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"A survival strategy for sleep-deprived children" Top 5 Page for this destination Cape Town Warnings Or Dangers Tip by CatherineReichardt

Cape Town Warnings and Dangers: 142 reviews and 77 photos

  Be a good parent and inflict this view on yourself
by CatherineReichardt

Every parent brave enough to travel with children knows only too well that trying to keep small kids in some sort of sleep routine so that they don't become sleep deprived and make the entire trip a misery for everyone concerned is a huge issue. Having been there, done that and got the T shirt, for what it's worth, I've found that the best way to do this is to take them for a long drive in the early afternoon in the earnest hope that they drop off and have some sort of nap.

I am happy to report (based on extensive field trials) that the Cape peninsula is ergonomically designed for this purpose! I have lost count of the number of times that I have driven around the peninsula - sometimes twice - in order to give small, cranky people a rest. In case you find yourself in a similar situation, my recommended route (which can be driven either way) is as follows.

Take the main highway (M2) towards Muizenberg, and at the end of the highway, either take Ou Kaapseweg over the mountain, or go down the False Bay coast (either the main road that hugs the coast, or the exquisite Boyes Drive which contours the flanks of Table Mountain, which is elevated above the coast, giving you stupendous views). I would recommend Boyes Drive if your child is a light sleeper, as there are quite a lot of robots (traffic lights) on the road from Muizenberg through Kalk Bay, and this section of the road was undergoing major roadworks at the time of updating this tip (April 2012).

Both roads will eventually take you down to the entrance to the Cape Point Nature Reserve, where you turn west, cross the peninsula until you hit Scarborough and take the road up the Atlantic seaboard, which either involves the iconic Chapman's Peak drive or cutting up through Hout Bay and the leafy upmarket suburb of Bishopscourt. Sounds complicated, but once you look at a map, I promise that it will make sense!

The beauty of this strategy - provided that your little darling(s) play ball and do what they're meant to do - is that you also get to experience some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in the world, so even if you end up doing it regularly, the chances are that you will feel grateful (rather than resentful) for the opportunity to repeat the experience!

P.S. I have to confess that my daughter was probably one of the few children ever born who absolutely loathed cars when she was little - in fact, she once screamed all the way from Gordon's Bay to Noordhoek without ever seeming to draw breath: go look on a map - it's a very long way (and seemed like an eternity to her parents!). However, I accept that she was atypical, and this strategy certainly worked like a charm with my son (and, according to my friends, countless others)!

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 18, 2012
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