With its temperate climate and spectacular scenery, South Africa is the ideal venue for picnickers. From the bush or parklands of Johannesburg to the tropical vegetation and warm water beaches of Durban to the scenic drives and wines estates of the Cape, there are literally perfect picnic spots to choose from.
Dining al fresco is a popular choice
Dining al fresco in South Africa is a popular choice and a lucrative source of income for dedicated food companies that will prepare all sorts of gastronomic delights at a price. Many of the venues, particularly the wine estates in Cape Town, have picnic baskets available on site, so all that a famished visitor has to do is order and enjoy the cuisine.
As most of these appealing venues are situated rather off the beaten track, it is recommended that visitors rent a car to experience the local produce and tipple.
Buy the Cape’s local produce along the way
Many of the best picnic areas in Cape Town are situated out in the country where the olives, wines, fruit and cheeses are produced. If you have decided against ordering a picnic basket for the occasion, why not take a drive around the area and pop in to the dozens of farm stalls along the way.
You will be able to purchase farm-fresh local produce at a fraction of the cost. Honey with a distinctive fynbos flavour, locally produced olives and olive oil, grapes, wine, ports, brandies, apples, pears, biltong and all sorts of home-made sauces, jams and juices are just some of the farm offerings up for grabs.
Other choice picnic venues in Cape Town include the outstanding beaches, Chapman’s Peak Drive with its designated picnic areas, and the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens on the slopes of Table Mountain.
Durban’s premier picnic sites
Durban is the hot, humid, tropical centre of the country and is effectively surrounded by wilderness areas. Some of the premier picnic sites close to the city are:
The Beachwood Mangroves Nature Reserve – the largest mangrove swamps in the area. Visitors are likely to encounter the unusual mudskippers, which are fish that use their fins to skim over the mud and water.
The Hawaan Forest, located adjacent to the Umhlanga Lagoon, is a primeval forest with rich birdlife, mongooses, duikers and impressive mambas and pythons.
Port Elizabeth is in big game territory
Port Elizabeth, situated in the Eastern Cape, is big game territory. And to full appreciate picnicking in the land of lions and elephants it is crucial to hire a car.
The famous Addo Elephant Park, Shamwari Private Game Reserve and the Kariega Game Reserve are all an easy drive from the city. If the behemoths of the bush are not appealing to you, head south to the Tsitsikamma region, famous for its huge tracts of indigenous forest, wetlands and long, powdery beaches.