CapeTownMagazine.com

Tokai Arboretum

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

Tokai Arboretum

Tree hugging hike of the Tokai Arboretum

A nightmare for conservationists and a dream for tree-huggers: this arboretum is home to over 150 types of alien trees, and a lot of them oaks—from as far flung as Turkey, Algeria, and Australia.

Established in 1885 by Joseph Lister as a research project to establish which exotic trees could be used in the Cape Colony—now we have a ‘tree garden’ with some residents well over 100 years old, and Joseph has the Lister coffee shop named after him. Drop in for a cuppa after your walk.

There are also a number of cypresses, pines, and giant Californian redwoods. And you don’t need to be a tree scientist to distinguish the types either; they’re helpfully labelled along the walk.

Bike or hike

The Cape Town cycling collective has commandeered this patch of nature for itself. We spot many in helmets and spandex, idly chatting at the entrance, leaning on their bikes. But since we prefer two feet to two wheels – we set off on the walking trails instead—neatly shod in V-Lite Altitude Ultra Luxe Wpi Hi-Tec hiking boots we tackle the path, relieved to be in shade.

What to bring

  • Your bicycle, if you’re that way inclined.
  • A notebook, you may be keen to study the trees. 
  • Bring a picnic, there is a coffee shop with a light meals menu at the entrance, but just think you could be eating in France, Mexico, anywhere on the globe really, you just have to pick the right tree.
  • A bucket, come mushroom season there are some delectable fungi up for picking—just take someone with who knows what they’re doing.
  • Water, yes there is shade, but the canopy also traps heat and it can make you very thirsty
  •  Children, we passed quite a few on our walk, one even said to me in a dramatic fashion: ‘Do you know how tiring this is,’ while wiping her forehead.
  • Loose change, there isn’t an entrance fee, but donations are appreciated.

Routes

Getting there: take the M3 south, and follow the road, until you get to the Tokai turnoff. At the top of the off-ramp, turn right into Tokai Main Road. Follow this road until you get to a fork in the road, keep right and follow until a T-junction. Turn left by the Tokai Manor House and follow the dirt road until you reach the parking area.  From here you can take the mountain biking trails, the circular route in the arboretum, or hike up to Elephants Eye.

Circular
Easy

Begin at the entrance and consult the map, picking out the trees you’d like to see. Simply follow the numbered posts. You’ll also spy a river running through it, when we went it was unfortunately dry, but in the rainy season we’re told it swells. If you’d like to go find the redwoods, they’re located just a little higher than this route will take you. Enquire at the gate on how to get there.

Duration: 30 minutes, depending on how many trees you hug.

Elephants Eye
Moderate

This path begins on the same track as the circular one and is clearly marked all the way up. This walk is longer and a bit more arduous than the traditional walk to Elephants Eye, but the trees you’ll see along the way will make it all worthwhile.

What to look out for

The trees, of course. This is also a Mecca for birders, and ‘babooners’, many troupes are seen passing through here. And don’t forget the edible mushrooms.

Trivia: The manor house, which you pass on the way in, is reputedly haunted. Legend has it that during a New Years Eve party, Frederick Eksteen, the owner’s son, rode on his horse around the seated diners and down the stairs, on the way down unfortunately the horse tripped and both were killed. Numerous accounts of the phantom rider and his horse have been reported ever since.

By Malu Lambert, photographs by Lindsay Callaghan

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. 

*Sponsored by Hi-Tec

Cape Town Events Calendar
January 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

Banyana_BanyanaFREE TICKETS: Banyana Vs Netherlands At ...

SA’s women's football team take on their Dutch counterparts in preparation for their ...

motocross_flat_trackFirst Look At A New Type Of Motocross ...

Mixing the dirty excitement of motocross with the slick speed of Nascar, flat track oval ...

tigger_2_royaleOn Bended Knee, Out At Sea, Aboard The ...

Turn the Tigger 2 Royale catamaran into your personal Love Boat, with their special ...

Galilieo_RupertSaturday Nights at The Galileo Open Air ...

Kick back, sip wine and relax with a country movie screening experience

silver_forestKick Off 2019 In Silver Forest's Lap Of ...

Who says that self endulgence needs to end after the festive season? Rejuvenate yourself ...

Jack BlackBeers and Bands at Jack Black Brewery ...

Every Friday night the Jack Black stage is lit up with local talent

green and veganA Pop Up Vegan House Party

Go home with a vegan power couple for a unique culinary experience

downward facing adopt a dogSay Namaste And Support The Pups

Bring your yoga mat, water, love for dogs and community spirit

Knife 6A Meal and Sparkling Wine on the House ...

Knife will treat you to a free meal on any Saturday that falls in the month of your ...

Camissa Tour 5 2015Get A Unique Sunday Gospel Experience ...

Embark on a spiritual Sunday journey through one of the Mother City’s most soulful ...

Glowing Rooms 3Get a Great Saving on 3D Mini-Golf with ...

Pay a special rate for entrance into SA’s first 3D space-themed glow-in-the-dark ...

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

Embrace your inner yogi outdoors

Langarm The Fugard Theatre 4Award-winning David Kramer Brings ...

Some of South Africa’s most established stage performers take to the stage in this ...

OX Seals 04Smile: You Get 10% Off Seal Snorkelling ...

Up close with wild Cape fur seals in small, intimate excursions that are super special, ...

kiff kombi craft beer Craft Beer Safari with Kiff Kombi Tours

Here’s how to experience the best in Cape Town’s craft beer scene and get 15% off ...

Roast and Co Daily: Two Hours of 2-For-1 Specials at ...

Plus: Half-price on all “To Share” plates – see what’s on the menu here

Coco Safar 7The Saturday Spoil: Luxury Breakfast at ...

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

Battlefield Live SA Laser Tag Children's Events Cape TownSave on your kids’ birthday party ...

Make your kids’ birthday party extra special with outdoor laser tag with Battlefield ...

Kaapse Stories at The Rockwell TheatreDinner and a Show with Rockwell Theatre

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. What happens in Cape Town gets told to your mom, ...

Radisson Blu 12Save on Having Your Dream Wedding at ...

Have a stress-free wedding when hosting it at this city location

Leopard's Leap Harvest Table 1Savour the Lekker in What's Local at ...

Discover South Africa through its flavours and traditions at a family-table event ...

V&A Food Market 3Free Live Music and Affordable ...

With 42 artisanal street food vendors and retail products and free live music every ...

Fire and Ice Weekend PartyParty in the Fire & Ice Hotel Lobby ...

Live DJ, killer cocktails, 38 gourmet milkshakes and the chance to meet exciting new ...

Beluga Live Music Event 2Live Music Every Saturday at Beluga

Enjoy fresh and vibey live music every Saturday at Beluga

Just Like Papa 6Pop into Just Like Papa this Saturday ...

Gold-class vicar knives, Swedish-made hunter’s hatchets and one-of-a-kind handcrafted ...

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.