September in Cape Town is a special, celebrated time which heralds the start of the Spring season. With it comes not only the warmer weather but a great time for viewing the annual migration of whales to our shores and the dazzling kaleidoscope of colourful wildflowers on show in the veld, alongside the roads and at formal flower shows. Having endured a cold wet winter, the people of Cape Town love to get out and about during this time but the best news of all for visitors to Cape Town is that it is still regarded as part of the low season when accommodation rates are at their most affordable and many restaurants continue to promote special offers and discounts of up to 50%. Is it any wonder then that we call this the secret season of Cape Town?
South African national parks (SAN Parks) comes to the party by offering free entrance to SA residents at most of South Africa’s 19 national parks between 9 and 13 September. The only exceptions are the Namaqua national Park and the Boulders beach Penguin colony which is part of the Table Mountain national Park (TMNP)where normal entrance fees apply. You should, however, remember to take a long your green bar coded ID document.
The closest of our national parks, the TMNP Park includes the Cape Point nature reserve offering spectacular views from the lighthouse of the meeting of the two oceans, game viewing and one of Cape Town’s best but least utilised beaches which is at Buffels bay in the reserve. With a normal entrance cost of R250 for a family of four local people seldom can afford to enjoy this beach. Buffels Bay has an enormous and safe tidal swimming pool, a lovely white sand beach, expansive lawns and many braai or bbq pits, and clean changing rooms and latrines. Pack a picnic, or take along meat for a braai and take advantage of the free access to get out and enjoy this lovely family attraction.
Also in the TMNP is the Silvermine Reserve; situated at the top of Ou Kaapse Weg, which offers an ideal outing for the family. From the entrance and easy walk takes you through wooded glades and fynbos alongside a bubbling stream to the reservoir dam. The dam affords the opportunity for a cooling swim and on the shores are many picnic and braai (bbq) spots with stone benches and tables.
Another local attraction that romantic couples as well as families can enjoy free of charge during this time is Oudekraal, a small Sandy beach situated under the slopes of the 12 Apostles. The parking area is situated above the beach and is well signposted. The beach itself is surrounded by massive boulders that create a sheltered cove and many milkwood trees that create secluded nooks. Just above the beach to the left is a grassy area with braai places for afternoon picnics. This beautiful spot with its clear turquoise waters lovely white sand, milkwood trees and boulders is a peaceful haven as well as a popular location for wedding photographs.
Within less than an hour’s drive from Cape Town is also the West Coast national Park, near Langebaan, where the Postberg section of the Park offers stunning natural displays of wildflowers as well as some game and a myriad of birds and is only open to the public during August and September of each year in order to preserve the wildflowers.
For more information please visit www.sanparks.org or call the SANParks on Tel: 021 689 4441