In the event of waking up to clear skies in winter, after days of endless overcast mornings and the dread that is getting out of bed and waiting for the shower to warm up, there is one particular place in the city to truly soak up that winter sun. Also, you don’t need to sacrifice hours of bread-earning time in order to make the most of it. The Green Point Park opened earlier this year and is the perfect lunch break escape where you can sit on a bench and read or eat or hang with a friend, sit on the grass doing this, or just wander around aimlessly for a while. And it will most probably do your eyes some good after staring at a computer screen all morning.
The park is situated close to the city centre and just off Green Point’s main road, but you’ll be surprised at how easily one misses it. Look for the sign behind the tree just off the corner of Somerset and Vlei, and the pedastrian gate hidden to the right. Vlei road has a conveniently large supply of parking bays and there is a MyCiti bus stop not too far away.
When entering this Eastern gate, it is necessary to recollect. Behind you, buildings are stacked in a sardine like fashion, backing a blurr of cars, trucks and taxis and in front of you, there is open space. Space so open that you might even be able to spot the sea. The city is now forgotten and all you can possibly worry yourself about in here, is smelling the flowers and dodging the cycling children. You are now free to indulge in the outdoors, be it in uniform, suit or slacks. Also, do stop to notice the view of our beautiful stadium. It’s very hard to miss from anywhere inside the park.
Apart from being awesome, the park has a few specific features worth mentioning. Firstly, it is incorporated really well with its golf course neighbour. The two are smartly divided by a mass of water that could either serve as a rather large obstacle for golfers or the perfect lake for a twelve-year-old to try out his new remote control motor boat. This is only one of the many collections of water found all around the park. Some are big enough to be called a dam while others are more like large water features in the shape of a river. Either way, it makes the park pretty. There’s also the rather impressive wooden bridge from which you can check out the Mouille Point Lighthouse.
Then there’s the Biodiversity Garden. This will probably become the next favourite place to take primary school kids on outings after the South African museum and the Company Gardens. The aim of the garden is to promote biodiversity by raising awareness about the level of endangerment of certain plants and some of the threats the local vegetation faces. As can be easily forgotten, endangered species not only refer to animals, but to plants as well and the Western Cape has some of the most endangered plants in the world, seeing as certain plants don’t grow anywhere else but here. In between these plants, their are a few pieces crafted in steal to depict the threats these plants face, like agriculture (a big blue plough) and fires (a row of odly shaped flames). Even though these will never be famous pieces of art, it is a smart way to raise awareness and, with time, these pieces will rust in the sea air making them look even more intimidating.
Next to the Biodiversity Garden there’s an exhibition of how the Khoi used to live and rather impressive depiction of how the area looked originally, with nothing but ground, trees and a few man made shelters. At that very spot you can look up and see a full few of Signal Hill with hunderds of buildings crowding its foot, just to make the contrast sink in a little bit more.
One other element of the park worth mentioning is the track and trim park near the back. The track is paved and good for running, walking or cycling although it’s not as big as a full athletic track and the trim park could be very handy for adamant athletes at a time when the kids have gone home. Since the jungle gym area is still under construction, the kids usually find the training equipment a sufficient playground.
Apart from these features, the park has loads of open grassy fields for picnics or just lazing around. And if you are strangely allergic to grass, there are also wooden tabels and benches to sit at/on if you so prefer. If you’re still need convincing to get exploring, check around for concerts that are bound to happen here seeing as there’s an outside ampitheatre too. The Green Point park definitely upped Cape Town’s level of cool. Now we not only have a beautiful city, but when we do feel like escaping, we have a conveniently placed park right around the corner!