Words and and imagery by Maja Tsolo.
I am Slovenian and my husband is South African and our families still live there. Whenever we are able to go away, it will often be to either of those two countries, so we can spend time with our families and friends. Cape Town is one of our favourite places with beautiful scenery, great beaches and plenty of activities for children, so it was an easy choice when planning a trip to South Africa.
I have two boys, Samuel, who is 7, and David, 3, and a 5-year-old daughter Lara. They are all very active and need plenty of time outdoors, so Cape Town was a perfect place to be. We all enjoy long walks and time spent on the beach and the children are all very sociable, so they enjoy making new friends along the way.
This was the first trip we made back to South Africa as a family in 4 years, which meant the older two children barely remembered anything from their previous trips and hadn't seen their grandparents and aunt face to face in a long time. David, the youngest, had never met his grandparents up to this trip. So it was pretty special to spend this time with them and for the children to get to know them better. We like living in England but being so far away from family is definitely a downside.
Another great thing was that I got to climb Lion's Head early one morning with Samuel. He is incredibly strong and sporty and enjoys any kind of physical challenge, so I figured this would be a great activity for him. Having two younger siblings, he also doesn't get too much time alone with either myself or his dad, so times when he does are extra special. We didn't see any other children during the hike and many hikers along the way commended him on his achievement, which made him very proud. Along with incredible views we got to enjoy during that climb, it's a memory we will hold on to for a long time.
In terms of travel tips, I would say be flexible and limit the amount of activities planned for one day, or even one holiday. I used to travel a lot before having children and I would cover many areas and activities in one day but with young children in tow it just gets stressful if you try to cram too much in. Being in a new place, experiencing many new things and possibly walking around a lot will tire them out a lot more than just hanging out at home, so giving them enough time to rest and stopping regularly for proper meals will make all the difference. When any of our children were still used to having a nap after lunch, we would often break the day into a morning and an afternoon activity, returning to our room around lunch time to get some down time and allow the children to nap or rest. In hot places this is also beneficial to keep the children out of the sun over the hottest part of the day.