Furry friends make the best outdoor companions. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of pet-friendly hikes in South Africa. So get out those walking shoes and grab a handful of dog biscuits.
1. Doornkloof Magaliesberg
Level Easy to moderate
Price R75 pp for adults and R50 for children, no charge for dogs.
Contact 072 487 1733, www.saamrus.co.za
If you want to flex your athleticism with your puppies, the pet-friendly Kranskloof Hiking Trail is perfect. It offers challenging hikes for dog-owners and moderate hiking and walking trails to suit your four-legged companions. Pet-friendly accommodation is also offered, along with pool facilities. The area has streams sandwiched by pristine mountains for your viewing pleasure. Note that dogs must be on a leash at all times, and bookings for accommodation are to be done three weeks in advance.
2. Buffalo Gorge, Middleburg
Level Moderate to strenuous
Price Entrance is free for dogs, but only a maximum of two dogs per person is allowed. R50 per person.
Contact 0835289586, buffalogorge.co.za
Buffalo Gorge is perfect for bike-riding while watching over your pets. They also offer mountain biking, horse riding, abseiling, rock-climbing, and paint-balling as part of their activities. If you plan to stay for a day or two there are various camping options.
3. Newlands Forest, Cape Town
Price Daily Permit is R60 and the annual permit is R250 per year.
Contact 0217120527 or 0217127471, sanparks.org
Newlands Forest is a pet-friendly hiking trail with beautiful views of Cape Town’s renowned Table Mountain. If pet-owners are looking for an easy-going trail to get in some exercise before the start of the day, or perhaps a lovely walk to cool off from the hustle and bustle of the office, then the Newlands Forest in Cape Town is a good choice to relieve some stress – don’t forget your furry friend!
4. Huddle Park Golf and Recreation, Johannesburg
Price R100 per person, plus additional charge of R50 for August 2017. In September 2017, R150 per person, plus additional charge of R50 for more than two pets.
Contact 0116406693, huddlepark.com
The Huddle Park Golf and Recreation offers pet-owners and their pets easy going walking trails to occupy their time. Trails range from two and a half kilometres to five kilometres in distance. The newly established dog-walking area is open to the public in summer and winter from 6:30 to 18:00 and 7:00 to 17:00, respectively. What’s more, for regulars who travel as a family of two people and two dogs at minimum, unlimited dog-walking memberships are available at a fee.
5. Constantia Nek, Cape Town
Price The entrance fee is payable at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens: R60 for adults and R30 for students (with students cards). R15 for ages six to 17. Free for senior citizens and those below age six on Tuesdays that don’t fall on public holidays senior citizens (must present ID).
Contact 012 428 9111, or see map for Constantia Nek hiking trails.
For a more liberal experience, pet-owners and their companions can take a hike from Constantia Nek to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in the Western Cape. The easy-to-cover route is about six kilometres and takes about an hour or two to complete. This is a scenic route with a backdrop of Table Mountain, foregrounded by Constantia’s plethora of greenery. Routes and contours are well maintained and the final destination is no disappointment either. Deemed the most beautiful garden in Africa by UNESCO’s World Heritage Site, the Botanical Gardens in Kirstenbosch is quite the sight to see.
6. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape Town
Price R60 for adults and R30 for students (with students cards). R15 for ages six to 17. Free for senior citizens and those below age six on Tuesdays that don’t fall on public holidays senior citizens (must present ID).
Contact 0217998800, sanbi.org, or click the link for the dog map.
If you simply want to enjoy Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens with your pets, make sure to head to gate three for a lovely stroll. Dogs must be leashed at all times and owners are expected to pick up after their pets. The walking trail available for pets is restricted to about 300 kilometres.
7. Umhlanga Lighthouse Beach
Contact 031 561 4257, umhlangatourism.co.za
For a view of the sun melting away into the waves of the Indian Ocean, visit Umhlanga Lighthouse Beach. The beach is located right around the corner from the Oyster Box Hotel and is in front of the beach’s main attraction – the lighthouse. Get ready to have the perfect Kodak moment with your dogs. The Umhlanga Information Tourism Centre warns that dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
8. Walk Haven Dog Park, Johannesburg
Price R30 per person
Contact 0712129955, 0823264844 or walkhaven.co.za
Built for the sole purpose of walking your four-legged friends, Walk Haven offers its visitors a little ‘peace’ of countryside. The site primarily serves dogs with enjoyable facilities and beautiful views overlooking two large dams (where dogs can indulge in some day-time swimming) and wet grassland. Entrance is free for the dogs but there is a fee for owners. Restaurant services are also available with a full breakfast and lunch menu to cater to our human friends too.
9. Leadville Dog Park, Cape Town
Contact 0215563344 or follow on Facebook.
For a space fully dedicated to your dogs, visit this off-leash park. Different sections accommodate shy and social canines and there is also a play-in fountain! All of your dogs’ needs can be taken care of with the on-site vet shop, rehab centre and dog behaviourist. If you’re in need of caffeine while watching your pups play, visit Reload Espresso Bar for breakfast, light lunch, a bagel or cake. The park is open from 7:00 to 19:00 and the Reload Espresso Bar is open from 7.30am to 6.30pm.
Got any great leads (geddit?) on other amazing places to walk with pets? Please share your favourite spots in the comments below.