The other morning I discovered an urban gem. My camera club had organised to have a shoot at Green Point Park and I was quite excited about it all as I had never been there. I have to say that I am so glad I went along, even though the shoot started at 6.30am on a Sunday morning!
From the minute I walked through the gates I felt a sense of serenity. The sea air wrapped its salty arms around me whilst I walked down the pathways taking in the lawns glistening with morning dew and the view of Lions Head and Green Point Stadium. Ducks zipped across the still lakes whilst seagulls squawked and squabbled around the water mill. Being early in the day everything had a wonderful golden hue with the many glass-like waterways holding interesting Salvador Dali-esque reflections. It was all quite delightful and suddenly I was only too happy to be up and about at 7am on a Sunday morning whilst my friends were still in their beds. In fact I have to admit feeling a sense of smugness knowing that my day was starting in possibly the very best way.
Being so early, the park was quite empty so I felt as though I had it all to myself. I wondered through the Biodiversity Garden which features over 300 local Cape plant species. It is separated into ‘Discovering Biodiversity’, ‘People and Plants’ and ‘Wetlands’. Information boards indicate where in the city the vegetation can be found which made this both interesting and informative. I loved the beaded animals and metal sculptures tucked into the vegetation. My mother would have been proud at the amount of time I spent learning about plants and flowers! Being a bit of an eco-terrorist at times, I appreciated the enviromental awareness installations, showing you how you can “turn over a new leaf” (where you actually turn over a wooden leaf and read the inspiring message) and how much damage the knock-on effect of pouring oil or paint down a sink can do further down the line (with it all ending up coming back to you in your food). After visiting the Biodiversity Garden I took a break by the water mill, watching the antics of the seagulls and admiring the water lillies. By this time more people had started arriving and the park was slowly filling up with joggers, walkers, cyclists, dogs on leads and kids on plastic scooters relishing the freedom of the wide walkways. Some goups were setting up for a breakfast and morning picnics at the various tables, complete with tablecloths and bowls of fruit. I enquired as to whether you had to book in advance to use the tables and apparently you don’t have to book. Just get there early to grab your spot and you’re set. I made a note to do just that one morning, wondering how many takers I would have that early!
Another interesting feature to look out for the Walk-on Analemmatic Sundial which, to me, looked like a mini Stonehenge setup. Upon investigation I found it to be a sundial where you can stand facing in a certain direction with your arms above your head and you can tell the time from your shadow. It sounded like quite a lot of fun, but the instructions were a bit complicated for me that time of the morning so I didn’t give it a go. I did see other people trying it out a bit later though. There’s also an outside exercise area (a mini open-air-gym-in-the-park) and parents will love the play areas for children. My friend joined me later on in the morning with her toddler and she was most impressed with the playground arrangement, as was said toddler who spent much of her time climbing up nets, going down slides and being pushed in a swing. There was plenty of shade and we were pleased to observe that everything in the play areas is cleverly constructed out of natural materials where possible, so everything blends in and is happily eco-friendly. Another important thing to note (as pointed out by my mom-friend) is that all areas have a “soft landing” so any injuries from falling will be kept to a minimum.
Green Point Park certainly made me feel glowingly proud of my city and I am definitely going back for a breakfast picnic and will take my dogs with me for a walk. All in all it’s perfect for everyone, from nature lovers, dog walkers, cyclists and families with kids. Go there and find out for yourself. It could be the best discovery you’ll make in the city this year.
Key facts about Green Point Park
- Picnics are permitted.
- Swimming, skateboarding, fires, braais, camping, loud music, flower picking and alcohol are not permitted.
- Dogs are welcome in the park, provided that they are on a lead and owners pick up and dispose of their excrement.
- Dogs and cyclists are not allowed in the Biodiversity Garden.
- Cycling is permitted along the main walkways.
- Parking is available near the entrances on the corner of Beach/Vlei Roads; on Bill Peters Drive (near the entrance to the Virgin Active gym); and on Bay Road (near the Mouille Point lighthouse).
- There are numerous pedestrian links to surrounding areas.
- The park has an outdoor gym and play park.
- Drinking fountains are dotted across the park.
- Recycling bins are placed at the main entry gates to the park.
- Security guards are present.
Green Point Park opening times
Open every day from 07h00-19h00.
Green Point Park entrance fees
None. The park is free for everyone to enjoy.
Green Point Park tours
Park tours can be booked through the Stadium Visitor Centre.The Park tour costs about R35 per person. This is for the City to raise much-needed funds to maintain the Park. The tours leave at 10h00, 12h00 and 14h00 with official guides. Call the Visitor Centre on 021-417-0101, or email Nafeesa.Williams@capetown.gov.za.