A question that I have been asked a couple times lately is, “Where can I go for a weekend walk with the kids, in Cape Town?” And this weekend is a long weekend for us, so it seems fitting to put this post out, for all those folk who would like a lazy amble or a small adventure… some outdoor time without being too taxing or anything even slightly resembling Kilimanjaro. The perfect walk requires fresh air a sense of wild adventure for little people and relaxation for the grownups. I have tried to include walks from the extremely easy to the mildly adventurous… something for all ages and stages. We have blogged about almost every single walk in this post and if you just click on the title of the walk, you will be taken to a more in depth description.
What to Pack: The lighter the better, really… no-one wants to be lugging anything anywhere, but there are some things you should take. Always take a sweater, there is nothing worse than a walk spoilt because someone is cold. A simple snack and a water bottle are nice even on short walks. There is something about eating outdoors that adds to the adventure for little people, and provides encouragement to accompanying adults. If it’s cold a beanie really helps to keep warm and if it’s sunny then a hat is essential. Otherwise, no special gear is required… just a little bit of enthusiasm and a spirit of adventure!!!
Safety: All these walks are within the city of Cape Town, even if you feel like you are out in the wild, you are actually in a city and need to take the usual precautions: don’t walk alone, don’t walk after dark, don’t display your valuables. These are obvious precautions that we can easily forget because we feel so far from urbanisation. If there is a signboard with emergency numbers then take a snapshot of it with your phone, that way if you do run into a problem, you will be able to call for help.
Se7en Types of Easy Ambles for Families in Cape Town
Good Places to Just Sit in the Great Outdoors…
You know when you should go out for a walk, but you actually just feel like a coffee and a chat with a friend while the kids play…
- Chart Farm: This is the ultimate sit and have a coffee on a bench while the children wander in and out of the rows of roses. They even have a tea-room, where you can have an assortment of loveliness… perfect for taking grannies out, while the children run free… you can even go for a really easy wander and pick your own roses. Lovely!!!
- Bel Ombre Meadow in Constantia: If you need to just get away into the great outdoors really quickly. If you head down Rathfielder Avenue, off Brommesvlei Road, there is a lovely big kink in the road that encloses a green area of forest and field and prettiness. Perfect place to stop and let your kids run up and down the hill while you find a bench to have your take-out coffee on.
Urban Ambles Around the City of Cape Town…
There is a time and a place for urban ambles, especially if there is a chance to stop for a coffee or a treat along the way…
- The V and A Waterfront: The information desk has a map for their running routes and their history trail, an easy walk to do and if your little people are like mine then there is a lot of joy in figuring out where everything is on the map. Not to mention there are plenty of places to stop and rest and watch the world go by and plenty of opportunities for treats.
- The Company Gardens: In the heart of the city, is always good for an amble… plenty of people watching and and if it should rain, you can dash into the Natural History Museum, or the Art Gallery or the Cultural History Museum. If you haven’t been there for years… try it, it is lovely and lots Capetonians don’t even know about it.
- Kalk Bay: Is always good for an amble and some window shopping, and the best book shop in town, just saying. Stop at the Ice Cafe for a cone, The Olympia bakery for a treat or take a stroll through the harbour and stop for Fish and Chips at Kalkys.
- Simonstown: Another good place to take a walk through town, lots of places to look at and explore along your way.
- City Sight Seeing: Yes, that’s the Red City Bus Tours and they have free walking tours of the city of Cape Town, you can choose from the Historic Tour, The Bo-Kaap Tour, the District Six Walk, and the V and A Waterfront… these are top of our list to try over the next few weeks.
- City Walk: Also provides free walking tours in the city centre, and every third Saturday of the month there is City Walk Saturdays, where the streets are opened up for buskers, performers, drummers and so on.
Walks in Parks, Cape Town has Some Spectacular Parks…
These walks tend to be really easy, they are mostly stroller friendly, there is plenty of parking and often a chance of fine coffee really close by.
- GreenPoint Park: follow the loop and people watch all the way… there are lots of hidden twists and turns to explore if you need just a little bit of wildness. There is a biodiversity garden to explore, a maze to wander through… there is a lot more to this wonderful park than endless lawns and a wonderful playground. Not to mention it is free.
- Intaka Island: If you want to walk and learn then here is a fabulous place, completely wild, right behind N1 city. There is a really small entrance fee and frankly, this gem is one of Cape Town’s very best kept secrets.
- Kirstenbosch: Of course this is one of our favourite places to go for walks… walks can be gentle or easy, all on paved paths or off-road… it is a great place for families with large age differences, because there is literally something for everybody there. My kids all love waking the Braille Trail and you can look out for guided walks, especially family focused tours of the gardens. Tons of different routes and trails to take and wander off… even on the busiest days there are secret spots to discover and explore. There is an entrance fee, but it is usually free during the June/July school holidays.
- Silvermine: A walk around the dams is an easy walk and they are lovely picnic spots to stop and play and explore. This is a really easy walk far from the land of cell-phone reception and you feel like you have been on long holiday once you have been there. (There is a small entrance fee).
- Groot Constantia: While technically not a park, it is a well cultivated wine farm, with beautiful places to visit… pristine gardens to wander through under the oak trees or for a little wilder a wander through the vineyards.
- Rondevlei Bird Sanctuary: Another one of Cape Town’s best kept secrets. for a small fee you will find yourself completely surrounded by nature in the middle of the urban sprawl of Cape Town. Lots to look at for animal lovers and a great place for an easy walk.
Slightly Off Road But Still Easy Enough to Call an Amble…
If you are ready for a bit of adventure… but not quite ready for soldiering your way through mangrove swamps or crawling along cliff edges…
- Clovelly Wetlands: As you drive into Fish Hoek from Kalk Bay, there are stop lights where you can turn into Clovelly. Turn up the road to Clovelly and immediately on your left is a parking lot and a boardwalk/gravel path that zig zags to and fro across the Silvermine River Wetlands… perfect for bird and frog spotting.
- Rondebsoch Common: In the heart of Rondebsoch, between Red Cross Children’s Hospital and Rustenberg High School. There is a Park Run here on Saturday mornings, but if you are looking for a nice 2 km loop… Park at the Campground Circle, there is a path beside the trees, on the common, towards Park Road, halfway along Park Road there is a path and an amble across the middle of the common, through a lovely wild patch, and beautiful views of the mountain, avoiding the traffic on the edges.
- The Alphen Trail: Take a wander through beautiful Constantia and you walk all the way from close to the top of Southern Cross Drive right down to the Alphen hotel… if you are looking for shorter options with smaller people, you can do a walk through a shorter section of this trail. Starting on Southern Cross Drive head for Le Sueur Avenue, which loops off Brommesvlei Road… there is a lovely green field to play on and you can join the Alphen Trail for a wander either way. Or just head straight to the Alphen Hotel, you will spot the lower entrance to the Alphen Trail close by, and you can take a wander into the Alphen Trail as far as your legs want to go and then wander out again.
- The Sillery Trail: As you drive on Constantia Main Road from Ladie Mile, towards Groot Constantia, there is an open field with some tall trees on the right hand side, you can park there and wander into a lovely lush area, cool and relaxing on the hottest summer days and good for Autumn leaves too, actually any season is a good season to go exploring there.
- Noordhoek Common: This is a lovely place to go for a walk with a real country feel to it. There are oak trees, green grass and horses… often the very best spot when the rest of the Peninsula is too windy to go for a walk. Not to mention just over the road is the Noordhoek farm village, the home of great coffee and Kristen’s Kick Ass ice-cream.
- Tokai Forest Plantation: On Orpen Road in Tokai… there is a lovely big loop right around the forest and a couple of paths zig zag across the area, if you need a short cut. There is gravel, board walks, wide open space and forest… a bit of everything and most of all… its flat.
Easy Seaside Walks That Won’t Get You covered in Sand…
When you are taking small children for a walk, along the sand is often not the best place to be. Cape Town has plenty of great walks alongside the beach and the reward of a play on the beach at the end of it always inspires little people to join in…
- Muizenberg to St James: From Surfer’s Corner to St. James Beach is lovely seaside amble, especially exciting during Whale season… and for little train lovers, you are in the perfect spot for a bit of trainspotting.
- Boulders to Seaforth: This is an absolutely stunning walk, beautiful beyond belief and you will see penguins and daisies and maybe even a mongoose. It’s free, though if you want to you can pay to enter Sanparks at either end of the boardwalk for a closer look at the penguins.
- Jager’s Walk on Fish Hoek Beach: This is a lovely paved amble, from Fish Hoek to Sunny Cove, and then back again. Lots of benches to sit on as the world goes by as, sea life to watch and of course, Train Spotting. A reward for your efforts is a soft serve cone at the beach side restaurant.
- Slangkop Light House in Kommetjie: Head for the lighthouse to park and then wander back along the beach path towards Kommetjie, a lovely amble whatever the weather and perfect for Atlantic sunsets.
- The Sea Point Promenade: Lots of little stops to play and look at things along the way… a nice easy flat walk for families that enjoy people watching and running free. The little blue train is a great and affordable treat, and so are the Putt Putt courses, between Green Point Light House and Three Anchor Bay.
For the more Adventurous…
When your kids are a little older and you are looking for a little easy adventuring… then Cape Town has a lot of perfect walks in this category…
- The Kakapo Shipwreck: Take a walk along Long Beach starting in Noordhoek… towards Kommetjie and you will come to the shipwreck of the SS Kakapo. If you are into long sandy walks along the ocean, then this is a great one. A bit like crossing the Sahara… alongside the ocean… great for potential pirates and Bear Grylls wannabees.
- Newlands Forest: You will definitely encounter hills here, and during winter mud. It is gloriously shady and lovely, there is a network of paths criss-crossing each other and a place to sooth your spirits far from the madding crowd. This is a great place to stop off for a walk… because you can choose any number of little routes… three hours or thirty minutes, the choice is yours. For nature spotting, and beautiful scenery this forest is beautiful.
- De Hel in Constantia: As you drive down Constantia Main road, from Constantia Nek, just short of a km from the top on the left is a gate and a sign post to an area known as De Hel. Clear footpaths, little footbridges and forest… it is the great outdoors in a place that you least expect it.
Really Easy Hikes in the Cape Peninsula…
When Most people think of hikes in Cape Town they immediately think of Table Mountain, and the next thought is, “Table Mountain is a little difficult for us,” and they head for Lion’s Head. While both Table Mountain and Lion’s Head can be hiked by families with small children, but we found it useful to wait until our kids were fairly used to hiking before we tackled those fairly hard hikes for little legs and tired parents. For those folks who are desperate to hike there are actually places to get away and walk, and feel like you have hiked on the open trail, without traversing enormous mountains, and actually just enjoying a pleasant walk. None of these walks are completely flat, we would say undulating, though perfectly doable for energetic little people and their parents… we know we have tried them. They are not suitable for strollers… they are actual hikes with gravely paths, or patches of sand… lots of variety and lots of fun.
- SirkelsVlei Hike at Cape Point: This is the most wonderful Fynbos walk through Cape Point… you can either start on the Olifantsbos Road and walk straight to Sirkelsvlei and back again, or you can start at Olifantsbos and walk up the short steep slop onto the plateau and across to Sirkelsvlei… there is lots to look at and a good chance of seeing some wonderful Cape Wildlife. This is a lovely walk and really suitable for all ages and abilities.
- Along the False Bay Coast in Cape Point: This is our favourite family hike, to take family friends on, it is easy enough for the shortest of legs, it is beautiful and the chances of seeing wildlife are extremely high. Start close to the Whale Watch Viewpoint near Rooikrans, there is a clear path and a wonderful wander along the coast towards Buffels Bay or a little further to Bordjiesdrift. This has to be one of our all time favourite hikes, we have blogged about it again and again!!!
- An Easy Flat Beach Walk in Cape Point: This hike starts at the Gifkommetkjie lookout, head down the fairly steep 200/300m descent on the southern side of the lookout and then it is a flat walk all the way along the beach to Platboom, it is pleasant two and a half hour walk down the beach… with plenty of time to play along the way.
- Maclear’s Beacon from the Cable Car: For a really adventurous day out head up Table Mountain on a beautiful day, in the Cable Car… from the Cable car station there is a really easy 5km walk across the top of the mountain. It isn’t completely flat, there is an elevation of 19m between the Cable Car Station and the highest point on Table Mountain, Maclean’s Beacon at 1086m. Nice thing is you can claim to have been to the top of Table Mountain… which is quite an achievement!!!
This is the kind of post that grows as you write it… I kept thinking of more ideas of walks we had been on and walks we have tried. I am sure I will be adding to this post, because we do live in quite the most beautiful city in the world filled with tons of family walks all over the show… hidden gems. This post provides something for every level of adventure… time to get off the couch and go for an amble!!!