The recent pandemic did of course cause countless businesses to shut their doors, and wreaked havoc across the livelihoods of many, many people… but every now and then a tiny green shoot would rise up through the cracks of desperate circumstance and one of those that did is a little secret forest café that didn’t end up staying much of a secret for very long.

Olivia Hedley’s hand was forced when her events company The Fruitcake Society had to shutdown during South Africa’s period of heavy COVID-19 lockdowns, and so took advantage of her family’s property bordering Tokai Park (formerly known as Tokai Forest), opening up a little hole in the wall popup shop selling delectable coffee blends and home made bakes.

Cheekily named The Secret Forest Café, this quirky little coffee stop (which in addition to coffee, hot chocolate, muffins and cookies, also offers vegan bakes, smoothies and freshly squeezed juices) quickly caught on with the seemingly never-ending stream of people walking, running, riding, or cycling round the forest, and soon soon the queues started to form and thus a proper little sustainable business was born.

The idea is simple, you go for a nice bit of fresh air and a little stretch with a walk around the Tokai forest plantation, and while in the middle of that, you grab a cup of coffee to go, and either sit down and enjoy the view of the fynbos and Elephant’s Eye section of the mountain before you, or continue on your way along the pathway that snakes about the nature reserve (which coincidentally forms part of the greater Table Mountain National Park), hoping that no athletic pup or curious horse is going to take interest in your bag of freshly baked cookies should you have decided that your coffee was going to be lonely if you didn’t have something else in the other hand.

Simple, delicious, and clearly popular enough that Chantelle actually put on her walking shoes and suggested that we go seek it out for ourselves!

So we had our hot beverages, did a little stroll, chuckled at the marauding baboons, and then let the girls spend a little quality time with their cousins next door in Constantia.

Related Link: Secret Forest Cafe | Tokai Park | Cape Town