Travellers love Cape Town for the fun, exciting activities, attractions and sights it offers. But, away from all the excitement, stunning man-made vistas and rich natural beauty, one finds some fun, educational animal attractions too.
Whether you want to see a crocodile (in a while), snap a photo on the back of an ostrich or show your kids some special, protected animals, these ten animal attractions near Cape Town are perfect for you!
Family-friendly animal attractions near Cape Town
1) Butterfly World
Photo by Daniel Klein on Unsplash
Ever since its opening, Butterfly World has been enchanting families. This unique butterfly and animal sanctuary in Klapmuts is a safe home for many exotic, previously wild animals, who were sadly kept as pets and cannot be returned to the wild as a result.
Happily though, they are well taken care of here. What’s more, families can enjoy seeing a wide range of animals up close, while supporting a worthy cause, as the sanctuary is completely dependent on the funds it receives from visitor fees.
At Butterfly World and Animal Sanctuary, you can enjoy seeing the most amazing butterflies, spiders, snakes, monkeys, cute meerkats, different bird species and even scorpions. With some 700 creatures housed within, it’s a truly captivating outing.
Whether visiting on a school trip, weekend family outing or fun trip with friends, Butterfly World and Animal Sanctuary makes for a special day out.
Activity prices: Rates valid until September 30 2020. R88 per adult. R49 per child. R79 for students and pensioners. R225 for two adults and two children. Free to children aged 0-3 years.
Tel: +27 (0)21 875 562
2) Boulders Beach
Photo by Bernd M. Schell on Unsplash
If you haven’t heard of Boulders Beach, it’s possible you have been living under a rock! All jokes aside – Boulders is a beautiful, family-friendly beach in Simon’s Town, loved by tourists and locals alike.
It is one of the city’s most loved attractions – and with its white sands, sheltered beaches, granite boulders and crystal waters, what’s not to love?
Yet arguably its biggest drawcard is the adorable Boulders Penguin Colony, a group of endangered, unique land-based African penguins who call Boulders home. As one of only a few sites like this anywhere in the world, it’s easy to see why Boulders has become an international destination.
Boulders offers three spotless beaches, one penguin viewing area and three well-kept boardwalks, meaning you can get up close to the penguins without interfering with or harming the little guys.
The beach is specially great and safe for kids – but please ensure you keep the little ones away from the penguins. They may look and sound cute but their beaks are razor sharp and they won’t hesitate to peck if threatened.
Enjoy respecting their space, while sharing it with them and treat your loved ones to a truly memorable beach day. Oh and if you head there during summer, arrive early because the parking fills up fast!
So pack in a picnic and swimming costume and make a day of it!
Activity prices: Rates valid from 1 November 2019 to 31 October 2020.
(South African Citizens and Residents (with ID))
R40 per adult, per day
R20 per child, per day
(SADC Nationals (with passport))
R80 per adult per day
R40 per child, per day
(Standard Conservation fee (Foreign Visitors))
R160 per adult per day
R80 per child, per day
Gate entry times:
Winter (April – September): 08:00 – 17:00
Summer (December – January): 07:00 – 19:30
(February – March): 08:00 – 18:30
(October – November): 08:00 – 18:30
Tel: +27 (0)21 786 2329
3) World of Birds
Photo by Philip Milne on Flickr
As Africa’s largest bird park and one of the few large bird parks in the world, with over 3 000 birds (and small animals), World of Birds in Hout Bay makes for a fascinating, family-friendly outing.
With its uniquely presented, walk-through aviaries and enclosures, framed against the beautiful backdrop of Table Mountain, Constantiaberg, Chapman’s Peak and Little Lion’s Head, World of Birds is a feast for the eyes in more ways than one.
Visitors can marvel at these amazing creatures, while enjoying an educational, fun day.
If you’re lucky, you can even visit during feeding time to see penguins, birds of prey, cormorants or pelicans enjoying their meal. You can also check out the Monkey Jungle, open from 11:00-13:00 and 14:00-15:30.
After exploring, enjoy a light meal at the Robin’s Nest, a picnic at Flamingo Terrace – next to the flamingos – browse the curio shop or let the kiddies have fun on the playground.
World of Birds
Opening hours: 09:00 – 17:00 (365 days a year).
Activity prices: R130 per adult. R50 per child (ages 3-16). R85 for pensioners and students (with card). Free to children under 3.
Tel: +27 (0)21 790 2730
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
4) The Alpaca Loom – Coffee Shop & Weaving Studio
Photo by Kathryn Rossiter
Situated in Paarl, one finds The Alpaca Loom, a coffee shop and petting zoo home to adorable alpacas.
This popular spot offers visitors safe interactions at the petting zoo, delicious food and drinks (while taking in the alpaca herd, with Table Mountain in the background) and an excellent jungle gym for kids.
Take an alpaca tour, accompanied by woolly friends, to meet the residents (including the youngest crias) and learn more about the incredible alpaca and its fiber.
And be sure to visit the interesting weaving studio, where you can shop from everything from scarves to blankets, sourced from and woven on the farm.
It’s a fun way to spend a day in Paarl making new, woolly friends! Read more about our own visit to Alpaca Loom.
The Alpaca Loom Coffee Shop & Weaving Studio
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday, 10:00 – 18:00 (except on Christmas Day).
Alpaca Walk: R150 per person (minimum of two people).
Alpaca Barn Tour: R80 per adult. R60 for pensioners and students. R50 for children. Free to children under 3.
Tel: +27 (0)84 793 3666
5) Giraffe House
Photo by Gary Bendig on Unsplash
If you haven’t met Gerry the Giraffe yet, it’s time you make a plan and head to the fun Giraffe House.
At this unique wildlife awareness centre, situated on R304 (towards Stellenbosch) & R101 (towards Paarl), guests can enjoy meeting Gerry and seeing a range of mammals (everything from vervet monkeys to zebra and farmyard animals), reptiles (including the Nile crocodile) and birds like the ostrich, Blue Crane and spur-winged geese.
It’s a great outdoorsy experience that provides a meaningful education on the wildlife and what makes them so special.
While they primarily focus on school groups, Giraffe House is open to the general public and makes for a wonderful family outing.
Visit them for a memorable day outdoors, meeting some amazing creatures.
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday, 9:00 – 17:00 (closed on Christmas Day).
Entry fees: This is a no-card facility so please bring cash only. R60 per adult. R45 per senior. R40 per child (ages 2-15 years.)
Tel: +27 (0)21 884 4506
6) Intaka Island
Photo by Rebecca Peters on Unsplash
Intaka Island is Century City’s very own, incredible bird sanctuary and 16-hectare stretch of wetlands. Here, visitors and school groups can enjoy learning about and seeing a wide range of 120 bird species and 200 species of indigenous fynbos.
It’s a peaceful, educational outing that highlights the important tie between urban development and nature conservation.
Visit them for an escape to nature in the city – or allow learners to enjoy one of their many activities, such as pond dipping, water purification and basics about birds. Other fun, insightful activities, such as boat rides and island tours, are also offered.
For a tailor-made experience based on group size, age and needs (as well as time(s) available for your visit), please contact the Eco-Centre manager.
Opening hours: Open 364 days a year (closed on Christmas Day). Summer (Oct – April): 07:30 – 19:00. Winter (May – September): 07:30 – 17:30
Activity rates: Please contact Intaka for pricing.
Tel: +27 (0)21 552 6889
7) Drakenstein Lion Park
Photo by Kathryn Rossiter
Since its establishment in 1998, Drakenstein Lion Park has been protecting and providing lions in distress with a safe haven, where they can live free from abuse and persecution, while being treated with the tenderest compassion and respect.
Situated in the beautiful Cape Winelands and spanning some 50 acres of sprawling lion habitat, this is a vital and educational experience for all. As the Western Cape’s only genuine lion sanctuary, Drakenstein Lion Park is an amazing sanctuary, home to the largest lion population, including rare white lions.
Visit them to see lions, chimps and other animals up close in a safe, loving environment.
You can also book their camping-style accommodation and stay the night, listening to the sounds of lions come nightfall…
Click here to read about our visit to Drakenstein Lion Park a few years ago.
Drakenstein Lion Park
Lion Sanctuary: Monday – Sunday, 09:30 – 17:00 (including on public holidays). Closed on Christmas Day.
Lion feeding times are on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 16:00.
Chimp Haven: Monday – Sunday, from 09:30 to 16:30 (including public holidays). Closed on Christmas Day.
Entry fees: R80 per adult and R40 per child to visit both the Lion Sanctuary and Chimp Haven. For pre-booked groups, group rates are also available on request.
Tel: +27 (0)21 863 3290
8) Imhoff Farm
Photo by Imhoff Farm
Found along the Cape Point Route in Kommetjie is the delightful Imhoff Farm. This family-friendly place offers an incredible outdoor experience for visitors of all ages.
With on-site activities like lasertag and action paintball, an exciting Milkwood Maze, guided beach horse rides and the awesome Higgeldy Piggeldy Farm Yard – found just across from the excellent Blue Water Cafe – Imhoff Farm offers plenty for young and old to see, do and enjoy.
Situated under the trees and overlooking the vineyards, the farmyard invites little ones especially to enjoy greeting all sorts of domestic farm animals, like pigs, sheep, ponies, cows, emus, rabbits and some feathered friends too!
If you are looking for a lovely day out, with some animal fun, look no further than Imhoff Farm.
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday, 09:00 – 17:00.
Activity rates: Other activity rates and age recommendations vary – but the farm yard is R20 per person. (If your child is not yet walking, their entry is free.)
Tel: +27 (0)21 783 4545
9) Le Bonheur Reptiles and Adventures
If you are looking for a more adventurous, thrilling outing, Le Bonheur Reptiles and Adventures in Paarl has you covered. Here, you can get up close and personal with an assortment of reptiles, while enjoying a day on a Cape farm. We enjoyed a visit a few years back which you can read about here.
Hop on the croc pond tour and snake exhibit (home to both local and more exotic serpents); fish at the catch-and-release dam; let the kids try the cycle track (suitable for ages 5 to 12); or even brave a crocodile cage dive!
Afterwards, enjoy a delicious meal at Lakeview Restaurant, famed for their wood-fired pizzas – or a sumptuous, lawn picnic for two beneath the willow trees.
Their croc pond tours allow you to enjoy a safe guided tour, where you can visit more than 200 crocs, ranging from hatchlings to adults. Or, enjoy the self-guided indoor ‘snakes in transit’ snake exhibit.
For true adventurers (suitable for ages nine and up), you can enjoy a crocodile cage diving experience with a dozen adult Nile crocs… yikes! Booking is recommended but not essential for this activity.
And for those who wish to linger longer, book into the Waterside Suites and spend a relaxing weekend on the farm…
Le Bonheur Reptiles and Adventures
Opening hours: Open 364 days a year (closed on Christmas Day). Monday – Sunday, 09:00 – 17:00.
Activity rates: For activity rates and to find out whether booking is needed for your desired activity, please contact Le Bonheur Reptiles and Adventures.
Tel: +27 (0)21 863 1142
10) Cape Town Ostrich Ranch
If you have heard of Cape Town Ostrich Ranch before, no doubt it was for the festivals and/or outdoor music concerts that have been held here – but did you know it’s also an amazing, family-friendly place to visit year-round?
This fun, educational family-run farm, located 30 minutes from central Cape Town, offers visitors the unique chance to enjoy seeing and learning more about ostriches.
Enjoy a wide range of activities, like safely sitting on an ostrich for a photo, feeding native African birds, learning about the world’s smallest ostrich, Tom Thumb (who sadly passed away on 17 September 2018) and seeing other creatures, like crocodiles, peacocks, tortoises and more.
The Cape Town Ostrich Ranch is also great for kids, as there is plenty of open space and a nice playground for them to enjoy.
There is also a lovely restaurant, serving great food (like ostrich steaks and burgers, veggie potjies), which also offers a special children’s menu.
Cape Town Ostrich Ranch
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday (including on public holidays), 09:00 – 17:00. Closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Activity prices: Guided tours: R109 per adult. R98 per child (ages 7-16 years). R55 per child (ages 2-6 years). R65 per student, disabled person and pensioner.
Tel: +27 (0)21 972 1955/1669
These are just ten of the most amazing animal attractions near Cape Town.
Which would you like to visit first?