Day Trips, Out & About, Travel

Day trip: Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve

When last have you visited the Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve? I can tell you that it’s a place that Hubs and I hadn’t visited for a good 15 years until recently. This despite the fact that it’s only about a 20 minute drive from home and it has the most beautiful (and safe) braai (barbecue) areas, walks and views. I guess that that is what happen’s when life takes over, isn’t it?

This past Women’s Day, Hubs decided that a braai with family and friends would be the perfect way to spend the day (he likes to joke that he thought it was Heritage Day, he thinks he’s very funny). Since our home does run a bit on the small size, he came up with the bright idea for everyone to meet up at the braai area in the Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve.

So, off we went to buy our food and drinks and then packed the car up with kids, blankets, toys, camping chairs and other paraphernalia that might be required for such an adventure. We arrived at about 10:30, to find that friends of ours had already secured a spot and had started the fire for us.

We proceeded to unpack the car, setting up the table and camping chairs, throwing out the picnic blankets and toys for the kids. In no time, had created a very camp-like setting for ourselves for the day. The kids could run free and wild, while the adults could laze around on their chairs around the fire and catch up.

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All set up and enjoying catching up while the kids play

Us ladies soon decided that we couldn’t possibly be so lazy on such a stunning day in such a beautiful location and so we plucked up the courage to take the kids on a walk through the Mill Water wild flower garden (conveniently located right next to the braai area). I can honestly say that I am so glad that we did!

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Over the bridge…
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… and through the gate into the Secret Garden!

Just past the gate into the garden is also a lapa, where the conservationists have exhibited all manner of local flowers. I had no idea that there were so many variants of protea alone! I spent so much time in there soaking it all in, I got left behind haha.

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Just a few of the gorgeous flowers on show – I didn’t know that there were so many varieties of protea and erica!

Further on, we found a stream running (so thankful for the rain!) and various paths that crisscrossed through the garden, allowing the kids to burn off some of their energy. The proteas are also just starting to bloom, which makes for some stunning scenery.

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Ummm… it’s winter?!
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Follow me Mom!
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Just look at that view!

Later the kids got a chance to dip their feet into the ice cold dam – they enjoyed it and I left them to it. No way you were going to catch me near that water!

While we were meandering through the gardens and admiring nature in all it’s glory, the guys sorted out the food. There is nothing quite like a choppie & a stuk boerewors (a lamb chop and a piece of South African sausage made either of a mixure of ground pork and beef, or pure groud beef, – not sure how else to describe “boerewors”) straight off the coals with crispy, hot garlic bread to go with it. I will be honest – I didn’t even touch the salads!

We spent the rest of the afternoon lazing on our camping chairs while the kids climbed trees or played on the picnic blankets – just the perfect way to spend an afternoon I think! I highly recommend spending a day up there.

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Some of the kids having a quiet moment. With sand on the picnic blanket of course!

There is actually quite a bit to do at the Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve, besides having a braai and a bit of a stroll. There are many hiking and walking/running trails that you can explore and lots of places to mountain bike if you prefer that mode of transport.

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Let’s go for a hike!

I read on their website that there is charge that they enforce through certain times of the year, but we didn’t pay anything when we were there on 09 August 2018. In case you would like to read more about it, here is the link to their website.

I must also make mention of the cleanliness – both at the braai area and at the ablution facilities. The staff work hard to make sure that everything is well maintained and kept clean. This is something that I don’t take for granted, having been exposed to some rather, um, disgusting ablutions in the past past!

How did you spend your Women’s Day? Where is your favourite picnic or braai spot? Let me know – we are always looking for new places to try!


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