Weekend Wanderings: A hike up Constantia Nek

We live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world – that is undeniable, but the problem with that is that you can totally take it for granted and never get out and do all the amazing things that our city has to offer – that’s for the tourists, right!?

Our excuse? Well life is busy! AND it is – parties and braais and sports matches and events and chores and DIY and gardening and entertaining. It all adds up to a very full, very busy life. I’m not complaining. I do love my busy life, BUT I’ve also realised that unless you schedule in downtime it just doesn’t happen!

So I’ve taken to scheduling in some downtime for our family… specific slots in the diary where we spend time together – for the fun of it!

This has taken the form of picnics out in the winelands, Survivor & pizza nights and, more recently, family hikes. I can honestly count on 1 hand the number of times we’ve been hiking on the mountain in the past, oh, 10 years! How crazy!!! And totally unacceptable for a born and bred Capetonian.

This new activity on our agenda was brought about by some overseas visitors who were keen to see another side of Cape Town during their recent visit, so we headed up Constantia Nek on a Sunday morning and took in the views….

In the past we’d have headed straight up the stepped path on the left, but this time we decided to do the less steep option and follow the contour path (plus it offered a little bit more shade!)

I haven’t been up this dirt track in forever… and was totally surprised that the forest I remember from my childhood is no longer. (yes I do remember #PineGate but I hadn’t felt the impact until now – shew it’s hot up there without the shade of the pines!)

That being said it was wonderful, because now you can see this incredible view of the Constantia Valley…

Plus the Cape’s glorious fynbos was in full bloom…

As the heat got more intense we decided to abandon our intended goal of reaching the dams at the top and veered off to the rocky outcrop known as Eagles’ Nest to take in more of the views down towards Hout Bay and over Oranje Kloof.

It was glorious being out amidst nature in all it’s splendour and I questioned myself more than once “Why don’t we do this more often?”

My loved seeing the city from on high, scrambling over the rocks and spotting interesting insects, flowers and reptiles…. such as this shy lizard that captured our attention for almost half an hour while we tried to get close enough to get a good pic!

And to be honest this time, enjoying the finer details of our natural heritage, was probably the highlight of it all – seeing my kids get fixated on a tiny little creature, observing its’ behaviour while attempting to get a closer look is exactly what childhood is about! Taking the time to S L O W down and enjoy the moment without rushing off to be somewhere else or stressing out about the next thing “to do”

And when the sun finally got the better of us and our water ran out we knew it was time to head down – the hike was probably less than 2 hours in total and we didn’t explore very much, but of what we did do we thoroughly enjoyed every minute and will certainly be heading back soon!

What I realised on this short outing is that hiking gives us so much more than quality time together.

Heading out into the hills has so many benefits for us all – exercise (cardio & toning!), being surrounded by nature, appreciation of our city in a new way, fresh air in our lungs and peace in our hearts.

Time spent in nature is never wasted!

I’d love to hear from you if you’re a hiking family about your own favourite hiking trails so please let me know in the comments below…

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