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The City of Cape Town urges residents to play outside this winter, and avoid missing out on the natural beauty that Cape Town has to offer. Read more below:

The City of Cape Town manages 16 nature reserves in Cape Town – many of which are in close proximity to urban areas. Residents are spoilt for choice with access to beautiful reserves located right on their doorstep.

‘Cape Town’s natural beauty truly comes alive during winter. The mountains, hills and fields change to bright green over this period. It’s the ideal time for locals and visitors to grab their hiking boots and camera, and to get out and up close with our breathtaking natural surroundings.

‘Many of our reserves have hiking trails which offer visitors and residents an opportunity to access certain parts of the natural environment which they may not have been exposed to before,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy, Environmental and Spatial Planning, Councillor Johan van der Merwe.One of these trails in particular is the recently launched, 4,4 km coastal hiking trail at the City’s Blaauwberg Nature Reserve.

The trail starts and ends at the Eerste Steen Resort and meanders through threatened Cape Flats dune strandveld vegetation. The hiking trail follows the historical routes used in the area dating back to the early 1900s and points of interest along the trail include an old milkwood tree, a well point and a kraal. Shell middens and archaeological remains along the coastline and to the east of Blaauwberg Hill are testament to the indigenous Khoi communities who once inhabited this landscape. Hikers will be able to enjoy stunning views of two World Heritage Sites – Robben Island and Table Mountain. The area also features picnic sites, braai areas, historic buildings, surfing, windsurfing, birdwatching, whale-watching and fishing (permit required).

The Blaauwberg Nature Reserve offers overnight accommodation where visitors can enjoy fantastic views from the top of Blaauwberg Hill and experience the eco-friendly self-catering unit, named Montispectus – a renovated World War II officers’ mess building which sleeps up to four guests in an open-plan bedroom with two single beds and a double bunk bed. A special off-peak rate has been introduced up until August. Montispectus can be booked through the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve administrative offices on Tel: 021 444 0454 or via e-mail to: Reservations.Blaauwberg@capetown.gov.za

For those wanting to explore the northern regions of Cape Town a little more, the Tygerberg Nature Reserve hosts organised runs in conjunction with Wildrunner. The winter trail series run takes place on 31 July 2016 while the monthly full moon run is a unique once-a-month 5 km fun run and hike in the Tygerberg Nature Reserve over the period of sunset and full moon rise. Upcoming run dates include 20 July, 18 August and 16 September. For more information, residents should please contact Wildrunner on Tel: 021 821 9898 or e-mail: info@wildrunner.co.za

The Tygerberg Nature Reserve welcomes all residents and nature enthusiasts to the Friends of Tygerberg Hills environment talks which take place at the reserve’s education centre. For more information, those interested are welcome to contact Diane on Tel: 021 975 5660.

Residents and visitors can also look out for the annual spring walk at the Tygerberg Nature Reserve which is scheduled for 27 August this year.

The Bracken Nature Reserve’s (located in Brackenfell) flowering season starts within the winter months. Visitors are invited to take a stroll along the reserve’s pathways and enjoy the splash of pink from the Lachenelia rubida and the bright orange of the commonly known wild dagga which blooms during this time of year. Bird-watchers can take a moment or two to enjoy the lovely sounds of the southern double-collared sunbird, not forgetting the raptors and spotted eagle owls.

The reserve offers picnic areas which are always inviting and nicely tucked away, and the views are magnificent. Children can also be entertained, as the reserve has a play area where they can play giant snakes and ladders and other board games that are not only fun but active and educational.

The Friends of Bracken group also has a number of activities planned for this winter period including interesting talks by specialists and experts. For more information, residents can call 021 444 0380.

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