Where To Picnic This Spring
To celebrate the arrival of spring and the imminent start of summer, we put together a few of our favourite spots to picnic in Cape Town and Johannesburg. What better way to spend a sunny day out than enjoying a basket of delicious goodies?
Cape Town by Georgia Schumann
The Rumbullion Lawns at the Roundhouse
It is hard to think of a more idyllic setting for a picnic than the Rumbullion Lawns at The Roundhouse. Nestled in the foresty Glen between Lion’s Head and Table Mountain, this hidden gem is steeped in history and forms part of the Table Mountain National Park. Initially built in the 1700s as a guardhouse for the Dutch East India Company, the Roundhouse building looks out over thee tiers of picnic-ready lawn with expansive views of the ocean and the Twelve Apostles mountain range.
Picnicking here is somewhat unique: seated at wooden tables dotted across the lawns, guests are provided with a tick-box menu and a basket filled with tin plates and miniature condiments. The fare is simple and wholesome, ranging from burgers and thin-based pizzas to fresh salads and a variety of exquisite tapas.
The emphasis is on local, sustainably sourced produce – eggs are from Spier, fish are SASSI-certified and the bread is freshly baked each night. To quench your thirst, there is a stunning selection of local wines and three cocktails (including a Long Island Iced Tea served in an enamel tea pot). Peroni is on tap, and a wide range of local craft beers are available.
The word ‘Rumbullion’ hails from old English, meaning ‘a rollicking good time’. And that’s exactly what you’ll get here – from the idyllic natural beauty and hearty fare, through to the lively atmosphere and attentive service.
Call 021 438 4347 for more information on bookings and opening hours.
Visiting Eagle’s Nest is like entering a fairy tale – lush, green gardens buzzing with birdsong and heavy with the scent of lavender, century old trees towering over wild beds of bright flowers and a crystal stream alive with dragonflies. There are butterflies everywhere and patches of dappled shade perfect for summer picnicking.
Eagle’s Nest itself is a cool climate wine estate owned by the brilliant and innovative Bill Mylrea. The family-run farm produces a small number of award-winning, boutique wines under the expertise of local winemaker Stuart Botha.
Picnics take place on the wine-tasting lawns, where guests can be seated at furniture made from wine barrels or bring their own blankets to laze on the grass. To maintain the sense of serenity and exclusivity, no more than ten guests are allowed to picnic here at one time. Picnic baskets include a selection of bread, cheeses, salads and cold meats coupled with wine. There are no other drinks on offer, so guests are encouraged to bring their own water and ice. Children and dogs are welcome, and picnickers are encouraged to partake in the wine tastings.
Call 021 794 4095 for more information on bookings and opening hours.
Cape Point Vineyards
The Cape Point Vineyards is a hive of activity – from the working wine farm to the bustling Thursday market, the á la carte restaurant to the popular picnicking facilities. Even the skies and the views are alive: the crashing waves of Noordhoek’s Long Beach, the fish eagles soaring over the vineyards and mountains and the row boats gliding across the damn. Surrounded by fynbos and Afro-Montane forest, this beautiful wine farm is the only one in the South Peninsula, and as a result is growing in popularity each year.
Picnics take place on the lawns with menus designed by Chef Clayton Bell, previously of Constantia Uitsig. Expect cured meats, caprese skewers, homemade pates and tapas, a scrumptious variety of local cheeses and freshly baked ciabatta. The bobotie wraps are a firm favourite, as are the double chocolate and almond brownies.
A full drinks menu is provided, as well as wines from the farm’s – from the entry level Splattered Toad selection through to their Isliedh 2012, which won Best White Blend at the international 2013 Decanter Awards. There are two play areas for children and a kid’s picnic basket, too. Blankets and cushions are provided, but make sure you call and book in advance as weekends can get busy.
Call 021 789 0900 for information on opening hours and bookings.
Greenpoint Urban Park
This landmark eco-park extends over 10.5 hectares and includes an outdoor gym, running and cycling tracks, a biodiversity garden and designated picnic areas with views of the lake. Open from 7am to 7pm. Entrance is free.
A firm favourite amongst locals, Oudekraal Beach (between Bakoven and Llandudno) offers picnicking facilities on lawns overlooking a picture-perfect cove. The sea here is calm and the abundant marine life make it a popular spot for snorkelling. Open from 7am to 6pm in summer. R30 adults, R15 children (WILD cardholders enter free).
Call +27(0) 21 438 9555
Silvermine Nature Reserve
Part of the Table Mountain National Park, Silvermine Nature Reserve has extensive trails and a large water reservoir with allocated picnic areas which are easily accessible from the entrance on Ou Kaapse Weg. Open 7am to 6pm in summer. R40 adults, R20 children. Tel: +27 (0)21 780 9002.
Convenient for city dwellers, Deer Park lies at the base of Table Mountain, with plenty of forest for shade and sweeping views of the city. There are beautiful walks and mountain biking trails close to the picnicking areas. Dogs are allowed and entrance is free.
A well-kept secret amongst locals, this hidden cove between Camps Bay and Bakoven is the perfect spot for a secluded beach picnic, from the mountain and ocean views through to the crystal clear rock pool.
Johannesburg by Taryn Das Neves
The Modderfontein Reserve
Nestled just past Edenvale in the East lies the Modderfontein Reserve, a tranquil private space that is dedicated to conservation in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Johannesburg. Just a short drive from Sandton, one can indulge in the serene setting offered by the reserve and enjoy various outdoor activities for the whole family – from walks and hikes across the 275 hectares to scenic picnics under the trees at the side of the dam. A bird lovers’ delight, the area boasts an array of indigenous flora and fauna too, which makes it truly an escape into nature, without the long drive. With braai facilities and an offering of a restaurant or two, there is a wonderful variety of ways in which to enjoy this space in the warm summer weather.
Modderfontein Reserve, Arden Road, Modderfontein. Entry is R30 per adult and R15 per child.
The Hennops Picnic Spot
Journey out towards Haartbeespoort for some adventuring along the Hennops River at one of the oldest picnic spots in the area, established in 1928. While mainly catering for adrenalin junkies with 4×4 trails, mountain biking and hikes, it’s a wonderful escape from the city. Pack your picnic basket and braai tongs and enjoy the amenities along the flowing river and under the lush trees, after a trek around the grasslands and river valley. Kids will love the famous suspension bridge over the Hennops, as well as the two swimming pools for when summer sets in. How better to relax and unwind from city stresses than with the sound of rushing water and a delicious picnic spread?
The Hennops Hiking Trail, R511, Pretoria, 0001. Entrance R60 per adult and R30 per child under 12.
Northcliff Ridge Ecopark
If a picnic with a view is what you are after, look no further than Northcliff Ridge Ecopark in the centre of Johannesburg’s parklands. Take a walk up the ridge’s rocky escarpment and picnic with magnificent views over the whole of Johannesburg, stretching out towards the Magaliesburg mountains on a clear day. The gate opens at sunrise and closes just after sunset, offering a romantic picnic destination or the perfect place for sundowners on a warm spring evening, as you watch the lights of Johannesburg come on and twinkle all around you. If you don’t fancy a hike with your picnic blanket and basket of treats, use the alternative route of a casual drive to the iconic water tower at the top of the ridge, the second highest point in the city. The perfect city spot to settle in for a lazy Sunday afternoon of soaking up panoramic views.
Lucky Avenue, Northcliff.