You are currently viewing Bonding with Teenagers in Cape Town

If your teenager seems like a stranger living in your house, eating your food and spending all your money, then it’s time for some old-fashioned bonding.

In the water

As dwellers along the magical Cape coastline, we are perfectly placed to indulge in all manner of water-based activity, and in the summer months you won’t want to be anywhere else. With consistent winds, Cape Town is a kite-surfing capital, and guided kayaking tours are offered all over the city, giving you ample opportunity to spot whales, dolphins, seals, jellyfish, penguins and other seabirds, and even shipwrecks. Stand Up Paddle-surfing (SUPing) is trendy and offered in the protected waterfront canals all year round and surfing is, as we all know, a well-established sport in Cape Town, with Muizenberg Beach having the reputation as one of the best beaches to learn how.

where to go

High Five They will teach kite-surfing wherever the wind is blowing best and they run a Reconnect Programme, which focuses specifically on giving families an opportunity to bond. Bloubergstrand, Big Bay and Langebaan. Contact: 084 554 3262, or visit
Kaskazi Kayaking with your teenager in the double kayaks available makes for extra-fun family time. Three Anchor Bay. Contact: 011 439 1134, 083 346 1146 or visit
Ocean Riders Once you know the basics you can take your board into the ocean, lakes, rivers and bays. Gardens. Contact: 021 469 4716, 082 454 0398, or visit
Surf Emporium They offer a special for families learning together. Those who purchase three lessons, get a fourth free of charge. Muizenberg. Contact: 021 788 8687, or visit

Extend yourself

Learning to speak a new language or how to play an instrument is incredibly enjoyable and will give you an enormous sense of accomplishment. Going through the motions of learning together makes for great bonding time as it places you and your child on a level playing field. There are many language schools that are designed to keep things interesting for all ages and act as cultural centres, offering not only language courses but also a schedule of cultural events. They’ll teach you to cook that country’s cuisine in that country’s language and even run courses that will prepare you for a trip to that country, covering how to order at a restaurant, ask for directions and what to say in emergencies.

Music lessons have proven to be popular among families, with a fair amount of Cape Town parents enrolling in lessons with their children or even booking a studio for a week during the holidays. Most music schools will offer lessons in a wide range of instruments, including guitar, bass, drums, vocals or keyboard (a great starting point for beginners). Even if you are both absolute beginners learning to play the same instrument, not particularly musically inclined or you want to combine your different musical interests such as singing and playing piano, there are many music schools with a varied offering designed to assist most.

where to go


Jamrock Music Performance Academy Students and tutors usually showcase concerts. Currently, tutors are working on a music production to be presented at Jamrock Theatre. Brackenfell. Contact: 021 981 1313 or
Woodstock Academy of Music You can see some of the teachers on stage – the piano teacher works with Cape Town Opera and the saxophone teacher is a regular performer at jazz venues. Woodstock. Contact: 021 828 2753, or visit


Alliance Française Cape Town They offer a well-rounded French experience, which includes a schedule of concerts and movies, and a multimedia library along with their various language courses. Loop Street. Contact:
La Dante You can opt to learn how to make pasta from scratch or attend their movie nights where classic Italian films with English subtitles are screened once a month. Gardens. Contact: 021 465 8261, or visit
Xhosa Fundis Along with the courses offered, you can follow Xhosa Fundis on Twitter and Facebook and learn Xhosa phrases daily – a link will allow you to listen to the phrase and read a breakdown of the “word parts”. Woodstock. Contact: 021 447 9868, or visit

Something hobbyish

Cape Town, with its creative vigour, offers scope for those wanting to take up an engaging, interesting hobby. How about not only learning photography but also learning how to operate a darkroom? You can try your hand at quilting; the techniques taught are used these days to make not only bed covers but also cushion covers, bags, rucksacks, smartphone covers, table runners and decorations. There’s the option of introducing your child to the world of model boat constructing and sailing. For further inspiration, check out the Meetups website, which is a collection of groups formed around special interests that get together regularly; on this site you’ll find a special “moms and dads” category. Instagramers Cape Town, a group formed on Instagram, allows you to meet with others around Cape Town and take your mobile photography to the next level. Whatever the pursuit, if it catches on it is likely to last a lifetime and something you will always share with your child.

where to go

Inga Ford She offers an affordable intensive introductory course in digital photography as well as the photogram workshop, which is an old-school, camera-less darkroom photography workshop that requires no expensive equipment. Newlands. Contact:
The Quilting Bug Their quilting courses, including a beginner’s course, are perfectly done in pairs and they run a popular, collaborative Block of the Month Club. Bergvliet. Contact: 021 712 0540, 083 212 0602, or visit
Western Cape Model Boat Club Experienced members share their knowledge and assist newcomers. For more info: visit

In the kitchen

If creating tasty things to eat is a theme in your family, there are many cooking courses out there that will engage you both, with little effort. Most cookery schools consider all ages and so extend their course offerings to include quirky, interesting creations; they may even make their studio available to families for reunions. Others understand the time factor and offer well-packaged courses that will teach you a wide range of skills in the minimum amount of time – think four cuisines over four evenings. There is plenty on offer if you and your teenager are keen to get the oven gloves on. Following the theme of food appreciation, you could even treat yourselves and book a table at a restaurant that offers a tasting menu.

where to go

Julie’s Cake Studio They offer a wide range of courses, including funky classes teaching you how to make a giant cupcake or how to make your own sweets. Newlands Quarter. Contact: 021 686 2372 or
Top Nosh Their entertainment cooking course, offered over four evenings, covers French cuisine on the first evening, seafood on the second followed by homemade pasta and on the last evening, sushi. Bergvliet. Contact: 082 782 3622, or visit

Novel sport

If you’ve ever found yourself saying “I’ve always wanted to learn…” these ideas might fill in any blanks. How about taking kung fu or t’ai chi classes? This is very popular, with several groups of parents training with their children. If you prefer a no-impact form of martial arts-type physical training, how about the Brazilian form of capoeira? For something different, you can even take an electric bicycle tour, which is offered from Mount Nelson Hotel; it may spur you on to buy one. There’s also the physically and mentally challenging (but completely safe) sport of fencing, which is one of three Olympic sports to be in the programme from the very first games. Why not try Crossfit together, which is an intensive and rewarding form of group exercise training. The list, with a little research and imagination, is endless.

where to go

Black River Crossfit They offer Crossfit for adults and there is a programme specifically for children called Little Panthers. Observatory. Contact: or visit Facebook: Crossfit Kids Little Panthers
Chinese Martial Arts and Health Centre The centre offers parents and children a free week of training in any or all three of their martial arts. Observatory. For more info: visit
Cycology They offer daily electric bicycle tours and on Saturday they offer special tours to the popular markets at The Old Biscuit Mill and Oranjezicht City Farm. Based in the Mount Nelson Hotel. Contact: 076 062 7797,, or visit
En Garde School of the Sword Visit the website for the year’s training schedule. There are clubs in the southern suburbs and Fish Hoek with a club in the northern suburbs coming soon. Contact: 072 194 1926, or visit
Wild Clover Archery Club Classes are offered on Saturday mornings. Stellenbosch. Contact:

For the thrill of it

If you and your teenager are looking for a once-off adventure, try these activities:

  • Zip-lining
  • Helicopter flips
  • Getting your skipper’s
  • Scuba diving

Lucille Kemp