All a good picnic spot really requires is a nice patch of grass and a shady tree. You could have one in your own garden. If, however, you would like to venture out to somewhere else for a day, South Africa’s beautiful parks and gardens make it easy to find an ideal spot for a picnic. You can opt for a place where you can pack your own basket and simply hang out in nature, or you can book a basket of delights prepared for you. Here is a pick of our favourite picnic spots around the country.
Le Pique Nique, Boschendal Wine Estate (Franschhoek)
Boschendal wine farm, with its dramatic mountain views, is a popular picnic spot. Their delicious, healthy and wholesome picnic hampers contain only naturally grown produce from the estate. Picnic baskets to choose from include a Banting option, Vegetarian option and a Kiddies Basket. There are two picnic areas to choose from, the Rhone Classic Picnics and the Werf Garden Picnics. The Rhone Classic Picnic area is a full service area and has spectacular mountain views. Picnic baskets can be enjoyed at the laid out tables or on a blanket under the oak trees. Rhone picnics cost R440 for a basket for two, R240 for a basket for one, R860 for a basket for four, and R85 for young children. Werf Garden Picnics is a partial service area under the trees of the Pavilion lawn. It’s more relaxed, with hammocks, bean bags, a jungle gym and acres of garden for the kids. Bring your own blankets, chairs and tables. Werf picnics cost R395 for a basket for two, R210 for a basket for one, R780 for a basket for four, and R85 for young children.
Booking is essential.
T: +27 21 870 4274
Tuck into a hamper packed with delicious farm-style favourites on Spier’s shady lawns. You can choose from gourmet, relaxed, vegetarian, gluten-free and children’s picnics, and you can book them online in advance. They are packed with farmhouse cheeses, pasture-reared cold cuts, homemade pâtés and chutneys, breads, fresh salads and delicious home-baked treats. You can collect your hamper at the picnic shop and head out to find a shady spot on the lawn. You can also bring your own cushions and blankets from home, or you can hire from the deli. A Vegetarian Picnic or Spring Picnic costs R550.00 and a Children’s Picnic costs R140.00.
Tel: +27 (021) 809 1188
Klein River Cheese (Stanford)
Klein River Farmstead is situated outside Stanford, a picturesque village just 20 minutes from Hermanus and Gansbaai. Their deli-style Picnic Shed is filled with the freshest local produce, wine, beer and a mountain of artisanal cheese. A variety of 6 hand-made cheeses all produced on the Farmstead, are hand-cut specifically for their picnic baskets. A Classic Cheese Basket for two costs R285 and a Playful Kiddies Basket costs R65. You can also create your own picnic from the Picnic Shed. You can taste and buy cheese in The Cheese Shop while the children enjoy the playground or pet and feed the farm animals.
Tel: + 27 28 341 0693
Cape Point Vineyards (Noordhoek)
Spend an afternoon with a lovely picnic while enjoying the breathtaking views. Picnic Baskets must be ordered at least 24 hours in advance. A Standard Picnic Basket for two or Vegetarian Basket for two cost R395 and a Kids Picnic Hamper costs R65. You can collect your baskets from the Deli, where a runner will be available to assist you with carrying your basket and pillows and a blanket to your chosen spot. Should you require us to set up a specific area prior to your arrival a R200 fee (which is paid directly to the runners) will apply. Booking is essential.
+27 21 789 0900
Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden (Johannesburg)
This 300ha botanical garden offers a great escape from the inner city, with lush green lawns and the opportunity to spot rare bird species. Visit a wonderful waterfall and unwind in the company of many birds and animals. Bring along your own refreshments and enjoy one of the shaded lawn areas. Braais and gas fires are not permitted. Entrance fees are R40 for adults, R27 for pensioners and the disabled, R15 for scholars and R27 for students with a valid student card. Children under 6 years enter for free.
Te: +27 86 100 1278
Emmarentia Dam (Johannesburg)
The Johannesburg Botanical Gardens is a popular weekend picnicking site. It’s one of the best places to walk your dog, have a jog or go on a bike ride. The Emmarentia Dam in the north-east section of the gardens is ideal for water sports such as canoeing and sailing small boats. There are canoeing and rowing club facilities and birdwatchers can see geese, dab chicks (little grebes), moor hens and other waterfowl. Home-packed picnic baskets are welcome and there is a small café that serves light meals and refreshments. Entrance to the gardens is free.
Tel: + 27 11 782 7064
Walkhaven Dog Park is situated in the Muldersdrift area right next to the Cradle of Humankind on 22 hectares of rolling grassland. There are two large dams surrounded by lush wetland that is home to a large variety of birds and braai or picnic facilities are available throughout the park. You can pack your own picnic or choose lunch from their pub or pizza menu to enjoy under the shady trees in the tea garden. The best part? Please bring your dogs. Entrance is R35 per adult and R20 for kids and pensioners.
Tel: +27 71 212 9955
The Rose Kitchen at Ludwig’ Roses (Pretoria)
The Rose Kitchen, nestled amidst the rose splendour, is perfect for picnics, family outings, high teas and birthday parties. The kid friendly menu offers rose dishes, hearty breakfasts, freshly baked cakes, divine quiches, salads, home-made gourmet burgers and more. Children can enjoy the playground with its swings, doll house, merry go rounds and jungle gym. On weekends, they offer tractor train rides between the roses. Their shop also stocks all their home-made edible rose products.
Tel: +27 12 544 0144
Paradise Valley Nature Reserve (Pinetown)
The main feature of the nature reserve is its waterfall and there are numerous wooden bridges that cross the meandering Umbilo River. The reserve also boasts a national monument, the Umbilo Waterworks, which were built in 1887. There are four trails in the reserve that head down through the picnic area, categorized as Gentle Walk, Mild Walk, Mild-Steep Walk and Steep Walk.
You can collect a printed copy of the trails map at the reception. There are picnic areas, braai facilities and toilets. Opening times are 7:30am to 4pm. Entry fees are R13 for adults and R10 for children under 15.
Krantzkloof Nature Reserve (between Pinetown and Hillcrest)
The Krantzkloof Nature Reserve is the spectacular meeting place of two river gorges, the Molweni and Nkutu. It boasts an abundance of wildlife, including zebra, bushbuck, duiker, vervet monkey and over 200 species of birds. A gate entrance fee is payable at both picnic areas. The extremely popular Kloof Falls picnic site is situated in the shade of the indigenous trees on the banks of the Molweni River. The Nkutu picnic site in Valley Drive is situated on the banks of the Nkutu river as it winds its way deep into the valley where it meets the Molweni River before flowing into the Umgeni River. Both sites offer braai facilities and picnic tables with benches. There are also toilets at both sites with Nkutu site including a handicapped friendly toilet and a baby changing area. Entry is R25 per person and R15 for children under 12.
Tel: +27 31 764 3515
Shongweni Dam, Shongweni
The Shongweni reserve lies in a valley where the uMlazi, uGede and Sterkspruit Rivers meet. From abseiling and rock climbing to game viewing and birding, you can be as active or as relaxed as you wish. The place is a paradise for fishing enthusiasts and offer plenty of picnicking options.
There are braai areas, a jungle gym and trampoline, as well as canoes for hire. The Shongweni Dam is stocked with bass, barbel (catfish), tilapia and carp. The reserve offers game drives, as well as self-guided walking and driving trails. The entry fee per person is R40 per adult, R30 per child and R30 per pensioner.
Tel: +27 31 769 1283
This article appeared in the Summer 2016/2017 issue of Holidays and Kids magazine.
You can view the magazine here.