A couple of weeks back we were invited to visit Intaka Island, for the launch of Tim Lundy’s new book Family Walks in Cape Town, published by Penguin Random House South Africa. A book launch with an outing to one of our favourite places is a galactic win. Anyway, a book of Family Walks in Cape Town… where was this book fifteen years ago when we were beginning our journey of looking for easy outings in and around Cape Town. We quickly learnt that with more than a few kids that we needed very economical outings, in fact free family outings. So we became a walking family, because walks are free… and eventually we became a hiking family.
Let’s Introduce the Book
The book is filled with thirty walks in and about Cape Town… urban walks and the great outdoors… lots of walks we have been on and lots of walks we are now looking forward to as well. This is not a book for folk who are trying to conquer the city in three days, but definitely for folk who are looking for a weekend amble with their family, somewhere where the folks can collapse and watch while their kids play. This book is not meant for endurance athletes that want to leap to the top of Table Mountain in a flash, but there are plenty of walks where you can vanish away from the hustle and bustle of the world, into the great outdoors all over the city… there are waterfalls to discover, trails through wetlands, beach walks and town walks… a walk through Simonstown or Kalk Bay sounds like the perfect weekend wander to me.
Each hike comes with a two or three page spread and includes everything you could possibly want to know. With each hike there are basic details: neighbourhood, location, distance, accessibility for toddlers (and associated wheels/ride-ons), or grandparents and most important the estimated duration. How to get there, for instance some hikes are good to get to on trains… and what to do while you are there. If there is a fabulous museum, or five museums, in the area, great spots along the way… eateries or ice cream spots… you know fundamental details for family walks. The walk is described in detail and there is a map for each walk, the description includes plenty of points of interest and little historical factoids. Every detail you can think of is provided, included websites and descriptions of places of interest along the way. I have a feeling this is a book that every family should have as a quick reference when they are in need of a weekend walk, not just families with tiny children… I know a lot of grownups who wouldn’t know that some of these walks even existed and that would love to take a Sunday afternoon amble. I absolutely love that there are tons of walks that are waiting for us, in places that we pass each week… this book is a great adventure waiting to happen and an essential weekend survival tool for parents desperate to get outdoors and have fun alongside their kids. If you are looking for a gift for a family of friends, new parents or actually anyone spending time in Cape Town looking to explore a little deeper than the surface… then this is the book.
Let’s Visit Intaka Island
Intaka Island happens to be one of our favourite spots and we have blogged about visiting Intaka Island before, in the olden days when the Hoods were young…
They were very eager to go on a tour and get exploring all over again. You can take a virtual tour over here…
Intaka Island is a wide open space, a bird sanctuary in the heart of the city of Cape Town. It is situated behind Century City Shopping Mall, with stunning views of Table Mountain, and a piece of tranquility right where you weren’t expecting it. In fact, this little haven is one of Cape Town’s best kept secrets, and why more folk don’t know about it I just don’t know. There is a self-guided, circular walking tour through the sanctuary. It is very easy walk and full of interesting things to look at, not to mention plenty of places to stop and rest and observe the birds. It is very well sign posted and there are also plenty of helpful folk around to offer you any help you might need.
What I didn’t know before this visit is that if you call in advance you can book a ranger to take the walk with you and tell you all the details and plenty of back stories behind the sanctuary. The rangers that walked with us really added a depth of knowledge and understanding to our outing, they were obviously used to kids and millions of questions… they did a great job.
This ranger told us everything we needed to know about the plants and the natural vegetation that grows in the wetland. He rescued me from a viscous toothache with a leaf (I am not even slightly kidding), and he explained the source and natural purification of the water in their wetland. It was fascinating stuff…
And this ranger knew absolutely everything about the birds we were looking at… with lots of little anecdotes and snippets of information to help us remember the facts.
The Bird Hides
Scattered throughout the sanctuary are bird hides… places to take a rest and to just stop and quietly watch the birds in their natural habitat.
The Birds and Wildlife
The Educational Lapa
And apart from all the fun running about my kids favourite spot has to be the educational lapa, where on the day the rangers were ready to show them all sorts of goodies… and the microscopes were out for looking at teeny tiny creatures scooped from the waterways. And everyone likes a microscope.
Huge thank you to Penguin Random House South Africa and Struik Nature for a great outing. This is not a sponsored post, we did receive a copy of Tim Lundy’s Family Walks in Cape Town for review purposes, and all opinions expressed are entirely our own.