Western Cape Tourist AttractionsNewlands Forest
Newlands Forest is well loved by locals. The green, peaceful space is all that remains of former dense, indigenous forest covering much of the eastern slopes of Table Mountain. Back then the forest served as part of the migratory path of the Khoi. Today itís where people meet to walk their dogs, stroll or trail run the myriad paths on the mountainside.
At the head of the entrance into Newlands is a board outlining hiking trails through the forest, most of them dirt trails, but there are a couple that head higher up the mountain involving steeper, rocky climbs. You can also link up with both Rhodes Memorial and Kirstenbosch from Newlands forest.
Wanderings through the forest are limitless, and you can easily stroll along paths for hours on end. But youíll find this pretty difficult if you stick to well trodden (i.e. popular) paths as these tend to fill up with weekend walkers and trail runners. Head off for paths unknown, but be wise and do so in groups.
Newlands is becoming increasingly popular for mushroom foraging. But if you havenít managed to hook up with someone who knows their blusher from the more poisonous panther cap, or false blusher (the two grow in a similar environment, look alike, and are both of the Amanita family) itís best to leave well alone.
Far from the dangers of mushrooms is the City Parks Nursery (to the right of the entrance boom road) where a series of indigenous trees and plants are rehabilitated to reintroduce into Newlands. A fascinating visit, if only to see what they have growing in their greenhouses.
There are designated picnic and braai spaces in Newlands.
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There is a SANParks Fire Base at Newlands with crews on 24/7 standby as the city heads into fire fighting season. Thereís also fire index signage at the entrance of the forest for daily updates on fire hazards. Table Mountain National Park has a helicopter landing site at Newlands, critical during fires on the mountain.