Tag Archives: park

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

Following the Lourens River through Radloff Park in Somerset West (2016-10-22) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 13 DEC 2016

If you are in Somerset West and are looking to stretch your legs, or walk your dog for that matter, but don’t necessarily want to pay the entrance fee to the nearby Helderberg Nature Reserve, then the fantastic Radloff Park complex that stretches along the Lourens River is a brilliant choice.

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A large number of sports disciplines call Radloff Park home, including the local cricket club, squash club and even baseball club (against which I played many a competitive baseball game when I played for the Bellvile Tigers back when I was still a kid)!

Consequently, there are a lot of different types of sport fields lying to the front of Radloff Park, the likes of which even include a skateboard park of all things!

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Once you pass through all the sports fields however, then the real gem of Radloff Park reveals itself – the so-called river walk which is a walking path that takes you all along the Lourens River. The route is shaded by a multitude of established trees, and there are plenty of park benches scattered about for you to sit and relax on while taking in the tranquil surrounds.

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The river is of course a super fun activity for the smaller kids to splash about in and get wet, while the walk itself has become super popular with dog walkers in the area – so no wonder Radloff Park is often referred to as the local dog park!

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Of course, this could be either a boon or bust – if your kids are like mine, i.e. terrified of dogs, the walk might just be a little more stressful than relaxing! ;)

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Nevertheless, this is an awesome little nature experience which is open to all and not going to cost you a cent to enjoy – which you then really should if you find yourself in the area!

(Oh, and on this particular day, the girls were rather pleased that I decided to reward the willingness to explore Radloff Park with me by treating them to some milkshake and play time at the nearby Indigo Spur in Waterstone Village. I suspect that this may have been their favourite part of the outing!)

As always, a handy map if you aren’t familiar with the area:

Related Link: Facebook

Kids and Mud at Pollock Park in Gordon’s Bay (2016-08-02) Photo Gallery 05 AUG 2016

The days are staying a little lighter for longer now, meaning that once again the girls and I have the opportunity to nip out after school before the whole supper, bath and bed routine starts. Tuesday evening saw us we take the opportunity to spend a little time running around our favourite public park in Gordon’s Bay, Pollock Park.

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It was a LOT more muddy than what I would have liked, but seeing as I only saw the mud AFTER we had already all exited the car, it was pretty much a lost cause and I could only hope that the girls remain PARTICULARLY well balanced for this session of play!

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(Thankfully, they did!)

Usually the stone canals that run the length of the park sit dry (the pump mechanism was vandalised and stolen years ago), so it was pretty cool to see water flowing through all the channels for a change – giving the girls and myself more than enough reason to track the water all the way back up to the duck pond, which I am happy to report is sitting at a quite nice and healthy level at last.

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Mr Teddy also came along for the play session, and even more amazing was the fact that he too somehow remained completely mud free!

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Oh, and it was pretty cool to see some kids arrive with a quadcopter/drone, flying it in order to record the long-boarding that happens there on the road next to the park. (Pollock Park is essentially on the lower slopes of the mountain.)

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As fun this impromptu outing was, unfortunately the weather didn’t stay great for long, and about 40 minutes in, we were forced to return back to the car, with the light rapidly fading, the cloud cover now heavy, and the temperature more than a little chilly.

Still, the girls had fun and that’s definitely what counts!

Kids at Play in Pollock Park, Gordon’s Bay (2016-04-08) Photo Gallery 21 APR 2016

Autumn weather here in Gordon’s Bay is almost always pleasant, because for the most part the wind actually stays away! Of course, this means plenty of opportunities to get up to something after picking the girls up from school in the evening, like these play trips to one of our favourite parks here in GB – Pollock Park.

IMG_20160408_172650 jessica and emily at pollock park in gordon's bay

There is now a big wooden jungle gym addition to the park – which the girls absolutely love – and the work done by the volunteer Pollock Park Restoration Group is definitely bringing back a lot of shine to this great green space in Gordon’s Bay!

IMG_20160408_174138 emily in a car tyre at pollock park in gordon's bay

And as always, it annoys the girls to no end when I whip out my phone and start bombarding them with photo requests!

Related Link: Pollock Park

Japan 2014 – 16 Kitanomaru Park and the Nippon Budokan in Chiyoda, Tokyo (2014-10-04) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 19 NOV 2015

My brother Ryan and I were certainly on the move on our first unaccompanied day in Japan. Having already seen the Big Egg stadium at Tokyo Dome City, relaxed at LaQua, reflected at the Yasukuni Shrine complex, and viewed a Mitsubishi Zero at the Yushukan war museum, we now found ourselves making our way through towards the Tokyo Imperial Palace grounds.

DSC07398 Tayasu-mon gate entrance at kitanomaru park, chiyoda, tokyo

However, standing in our way first was the peaceful Kitanomaru Park – which as we were about to discover, also plays host to the famous Nippon Budokan martial arts hall!

DSC07410 nippon budokan martial arts hall at kitanomaru park, chiyoda, tokyo

Originally built for the judo competition in the 1964 Summer Olympics, the 14,471-seater indoor arena Nippon Budokan (often shortened to just Budokan) is famous for both the varied martial art tournaments it has hosted over the years (including the infamous Muhammad Ali vs. Antonio Inoki fight, precursor to the modern mixed martial arts discipline), as well as the many international music concerts it has played home to over the decades!

(In case you were wondering, all the “Live at the Budokan” albums – like the Bryan Adams one on my shelf back home – are recorded here!)

DSC07402 russian martial arts exhibition outside nippon budokan at kitanomaru park, tokyo

As it so happened, this imposing octagonal structure was playing host to a Russian martial arts delegation on the day we were passing through, meaning that we were treated to a number of Russian martial art demonstrations and exhibitions – including Cossack fighting of all things!

DSC07400 Tayasu-mon gate entrance at kitanomaru park, chiyoda, tokyo

But enough about a sports hall.

Kitanomaru Park, originally the location of the northernmost section of Edo Castle, is a public park in Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan located North of the Tokyo Imperial Palace.

As already mentioned, the park is the location of the Nippon Budokan, but it also plays home to the Science Museum as well as the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo.

IMG_20141004_135342 lawns at kitanomaru park, chiyoda, tokyo

After crossing a beautiful pedestrian bridge, walking over a rather green moat, and then finally entering the park through the ancient Tayasu-mom gate (built in 1685), you enter a tranquil, lush green park with rolling lawns, established trees, and even a lake!

DSC07414 lush lawns at kitanomaru park, chiyoda, tokyo

Relaxed, peaceful, green – you almost completely forget that you are in the middle of one of the world’s biggest cities!

IMG_20141004_135603 ryan lotter in phone booth at kitanomaru park, chiyoda, tokyo

Truth be told though, Ryan and I didn’t stop here for very long – after all, we were still on our mission to visit the Imperial Palace gardens!

Related Links: Kitanomaru Park | Nippon Budokan

An Evening Playing at the Park (2015-10-06) Photo Gallery 26 OCT 2015

The seasons are definitely changing for the better at long last – so, so many more hours of sunshine in a day!

IMG_20151006_181258 emily lotter in front of the country mews jungle gym

Of course, the means that we get to spend much more of our evenings playing on Country Mews’ little communal patch of grass after a long day at playschool – which the kids definitely seem to adore (even more so, if I decide to roll about on the grass with them!).

IMG_20151006_181147 emily, jessica, cara and craig

Cara, one of the girls also living in the complex, invariably joins us on these evenings (in fact, she can pretty much always be found in our house over a weekend), which is loads of fun because a) Jessica gets to play with someone who isn’t a toddler, and b) Emily is massively entertained by this big girl who seems to rather enjoy playing with her.

IMG_20151006_181123 cara giving emily a kiss

So yay, more swinging and more sliding is a definite sign that Summer is now well and truly on its way! :)

Things to See in Japan: Hitachi Seaside Park Travel Attractions 23 MAY 2015

If you ever find yourself in Hitachinaka, Ibaraki, Japan, then it might just be worth your while to pop in to the renowned Hitachi Seaside Park whilst you are there.

Hitachi Seaside Park in Hitachinaka, Ibaraki, Japan - nemophila baby blue-eyes flowers 1

Hitachi Seaside Park is a public park that covers an area of 190 hectares, featuring blooming flowers all year round.

In particular, the park has become known for its (Nemophila) baby blue-eyes flowers, with the blooming of 4.5 million of the translucent-petaled blue flowers in the spring drawing travellers from both near and far.

Hitachi Seaside Park in Hitachinaka, Ibaraki, Japan - nemophila baby blue-eyes flowers 2

In addition to the annual “Nemophila Harmony”, the park features a million daffodils, 170 varieties of tulips, and many other flowers.

Hitachi Seaside Park in Hitachinaka, Ibaraki, Japan - tulips 1

Hitachi Seaside Park in Hitachinaka, Ibaraki, Japan - nemophila baby blue-eyes flowers 2

In Autumn the colorful cosmos blooms and blazing red kochia bushes (aka burning bush, ragweed, summer cypress, or Mexican fireweed) spring into action:

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Hitachi Seaside Park in Hitachinaka, Ibaraki, Japan - kochia bushes 2 little girl running through the bushes

Hitachi Seaside Park in Hitachinaka, Ibaraki, Japan - cosmos flowers

The park includes cycling trails and a small amusement park with a Ferris wheel. (It also hosts the annual musical Rock in Japan Festival every August.)

Hitachi Seaside Park in Hitachinaka, Ibaraki, Japan - ferris wheel

(If you were wondering, the nearest railway station is Katsuta Station on the JR Joban Line. Of course, Google Maps could have told you that.)

Related Link: Wikipedia | Lakbayer

Play Time at Pollock Park (2015-04-22) Photo Gallery 25 APR 2015

I have lived in Gordon’s Bay for quite a few years now, and to date, I had still never visited Pollock Park, a little strip of interesting green literally a stone’s throw away from Vergeet-My-Nie, Jessica’s current play school.

Well, I am happy to report that the status has now changed, because in the space of five days I have now taken the girls there twice – and both times Jessica and Emily have had an absolute ball!

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It’s actually quite a pretty little park, if a little run down, with its area divided in two distinct spaces, one for natural fynbos flora, the other a more open, grassy area for kids to play on. It has a little walkway stretching around and through it, a small pond at the top with geese and ducks (which mightily entertained Emily), some standard playground equipment in pretty decent nick, and the remains of what must once have been a really nice waterway feature.

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Although a little windy, the girls and I made the most of the area, with Jessica taking quite a strong liking to the see-saw. Emily had a go at it as well, but as per usual, the gigantic slide remains her personal favourite!

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As always, when the moment allowed I grabbed a couple of snaps with my mobile phone:

As it turns out, a friend of mine from my Gordon’s Bay karate days (Ian Pollock) has quite a strong link to the park – after all, it was built by his dad! I grabbed this off the Gordon’s Bay History Facebook group (written by Ian):

“Some more info regarding the Pollock Park.

My father, Theo Pollock came to GB +/- 50 years ago as appointed electrical engineer to Gordon’s Bay Municipality.

Those years he embarked on an ambitious project to change the mostly overhead electrical network to an underground electrical distribution system. The primary reason was the super strong South-East winds in GB causing long periods without electricity, also due to geographical layout of GB having an overhead system would spoil views especially on the slopes of the mountain and increase maintenance on the network. Understand Municipalities worked very different those days than today.

All work was done in-house by labourers and electricians. A sizable labourer complement was needed to maintain the then fragile electrical network and the change to underground network, of 2 electricians and 8 – 10 labourers. During times when planned budget was spent, or maintenance and planned work was completed the staff was kept productive on the public open space.

Theo Pollock, electricians and labours claimed ownership of the space due to a lack of maintenance from the Parks section at the time. The design, layout and construction took many years. Apart from cement, very little capital funds were spent, mostly time and effort. The space was divided into 2, one section was left natural with fynbos and proteas, the other section was developed, with dam and water fetcher. The developed area had pumps and an irrigation system to maintain the flow of water during the dry summer months. Gordon’s Bay Municipality named the Park after Theo Pollock as acknowledgement for the initiative and effort of him and his staff.

Unfortunately after Theo Pollock retired in 1991 the Park was neglected, several residents in the area tried to maintain it. Until a few years back when the Parks Dept of the City of Cape Town started maintaining it again. Unfortunately all irrigation, pumps and cabling has been vandalised and stolen by that time.

Theo Pollock lost a battle with cancer in 1994. He however left Gordon’s Bay with two accolades (among others): Pollock Park and the fact that Gordon’s Bay is the only Western Cape town with an entire underground electrical network.”

gordons bay pollock park overhead photo

So well worth popping in to see if you’ve as a local never actually been there before! :)

Update: It was such a good little outing that the girls and I ended up going there quite a few more times before Winter started setting in!

IMG_20150505_171432 jessica and emily lotter - girls playing on merry-go-round 1

IMG_20150505_171515 jessica and emily lotter - girls playing on merry-go-round 2

IMG_20150505_171533 little girl emily lotter on the merry-go-round

IMG_20150505_172137 jessica lotter girl sitting at the top of a slide