Situated about 20 kilometres from Cape Town is Bellville. This understated area brings a more South African feel to the much more tourist-focused city that Cape Town is today. With wine farms a stone’s throw away, hiking trails a few minutes drive away and the only toboggan track in Africa, Bellville has way more to offer than at first sight.
Originally known as the “12th milepost”, the area that is Bellville today was exactly 12 miles from Cape Town. Imagine being on an ox-drawn cart, pulling through soft sea sand and after 12 miles of agony, you knew the road was going to clear and so the 12th mile became the place of rest for settlers travelling out of Cape Town into the interior. The area was only named Bellville in 1861 when a train station had become more popular on the Stellenbosch to Strand line. The name came from the Surveyor-General, a man called Charles Bell. Today the area has seen an influx of people, with a population in the hundreds of thousands, a shopping district, a business district and even a beautiful nature reserve.
The Tygerberg nature reserve is always going to be a great start. This 300-hectare reserve offers a visitor fantastic views of the Cape Town suburbs and is not something on everyone’s list, so there will never be a mass of tourists visiting this site. With hiking trails and look-out points, a morning spent in the nature reserve would never disappoint. If you are into birding, there are great opportunities to spot some of Cape Town’s vast bird species while in the nature reserve.
Home to Sanlam’s head office, the Company started to collect local art from 1965. Today the collection houses over 2000 pieces of South African art history and is one of the largest corporate collections of art you can find. They offer travelling exhibitions and they also have in house art expos which you can check on the website before visiting. Not only an investment for the company, but this also offers locals and visitors a chance to see art they otherwise would never have had the chance to view.
Now we know that when you think of Africa, you might not think of tobogganing – in 2007 locals opened the first-ever toboggan (bobsled) track in all of Africa. Aptly named Cool Runnings, this non-ice toboggan track offers families an enjoyable day out in the sun.