The City manages 21 nature reserves that are very popular destinations, particularly over weekends and on public holidays.

Apart from the normal activities such as hiking, and water activities, some reserves have picnic and braai areas where visitors can relax and socialise with friends and family in nature.

Given that the reserves are a safe haven for visitors in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic because these spaces are in the open air, the picnic spots and braai areas have become very crowded lately.

“Unfortunately, we are seeing a steep increase in the COVID-19 positive cases in Cape Town, and the City has no alternative but to restrict the number of visitors to picnic spots and braai areas as and when needed, from this weekend until further notice. This is to ensure we comply with the health and safety protocols required to limit the spread of the pandemic, and to protect our visitors and staff as far as possible,” aid the City’s MayCo Member for Spatial Planning and Environment, Marian Nieuwoudt.

“We are very aware how much residents value the nature reserves – we have seen this appreciation in the increase in visitor numbers since the easing of the lockdown restrictions a few months ago. We keep on welcoming visitors, and urge residents to please come find refuge in nature,” she added.

“However, I want to remind all that the wearing of masks is compulsory, as is the call to practice social distancing. Those wanting to have a picnic in a reserve are advised to please adhere to the restrictions, should they arrive at their destination and the picnic or braai area cannot hold any more people at a safe social distance. I thank visitors for their support and understanding as this precaution is in the interest of the safety of all of us.”

The restriction on the number of visitors at picnic and braai areas will apply as follows:

– from Saturday, December 12, until further notice

– as and when needed, depending on the number of visitors

– in accordance with the COVID-19 health and safety protocols

– visitors are also reminded that no alcohol is allowed in the City’s nature reserves, with the exception of pre-approved events

– visitor numbers per event, or film shoot, or hall booking will have to comply with COVID-19 lockdown regulations

The following nature reserves have picnic and braai areas:

  1. Helderberg Nature Reserve
  2. False Bay Nature Reserve
  3. Blaauwberg Nature Reserve
  4. Tygerberg Nature Reserve
  5. Table Bay Nature Reserve
  6. Durbanville Nature Reserve
  7. Bracken Nature Reserve

Other areas in the nature reserves, including the hiking trails and open water bodies, will be accessible as per normal on condition that visitors comply with the COVID-19 health and safety protocols, and other reserve rules.

“The threat of the COVID-19 pandemic is still with us, but we can turn the tide when we take responsibility and change our behaviour. We simply cannot afford another hard lockdown, but the good news is we can avoid this if we all follow the golden rules by sanitising or washing our hands often, avoid touching our faces and common surfaces, staying home when we are feeling sick, by always wearing a mask when in public and avoiding crowded spaces,” said Nieuwoudt.

Picture: Helderberg Nature Reserve

Article written by

Lucinda Dordley

Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.