CapeTownMagazine.com

Deer Park

Unwrapping Cape Town with you.
Also engage with our other channels
to find something you don't want to miss.
 
www.capetownmagazine.com/subscribe
CapeTownMag
CapeTownMagazine.com
capetownmag

Deer Park

Exploring an abundance of nature on the edge of the city

This nature reserve is not five minutes away from the city, no, it’s on the very edge, so arguably, it’s a mere second away. As a born-and-bred Capetonian, Deer Park holds many memories for me; picnicking as a toddler, exploring as a teenager, are just some.

The nature is truly abundant, from scrubby fynbos and carpeting succulents to statuesque trees and leafy paths: a microcosm of the greater Table Mountain National Park.

I may have my own personal history with the park; but it pales in comparison to the rich heritage of runaway slaves, who found asylum (and hiding places) in the canopies of trees. There isn’t a lot on record about these forest dwellers; their survival in the mountains is stuff of lore. Another mystery is the shrine of Muslim spiritual leader Sayed Abdul Haq, not much is known about him, just that he was a member of the Qadariah Tariqa. We found his marble grave close to a running stream; and on the small path to get there, we noticed small strips of maroon cloth strung on bushes. There are at least five other graves in the area, but none as noticeable as this one.

Heritage and history aside, another thing that makes this green belt special is the view; the city on the one side, and Table Mountain rising like a craggy tidal wave on the other.

It’s a dog’s life

There are a variety of walks you can take, from easy meanders to the more challenging climbs. We decide on a moderate hike, so with feet shod in V-Lite Altitude Ultra Luxe WPi Hi-Tecs we set off.

The proximity to the city makes this a favourite for dog walkers; and a pleasure for dog spotters. On our walk we see a cornucopia of canine specimens: shuffling Scottish Terriers, gambolling mutts, and gormless bulldogs, to mention a few. We pass a man half-running to keep up with his pack of miss-matched hounds, over his shoulder he tells us he’s a dog-walker, and does this every day.

 What to bring

  • Hat, sunblock, water; there’s plenty of shade, but it’s good to come prepared.
  • Hiking shoes; you can come in flip flops if you aren’t planning to wander too far, there are wooden paths to explore.
  • Picnic; there are designated picnic spots (with inspiring city views), or you could find a tree to commandeer. 
  • Mountain bikes; there are some great trails.
  • Swimming costumes; paddle in bathtub-sized mountain pools.
  • There are bathroom facilities. 
  • Your best friend; as mentioned above this is hound heaven.
  • Children of all ages.

Routes

Circular*
Easy

Follow the path from the parking lot, start on the wooden walkways then head onto the mountain gravel. The path will naturally curve by the ‘dam’, it’s really more of a splash pool these days—or, to be frank, a doggie bath. Chill out here, and then continue on your way, you’ll now find yourself out of the sun and into a tunnel of trees. This leads to a beautiful mountain road with views of Devil’s Peak and Table Mountain, and soon you’ll find yourself at the beginning again.

Duration: 40 minutes.

Tafelberg Road*
Moderate

Begin on the same route as the Circular one, but instead of following the curve, head straight up the incline to Tafelberg Road. Once there, if you’ve still got energy, head up Platteklip Gorge.

Duration: one hour, depending on fitness levels.

**not official trail names

Link up to these routes from Deer Park

Devils Peak
Moderate

We recommend this route for its outstanding views: Table Mountain, Lions Head, City Bowl, Table Bay, Robben Island, and Northern Suburbs, all laid out for your peepers. Read more about this hike.

Woodstock Cave
Moderate
At the end of the tarred section, walk a further 100 metres on the dirt road and you will see a metal gate with stone pillars. The hike up to the cave begins a few steps before this gate; it is a little bit hidden. The route zigzags its way slowly up the slope and will bring you to Woodstock Cave’s mouth. Read more about this hike.

Tip: You can stay over in heart of Deer Park at The Wash House, which is part of the original historical Wash House complex where Cape Town’s washer women plied their trade in the mid to late 19th century. This house is built on the slopes of Table Mountain and was carefully restored to blend seamlessly with its natural surroundings.

Another tip: One of Cape Town’s favourite pizza places is a stone’s throw away from the park. Treat yourself at Woodlands Eatery after your walk.

Text by Malu Lambert and photographs by Lindsay Callaghan

*Sponsored by Hi-Tec

---

Walk a personal pilgrimage to slow down and take a break from a busy life during the Cape Camino.

---

Check out our Facebook album of the hike, and follow us on Twitter to find out where (and what) we’ll be hiking next. Plus, subscribe to our weekly newsletter for a seven day weather forecast.

Cape Town Events Calendar
August 2019
SUN MON TUE WED THU FRI SAT
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Toybox_4Step Into The Toybox Universe: Billy ...

Bass … Brazilian bass … Plus a touch of techno and afro-house too

William_Kentridge_2A Monumental Exhibition To Open At The ...

The iconic South African artist’s largest exhibition in Africa in over a decade

the_greatest_little_circus_showGravity-defying Trapeze, Acrobatics And ...

Inspired by 'The Greatest Showman', this local circus tells the story of how the ...

Ash_EvansBecome A Video Star

Learn how to handle yourself on camera

blowfish_new_4Half-Price Sushi Every Wednesday and ...

And drink in the sunset and view (and a cocktail)

Jedi Tedi 3Drink Rosé & Find Inner Peace

Yoga, meditation and rosé on tap at this Women’s Day brunch in Milnerton

goudini_buffetA Sunday Buffet That’s Worth Taking A ...

Take your swimming gear along and enjoy the hot pools while you’re there

WildFlower2Join The Wild Flower Tour Madiba Did

Stay in a luxury guesthouse and learn about more than 1200 flower species

Kinky BootsSmash-Hit Kinky Boots Extended To 2020 ...

With music by Cyndi Lauper, several Tonys and a Laurence Olivier Award

chicha2Sundays at Chicha!: Wine Tasting and ...

Beat the Sunday blues with wine, tapas and live music

ac_marriott_roast2Treat the Fam To a Sunday Roast at AC ...

Don’t feel like cooking? Relax in the elegant AC Kitchen and let their chefs prepare a ...

Comedyclub_new12Half-Price Sunday Special at Cape Town ...

Experience Cape Town’s funniest comedians (for less on Sundays) at the Waterfront’s ...

LaParada22End The Weekend Right: Sunday Funday ...

Round off the weekend by dancing the day away at La Parada Constantia Nek’s Sunday ...

Om Revolution vinyasa poseHave an Outdoor Yoga Experience with ...

Embrace your inner yogi outdoors

Coco Safar 16The Weekend Spoil: Luxury Breakfast and ...

Sea Point’s premier all-day cafe offers a breakfast worth waking up early for, and a ...

Bugz Playpark in Cape TownMake Sunday Funday For The Whole Family ...

End the weekend on a high note with fun rides, educational play and something for ...

Vergenoegd_duckrun1Cheer On The Ducks At Vergenoegd Löw

Bring the kids along to experience the Duck Parade

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips

Curious to make exciting discoveries in Cape Town every day? "LIKE" us for a daily hidden gem.