Sunday afternoons in my previous child-free lifetime were spent in various states of relaxation – reading, snoozing in the sun, browsing book shops – well not any more! These days – with two small children in the house – there is not much lying around and loafing to be done. Rather we are only too eager to get out and about and get rid of some of the extra energy (and noise!)
One way which satisfies both adults and children is a brisk walk in the fresh air…. so most weekends we find ourselves heading out for a walk somewhere around Cape Town.
Exercise and I are not great friends so this is a good way for me to get some in without it feeling like I’m doing anything too strenuous! There is nothing like getting some fresh air in your lungs in a beautiful, natural setting – even if it’s freezing cold like this last weekend has been in CT. Just dress up in warm layers with a hat. After a few minutes you will be warmed up!
Obviously with 2 pairs of little legs we can’t walk anywhere too difficult or dangerous so I haven’t included hikes in this list…
Here are some wonderful outdoor spaces for weekend walks in Cape Town with kids or dogs. Most are flat and free and some are suitable for small bikes and scooters!
1. Tokai Forest is no longer a pine plantation but even though there are no longer trees in the lower section of the ‘forest’ there is a great pathway/ boardwalk which has been installed recently and this makes for a great new spot to take small kids or dogs for a walk in a new environment. The path is fairly wide and flat apart from a few dips and gaps where they are still installing the last of the boardwalk. On our recent outing there were a fair amount of other walkers so we felt fairy safe. If you are looking for more of a ‘forest’ experience try the Arboreteum just up the road. Unfortunately dogs are not allowed in this section but it is a great spot to take kids who love to explore – there are plenty of interesting things to discover here amongst some of the oldest trees in South Africa.
2. The Sea Point Promenade has been as popular spot for many years. You will find a wide assortment of joggers, runners, kids, dog walkers and families from all over Cape Town here. This long stretch of paved walk way overs beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean especially at sunset. There are various parks for the kids to play, one of the best at the Mouille Point lighthouse. Small bikes and scooters are welcome but remember to take a helmet. An alternative beach promenade walk is the Blouberg/ Tableview beach front which offers postcard perfect views of Table Mountain.
3. The seaside walk which runs along the rocks from Muizenberg to St James makes for a lovely early morning option. The sun rises on this side of the mountain so after 3 in the afternoon this walk is in shadow and a bit on the cold side for winter! The walk does run quite close to the train tracks at some points so can be a bit hair-raising with very young kids but for slightly older ones the thrill of seeing the trains pass so closely is exciting. Any budding fishermen will also enjoy this walk and the opportunity to see the real fishermen up close. For a shorter walk take a trip to Kalk Bay harbour and walk along the harbour pier to the lighthouse to enjoy some real Cape Town atmosphere.
4. Fish Hoek cat walk is a perennial favourite for all ages. The views across False Bay to the Hottentots Holland mountain range are gorgeous. And there are plenty of benches from which to enjoy it – or just rest tired little legs.
5. Kommetjie lighthouse boardwalk is one of my favourite recent finds. We visited here on a misty afternoon when the sun was hidden behind the clouds and we all still enjoyed the seaside walk. Start from the Kommetjie bay and walk to the tallest lighthouse in South Africa. Or start at the lighthouse. The boardwalk is new, a bit narrow in parts, but the scenery is awesome. We took our son’s bike and even though there is a sign saying no bikes we saw a few other local families who assured us he could use it. Aside from a few other dog walkers we had the path to ourselves.
6. Living in a city you don’t find many wide open spaces for kids to run so Dreyersdal Farm in Bergvliet is a great find. There are plenty of green fields and hills to tear up and down! And lovely views across to the Constantiaberg mountains. There is also a friendly herd of brown cows roaming the fields so mind you don’t step in a cow pat!
7. Noordhoek Beach is one of the longest stretches of beaches in Cape Town – certainly the most picturesque on the Peninsula. This is a great spot to take the kids and the dogs but to keep safe try to go at busy times such as weekends when there are more people about. Nearby is the Noordhoek Common which is another farm-like setting perfect for “tramping” across muddy fields and visiting the horses.
8. A walk in the Groot Constantia vineyards is beautiful at any time of year. The views across the Cape Peninsula to False Bay are breath-taking and the various colours of the vineyards, especially in autumn, make for gorgeous photo taking opportunities. Many people walk their dogs here and there is a huge resevoir which attracts hundreds of birds. There are many different directions to walk among the vineyards so each visit could be different!
9. There is a beautiful boardwalk around Silvermine Dam which is a relatively easy walk for all ages. Just be careful of the edge of the water which comes quite close to the walk at times if you have very small children. This walk is suitable for small bikes and scooters. Note that there is an entry fee to the Table Mountain National Park of R15 per adult and R5 per child.
10. The Constantia green belt is a popular dog walking spot in Cape Town’s southern suburbs. Most days you will find plenty of people out with their families, friends and furries. Kids of all ages enjoy this space for riding bikes, catching tadpoles in the river, collecting and exploring nature.
So there you have it – where are you heading out to on the weekend? Let me know if you discover any other secret spots I should know about!