Cities … living in one requires that you open your wallet countless times a day. So, when it comes to celebrations or casual get-togethers with friends (who won’t fit into your bachelor flat), meeting up for a picnic in the Mother City is not only a way to spend time soaking up some vitamin D – it’s pretty kind to your bank balance too.
We asked some city-bowl-dwellers and Cape Town locals where their secret picnic spots are, and this is what they shared with us…
CAPE TOWN PICNICS – DEER PARK
If you’ve lived in Cape Town for a little while, chances are that you’ve been to Deer Park at the foot ofTable Mountain. There’s a stream trickling down from the mountain, forming a riverbank with trees as it widens. Visitors will find dedicated picnic spots dotted along the stream, with several walking and hiking tracks shooting off the area.
Deer Park offers walks for anyone, young or old, starting with a short meander, through to hikes right up the mountain. Rumour has it that Cape Town’s Food Trucks stop here in good weather and pedal their edibles after tweeting their location. Bring a picnic basket, friends and family and enjoy one of the most beautiful spots in Cape Town this spring.
DE WAAL PARK
I refer to De Waal Park as Cape Town’s equivalent of Central Park, albeit tiny in comparison, due to its beauty and sense of tranquility amongst the bustle of inner city life. The park was Cape Town’s first, and is second largest after the Company Gardens, situated on land originally owned by the van Breda family. The City of Cape Town purchased the land from the family, turning it into a park in 1877. David Christiaan de Waal, who was a counselor and later mayor, planted thousands of trees in Cape Town at his own behest, largely responsible for the ‘greening’ of the city.
De Waal Park is now considered a National Monument and is a serene venue, now home to ‘Concerts in the Park’ and a playground for many local resident’s children. The expansive grounds make for the perfect anytime picnic spot and lunchtime escape for those cooped up in offices dotted around the City Bowl.
THE COMPANY’S GARDEN
Originally created for growing vegetables to replenish ship supplies in the nearby harbour in the 1650’s, The Company’s Garden is a heritage site and one of Cape Town’s most famous landmarks. The site is home to a rose garden, fishpond, aviary, a restaurant, Iziko National Museum and Iziko National Gallery. As the gardens are so centrally situated, the area is a favoured outdoor informal lunch spot for Capetonians and tourists throughout the week. Watch out for brazen squirrels!
The Glen forest is situated along the 35-acre green belt nature reserve stretching from the top of Kloof Nek Road, down towards Camps Bay. The beauty of this natural wooded area has been preserved, barely touched by development, and is home only to The Roundhouse restaurant, a cluster of homes and apartments along its edges. Bring a blanket and some picnic goodies and relax in this lush escape on the outskirts of the City Bowl.
The Atlantic Seaboard stretch between Mouille Point through to Bantry Bay boasts a dedicated promenade that is open and free for all to enjoy. Starting on the V&A Waterfront side of Mouille Point, the promenade spans approximately 7kms, passing many beaches, surf spots, playgrounds, fields, recreational areas and picnic spots along the way. Almost anyone growing up in Sea Point, Green Point or the City Bowl will remember family time on the promenade fondly, while hundreds of people continue to enjoy it daily for exercise, yoga classes, walking their dogs, sport, leisure and picnic fun.
The promenade is always buzzing with activity, especially on weekends, when small food trucks sell chip and dip, ice-creams and even strawberries and cream during the warmer months. The Mouille Point section of the promenade has been home to a maze, a children’s train and a putt-putt course for decades, providing outdoor entertainment for young and old. The Sea Point Pavilion is another landmark along the promenade, which is a must-visit on a hot day.
GREEN POINT PARK
Cape Town’s newest outdoor attraction was created during the building of the new Cape Town Stadium, and was one of the Green Goal legacy projects created in 2011. Green Point Park now consists of picnic areas, playgrounds for tots and older children, ponds, walkways, cycle tracks – and even an outdoor exercise gym. It has proven to be a fantastic success, now a popular picnic party spot for celebrations with friends and family.