Tag Archives: park

The Birds and the Trees of Harry Giddy Park in Mossel Bay (2018-06-29) Family Attractions | Photo Gallery 05 JUN 2019

Right as you start your entry into Mossel Bay’s old CBD, at the very top of Marsh Street on the right is a lush green haven called Harry Giddey Park (or Harry Giddy, the Internet can’t quite make up its mind), a public park with trees, running water, a bandstand, a playground, an aviary and even a couple of farmyard animals scattered about.

First laid out as Victoria Park in 1887 (complete with ornate metal gates erected in 1903 in commemoration of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee), the park was later renamed as Harry Giddey Park in honour of the man who spent much of his time and money revitalizing the grounds during the early 1940’s.

The end result of all this work is a wonderfully laid out park that has a little bit of something for everyone. It has a good collection of interesting trees and plants, interesting pathways, a few bits and pieces with historical significance dotted around, the triple play of birds, animals and a small playground area as entertainment options for the kids, and then of course a lot of lawn to be enjoyed by families in search for some family down time in what is a lush green tranquil space.

(It also just happens to be the home for the Mossel Bay bowls club too).

Honestly, I’m a little surprised that it took the girls and me so long to get out and explore this little block of green on the Mossel Bay map.

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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!

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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

Freedom Day at the Green Point Urban Park in Cape Town (2017-04-27) Family Attractions | Photo Gallery 27 AUG 2018

The expensive whirlwind of hosting the FIFA World Cup back in 2010 brought a lot of welcome development and renewal to the Cape Town suburb of Green Point, ultimately transforming the road network, Green Point Common and of course stadium all for the better. One of my personal favourite legacies stemming from the hosting of the tournament is the establishment of the Green Point Urban Park, otherwise simply referred to now as Green Point Park.

This large, bright green lawn slathered slice of family outing heaven is the perfect venue for families to enjoy some outdoor life, or for people wishing to get some fresh air and a stretch of the legs in without having to leave the city or climb the mountain.

There are expansive lawns for picnics, a dedicated stage for performances, a delightful little restaurant perfect for a tea and light lunch stop (which naturally we make use of because planning ahead for something like a picnic is something seemingly beyond us), multiple play areas for the kids, outdoor gym equipment for those of us who never rest in bettering our bodies, and curved walkways perfect for both walkers and young cyclists alike.

The park is also home to a carefully curated Biodiversity Showcase Garden, whose sculpted pathways reveal some 25 000 indigenous plants, trees, shrubs, bulbs and ground-covers, all in all representing about 300 different plant species!

Also scattered about is a multitude of wonderfully quirky little nature sculptures and other exhibits, with all the important bits covered with some wonderfully informative signage.

So in summary, romantic fynbos strolls aside, the park is thus perfect for family get-togethers, picnics, birthday parties, and outdoor exercise. Also, don’t forget the scenic views either. In other words, the perfect place for Chantelle, the girls and I to spend a lazy Freedom Day public holiday together then!

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Side Note: The kids play areas are amazing. Split into two, one for the older kids and one for the smaller tots, the equipment is very much unlike the standard stuff (i.e. way more exciting) that you would find in our older municipal parks. Explains perhaps why then the girls seem to absolutely love visiting there!

Related Link: Green Point Park | Cape Town

Celebrating Mother’s Day with a Picnic in Green Point Park, Cape Town (2018-05-13) Photo Gallery 15 MAY 2018

Instead of the usual big Sunday lunch at one of our houses with the rest of the family for Mother’s Day, this year Chantelle came up with the idea of getting everyone together for a big celebratory picnic – settling on the gorgeous Green Point Park (in Cape Town) as the perfect venue for the event.

We arrived early on the day, and as luck would have it, we snagged a table and, more importantly, the weather played along brilliantly, dealing us with a sunshine-filled, windless Autumn day – perfect for all the little ones to run around and play.

In terms of family joining in on the fun, it was Chantelle’s mom and dad, my mom and dad, my brother, my sister and her husband, and of course all the kids – our two girls, and Claire’s three boys!

Loads of food, plenty of conversation, and lots of fun. Basically the perfect recipe for spending a full day enjoying both the company and the stunning surrounds!

With my phone’s battery currently playing up (it needs to be replaced ASAP), I didn’t exactly bother to even try and take any photos on our special picnic day – so I guess that you will just have to take my word for it then that the Green Point Urban Park is an absolutely PERFECT spot for these sort of outdoor family gatherings.

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Definitely not the worst way to have celebrated this year’s Mother’s Day then.

Related Link: Green Point Urban 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.

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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!

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(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!

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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!

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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!

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Related Links: Kitanomaru Park | Nippon Budokan