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Tag: Cape Town
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Alphen Trail – Constantia Green Belt
UPDATED ON 05 JANUARY 2019
On Saturday 05 August 2017, Belinda, myself and the hound went for a walk along the Alphen Trail in the Constantia green belt. For those who have not read any of our previous posts, the hound I am referring to is Nina our rescue pitbull. We were also joined by my brother and his son which really made it a family affair.
The Alphen Trail is an ‘out and back’ route that you can begin either in Alphen Drive on the one end or Brommersvlei Road on the other.
The advantage of starting in Alphen Drive is that there is a security hut staffed by a security guard who can keep watch over your vehicle and whatever you may have inside it, while you are gone.
The Alphen Trail is a very popular trail that is used by the dog owning fraternity come rain, wind or sunshine. I walked this route twice before putting this blog together. The first time was in the pouring rain. I expected to be the only one on the trail, but I was very much mistaken.
There were several people walking their best friends with me. Some were more prepared for the bad weather than others. I had brought a rain jacket with me, but in hindsight should have also brought an umbrella and a towel for Nina. The towel would not have just been useful to dry her off , but also to wipe away the mud that had accumulated on her legs and underbelly from walking on the soggy trail. I have never gotten used to smell of wet dog in the car!
How to get there
The start of the Alphen Trail is just off the M3 highway. Take Exit 14 (Constantia Main Road) and then turn onto Alphen Drive. You will see the start of the trail next to the wooden security hut and small parking area. Here is a link to the Google Maps location to the start of the trail.
The Speedy Review [tl;dr]
This trail is one of the easiest we have reviewed. It is flat, short, and suitable for the entire family. It is easy to get to, and the scenery is very beautiful. It is great for an after-work stroll, or if you have a gap between appointments and feel like some fresh air outside. It is usually really busy, especially on weekends. Every Saturday morning at 8am, there is a Park Run along this trail. Expect to see lots of runners, walkers, dogs and horses along this trail.
Nina rated this trail 4/5 paw prints. She enjoyed the beautiful forest, the new smells, and the terrain was soft underfoot.
She would highly recommend this trail for all dogs, big or small.
The Nitty Gritty
We started walking at 13h49, from the start in Alphen Drive. It was a perfect winter’s day in Cape Town with the sun shining and no wind to speak of. The trail was busy as usual, but the pathway is wide enough to accommodate plenty of walkers and their canine companions. What is also nice about the Alphen Trail is that no cycling is allowed. I have nothing against cyclists, it’s just good to be able to walk on at least one trail without having to worry about being in the way of a mountain biker on a mission to get to the finish!
Just after we started, we turned right and crossed a cement bridge. The photo below was taken after I crossed the bridge and turned around.
Nina was on her first hike wearing her new imported harness and lead that my wife, Belinda, had brought back from a recent trip to the UK. Both these items are bright pink in colour. Pink for girl dogs! Yet, we were greeted by fellow dog lovers who passed us along the way with the same greeting, “Aaaww you dog is so beautiful. How old is he?” Really!!! Granted, she is built like a brick latrine so I can understand the initial thought process, but she’s wearing bright pink, people!
The path continued on and was very wide and flat. Like most trails in the green belt you have a variety of choices about which way to go. We reached a river crossing and could have turned left over the wooden bridge or continued straight and up a slight incline into the more forested part of the trail.
We opted to turn left and over the bridge. The photo below was taken during a previous walk in the pouring rain. After crossing the river, the trail turned to the right and continued along the other side of the river toward the mountain.
The trail then opened up and we got a clear view of the mountain rising up in front of us. I can see why this trail is so popular. The views are magnificent.
There are always a plentiful supply of Hadeda Ibises on either side of the pathway searching for food in the long grass. They are mostly quiet when they are feeding. Good to know that even Hadedas don’t talk or sing when their beaks are full.
Further along the trail, the pathway narrowed and we walked through an open grassed area. There was plenty of space to sit down and contemplate life and our purpose on this earth. There is another entry point there which is more or less in the middle of the trail. Signs there remind you to scoop up your dog’s poop.
We walked passed a water fountain donated by the Varsity Old Boys Running Club Constantia. There was a bench there if you preferred that over the grass.
At 14h15, just after the water fountain, the path split again into two options. We chose to go right and over the wooden bridge. The other option allowed us to go straight on. The distance covered to that point was 1.4 km.
The scenery change on the other side of the bridge was quite dramatic. We found ourselves in the middle of a beautiful forest.
At 14h19, a short distance later, the path diverged again and we chose to follow the left fork and returned to the sunshine. There was a bench on that path where you can sit and relax and again take in the beautiful views that the green belt has to offer.
My nephew came over to me at that point and showed me a prickly seed pod and told me to warn those who read this blog to always wear shoes when walking along this trail or they could step on one of these things and hurt themselves. Thanks for the warning, little man.
Just so that you don’t have to take my word on the ‘no cycling’ rule, I have included a photo of the sign.
At 14h29, we reached Brommersvlei Road and the end of the Alphen Trail. The distance covered to that point was 2.0 km. The moving time was 33 minutes and the total time was 40 minutes. The elevation there was 66 m. We turned around there and walked back, but chose to vary the route slightly on the return leg.
While walking back we chose to continue straight and not turn left toward the bench on the hill. That route took us passed a stone wall on the left hand side of the trail.
When we arrived back at the large open grassed area it was buzzing with people and their dogs.
I even managed to get catch a glimpse of a squirrel enjoying a nut in the shade of a tree. It didn’t seem to mind all the dogs running around or that I was aiming a camera at it.
The Alphen Trail with the combination of green grass, forest areas, wide footpaths, bridges, benches and a river running through it really is a fantastic walking route in the middle of the residential suburb of Constantia.
The route is quite short at 2.0 km, with a moving time of 33 minutes, but walking back along the same route makes it a tidy 4.0 km with a total time on the trail of 01h20 which is ideal when you only have a couple of hours in your day to get out and about with your dog or your family or both.
At 15h09, we arrived back at our vehicles in Alphen Drive.
The hiking stats for this hiking route were:
|Trip Odometer||4.00 km|
|Moving Average||3.9 km/h|
|Overall Average||3.1 km/h|
|Max Speed||7.1 km/h|
|Elevation||36 m – 66 m|
I have attached a GPS trip log for the hike, including a side elevation profile.
You can watch the Relive video of the hike, on our own YouTube channel, that we repeated on 05 January 2019 here.
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