Picnics are a merger of four supreme facets of joy: food, wine, nature, and beautiful views, which pretty much explains why they have become such a beloved pastime in Cape Town. From our beaches, winelands, and mountains to our forests, gardens, and parks, the Mother City boasts a smorgasbord of perfect picnic spots!
Boschendal Wine Estate, Franschhoek
Boschendal Wine Estate is amongst the oldest wine farms in the Cape. It’s also one of the most beautiful with its sweeping lawns, ancient trees, massive herb and vegetable garden, Cape Dutch architecture, and exquisite oak-lined avenues. Boschendal’s Rhone Rose Garden is popular for picnics and with the tasting room a stone’s throw away, you’ll have access to all the wine you could possibly want. Their deli also does delicious pre-packed picnic baskets featuring freshly baked bread, delicate pates, salads, cold meats, coronation chicken, homemade preserves, and a special dessert.
Where: R310 Pniel Road, Groot Drakenstein, Franchhoek
Opening Times: Monday to Friday, 09h00 to 21h00; weekends, 09h30 to 21h00; Monday to Sunday, 12h00 to 14h00 for picnic basket collections.
Cost: R480 basket for two, and R95 for children between 3 to 10 years.
Contact: 021 870 4200 or email@example.com
Llandudno and Clifton Beaches
Cape Town is known as a beach destination, except for one little problem: the summertime southeasterly wind. Llandudno and Clifton beaches, however, are well sheltered from the wind and are therefore perfect picnic spots with fabulous views out over the Atlantic Ocean. The former is tucked away at the base of the Twelve Apostles mountain range (you’ll see the turn-off on Victoria Road just before entering Hout Bay), while the latter, which consists of four beautiful beaches, is located at the base of Lion’s Head in the wealthy suburb of Clifton.
Table Mountain, Cape Town
Summiting Table Mountain is just about a rite of passage for Capetonians but if you prefer arriving at your destination a little less sweaty, you can always catch the Cable Car. At the top, there are numerous winding pathways, peaceful spots, lookouts, and spectacular views over the whole of Cape Town and the peninsula all the way to Cape Point, making Table Mountain absolutely incredible for picnics, particularly at sunset. Don’t forget to bring the bubbly!
Where: Cable Car Station, Tafelberg Road, Gardens, Cape Town
Opening Times: 16th to 31st January 2018 – 08h00 to 19h30 (last car up), 20h30 (last car down); February and March 2018 – 08h00 to 19h00, 20h00; April 2018 – 08h00 to 18h30, 19h30.
Cost: Summer special – return Cable Car tickets for locals are half price after 18h00 (R137.50 for adults, R67.50 for children).
Contact: 021 424 0015
Silvermine Nature Reserve
A part of the Table Mountain National Park, Silvermine Nature Reserve is home to a scattering of tranquil, scenic picnic spots right next to a large reservoir, which, if you can brave the icy water, is great for swimming (there are also decent ablution blocks nearby). Silvermine Nature Reserve is also great for rock climbing, hiking, and bird watching and be sure to take in the fynbos landscape and fascinating geology.
Where: Off Ou Kaapse Weg, Table Mountain National Park, Table Mountain (Nature Reserve)
Opening Times: October to March, 07h00 to 18h00, exit at 19h00; April to September, 08h00 to 17h00, exit at 18h00
Cost: Adults, R40; children R20; free entrance for WILD Card holders
Contact: 021 789 2457
Newlands and Tokai Forests
The lush woodlands of Tokai and Newlands Forests (named after their home suburbs) both offer peaceful, shaded picnic spots that are not only spacious and fairly private, but also feature concrete tables, chairs, and fire pits for braaiing. This, together with the tranquillity of the forest, makes both of these destinations some of the best outdoor braai spots in the whole of Cape Town. Do note that Newlands Forest has a small entrance fee per vehicle and per person.
Where: Off the M3 highway, Newlands, Table Mountain (Nature Reserve)
Contact: 021 712 0527 or 021 712 2337
Where: Tokai Road, Tokai, Cape Town
Contact: 021 712 7471 or 021 422 1601
Cape Point Vineyards, Noordhoek
Cape Point Vineyards in Noordhoek is well known and loved for its Thursday evening market, but this wine farm is also a glorious week-long venue for picnics, with its breath-taking mountain, vineyard, and ocean views, luscious lawns to sit and relax on, beautiful selection of wines, and stunning food. Call them up 24 hours in advance to pre-order a picnic basket (R395 for two people; pick-up from their Deli between 11h00 and 17h00). You’ll be supplied with blankets and pillows too!
Where: Silvermine Road, Noordhoek, Cape Town
Opening Times: Monday to Saturday, 08h30 to 20h30; Sundays, 08h30 to 20h00.
Contact: 021 789 0900, firstname.lastname@example.org
Signal Hill, Cape Town
Every evening during the week and weekend (weather permitting), Capetonians head to Signal Hill with picnic baskets and blankets in tow to watch the sunset. It’s a spectacular spot with beautiful views but be sure to get there a little before sunset or else you’ll struggle to get a decent spot!
Where: Car park at the end of Signal Hill Road, Cape Town.
Opening Times: Daylight hours
Contact: 080 000 4424
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Sprawled across the eastern slopes of Table Mountain is the world-famous Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, which is home to a spectacular abundance of plant and bird species. On weekends in summer, they host evening concerts that have become a proud tradition in Cape Town, but they are also a hugely popular place to take picnics and blankets, sprawl out on their expansive, lush lawns, and enjoy a day in nature.
Where: Rhodes Drive, Newlands, Cape Town
Opening Times: September to March, 08h00 to 19h00; April to August, 08h00 to 18h00
Cost: Adults (R65), SA students with card (R35), children aged 6 to 17 (R15), kids under 6 (free)
Contact: 021 799 8783, Kirstenboschinfo@sanbi.org.za
Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve
About an hour’s drive outside of Cape Town, you’ll find the Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve where one can happily spend an entire day exploring the picturesque landscapes, waterfalls, caves, reservoirs, and the magnificent Paarl rock – a massive dome-shaped granite batholith. There are picnic spots with braai areas, but you’ll need to bring your own grid and firewood. Be sure to pack everything you need because there are no shops in the Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve.
Where: Paarl Mountain Local Nature Reserve, Paarl
Opening Times: October to March, 07h00 to 19h00; April to September, 07h00 to 18h00
Cost: R52 per vehicle plus R17 per occupant. Entry is free during the week
Contact: 021 872 3658