’t think twice about the cost even without insurance. We went to one in De Waterkant , which also has a Lindt shop with flavors of chocolate I’ve never seen before, and ice cream, which seemed a fitting outing after the dentist. Not to mention ANY other health care you might need will be a fraction of the cost.

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4. Mouille Point has a train, mini golf, and park for kids.

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5. Kirstenbosch Gardens is the only botanic garden to be listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is representative of the fynbos biome-a type of fire-prone shrubland-, and the Cape Floristic region, the smallest of the six recognized floral kingdoms in the world. There are cycads from the time of the dinosaurs.

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6. Take a gyrocopter flying lesson.

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7. Monkey Park and Reptile World.

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8. Feed the squirrels in Company Gardens, then visit the Natural History Museum and modern art museum. Bonus points if you hit them on free days. Look up Iziko’s website to find out when that is.

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9. Watch a demonstration of the firing of the cannon at the Castle of Good Hope, and see local artist displays.

10. The world famous Lion Conservation Drakenstein Lion Park in Paarl

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11. The Cheetah Outreach in Somerset West

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12. Look up what local festivals are going on. The cheese festival in Stellenbosch was a perfect day out, with live music, a bounce house, and a petting zoo.

13. Simon’s Town’s Boulder Beach is the closest I’ve ever been to penguins in their natural habitat.

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14. Meet Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize winner, on Friday mornings at 7 am in St George’s cathedral downtown. If he’s feeling well, he preaches there.

15. Join Virgin Active. They have loads of classes, swimming pools, and tennis lessons among other options. The babysitting is a great perk. I haven’t been to a gym since Ryder was born and I’ve forgotten how my overall happiness is improved with a membership. Yes, I’ve been bodyrocking, but being challenged to improve by others around you is incomparable.

16. Ride the Cable Car to the top of Table Mountain. It’s one of the new 7 Natural Wonders of the World.

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17. Oude Molen is an ecovillage that offers drumming lessons, horserides, a cafe with a treehouse, and an indoor play area.

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18. Saturday market at Old Biscuit Mill has live music, one of the world’s top 50 restaurants, and an open market to try all kinds of fresh foods.

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19. Try to visit as many beaches as you can-they are all different and jaw droppingly gorgeous in their own way. From the crowds at Camp’s Bay to the playground in the sand at Hout’s Bay to the people playing fetch at Clifton’s, you’ll find something different at each one you visit.

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20. The Science Center is surprisingly engaging. It has the world’s largest usable cell phone, and an old space shuttle, among other exhibits.

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21. Sign up for Groupon if you want ideas for things to do, or 2 for 1 coupons to local restaurants. They often feature shark cage diving. I waffled whether or not to do that, mainly because they say the chum (blood thrown in water to attract sharks) is not good for the environment. Still, there are some conservation centers I would have loved to visit based on that ancient and terrifying animal.

22. I got to see Mariah Carey live. That was hard to beat. There are major acts coming constantly through Cape Town, keep up-to-date with the theater and music venues so you don’t miss out. Tickets from viagogo.

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23. The malls are ginormous complexes, the biggest being Canal Walk. There’s a movie theater there, and an arcade.

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24. Dress your child in local garb at the Greenmarket Square-Also the meeting point for excellent free walking tours.

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25. Get your hair done at Red’s on Main Street in Greenpoint. Fantastic job. They didn’t overbleach my hair which so many hairstylists love to do?!

26. Need a notary? I can recommend the following:

Tinus van der Berg
tinus@law2ticks.co.za

We were in and out of his office within the hour, scanned everything that we needed, everything in English, easier than the US embassy and located downtown.

27. Have a child that has obliterated an Apple product? iQuick gave back our iPad as good as new. 345 Main Road Sea Point, Cape Town | Total Garage Centre – Shop No. 4

28. I did not use this service, but info@supersitters.net got back to me right away and they offered school pickups and late evening babysitting for only the equivalent of around $5 per hour. Ryder absolutely loved his time with Montessori’s Nutwood Forest school-3000 rand for a month, 7:30 am to 12:30 pm. Located on 3 Braemar Road.

29. Computer die on you? Never fear, Southbit Data Recovery is there. service@southbit.co.za will help you out. I got all of my data back. I also bought a new computer, but I have to say that the selection of computers in South Africa is not nearly what it is elsewhere. Best to order online.

30. Getting around in Cape Town is super easy once you realize that Uber is the best value of anywhere you’ll go –6 rand per kilometer. There’s also Myciti bus passes, good for following the coast mostly, and the train station near Adderley will take you out to the further outreaches of Cape Town.

31. I enjoyed my eyelash extensions with Sarah very much. sarahchasteau@gmail.com works with Prolash and is in Sea Point.

32. One of the best optometrists I’ve been to abroad, Mariska Goussard with Atlantic Vision optometrists answered a lot of my questions and adjusted my prescription back to what it was pretravel (it’s bounced around to match the country bouncing).

33. The discovery of rooibos tea.

34. Last but not least, living in Green Point or Sea Point!!! We stayed with Frank’s Places. Amazing walks along the oceanfront, a decent sized library, two grocery stores (Woolworths and Spars) in walking distance, and two playgrounds surrounded by beautiful gardens, the stadium that hosted the World Cup, organic health food and coffee shops…not convinced yet? How about this swimming pool?

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