Outdoor fun at City nature reserves

Cape Town’s natural beauty comes alive in winter when the mountains, hills and fields change to bright green – an ideal time for residents to get out and about.

“Many of our reserves have hiking trails, which offer visitors and residents an opportunity to access certain parts of the natural environment which they may not have been exposed to before,” said Mayco member for energy, environmental and spatial planning, Johan van der Merwe.

One of these trails is the recently launched 4.4km coastal hiking trail at Blaauwberg Nature Reserve, which starts and ends at Eerste Steen and meanders through threatened Cape Flats dune strandveld vegetation.

The trail follows the historical routes used in the area dating back to the early 1900s and points of interest along the trail include an old milkwood tree, a well point and a kraal. Archaeological remains along the coastline and to the east of Blaauwberg Hill are testament to the indigenous Khoi communities which once inhabited this landscape.

Hikers will be able to enjoy stunning views of two World Heritage Sites – Robben Island and Table Mountain. The area also features picnic sites, braai areas, historic buildings, surfing, windsurfing, birdwatching, whale-watching and fishing.

The Blaauwberg Nature Reserve offers overnight accommodation where visitors can enjoy views from Blaauwberg Hill and experience the eco-friendly self-catering unit, Montispectus – a renovated World War II officers’ mess building which sleeps up to four guests in an open-plan bedroom with two single beds and a double bunk bed. A special off-peak rate has been introduced until August. Montispectus can be booked at 021 444 0454 or Reservations.Blaauwberg@capetown.gov.za

* For those wanting to explore the northern regions a little more, the Tygerberg Nature Reserve hosts organised runs in conjunction with Wildrunner.

The winter trail series run takes place on Sunday July 31, while the monthly full moon run is a unique once-a-month 5km fun run and hike in the Tygerberg Nature Reserve over the period of sunset and full moon rise.

Upcoming run dates include Wednesday July 20, Thursday August 18 and Friday September 16. For more information, contact Wildrunner at 021 821 9898 or info@wildrunner.co.za

Residents and visitors can also look out for the annual spring walk at the Tygerberg Nature Reserve which is scheduled for Saturday August 27.

* The Bracken Nature Reserve’s flowering season starts in winter. Visitors are invited to take a stroll along the Brackenfell reserve’s pathways and enjoy the splash of pink from the Lachenelia rubida and the bright orange of the commonly known wild dagga which blooms during this time. Bird-watchers can enjoy the sounds of the southern double-collared sunbird, not forgetting the raptors and spotted eagle owls.

The reserve offers picnic areas. Children can also be entertained, as the reserve has a play area where they can play giant snakes and ladders and other board games.

The Friends of Bracken group also has a number of activities planned for winter including talks by specialists and experts.

For more information call 021 444 0380.