A family friendly walk at Newlands Forest on the slopes of Table Mountain
Located right in the heart of Cape Town, the majestic Table Mountain is one of South Africa’s biggest attractions. It is an impressive sight in the city, it is beautiful to look at, but it’s even better to actually be on the slopes, enjoying this natural wonder up close. That’s all very well if you’re fit and wanting a good days exertion, but what if all you feel like is a nice family friendly walk in a beautiful peaceful setting?
There is a contour path that rings the mountain from the Atlantic Seaboard around to Constantia Nek, which allow for a number of gentle walks, but our favourite is to walk at Newlands Forest. Saturdays and Sundays are the busiest times with lots of people, families, kids and dogs enjoying nature. Even during the week, there are always people around so no need to be concerned with being on the mountain alone.
Newlands Forest is on the Southern Suburbs side of the mountain and getting the highest rainfall in the whole of Cape Town, means that the foliage is dense and lush and the pine trees tower over one, making scenic avenues through which the red clay paths meander.
The best place to park is at the Fire Station (-33.970540, 18.450119). There is a fair sized parking lot, but it can get rather busy over weekends. Parking is free but don’t forget to bring a little money to tip the parking attendant.
From the parking lot, you can either walk up the sealed road, through the boom. At the top of the sealed road is a map showing the various routes you could take.
Our favourite family friendly walk is as follows. If you are in the parking lot, facing the mountain, walk to the right and then turn left up the second sealed road. At the top is a boom where the sealed road ends and the forest path begins.
Follow this path up, up, up – don’t worry, this is the most strenuous section and it’s all downhill after this!
At the top you’ll find a wooden bench with an incredible vista over the whole of the Southern Suburbs. You can see right across to the Helderberg Mountains and as far as the sea in False Bay.
Sit yourself down here… you’ve earned a few minutes respite.
From here the road does a 45° turn to the left, taking you down the boulevard of trees.
You’ll hear the next stop before you see it, as there is a river that flows at this point. You’ll find another wooden bench under a lovely big tree, or you can walk down the steps to the left and cool your feet in the rockpools.
When you’re feeling refreshed, walk over the bridge and take your first turn left. Keep going until the next fork where you will take a left. Now you’re on the home stretch! When you arrive at the helicopters, turn right down the sealed road and the parking lot will be at the bottom.
The walk should take an hour, but obviously that depends on how long your stops along the way are.
Don’t forget to take water with you!
Dogs are allowed but you will need a Dog Walking Activity Permit. The cost is R250.
For further information on the My Activity Permit, please call +27 (0)21 701 8692, email email@example.com or visit www.sanparks.org.