Hike 2: Constantia Nek to Kirstenbosch gardens

 

One of my favourite walks in the Cape Peninsula is the trail from Constantia Nek to Kirstenbosch gardens. A pleasant walk suitable for all ages (and breeds) with almost no climbing required, only a few stairs…just enough to get ones heart rate up along the way.

If driving there, one has to leave a vehicle at the Kirstenbosch gardens parking area, or just outside the gates and then take a myciti bus or another vehicle to the Constantia Nek parking area. This is so that you have a vehicle at the end to get you back to the start of the trail at Constantia Nek. The Myciti bus runs between the 2 locations which makes it quite convenient to get around. The Constantia Nek contour path takes one all the way to Skeleton Gorge, but our goal was a picnic in Kirstenbosch gardens and this is where we ended. There is not much signage on the trail so we trusted google maps to show us the way, essentially we “stayed left” at the few forks we encountered and we made it to our destination.

The best thing about this walk is that it is quite shaded most of the way, so if you happen to own a fancy pair of say, Michael Kors sunglasses, you may not have much opportunity to show them off on this trail 🙂 best perch them strategically on your head until needed.

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Since this trail provides such an easy walk, it is quite popular with dog owners. We encountered a number of dog owners and their breeds ambling along the shaded trail and at the many streams along the path. If you happen to be carrying biltong in your pack for your trail snack, don’t be alarmed when you get sniffed from all directions by the curious hounds with their mouths salivating…just hand over the biltong…don’t even hesitate. 🙂 It is also quite popular with runners…(always the runners trying to make us look bad) …lots of trail runners on this route…and of course there was no competition from our group…we left the huffing and puffing to them, we were in no rush. Besides, our backpacks were packed with frittata, freshly baked bacon and egg pastry cup thingies, micro-brewery beers (for the beer tasting in the gardens of course), a bottle of chilled organic butterscotch chardonnay…and a smorgasbord of snacks to last us the entire day in the gardens. Yes, we were well prepared and under no pressure.

All along the way there are streams flowing creating quite an idyllic atmosphere and sense of complete isolation from the city down below, simply breathtaking. Like most of the trails in the Cape peninsula the views from this walk are spectacular – overlooking the Constantia wine estates, the Southern suburbs and South Peninsula coastline and eventually the grand gardens of Kirstenbosch.

The walk is approximately 2 and a half hours into the gardens, perfect timing for a picnic brunch on the expansive lawns, with the majestic mountain as a backdrop and proteas and pincushions as your neighbours.

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