There is something about Sunday afternoons and the need to get out of doors with little ones. Gone are the days of lie-ins and reading novels on the couch. And this fact will be made all the more palpable the more you try and relive them, so getting out is a good idea.
Even without little ones, you’ll find these relatively easy walks a seriously lovely way to experience the wonderful summer, autumn and spring months in Cape Town.
Places For Families to Walk on Sundays in Cape Town:
1. Deer Park
A nature reserve that lies just under the Table, the Deer Park, in Vredehoek, is filled with paths used by runners, walkers, bike enthusiasts and dog walkers. The myriad pathways – some of which are wild and overgrown and go right up the mountain, and others that are actually boardwalks and great to do with children – make the Deer Park the popular space that it is.
Our son’s school has hosted an annual fundraiser here for the last two years and aside from the fun everyone has, the views out over the City Bowl and up the mountain are of the loveliest.
And when you run out of energy, it’s the perfect spot for picnics, and the kids can paddle in incredible mountain pools. In short, one of the best venues in the city (and a definite alternative to Kirstenbosch) in which you feel as if you’re out of the city. PS: although I haven’t partaken, the Woodlands Eatery (not five minutes from Deer Park) is supposed to make a mean pizza.
Nearby Accommodation: Vredehoek
2. Adderley Street Company’s Gardens
One of the most obvious places to walk around with children, yet one easily forgotten because of its position right in the heart of Cape Town’s city bowl, Company’s Gardens at the top end of Adderley Street, where it meets Wale Street, remains one of the loveliest parks for children in which to ramble and play.
There are beautiful trees under which to sit, benches, ponds in which there are fish, squirrels for whom one can buy bags of peanuts at the gates to the gardens, and a restaurant and coffee shop. On one end find Tuynhuys and Parliament, and on the other St George’s Cathedral.
Nearby Accommodation:Cape Town City Bowl
3. Long Beach – Noordhoek to Kommetjie
Long Beach, also sometimes called Noordhoek Beach (rather obviously because it lies below Noordhoek) stretches for 8 km all the way through to Kommetjie and makes a wonderfully long and challenging walk that little ones will relish (just not the very little ones, they’ll need to be at least four years old).
What makes the walk so lovely is not only the wildness of the place, the occasional horse rider and the relaxed and unhurried pace, but the shipwreck part way.
Dogs are allowed on this beach too. But be aware that the wind can make things a little uncomfortable. Take plenty of snacks and food as there are no shops at either end. Or, do it in reverse and partake of one of the restaurants in Noordhoek or on to the Noordhoek farm village.
4. Lower Silvermine Wetlands walk
Not many people know that this little spots exists. Although not very big, there are still a good two kilometres of pathways that allow walking and cycling through the reserve, and on to the back roads of Fish Hoek. Whilst most of the pathways are predominantly sand, there are areas of boardwalk and here and there a strategically placed bench.
Not great for very hot days as there are no large trees under which to linger, nor on very windy days. But on just about any other day of the year, this is a great place for children.
Hidden in amongst the water reeds are frogs (including the endangered western leopard toad), water birds and a host of insects. If you’re lucky you’ll spot an otter or mongoose and over 50 different types of birds flit in and around here. The views are wonderful, and you can include a stroll across Main Road to Clovelly beach into your walk. Find it between Clovelly and Fish Hoek.
5. Muizenberg to St James
Known by some as the catwalk between Kalk Bay and Muizenberg, this wonderful paved shoreline stroll is wonderful to do on any day of the year (okay, perhaps driving rain could be a factor). If you do it fairly quickly, it’s only about thirty minutes either way, but with children you’re going to do it a little slower.
Along the way there are any number of sights, sounds and special moments – beaches, birds, waves, interesting buildings, railway debris, the train. And on either end there is an array of coffee shops, ice cream vendors and restaurants to choose from.
To get there, turn down off the Main Road into Muizenberg, go under the railway bridge, then right towards the beach, right at the beach, through the parking, past the Empire and park near the railway line. Walk to the railway line, where it and the shore appear to meet and follow a concrete path that heads towards St James. The walk goes via St James.
6. Sea Point promenade
Sea Point’s long stretch of paved walkway on the edge of the sea does not need an introduction to Capetonians, who make very good use of this wonderful waterfront area to exercise and feel the sea breeze on their skins.
The place is a wonderful mix of people, safe for children (there are parks, jungle gyms, swings and a new outdoor ‘gym’ for all to use), great for sundowners and picnics and, despite having very little beach to speak of, one of the city’s local ‘haunts’.
Up until recently children could get away with riding bicycles along the promenade, making it a wonderful space for those initial trails, but it is now exclusively for feet. A new set of park boards that outline just what and what may not happen on the boardwalk have made this very clear. Bicycles will have to stick to the pavement that runs parallel to the promenade with the park in between.
Neaby Accommodation:Sea Point
7. Tokai lower forest circular walk
With only a weeny patch of pine forest left since the rather epic 2010 felling that left the patch rather devoid of shade and, I thought, little chance of walking, cycling or dog-sercising, the City of Cape Town and various other sponsors have mapped out a rather wonderful circular walk for everyone – including space for bikes, horses and people.
Now called Lower Tokai Park (any mention of ‘forest’ would make the pine stumps here shudder) there are a number of entrances, two on Orpen Road and another couple on Dennedal West Avenue.
Part of the walk is boardwalked, there is a section with a jungle gym and another area with a swing (all en route) and the oaks that line the first entrance on Orpen Road are rather spectacular. Already popular with runners and cyclists, try and remain on the path, as horses have right of way on the sand. And in the middle – fynbos is fighting its way to rehabilitation.
8. Silvermine Dam
A gentle and very popular stroll that remains, nonetheless, one of the most gorgeous walks with drinkable views surrounded by mountains. Silvermine around the dam has become incredibly popular over weekends for picnics, so if you’re going to do the lovely stroll around the dam, head there early. Before long groups are already staking claim to the spots they consider best.
Known officially as the reservoir trail, it is wheelchair friendly and no dogs are supposed to be on the boardwalk. This walk is definitely about taking the time to see what is around you, and there are invariably flowers, trees, creepy crawlies and birds’ nests that invite closer scrutiny.
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