Dogs aren’t only the most loyal companions you could ever ask for; they’re also an excellent excuse to get out, get fit, and explore your city. And with 2018 in full tilt already, what better way to stay encouraged and meet those resolutions than with a little change of scenery? Here’s our list of awesome dog parks and activities to keep both you and your pooch happier and in better shape this New Year.

De Waal Park, Oranjezicht

De Waal Park is a community park and off-the-leash dog park located on the leafy periphery of the City Bowl in Oranjezicht. Just about every afternoon, scores of dog owners from all over Cape Town bring their pooches here to get some good exercise and socialise with a huge variety of other dog breeds. Right at the centre, there is an old Victorian fountain from which dogs can drink and – on hot days – jump in and play. There is also a pathway around the periphery of the park that makes for a good jogging track, as well as large trees providing ample shade. Do note that only well-behaved, good-tempered dogs are allowed off their leashes. Nervous, jittery, ill-tempered, and unruly pooches should be gently reined in.

Where: Camp Street and Orange Street, Oranjezicht, Cape Town
Opening Times: 24 hours a day
Contact: dewaalpark@telkomsa.net
Web: www.dewaalpark.co.za

De Waal Park
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Green Point Urban Park

The Green Point Urban Park is a tranquil oasis in the middle of one of Cape Town’s busiest and most urbanised neighbourhoods. Here, an abundance of pathways provides dog owners with ample opportunities to walk or run with their pets, while the lush, green surroundings are a great environment in which to de-stress and reconnect with nature. For kids, there’s the Tot-Lot Play Park. Dog owners are advised to keep their pooches on a leash.

Where: 4 Wiltshire Crescent, Green Point, Cape Town
Opening Times: Monday to Sunday, 07h00 to 19h00
Contact: sadams@sailstadefrance.co.za
Web: www.capetown.gov.za/capetownstadium/Pages/greenpoint-park.aspx

Greenpoint Park
Image: capetown.gov.za

Sea Point Promenade

Come rain or shine, Sea Point Promenade is a perennial favourite for joggers and dog owners. This gorgeous 11-kilometer stretch of paved oceanfront pathway has, over the years, been improved and tidied up and today features large art installations, kids play areas, a free outdoor gym, and, at its southern end, a selection of ice cream, beverage, and food stands. The views of the peninsula mountains, the Atlantic Ocean, and Robben Island are spectacular from every point along the winding promenade. There’s also an open patch of grass adjacent to the Mouille Point lighthouse where dogs are allowed to run free off their leashes.

Where: Parallel to Beach Road, stretching from Mouille Point to Sea Point, Atlantic seaboard, Cape Town
Opening Times: 24 hours a day

Sea Point Promenade
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Newlands Forest

Newlands Forest is a conservancy area of thick pine trees interspersed with indigenous vegetation located on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. Criss-crossed with a variety of nature trails and pathways of varying difficulty, Capetonians regularly bring their dogs here for exercise, whether it’s for a leisurely forest walk or a more rigorous mountain hike. Newlands Forest is easily accessible from the M3 highway and, higher up, offers beautiful views over the Cape Flats. Do note that dog owners are required to bring a Level 1 My Activity Permit in order to access Newlands Forest.

Click here to find out more about My Activity Permits

Where: Off the M3 highway, Newlands, Table Mountain (Nature Reserve)
Opening Times: 24 hours a day
Contact: 021 712 0527
Web: www.sanparks.org/parks/table_mountain/about/contact.php

Newlands Forest

Alphen Trail, Constantia Green Belt

The delightful Alphen Trail, which stars on Alphen Drive just off the M3 highway, leads walkers on a magical, meandering path through the Constantia Green Belt, alongside the Diep River. From the starting point, it’s a short and easy walk of only 20 to 25 minutes, ending at the verdant Le Seuer Meadows, but a return journey on this very popular trail constitutes a decent amount of exercise for dogs and dog owners. The Alphen Trail is widely regarded to be the most beautiful walking route in the Constantia Valley and dogs (on a leash) are welcome to enjoy it with you!

Where: 31 Alphen Drive, Constantia, Cape Town
Opening Times: 24 hours a day

Alphen Trail
Image: Supplied by Ora Pets

Pet-Friendly Beaches in Cape Town

There are few things quite as satisfying as seeing your pooches bulleting down the shoreline with their tongues lolling out behind them: they look so happy! Cape Town is famous for its beaches, of which there are a staggering 72, leaving dog owners spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding on where to go for a walk or run. However, not all of these beaches welcome our four-legged friends (on or off the leash) so for a comprehensive list of dog-friendly beaches, click on the link below.

Cape Town’s Dog-Friendly Beaches

Ora Pets
Image: Ora Pets

Leadville Dog Park, Sunningdale

Located in Sunningdale, Leadville Dog Park has become the go-to, after work place for dog owners (just because you’re tired doesn’t mean your dogs should skip their exercise!). It’s a wonderful environment in which our four-legged friends can run amok, socialize, and get some exercise. There is a designated area for smaller, more timid dogs, which keeps them separate from bigger, more boisterous dogs and the park is quite clear on how owners should supervise and manage their pets (to prevent any mishaps).

Where: Leadville Way, Sunningdale, Cape Town
Opening Times: Monday to Wednesday, 07h00 to 20h00; Thursday to Sunday, 07h00 to 20h00
Contact: 021 550 7000, janet@rabie.co.za
Web: www.facebook.com/LeadvilleDogPark

Leadville Dog Park Sunningdale
Image: Leadville Dog Park Sunningdale Facebook Page

Tokai Plantation/Arboretum Walk

Part of Table Mountain National Park, the Tokai Plantation or Arboretum is situated on the slopes of the Constantiaberg in Cape Town and is a wonderful destination for dog owners, although a Level 1 My Activity Permit is required. Criss-crossed with a network of well laid-out tracks and trails, the various routes lead you through the forest, which is exceptionally atmospheric and bursting with bird life. There is also a picnic and braai area, as well as loads of parking. Although they rarely cause trouble, be wary of baboons, especially in the upper reaches of the forest.

Where: Tokai Road, Tokai, Cape Town
Opening Times: 24 hours a day
Contact: 021 712 7471

Tokai Plantation
Image: Elton Harding on Flickr

Rondebosch Park

Rondebosch Park, which used to be a part of Rondebosch Common, is one of the Cape’s oldest communal parks, having been established in 1870 by the local municipality. Today it’s a popular destination for families with children (both human and canine). The park is open everyday from 08h00 to 18h00 and offers wide-open lawns for pooches to run free on, abundant benches for wary parents, several tree-lined pathways and avenues for leisurely walks or jogging, and ancient trees for shade on hotter days. It’s a gorgeous retreat located right in the heart of the Southern Suburbs.

Where: Campground Road & Sandown Road, Rondebosch
Opening Times: Monday to Sunday, 08h00 to 18h00
Contact: 021 689 8935

Rondebosch Park

Maynardville Park

Maynardville Park is a beautiful, lush, and well-kept escape from the urban jungle it is embraced by. Home to an abundance of flower and tree species (including Mediterranean cork oak, swamp cypress, and Eucalyptus-scented gum trees), the park contains kilometres of paved pathways, cropped lawns, and duck ponds, which offer dog owners the perfect venue to take their beloved pooches for a walk or run (on a leash). Another major attraction here is the outdoor Maynardville Shakespeare in the Park, an annual production well worth taking the family to!

Where: 27 Piers Road, Wynberg, Cape Town
Opening Times: Monday to Sunday, 07h00 to 19h00 in summer (September to March) and 07h30 to 18h00 in winter (April to August)
Contact: 021 689 4185

Maynardville_Park
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Company Gardens, City Centre

The historic Company Gardens were established in 1650 as a place to grow fresh fruits and vegetables to supply the merchant ships travelling to India via the Cape. Today, this beautifully kept and a wondrous patchwork quilt of lawns, gardens, and tree-lined avenues is a fantastic place to walk your dog (on a leash) and allow a little nature to percolate into your atmosphere.

Where: 19 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town City Centre
Opening Times: Monday to Sunday, 07:30 to 20:30 in summer and 07:00 to 19:00 in winter.
Contact: 021 444 1901

Companys-Gardens
Image: Rachel Lovinger on Flickr

Liesbeek River Trail, Newlands

The Liesbeek River Trail is a beautiful 4,5 kilometre walk that starts at the lawns below Kirstenbosch’s main entrance on Rhodes Avenue, follows the Liesbeek River, and finish at Josephine Mill in Newlands. The river itself has been canalised and is lined by trees, offering dog owners a lovely, shaded route to take their pooches for a walk or run.

Where: Liesbeek Parkway green corridor, Newlands, Cape Town
Opening Times: Daylight hours

Liesbeek
Image: andrej on Flickr

Important Note: For parks and nature trails that are open 24 hours a day, it’s important to be aware at all times and take some form of protection with you (mace spray), especially if you go alone and outside of peak hours. It is not recommended that you go walking alone unless you have a really big, well-trained dog that will protect you.

Get there in a Woof Seat!

The Woof Seat from Ora Pets is the solution to travelling with your dog in the car.

This travel seat is designed for puppies and small to medium breed dogs up to 20kgs in weight. Handcrafted and produced locally, each Woof Seat comes with a highly durable foam inner which provides extra comfort, seats are also raised which means your dog has a better vantage point while travelling with you in the car. Woof Seat covers are made of premium Bull Demin, all covers are removable, washable and come in a range of different colours and prints. Each Woof Seat can be secured in your car by using the vehicles seatbelt, Woof Seat Clips are sold separately and designed to help comfortably restrain your dog while in their seat. Car travel just got a whole lot more fun for both of you.

Visit woofseat.com to find out more.

Woof Seat
Image: Supplied by Ora Pets