It is a rare commodity these days to get out and really soak up nature and all its glorious features. Nothing comes close to sitting on a blanket with your friends or that special person, or even by yourself with a book to keep you company, under a big tree, in the shade, with a view of pure nature and a light. So, without further ado, grab a blanket because it is time for a well-deserved picnic. Listed below are PDBY’s top eight places for a picnic outing.
First on the list is Magnolia Deli. Pack some old bread and maybe a packet of peas to throw towards the ducks passing by, just try not to throw at them too hard. Just kidding. Although, feel free to feed some ducks whilst sitting and enjoying your picnic lunch next to the dam. This park is accessible to the public, so try to avoid bringing your valuables along, but other than that, the park promises an experience of relaxation under weeping willow trees. There is also a restaurant at the park, if you would rather enjoy a light lunch whilst still enjoying the view. Located at the Corner of Queen Wilhelmina Drive and University Road, Bailey’s Muckleneuk, be sure to visit one of Pretoria’s most beautiful public parks.
Pretoria National Botanical Garden
perfect for any picnic experience. Apart from that, the garden also has large green areas under large indigenous trees that provide the perfect amount of shade for your lunch. To access the botanical gardens, one must pay an entrance fee of R30 for students and R45 for adults. This garden could be visited all round as each season brings a diversity of fauna and flora to the forefront of your sightseeing. This garden bridges the gap between scientific botanical research and recreation, thus featuring almost 50% of South Africa’s indigenous trees, along with many other plant species. The paved trail makes it easy for any keen walker to experience the park in all its glory, and for the price, it seems to be well worth your while.
Rooihuiskraal Historical Terrain and Animal Farm
This lively terrain encompasses the typical South African scene, farm animals roaming freely for you to pet, historical sites, and, naturally, braai areas for your South African culture to pay homage to its roots: nature. There is also a restaurant if you would prefer instead of your typical picnic.
The entrance fee is R35 per person.
Rietvlei Nature Reserve
This reserve has been around as a conservation area since 1929, covers about 4000 hectares, and is coined as one of the world’s largest urban nature reserves. The picnic area is located at the Marais Dam and braai facilities are available for that sizzling ‘shisanyama’. Rietvlei is home to large herds of mammals and in recent years five hippos and a cheetah have been brought to the reserve. Because of its open grassland landscape, visitors have the unique opportunity to see a lot of animal diversity all at once. Zebras, Elands, Black-backed jackals, and the Blue Crane can all be found on this vast landscape of the Rietvlei Nature Reserve.
The day tariff is R64 per adult.
Bronkhorstspruit Dam Nature Reserve
This reserve boasts a glorious 58.5 million cubic metres of water, making it a legendary place for all things water-sport related. One can enjoy fishing, canoeing, motorboat riding (which is available for hire) and much more on this little dam. There is also a restaurant and a swimming pool, but most importantly, one can enjoy a lovely picnic next to the lake with a spectacular view of the reserve’s animals and plant species. There are over 200 species of birds, and what makes the reserve so special is that it is not surrounded by many trees, so the views really are something to behold. What makes it even better is that you can camp there too, so you can enjoy the sunset along with a sundowner without having to worry about the closing times.
Rates are R35 for adults and R104 per night if you would like to camp.
Located in the Groenkloof Reserve at Corner Christina de Wit and Eeufees Road, you can only hope for the best day when visiting this scenic terrain. The lawns are neat and green, the braai facilities are pristine, just like their pool, and the views are spectacular. This resort falls next to the infamous Apies River, and is in the region of two natural springs, so you can only anticipate the purest form of bliss.
The cost is R35 per day for adults.
Groenkloof Nature Reserve
Declared as a reserve back in 1895, Groenkloof Nature Reserve is one of the oldest reserves in South Africa. Day tariffs are R45 and there are many activities to enjoy along with your picnic, such as hiking, driving the 4×4 route, birdwatching and horse-riding. If you do feel like having a braai do remember to bring your own wood or charcoal and, just in case, a braai grit.
Nkwe Pleasure Resort
Nkwe features rock pools and waterfalls, a beautiful canopy of trees, nine lapas and a vast lawn to picnic on. You could even jump from the waterfall cliff into the little pool at the bottom. They also have a kiosk where you could buy wood for your braai, sweets, and ice cream. Day tariffs are R60 per adult, so try to make the most of it by exploring, swimming, and basking in relaxation. There is nothing better than lounging next to a river on a cosy blanket, enjoying all the small things and filling all your heart with appreciation for our beautiful Pretoria and all that it has to offer.
Photo: Cletus Mulaudi