If you go down to the beach today, you might get a big surprise. Because today’s the day Capetonians have their picnic… Any day, really. If the sun is shining, Cape Town locals will find an excuse to whip out that picnic blanket. Here are five favourite spots…
1. Oudekraal beach
Part of the Table Mountain National Park, Oudekraal beach is one of Cape Town’s best kept secrets. Situated in a sheltered cove between Camps Bay and Llandudno, this pretty little beach is nicely protected from the wind. In addition to a lovely swimming area and its own colony of seals, Oudekraal also features a grassy picnic and braai area between the beach and the parking lot. The Milkwood trees dotted across the lawn ensure some degree of privacy.
Because it forms part of a conservation area, you’ll have to pay an entrance fee (R35 per adult and R20 per child) unless you possess a WILD Card or TMNP MY Green Card. It really is a nominal fee for so much beauty and tranquillity! One point worth noting is that there is a strict no-alcohol policy.
2. Le Pique Nique at Boschendal
One of the oldest farms in South Africa, Boschendal in the Drakenstein Valley offers up not one, but two picnic destinations. Choose between the classic Boschendal picnic on the lawns of the Rhone Homestead or the more casual ambiance of the Werf Garden picnic spot.
Rhone picnics can be enjoyed at carefully laid picnic tables or on blankets under the shady oak trees. Picnic baskets (R440, serves two) include a selection of pâtés, breads, salads, cold meats, artisan cheeses and preserves and delicious farm-made ice-cream.
The picnic baskets on offer at the Werf Garden are slightly less extravagant (for a more modest price of R350/basket) and the picnic area is only partially serviced. This is a great option if you have kids as there is a jungle gym, plenty of space for them to frolic and hammocks and beanbags for lounging. You can also order a kiddies’ picnic basket for R85. This venue also has live music on the first Sunday of every month.
3. Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden
Picnics at Kirstenbosch are many things: treasured memories from childhood, lazy afternoons with friends, a prelude to your favourite summer concert, or a quick fix of nature 10 minutes from the city centre.
One of the best botanical gardens in the world, Kirstenbosch offers up 36 hectares of pristine garden, which means that you’ll always find that perfect spot for your picnic. Bring you own – no tables, chairs, or umbrellas allowed – or pick up a picnic hamper at the Kirstenbosch Tea Room or moyo restaurant.
Kirstenbosch is open between 08h00 and 19h00 in summer, and entry fees range from R15 (kids) to R55 (adults) per person.
4. Cape Point Vineyards
It’s hard to beat the view from Cape Point Vineyards in Noordhoek: vineyards, mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. The lawn next to the dam is a great place to drink while away a lazy afternoon. Picnic baskets (R395, serves two), which need to be booked at least 24 hours in advance, include ciabatta, a selection of charcuterie, local cheeses, salads and chocolate, salted caramel and brownie trifle! Your booking also includes a picnic blanket and pillows, so all you need to do is pitch up.
The wine farm is well known for its Sauvignon Blanc wines. Beverages aren’t included in the basket, so you’ll want to bring along a little extra cash to buy a bottle… or two.
Forget about plastic cutlery and soggy sandwiches. If you want to do a picnic in style, head to Vergelegen in Somerset West. From November to April, you can indulge in a sophisticated picnic – at a table, of course – in the Camphor Forest. If it’s romance you’re after, ask them to put you at a table deep in the forest away from the other guests.
Picnic baskets, which exclude beverages and gratuity, will set you back R215 per person (or R95 for kids). You can expect breads and pâtés, smoked salmon wraps, Moroccan beef kebabs, spinach and feta quiches, coronation chicken, a selection of cheeses, and whatever dessert the chef is cooking up that day.