Rietvlei Section Walking Trail, Table View
This great trail is in the heart of residential Flamingo Vlei
On Thursday 03 August 2017, Belinda and I were introduced to this walking trail by ‘CMIYC’ (Catch Me If You Can) women’s running group. We have been living in the Western suburbs for about 5 years and we had never heard of this walking trail until very recently. We were initially introduced to this walking trail by the CMIYC ‘Catch Me If You Can’ women’s running group. They meet, along with members of the West Coast Athletics Club, to run this out-and-back route every Thursday evening at 17h30 in Winter and 18h00 in Summer.
We first walked the route on 03 August 2017, and enjoyed it so much that we returned the following Sunday and walked the route again. This blog post is about our second walk along this trail, but contains photos of both.
The Speedy Review (tl;dr)
This trail is perfect for an after-work outdoor experience, where you will forget about the stress of the day and enjoy nature. It is great for kids and dogs too, but bear in mind that there are a lot of people who walk their dogs here, most of the them off-lead. If you go on a Thursday, you can enjoy half-price burgers at McPherson’s Restaurant afterwards.
It is an out-and-back route which is between 4-6 km, depending on where you decide to turn around.
The views of sunsets, bird life and Table Mountain are absolutely beautiful along this trail.
This route has become a regular for us, as it is close to home but we get to be out in nature.
Nina rated this trail 4/5 paw prints. She got to meet lots of other dogs along the way, she enjoyed all the smells, grass and wide, open spaces.
The Nitty Gritty
The Rietvlei Section walking trail is part of the Table Bay Nature Reserve. Here are some facts about the reserve that I have gleaned from a very quick online search.
“The Table Bay Nature Reserve consists of seven parts: Rietvlei Wetlands, Milnerton Lagoon, Milnerton Beach, Milnerton Racecourse, Zoarvlei Wetlands, Diep River and the Parklands Fynbos Corridor.
This 880 hectare reserve comprises a variety of permanent and seasonal wetlands, and is surrounded by Cape Flats dune strandveld and Cape Flats sand fynbos vegetation.
The reserve protects 412 plant species, 31 mammals, 196 birds, 33 reptiles, nine amphibians, and 14 fish species. It also supports important but as of yet unlisted insect, invertebrate and planktonic communities. Two species are listed vulnerable, and 14 are near threatened.
The Rietvlei Wetland part is a large wetland in the floodplain of the Diep River between Milnerton and Table View that drains into Table Bay via the Milnerton Lagoon. The wetland consists of a variety of habitats, including a permanent freshwater lake, shallow marshes that flood in winter, reed beds, a river, and an estuarine lagoon with salt marshes that is open to the sea. A strip of coastal dunes connects the reserve with the Table Bay coastline.”
Click here for more information about Table Bay Nature Reserve
The trail starts in Hopley Road, near the intersection with Gill Road, Table View (GPS coordinates: S 33⁰ 50.249′ E 018⁰ 31.156′).
There isn’t a signboard indicating the start, but the path is clearly visible. Whenever we walk this trail, we park in Gill Road, Table View
We started walking on the trail at 15h48,
The path took us passed the Diep River on your left hand side. Almost immediately you become aware of the bird life around you.
Even though the Cape is experiencing drought conditions at the moment, the recent rains have revitalised the vegetation along this trail. It reminds one of the green belt in Constantia.
The route took us close to residential houses on the right hand side of the trail with magnificent views of Table Mountain.
The trail became a cement path way, for part of the route, with benches along the route where you could sit, relax and enjoy the view. Views of the wetlands opened up on our left hand side.
At 16h13, the path split into two. A path proceeded straight, while another path ran off to the left and toward Rietvlei (See photo below). The distance covered to that point was 1.8 km with a moving time of 22 minutes. The elevation at that point in the trail was 1 m below sea level.
The above path then led us on to a type of mud flat with a sandy path running between low lying fynbos. The path twisted and turned with many different route options. We continued in the general direction of the vlei itself.
At 16h18, we reached the end of that route and turned right, back toward the main trail. The distance covered to that point was 2.0 km. It was around that time that flocks of pelicans flew overhead towards Rietvlei where they gathered with other pelicans and flamingos on the vlei. It was amazing to see wave after wave of pelicans flying over our heads in a ‘v’ formation. That continued until the sun started to set. We could have continued on for a longer walk, but the light was beginning to fade and we didn’t have head torches with us, so decided to go back to the car.
The trail took us passed lots of bushes dotted around on a grass plain. These bushes were covered in bright yellow flowers.
At 16h26, we reached to opposite end of the trail in Sandpiper Crescent. There are other 5 entry and exit points along this route, but this is the last one. The 5 other entry / exit points are listed below.
The trail ended in Sandpiper Crescent at the following GPS coordinates:
S 33⁰ 50.262′ E 018⁰ 29.943′
Elevation: 2 m
We turned around at Sandpiper crescent and walked back along the main trail the whole way back so the return journey was slightly shorter than the outward journey.
On our way back, near to the end of the trail, Belinda pointed out a family of Coots in the river to our right hand side. It appeared to be a mother and her three chicks. The chicks were so fluffy, my camera battled to focus properly on them.
While I was battling to take photos of the chicks, a Francolin was looking on with interest.
As one would expect in a wetland, there were a lot of weaver birds that had made the vlei their home. They are always so busy doing stuff. I managed to get a photo of one on rare break from its chores.
The return leg took us past the back of McPherson’s restaurant and along the fence of their parking lot.
At 17h03, we arrived back at our bakkie parked in Gill Road, Table View. The total route distance was 4.7 km. It was very flat route throughout, and the path is mostly a grassed trail, interspersed with dirt track.
There were no trail markings or distance markers on this walking trail, but the various trail options seem to crisscross each other and it would be difficult to get lost. The path is very clear and there are always other walkers/runners around to ask if you aren’t sure where to go.
From the start in Hopley Street to the end in Sandpiper Crescent was 2.5 km. The distance will also depend on which of the paths you take to get there. The ‘out and back’ route that we chose to walk had a total walking distance of 4.7 km. You can continue on slightly further than we did, which would make this trail approximately 6km.
Here are the hiking stats for this route:
|Trip Odometer||4.7 km|
|Moving Average||4.6 km/h|
|Overall Average||3.7 km/h|
|Max Speed||14.2 km/h|
|Elevation||-1 m to 3 m|
Here are the GPS trip logs for the hike, including a side elevation profile. Click on the images to enlarge them.
Additional Walking Trail Entry & Exit Points
In addition the start and end positions indicated in the post above, there are another 5 entry/exit points to this trail. They are located at the following GPS positions:
Entry Point 1 : S 33⁰ 50.322′ E 018⁰ 30.880′
Entry Point 2 : S 33⁰ 50.336′ E 018⁰ 30.788′
Entry Point 3 : S 33⁰ 50.326′ E 018⁰ 30.518′
Entry Point 4 : S 33⁰ 50.309′ E 018⁰ 30.217′
Entry Point 5 : S 33⁰ 50.245′ E 018⁰ 30.086′
Some of these points have parking, others don’t but you would be able to park in the street to access the entry/exit points.