It is not exactly hidden, but if you only ever travel to Century City for the Canal Walk mall, Virgin Active gym, or Ratanga Junction theme park, then you may have missed the incredibly enjoyable nature experience lurking within its boundaries – Intaka Island.
Situated in the heart of Century City (which is about 7 km away from Cape Town CBD), Intaka Island is a large 16 ha wetland and bird sanctuary conservation area.
Intaka, which means bird in Xhosa, was actually setup by the main Century City developer Rabie – in response to the environmental impact assessment (EIA) which preceded whole area development – with the result being the creation of this sublime multi-purpose nature reserve.
In terms of credentials and recognition, well Intaka Island did receive the Voluntary Conservation Status from Cape Nature in October 2006, and to further their newly entrusted mission, the Intaka Trust followed up with the construction of a modern Environmental Education Centre, opening its doors to the public in 2010.
The site contains numerous paths for exploration (the longer round trip is 2 km in length) and bird watching (essentially it is littered with viewing platforms and bird hides wherever you look) – well worth it if you consider that over 120 different bird species call this unique area home!
Paradise for birders, photographers and nature lovers then.
Funnily enough, despite visiting the adjacent Central Park for many a year prior, I had never set foot on Intaka Island before last year September, when I decided to convince Chantelle that the girls would love a trip out that way.
Naturally, I was completely wrong.
It was hot, the girls weren’t interested in the surroundings, the path was too long, and basically they moaned for most of the walk.
(Thankfully, they both loved the boat ride on the Canal that followed our little walkabout – meaning that all was soon forgiven!)
In other words, I need to make a plan on going back out there on my own, without the little ones in tow. So in summary then: Intaka Island is well worth a visit, though you may wish to give it a skip if you have little ones with a strong aversion to walking!
Also, if you have a camera, be sure not to leave it at home.
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Also, just in case you want to got and do some birdwatching yourself, here’s a handy map: