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
June 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

Kinky BootsSmash-Hit Kinky Boots Now On At The ...

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

fpl_5Get Moving in Functional Training Class

Improve your fitness, strength and overall functionality with the Functional Performance ...

royalteaA Tuesday Treat to Share with a Friend

Royaltea at the V&A Food Market is offering one of their special teas at half the price

conrad_hicksStudio Tours Of The Artist’s Forge To ...

View for free: A new collection of hand-forged metal furniture and sculpture rippling ...

devonvale15Free With Your Food: Specials at ...

From a free glass to a free bottle of estate wine, get something extra with your lunch or ...

sgtpepper152-for-1 Burger or Pizza Deal At Sgt ...

A reason to eat out: Get a free pizza on Tuesdays and a free burger on Thursdays at this ...

Barrs14Your Pharmacy Medicine Delivered For ...

Just Whatsapp or email your request, from basics to travel medications and emergency ...

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

Embrace your inner yogi outdoors

Haskell Vineyards 3Save On A Gourmet Food and Syrah Wine ...

Sip the renowned wines and taste delicious gourmet food from Haskell Vineyards

OX boat rides 110% Off: See The Marine Big 5 on an ...

Whales, dolphins, penguins, cape fur seals and mola mola (sunfish), an awesome boat trip ...

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

date night hq#HQDateNight: Served in Pairs, for Pairs

Planning a date or even for catching up with a mate? You’ll want to check out ...

grub_vine_3Free Wine Tasting Every Wednesday at ...

Grub & Vine’s #VineNight hosts a different wine farm

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.