Pack your tongs, grab a blanket and head to these top picnic and braai spots around Mzansi

2018-09-07 12:00
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a group of friends and family members gather aroun

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As spring settles in across South Africa there is more than one reason to get out and enjoy the sunshine, to chase the 'rays' and most importantly a time to bond with those we love.

Whether we head to the beach or for a full day of hiking adventure - spring ignites the adventurer in all of us. We also look forward to that significant boerewors smell filling the air. Saffas are set to stoke their fires and throw the meat on the coals come Heritage Day on 24 September.

The outdoors has never been more appealing than in spring - when the flowers bloom and the birds start chirping. South Africans live for the summer and love a good outdoor braai or picnic. The time-old tradition of family picnics and braais has been around for years and leaves us with a long for summer.

So creep out of the comfy corners of your nest and head to these beautiful spots scattered across South Africa. We have come up with the perfect picnic and braai spots for you this spring - the perfect reason to spend the day outdoors.

Here are some of the top braai and picnic locations across Mzansi:

Western Cape

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens

In 2015, Kirstenbosch was named as the International Garden of the Year. The new favourite, Boomslang TreeTop Canopy Walkway, is a good way to view the gardens from above before settling down in a green patch to enjoy a picnic.

Every year, Kirstenbosch amps up the fun with their summer concerts and open-air cinema. Picnics are allowed in Kirstenbosch, but you are not permitted to take chairs, tables, umbrellas, tents etc. into the garden. Braais are not allowed.

Times: 08:00 - 19:00

Cost: Adults - R70, South African Students (with student card) - R40, Scholars/Learners (6 – 17 years) - R20, Children under 6 years - free, South African Senior Citizens (with ID) - free on Tuesdays except on public holidays. Buy garden entry tickets online:

For additional information, follow this link.

SEE: The world's most incredible botanical gardens

Table Mountain National Park's Silvermine

A wonderful picnic on the shores of its beautiful reservoir -the sun and water will have you wanting to take a dip into the waters to experience all that the nature reserve has to offer. There are many other activities to take part in at the reserve, from bird watching to mountain biking. There is also a hiking trail towards the reservoir. There are also picturesque braai and picnic sites available

Times: 07:00 - 18:00

Cost: R45 per adult, R25 per child (under the age of 12). Regrettably, there are no credit card facilities at the Silvermine Entrance gate. For alternative payment methods, consider the Wild or Green Cards.  

For additional information, follow this link

SEE: What you should know about Table Mountain and West Coast's new gate system and reduced rates for Saffas

Eastern Cape

Island Nature Reserve, Port Elizabeth

Located approximately 25 kilometres from Port Elizabeth and accessed via the Seaview Road, Island Nature Reserve is the perfect spot for a chilled out day outing. Take on the 16 kilometres Bushbuck Trail to work up a proper appetite, then head to the braai-friendly picnic area for a heritage day feast.

Times: 08:00 – 16:00 on weekends and public holidays, 08:00 – 16:30 on weekdays

Cost: Call +27 (0)41 378-1634 for more information

For additional information, follow this link

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Free State

Free State National Botanical Garden

Located on the outskirts of Bloemfontein, between the dolerite koppies, the Free State gardens consist of natural grassland and woodland vegetation - a wildlife 'haven' not far from the city.

The gardens cover over 70 hectares and are home to 144 bird species, 54 reptiles and up to 32 mammal species. The garden features plants from the Free State, Lesotho and the Northern Cape. From November to March, the plants in the garden are in full bloom.

Times: Monday to Friday, 08:00 -16:30, Saturday, Sundays & Public Holidays 08:00 - 17:00

Cost: Adults - R25, Scholars - R12, Pensioners - R20, Students - R15, Pre-Schools (under 6 years of age - FREE)

For additional information, follow this link

SEE: Extreme exploring the eastern Free State of Adventure: 5 Things to do

Gariep Dam Forever Resort

Braai in the wild while the zebra and antelope pass by - loads of activities will delight the kids while the potjie kings and boerewors champions take to the braai.

Times: Dependant on booking

Cost: Contact 051 754 0045 for bookings

For additional information, follow this link

SEE: 10 things to do on and around the Gariep Dam oasis in the Free State


Modjadji Cycad Reserve

The reserve is located high in the Lobedu Mountains near Duiwelskloof and boasts some of the oldest and largest specimens of single cycads in the world. Picnic under the largest baobab tree in the world.

Permits must be obtained at the entrance to the reserve. Facilities include an information centre, kiosk, picnic and braai sites. 

Times: Open from 07:30 to 16:30.

Cost: Entrance fee is R10 per person & R20 per vehicle. 

For additional information, follow this link

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Polokwane Bird Sanctuary

The 43-hectare sanctuary just north of the city boasts 320 species. If you are planning on a picnic, what better place than among some of the most beautiful birds in the country?

Facilities include a good network of paths, birding view hides, walking trails and braai lapas.

Times: 08:00 -17:00

Cost: Call +27 (0)15 290-2331 for more information

For additional information, follow this link

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Makaranga Botanical Gardens

Located in the heart of KZN at the Makaranga Garden Lodge, chill out among more than 12 hectares of indigenous and exotic botanical gardens, 18 ponds and a waterfall on a hot day.

The garden has play-areas, a 1-kilometre labyrinth and many gorgeous statues made from bronze, stone and marble - such as a replica of the Michaelangelo and Four Maidens watching over the Blue Pond. Visitors can relax at the walkways, bridges and lantern paths of the authentic Japanese Garden for a bit of zen.

No form of BYO is permitted - guests are welcome to shop in the deli and create their own snack / picnic basket or they can place a pre-order.

Times: Contact +27 (0)31 764 6616 for more information

Cost: R60 per vehicle for day visitors.

For additional information, follow this link

SEE: Is this the nicest garden in KZN?

Durban Botanic Gardens

The Durban Botanic Gardens are well-known for their Cycad collections and Orchid House. The large area has different gardens to suit everyone's needs, such as the sunken garden, the alien garden and the indigenous forest.

Lay out your picnic at one of the garden's summer concerts.

Times: 07:30 - 17:45 from 16 September and 07:30 - 17:30 before 16 September. 

Cost: Entrance is free

For additional information, follow this link

KwaZulu-Natal National Botanical Gardens

This relaxed and tranquil KZN gardens specialise in the conservation of plants from the eastern region of SA and rare endangered species from other parts of the world.

The gardens are famous for their London Plane trees - a romantic canopy over a leafy walkway. Set up your day picnic while the kids enjoy the children's play area. Visitors should know that there are braai facilities in the gardens too.

Times: Monday to Sunday, 1 May to 30 September - 08:00-17:30, 1 October to 30 April - 08:00 -18:00

Cost: Adults – R27, Students – R20, Scholars (Primary and High school) – R15, Pensioners – R20, Children under 6 years – Free, Dogs – R5

For additional information, follow this link

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Northern Cape

Hantam National Botanical Gardens

The gardens cover an area over 6 000 hectares, including patches of Nieuwoudtville Shale Renosterveld, Nieuwoudtville-Roggeveld Dolomite Renosterveld and Hantam Succulent Karoo.

There are over 80 species of plants, endemic to the Bokkeveld Plateau and more than 1 350 types of flowers. Visitors love walking, cycling and hiking in the park too. This place is excellent for picnics but unfortunately braais are not allowed.

Times: Monday to Friday from 07:30 - 16:30 except August to October (flower season). Mondays to Sundays from 08:00 to 17:00.

Cost: Free except for during flower season (August to October) when it costs R20 for adults, R15 for SA students (with card), R12 for Senior Citizens and the same for children.

For additional information, follow this link

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Mokala National Park

The Matopi picnic area and the Kameeldoring picnic area in the Mokala National Park provides a real Northern Cape experience. Settle down for a bush braai experience in the unfenced, unspoiled nature.

Times: Call (053) 204 8000 - Mosu Lodge (Mokala's Main Camp) - for more information and to make sure someone is manning the gate upon your arrival. 

Cost: SA residents and citizens with ID pay R41 per adult per day and R21 per child per day. 

For additional information, follow this link

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Pretoria National Botanical Garden

The garden is divided into two sections by a 35-metre high quartzite outcrop. The two areas are completely diverse - a chilly south-facing section and a warmer north-facing section. There are paved nature trails and pretty areas to picnic among the indigenous plants and themed gardens. Please don't make any fires though. 

Times: Monday to Sunday from 08:00 to 18:00

Cost: R35 for adults, R20 for students (with valid student card), R15 for scholars, free entrance for children under 6, senior citizens pay R15 and enter free on Tuesdays.

For additional information, follow this link

Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens

Many visitors to the gardens flock to the iconic waterfall but the park has so much to offer from its beautiful flora to the ideal picnic spots. Known as the 'Rocky Highveld grasslands' it is a destination for the whole family.

Times: Monday to Sunday, 08:00 - 17:00

Cost: R45 per adult, R15 per scholar and free for children under the age of 6 years.

For additional information, follow this link

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