Springtime is all about fresh beginnings, new life and moderate, pleasant weather… and in the Mother City (and surrounds), it’s a great time to enjoy these ten activities:
- Go flower gazing in the West Coast and the Cederberg
Image Credit: Laura McCullagh
What better way to welcome spring than to enjoy the natural beauty it brings with it? The best time of year to view the wild Cape flowers is usually always between late August to September.
Although the West Coast is undoubtedly one of the best flower viewing destinations in South Africa, the Cederberg also offers good flower gazing opportunities.
Expect to see all kinds of flowers in a variety of different, vibrant combination colours.
If you want to go on a flower tour, book in advance and aim for sunshiny weather so the flowers are fully open.
- Visit Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
Rated as Africa’s most beautiful garden, this UNESCO World Heritage Site, which celebrated its centenary in 2013, holds some of our continent’s most diverse and beautiful flora.
Enjoy strolling through the garden’s many sections to best uncovering its beauty and its history, go for a hike or have a quiet picnic on its rolling lawns. A must-see is the new Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway – also known as The Boomslang (The Tree Snake).
Entry fees: R55 (adults), R30 (SA students with card, R15 (children ages 6-17) – and free to children under 6. (Entry is usually free on Spring Day, 1 September).
- Picnic in the Cape Winelands
Photo credit: Stellenbosch Experience
Many of our famous Cape wine farms offer wonderful, pre-ordered picnics – and what better place to picnic than on a wine farm with a fully prepared picnic?
From Constantia to Franschhoek and even to Noordhoek, here are some top estates (to name a few) which offer these great picnics: Boschendal Wine Estate, Warwick Estate, Groot Constantia, Cape Point Vineyards, Rickety Bridge, Grand Provence Wine Estate, Spier Wine Farm, Blaauwklippen Estate, Zorgvliet Wines and Rhebokskloof Wine Estate.
Prices vary (some charge per person or for 2 sharing) and some include wine, whereas other estates charge separately for wine.
- Explore Bainskloof
Photo credit: thegreatadventurer.com
Located above the town of Wellington, Bainskloof is a nature lover’s haven and aside from its famous, nerve-wracking mountain pass – named for famous mountain pass engineer, Andrew Bain – it’s a splendid place for camping, hiking and swimming in stunning mountain streams.
The area is rich in fauna and flora and forms part of Limietberg Nature Reserve. Head for a scenic drive or camp overnight to best enjoy this beautiful place, which is especially lovely during spring and summertime.
- Enter a park for free during SA National Park Week
Every September, SANParks grants entry (for day visitors only) to 21 national parks to allow SA citizens a chance to appreciate our country’s natural beauty and excellent conservation efforts.
Some national Cape parks you can visit for free include: Agulhas (excludes the lighthouse), Garden Route, Karoo, Tankwa Karoo, Table Mountain (excludes Boulders Penguin colony) and West Coast.
Dates vary from 12-18 September 2016.
- Go whale watching
Although the whales start returning to our shores as early as June some years and may stay till December, August to October are usually good months for whale watching as the weather is on the up.
Hermanus may be our most famous whale watching destination but you can see whales along the False Bay Coast, Witsand, West Coast and even as far as the Garden Route.
- Take it back to the beach… (any beach)
Photo credit: Travelstart
Cape Town is blessed with the best beaches and although summer’s really the only time most Capetonians can even contemplate swimming, spring is a perfect time to start heading back to the beach before the crowds descend.
Stroll along the strand, collect sea shells, brave the waves or soak up a sunset/sun rise… the options are endless – and so are the beaches. Try Camps Bay, Clifton, Noordehoek, Muizenberg, Llandudno, Blouberg, Kommetjie and of course, Boulders.
- Explore Silvermine Nature Reserve, Muizenberg and Kalk Bay
There’s always so much to enjoy along the scenic False Bay Coast and few places are lovelier than Muizenberg and bordering Kalk Bay. With their famous sea-facing shops and eateries, quaint harbours and beautiful beaches with colourful change rooms, they’re great seaside areas to visit or drive through.
Nearby Silvermine Nature Reserve is also a wonderful place to hike, picnic or swim. A must-see is the Elephant’s Eye cave with its lofty heights.
Also, head for a stroll along the beach or pop into one of the charming cafes/restaurants and, if you’re brave enough, take to the waves.
- Go for a sunset hike up Lion’s Head
Lion’s Head is probably Cape Town’s favourite hike and loyalists and newbies alike are forever joining the ranks of those who have climbed to the top of Lion’s.
What’s more, hikers walk (or run) up this beloved mountain year-round, no matter the weather and time of day (or night, if you do the full moon hikes) – but what about a spectacular Lion’s Head sunset hike this spring?
Soak up the full beauty and romance that is Lion’s at sunset, without worrying about darkness falling immediately thereafter.
- Visit Cape Point Nature Reserve
Photo credit: Findtripinfo.com
Last (but certainly not least) is a visit to the world-famous Cape Point. It’s a World Heritage Site, which falls into the Cape Floral Region.
This fiercely wild and beautiful area offers sheltered bays, secluded beaches and fynbos valleys are home to amazing flora and fauna.
Known as the ‘Cape of Storms’, the Point is a wonderful place to visit and lies close to naval town, Simon’s Town.
See its jagged cliffs and two lighthouses, indulge in a swim or picnic, whale watching (between June to December), sea kayak/hike/mountain bike/ride the Flying Dutchman funicular or dine at the excellent Two Oceans Restaurant to best appreciate this awesome place.
Entry fee: R125 (adults) and R65 (children ages 2-11). Opening times: (October to March) 6am-6pm and 7am-5pm (April to September).