It’s often been said that nature is our biggest teacher, and with good reason. From seeing a caterpillar transform into a butterfly, to witnessing the seasons change and understanding how animals survive in the wild – our children learn to understand that they’re part of a bigger world and that all living things have a place and purpose. Additionally, a bit of space and fresh air is one of the best things we can give our children.
Your little one will love these nature activties
Spot animals at Cape Point.
One thing that makes Cape Town unique is the endless nature walks and hikes on your doorstep. Although there’s the famous walk up Table Mountain, a walking experience better suited for kids is Cape Point. The nature reserve lies within the Table Mountain National Park and has been declared a Natural World Heritage Site. Here, you are able to spot zebra, baboons, a variety of buck as well as more than 250 species of birds. Simply park your car and pick a direction.
Visit capepoint.co.za for more info.
Pick strawberries at Helderberg Nature Reserve.
Although strawberry-picking season is officially between October and December, this beautiful farm, situated at the foot of the Helderberg Mountain, is the ideal place to teach your kids about the wonders of nature. Expect to see some of South Africa’s oldest candlewood trees, plus an array of wild mushrooms and indigenous wildlife. There’s also a wonderful kids’ play area nestled in the middle of the woodlands.
Visit helderbergplaas.co.za for more info.
Go bird watching at St Stithians College.
The large school grounds are home to more than 60 different species of birds, which have settled in the wetlands just near the dam. Sit on the wooden deck and feed the ducks or spot a few frogs or fish among the lily pads.
Visit stithian.com for more info.
See the waterfall at Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden.
Kids will delight at the sound and sight of the magnificent waterfall spilling over the rocks at the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden. In fact, the expansive garden (also home to the black eagle) has been voted the best place to get back to nature in Gauteng for more than 10 years. You’ll find more than 600 different species of plants as well as an abundance of wildlife, including antelope and jackal, in the area.
Visit sanbi.org/gardens/walter-sisulu for more info.
Have a picnic at the Umhlanga Lagoon Nature Reserve.
Home to many wetland and coastal forest species, such as vervet monkeys, small buck and interesting insects, this beautiful nature reserve is the ideal spot for a Sunday picnic. You can enter from Lagoon Drive and cross the wooden bridge, then let your kids roam free and spot all the animals and interesting trees (which are labelled) in this coastal forest.
Visit durban-tourism.com for more info.
Walk through the Oubaas Trail at Smuts House.
The easy 2.3km walk is ideal for young children and the trail meanders through one of the few remaining pristine dolomitic grasslands in Gauteng. You might spot duikers, hares or small antelope along the route as well as a wide variety of fauna and flora.
Visit smutshouse.co.za for more info.
Tammy is a wife, mom and freelance writer with 15 years’ experience in the media industry. She specialises in general lifestyle topics related to health, wellness and parenting. Tammy has a passion for fitness and the great outdoors. If she’s not running around after her daughter, you’ll find her off the beaten track, running, hiking or riding her bike.