The Promenade Trail
In Cape Town
Easy trail; Suitable for Children
The full Promenade walk consists of two segments - the Mouille Point Promenade and the Sea Point Beachfront Promenade that stretches from Three Anchor Bay to Queen’s Beach. The route is dog-friendly and the number of playgrounds and adventure parks means it’s the perfect walk for young kids. As with all good promenades, there are benches all the way along where you can relax and watch the world go by.
Sure, you won’t be ogling the rich and famous strutting their stuff as you might on Nice’s famous Promenade des Anglais, but the Sea Point Promenade has a great vibe, particularly in the early morning and late afternoon, when walkers, joggers and rollerbladers head out for a little fresh air.
Park at the colourful Green Point lighthouse, which was built 1824. If you’re walking the dog, you might want to offer it a drink from the doggie bowl that catches the overflow from the drinking fountain. Scan the ocean and take in the bracing smell of the sea before heading off. Cape fur seals, dolphins and, between June and December, whales, are often seen close to the shore all along this coastline, and if you look in the direction of the V&A Waterfront, you’ll see bits of the RMS Athens poking out of the water. The ship was wrecked in1865 with the loss of the captain and all 29 crew.
The paved walkway initially leads past the Mouille Point Park playground and kids’ adventure centre to the Blue Train picnic area, with its quaint 65-year-old miniature diesel train and a small climbing wall. Next up is the Putt-Putt (mini-golf) course, where you can show off your skills, and just beyond the car park is Three Anchor Bay, where you’ll often see surf-skiers and kayakers launching. If you want to join them, you can rent kayaks, or go out on organised tour with Kaskazi Kayaks just across the road.
After the bay comes some green space, with a new outdoor gym where you can work on your six-pack doing push-ups, sit-ups and other exercises. Fort Road Park has a small kids’ playground, but nearby Rocklands Beach Park, with its wonderful array of swings, merry-go-rounds, slides and a large green space for picnics, is the most popular section for the little ones. Beyond this is Graaff’s Pool. Once a “men-only” cruising spot, it has a stunning natural pool nestled between jagged rocks, but if you don’t like being out in the open water, keep going until you reach the tidal pool at Milton’s Beach. Broken Path Beach, just beyond the next car park, has a long stretch of sand so is popular with beach-lovers. If you need refueling, keep going until your reach the food fair, which has everything from Italian ice-cream to seafood and pancakes.
Beyond this is the Sea Point Pavilion, with three pools, including a 50-metre pool and paddling pool for kids. The final stretch takes you past the Marine Research Aquarium down to Queen’s Beach. In the cul-de-sac at Queen’s Beach, you’ll find a plaque that explains the unusual geological formations here. Apparently, about 540-million years ago, molten granite magma was injected into the sedimentary layers, creating crystalline bands in the black rock. Cast your eyes enviously at the fancy cliff-face apartments of Bantry Bay before hailing a taxi or returning the same way.
Cape Town is without doubt one of the most beautiful cities in the world. With dramatic mountains, a long stretch of Atlantic coastline and a picturesque working harbour, there are few cities in the world to rival “The Fairest Cape”, as explorer Sir Francis Drake described the place in 1580.
The city of Cape Town is regularly voted as one of the best tourist destinations (and cities to live in) in the world – and its Mediterranean climate, superb natural attractions, historic landmarks, fabulous restaurants and fun places to hang out offer all the ingredients for a top holiday destination.
Table Mountain dominates the city’s landscape and Table Mountain National Park is a national treasure and World Heritage Site.
The Cape Floristic Kingdom is known for its incredible botanical heritage and the Table Mountain National Park has more floral species than the British Isles. Stopping to smell the fynbos has an altogether new meaning in this part of the world.
Robben Island is another World Heritage Site worth visiting. Struggle heroes such as Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada and many others were incarcerated here during apartheid and taking the Robben Island Tour is a must on any trip to Cape Town.
The city is loosely divided by Table Mountain into four sections: Cape Town Central, Cape Town South, Cape Town North and Cape Town East.
Cape Town Central incorporates the city centre, the V&A Waterfront, Green Point, Mouille Point, Sea Point, Camps Bay and Hout Bay. There are loads of things on offer in this part of the world, so it’s a good idea to focus on the field of interest/activities that excite you and take it from there.
A trip to the top of Table Mountain is an absolute must (especially if you’ve never done it before). The views on a clear day will give you a clear perspective of the gorgeous city below and you can see as far as Robben Island and beyond.
If history is your thing, there are numerous museums and attractions close to the city centre. The Castle of Good Hope was built between 1666 and 1679 and is the oldest building in South Africa. It is a good place to start your tour of the city, which incorporates historic attractions such as the Bo-Kaap Museum, the District Six Museum, The Company’s Garden, City Hall and the Grand Parade, among many other notable historic attractions.
For shopping and entertainment, the V&A Waterfront is the epicentre of Cape Town and attracts high numbers of international tourists daily. Long Street is a good place to hang out for restaurants, bars and nightlife and Camps Bay is the place to see and be seen around cocktail hour.
The drive along Chapman’s Peak is one of the most scenic drives in the world but you need to do your homework as the route is periodically closed. Mariner’s Wharf in Hout Bay is another great place to visit, with its fun restaurants, great beaches and perfect views.
Cape Town South stretches from Noordhoek to Observatory and incorporates some of Cape Town’s most popular suburbs, including Constantia, Fish Hoek, Rondebosch, Simon’s Town and Muizenberg, to mention just a few.
Constantia is popular for its wonderful restaurants and wine estates and the Constantia Wine Route is a big attraction for foodies and wine-lovers. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens offers hectares of greenery and regular concerts in the warm summer months. There are also various hiking trails on offer.
Take a day trip to Simon’s Town and make sure you visit the statue of Just Nuisance, as well as the scenic Boulders Beach. Noordhoek is a great place for riding horses on the beach and the restaurants are very family friendly. For fresh fish and laid-back vibes, Kalk Bay and Muizenberg are the business. Fish Hoek is popular for seaside activities and antique shops and is a real favourite.
Cape Town North incorporates the Cape Town International Airport, Parow, Milnerton, Durbanville, Table View, as well as Bloubergstrand and Melkbosstrand. The north is a developed business centre that continues to grow rapidly. For chill-out time, Bloubergstrand and Melkbosstrand are popular for walks on the beach and outdoor sports. Shoppers will enjoy Century City and Canal Walk, and for those who love a tipple or two, The Durbanville Wine Route also falls into the northern region.
Cape Town East is made up of Gordon’s Bay, Somerset West, Strand, Sir Lowry’s Pass, Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Eersterivier, Macassar and Strandfontein. The region is pretty spectacular as the small coastal towns sit below the imposing Hottentots Holland Mountains and there are fantastic beaches such as Bikini Beach, Strand Beach and Kogel Bay. Here you’ll also find the Helderberg Nature Reserve, Wolfgat Nature Reserve and Edith Stephens Wetland Park.
Look out for
Scenic Cape Point with its sheer cliffs, rugged landscapes, fauna, flora and bold ocean views.
A cable-car trip up Table Mountain to get the view of the incredible landscape of the city. If you’ve done the touristy cable-car thing then take one of the many mountain trails.
V&A Waterfront – spend time enjoying all the facilities at the V&A Waterfront, including the abundance of shopping and restaurant venues. For children, The Two Oceans Aquarium is a winner.
The magnificent beaches of Clifton, Muizenberg, Hout Bay, Bloubergstrand. You are spoilt for choice in and around the Mother City.
Historical sites are a must – including Robben Island, the Castle of Good Hope, the District Six Museum and Bo-Kaap.
Long Street by night. Enjoy the friendly fun vibes of this stretch of tarmac as it comes to life when the sun goes down.
While away the hours at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, the green lung of the city. Look out for the schedule of summer concerts.
Visit the Constantia Wine Route for a touch of history and some of the country’s finest wines and restaurants that continually make it onto the best-of lists.
Drive along the southern coastline and visit places such as Noordhoek, Scarborough, Simon’s Town, Kalk Bay and Muizenberg. Stop off at Kalk Bay for fresh fish at the harbour.