Hanna PirnieBy Hannah Pirnie, mom to a beautiful daughter and twin boys. A British expat who moved to Johannesburg 6 years ago & found Translating Me andTranslating Joburg to support other expats. Sign up to her Time for Tea blog for free printables  and inspiration.

Most of us know the value of a date night with our partner, but how many of us place similar effort into creating family nights? A chance to put away technology and do something that the whole family will enjoy! We have decided to try and have a family night once a month, anything from movie night, or playing games, cooking together or going out for food. It is a European tradition that we would quite like to adopt. This post is all about Joburg, but if you are based in another city – why not read our How to have the Best Family Date Night, which has lots of tips on creating a memorable night wherever you are.

Here are some restaurants and places that we have discovered that are really well geared up for the whole family:

Night Tour at the Zoo – you get to see animals, take your torches and toast marshmallows on the open fire – what more could you ask for! The Joburg Zoo offers 3 types of night tours:
Sunset tour (4pm – 6:30pm)
Moonlight tour (5:15pm – 8pm)
Night tour (6:15pm – 9pm)

Johannesburg Zoo

Bambanani – now the food isn’t ideal, but the first Saturday of the month they have a disco and our kids just loved it – allowing my husband and I to have a lovely glass or two of wine. They also offer pottery classes and paper mosaicing during the week.


Montecasino – You will love it or hate it, but for a family night, whilst I wouldn’t choose to go there with friends or just my husband, its really fun with kids. They often run a variety of events – I took ours to the Christmas village for the outdoor cinema and it was brilliant (apart from the rain, and losing two of my children in the lift as the other one ran out into the car park). The event itself was really well put together with dressed up characters, beanbags to watch the family christmas movie and nice gift shops, despite my parenting fails I am looking forward to going back another time (maybe with my husband next time). In addition to the events, there is the theatre,  the Bird Garden and cinema there if you have older kids.

Joburg Theatre – Lovely theatre with some great family shows throughout the year – obviously the christmas pantomime is a hit, and this year I am looking forward to taking my daughter to the ballet there in October too.

Fishmonger / Craft / Local Grill , Col’Cacchio– these four restaurants are brilliant with kids, as soon as you arrive they bring activities for the kids to do, and have a great kids menu. The real bonus is you could go there without the kids too, so the food is great. (The milkshakes at Craft are out of this world, and ask to do the kitchen tour at the Local Grill – fantastic when you have guests to stay).

Click here to find a list of child friendly restaurants on Gauteng and here in KwaZulu- Natal.

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