Tag Archives: bellville

Hiking up the Hill at the Tygerberg Nature Reserve in Bellville (2018-04-29) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 30 APR 2019

Bellville’s 300 hectare large nature reserve in the form of Tygerberg Nature Reserve offers a great opportunity for locals to stretch their legs in nature without really having to go anywhere. And while it may not be a mountain, Tygerberg Hill still rises high enough to give you a great view of Cape Town, the mountain and its suburbs.

Home to around 500 different plant species, a large number of birds and a couple of small animals to be spotted, Tygerberg Hill also serves as a popular environmental education hub for local school excursions.

There are quite a couple of short trails that criss-cross all over the reserve, meaning that in theory you can put together just about any walk to suit your needs. The hill also has a trail accessible by wheelchairs, as well as a couple of simple picnic spots dotted around.

Last year Ryan, Chantelle and I went for a nice and sweaty stroll around the hill, and these are the pictures that I ended up with. (Always a good excuse for micro stopping when the going gets tough!)

Always a lovely outing.

Related Link: Tygerberg Nature Reserve | Tygerberg Hills | Bellville

Making Our Way up Tygerberg Hill in the Tygerberg Nature Reserve, Bellville (2018-05-06) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 07 FEB 2019

If you feel like a good walk but don’t necessarily feel like tackling a proper mountain, you could always opt for the Tygerberg Nature Reserve, i.e. head out for a walk up Tygerberg Hills.

The nature reserve itself is 300 hectare in size and is situated in Bellville, i.e. the northern suburbs of Cape Town. The reserve is home to the highly threatened Swartland Shale Renosterveld vegetation type, which in turn houses nearly five hundred different plant species. There are also a large number of bird species and small animals to seen, as well as the Kristo Pienaar Environmental Education Centre with its library and resource centre. (The nature reserve is popular venue for school excursions and education programmes).

And then of course there is the additional perk of having an excellent view no matter which direction you look!

As for Chantelle, Ryan and myself though? We were just there for the long, sweaty hot walk.

Bonus Fact: Swartland Shale Renosterveld is usually punctuated with a lot of large termite mounds, which all work together to create light ‘spots’ in the vegetation when looked at from afar. These ‘spots’ are in fact behind the name of Tygerberg – tiger mountain – because at that point in time, people in the Cape assumed tigers had spots.

Related Link: Tygerberg Nature Reserve | Tygerberg Hills | Bellville

Fishing and Picnics at Majik Forest in Bellville (2017-12-22) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 30 AUG 2018

The Durbanville/Bellville area is home to a couple of nice greenbelt areas, not necessarily as lush green as those found in Constantia and the like, but certainly nice wide open spaces with lots of grass and loads of good picnic spots. One of the better known ones is Majik Forest, a strip on the edge of Welgemoed that encompasses two dams (Fynbos Dam and Amandel Dam) and of course the titular small forest.

Naturally this then means that you are bound to encounter quite a few families spending some quality time down on the grass together, either enjoying a picnic, trying their hand at a bit of fishing or going for long walks. (The forest on the other hand is the perfect spot for teenagers looking for a bit of privacy – or at least that is how it was back when I was growing up!)

Mountain bikers have laid some serious claim to Majik Forest, with the Tygerberg MTB Club setting up shop and laying out various trails over the area. The park is also adjacent to Vink’s Arboretum, another great public space that is home to over 500 different indigenous trees!

So, a great option to keep in mind if you find yourself in the Northern Suburbs and want to get the kids off the couch and away from the tablet/TV!

Side Note: Although security used to be somewhat of an issue in the area, following the fencing off of the entire public space, things have gotten much better, thus seeing an influx of families returning to relax in the park.

Related Link: Majik Forest | Bellville

Joggers and Birthday Parties at the Jack Muller Danie Uys Park in Bellville (2017-10-28) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 16 NOV 2017

Around 2013 the City of Cape Town embarked on an ambitious project to upgrade its aging district parks, with the goal of developing world class, public open spaces of which the local communities could be proud of.

One of these spaces that saw (and is seeing) a significant upgrade (to the tune of around R15 million) is my old home town of Bellville’s previously dilapidated 13 hectare large Jack Muller Park.

Earmarked to be developed as a facility capable of hosting major events,  the Jack Muller Park (also known as the Danie Uys Park) saw the installation of a borehole based irrigation system (as a part of the City of Cape Town’s commitment to reducing water demand on potable water resources) as well as the updating and laying down of new footpaths throughout the grounds.

The large picnic area was completely revamped, and loads of fresh instant lawn was laid down. Bathroom facilities were updated, new security structures were built around the park, kids play areas were added (as always, the jungle gyms are a hit with the little ones), a dedicated biodiversity section was established, the amphitheater rehabilitated, and of course (it is currently a very popular thing for public spaces to do), an outdoor gym was installed.

We visited the park recently in order to celebrate Damen and Michelle’s kid’s birthday with our friends and I was pleasantly surprised to see just how popular the park seems to have become.

There were loads of birthday parties, joggers and outdoor enthusiasts to be seen, and the environment appears to now genuinely be a nice one to visit.

We’ve been to the outdoor cinema held here before, and I know that music concerts are sometimes hosted as well, but by far the most popular activity for the park must be the weekly Bellville Parkrun, which sees hordes of joggers and walkers arrive at 08:00 on a Saturday morning to tackle the timed 5km fun run.

One day I suppose we should actually join them.

So, a great free green space option if you are looking to get some fresh air in Bellville then.

(Bonus: You might have noticed that the last picture in the photo gallery looks very different from the rest in terms of landscape scene. This is because that photo was taken on the same day but at a very different location! After our turn at Logan’s birthday party in the park, we raced back to Somerset West to make the pirate-themed spitbraai social get together for Emily’s Vergeet-My-Nie playschool. We arrived a tad late, meaning that the girls and I set out into the backwaters of Lourensford Estate in the hopes of catching up with the treasure hunt party that had already set out. Hence the lush green photo opportunity.)

Related Link: Jack Muller/Danie Uys Park

Trees in Vink’s Arboretum in Durbanville (2015-11-14) Photo Gallery 21 NOV 2015

Jessica, Emily and I stumbled across Vink’s Arboretum last weekend, which is a lush green belt that runs parallel to Majik Forest on the border between Bellville and Durbanville.

IMG_20151114_125935 jessica lotter with a sausage tree at vink's arboretum in durbanville

Managed by a partnership between Cape Town City Parks and the volunteer group Vink’s Greenbelt Association, the popular walking and picnic spot is home to more than 500 indigenous trees – most of which were planted by the eponymous Mr. Vink van Zyl (who passed away in 2005) himself.

IMG_20151114_125118 vink's rock at vink's arboretum in durbanville

A local Geocaching enthusiast (Gr8Scot) posted a rather nice piece on the arboretum which is worth repeating here:

During 2001 Vink van Zyl – a retired engineer known for his work on the ABSA building in central Cape Town and the (then) new Groote Schuur Hospital, approached the Parks department with a request for an area where he could plant a large number of indigenous trees. It was agreed that the most suitable area for such a project would be the corner of Jip De Jager and Van Riebeeckshof road, an undeveloped park area, where road-building material was stored and levelled.

Vink approached contractors carrying excavated material from local developments, and negotiated with them that if they were permitted to dump fill in the area, they should in return loan machinery for levelling and shaping the area and for digging holes. He then surveyed the area and set levels for filling, the first phase of which began in about November 2001 and was completed by autumn 2002.

He then began planting trees, most of which were obtained from the Bellville municipal nursery, where he spent many hours choosing them. A gravity feed water line made from irrigation piping supplied by the municipality was laid from the dam to the park. From connections in the line, hose pipes could be used to water the trees.

While Vink was planting the first stage, filling continued in the second stage. After planting in the second stage was completed, he then began filling the final stage, which was the northern corner next to the river. By now more then 20 000 cubic metres of soil had been dumped.

Vink also collected indigenous shrubs and plants from various nurseries, and planted them around the arboretum. Together with the help of Dr. Christi Kloppers, a vet with a keen interest in nature, he also collected Renosterveld seed from the area where the Vineyard Office Estate is now, and planted it to add some colour.

He was working on beautifying the lower entrance between the river and pathway when he passed away.

IMG_20151114_125345 jessica and emily marching along at vink's arboretum in durbanville

As you can well imagine, the range of trees to be found is absolutely amazing, and the place itself is well worth a stroll.

Of course, my girls got rather bored, rather fast, which is a pity because I was kind of enjoying working through all the tree name boards…

(Note: We accessed Vink’s Arboretum by going through the entrance situated on the corner of Jip De Jager Drive and Van Riebeeckshof Road in case you’re keen on finding it yourself. 33°51’35.2″S 18°37’36.3″E)

Related Link: Vink’s Arboretum | City Park’s Partnership | Geocaching

Coffee at Stodels (2015-03-08) Photo Gallery 11 MAR 2015

Having had quite a busy Saturday out and about with the kids, followed by a rare date night, Sunday saw us finish up our market cheesecake and make the drive through to Bellville in order to pick up the kids from Oupa and Ouma – and treat Monty and Cheryl to something to drink at perennial crowd favourite, Stodels nursery, in the process!

IMG_20150308_125535 monty montgomery with cheryl and jessica at stodels in bellville

As it turned out, Sunday was a particularly gorgeous day, and Stodels nursery as expected was jam-packed with people. Although we weren’t there for flowers, Jessica loved seeing all the fish, birds and other little animals in the pet section of the nursery, and needless to say rather enjoyed playing in Stodels’ big kids area – until her nasty fall that gave her a blue eye of course!!

IMG_20150308_133246

As for the adults, well we eventually managed to squirrel a spot at a table, and after a lengthy wait, managed to enjoy some coffee and beer – which isn’t the worst of ways to spend a late Sunday morning after all! :)

The Big Sell My Life 01 APR 2014

Believe it or not, Yesterday marked the end of the sixth year that I’ve lived in the wonderful little coastal town of Gordon’s Bay. Six years of living close to the sea, but miles away from friends, family and work.

First Nagua Bay, and then Country Mews, Gordon’s Bay has certainly been a pleasure to live in, and certainly I enjoyed the friendships made during my training period with the Funakoshi Karate guys and girls, as well as the various people I came into contact with through Chantelle’s guest house work, not to mention the people living in the Country Mews complex itself.

5 country mews home

However, the time has now finally come where I need to fix at least two of the three long distance aspects of our life, and that means it is time to sell up here in Gordon’s Bay and move back to Bellville in order to be closer to our friends and family, a point that has become increasingly important to us and our young little family as we get older with each passing year.

So what does that mean?

Well, we’ve approached Len Wilmot of Homelink Estates to start the process of selling our home for us (we did in fact buy this house from him, which means he should be able to sell it again!), and once we get some movement on that front (it could take a couple of months of course), we’ll start packing up our belongings, store the baking equipment with Cheryl and Monty (who have a little more space now that Rob has moved out of the home), and then go on the property hunt to find something that we can either rent or buy, and will hopefully be big enough to accommodate the four of us!

So right now I am in the stage of getting the house all nice and shiny for potential buyers – which roughly translates to me having to remove all those shelves I’ve lovingly put up over the years for Chantelle’s Cupcakery business! :)

The journey of moving back to our home town of Bellville has now started, and although it won’t be quick, Chantelle and I are VERY excited (and a little lot nervous because we’re moving from a cheaper area to a more expensive area and am not entirely sure as to how exactly we’re going to afford this, though of course we’ll make a plan), and SERIOUSLY can’t wait to have little Jess and Emily be close to Ouma and Oupa, and Granny and Grandpa, and of course Chantelle and I to be closer to our longtime circle of friends.

And who knows, I might even be persuaded pick up the badminton racquet once I’m back in my old stomping grounds? ;)

Exciting times indeed!

Photo Gallery: Baby Gym Graduation Day (2011-10-15) My Life | Photo Gallery 15 OCT 2011

We attended the six week long Baby Gym course out in Bellville, taking Jessica through each and every Saturday morning where we would get taught how to properly stimulate and exercise various aspects of our little girl. All in all, the classes worked wonders in bringing Jessica up to speed in terms of her development, meaning we were pretty chuffed with the results. And of course as all courses should rightfully do, this one ended off with a proper little graduation “ceremony” and photo shoot for the little ones! :)