Ramsgate can be a very busy beach holiday spot during peak season. Personally it has never been one of my favourite beaches, often boasting very strong currents and rough conditions. On one of our recent trips to visit Granny however, we discovered a secluded little eco-park called Bellevue Park. And once you have had an overdose of sunny days, or should an untoward overcast sky descend, it is the perfect antidote.
Bellevue Park is a natural heritage site and has been rehabilitated to provide a wonderful environmental education locale. Situated on the main road travelling towards Southbroom, it is easy to miss, but the adjacent Bellevue Guest Lodge is well signposted and provides a variety of self-catering accommodation.
Having paid a very reasonable entrance fee, our children were immediately engaged by the wonderful marble run – marbles that flow down plastic pipes, resulting in quite a melodic effect! It is at this point that the treasure hunt, or should I say environmental puzzle trail, begins. Parties are also hosted at Bellevue Park and so the clues or educational signage, for what could be a treasure hunt, remain for visitors to follow. They point to all sorts of scientific and environmental facts, including the identification of alien plants, and are displayed throughout the park.
While we positioned our picnic blankets on the lush grass, the children discovered the scooters and go carts, which can be ridden along the track that meanders throughout the gardens. This makes access for prams and wheelchairs a feasible option.
The smaller children opted to play on the wooden swings , which are situated close to a display of mechanical models, ideal for a primary schooler’s education. This display details various mechanical inventions, and how for instance gears impact on other cogs and make them turn. A sand pit and slide are also available, as is an obstacle course, using wooden beams and balances on which even we adults had a go!
There is an abundance of plant life, with 200 species of indigenous trees and a beautiful stream, home to frogs and crabs. On a quieter day we may have spotted some of the bountiful bird life, but our group was a little too raucous for that!
The entrance houses a small shop where local jams, biscuits and some inexpensive toys are on sale. And as you exit, a wonderful large water wheel bids you farewell from this wonderful eco-play zone. A lovely morning or afternoon out, so be sure to put it on your south coast itinerary!
Contact & Address:
Bellevue Eco-Park; Main Road, Ramsgate, South Coast, KwaZulu Natal
Telephone: +27 (0)39 316-6097