Although not your typical relaxing retreat, a trip to Mzoli’s is a must when visiting Cape Town. Every day (but especially on weekends) locals and tourists from around the world descend on the vibrant outdoor shisa nyama (braai) in the township of Gugulethu. Mzoli’s has a self-service policy so when you arrive, you’ll choose from a selection of raw meats such as succulent lamb chops, steak and boerewors at the on-site butchery. You then take your meat over to the braai area where Mzoli’s staff will grill it to perfection on an open fire. Drinks can bought from a nearby liquor store, or you can bring your own. Once your meat is cooked, take your seat at one of the communal tables and enjoy. The atmosphere is wonderfully festive, with a local DJ spinning house and Kwaito tunes while people mingle and dance.
Ny 115, Guguletu, Cape Town, +27 21 638 1355
Situated on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, Newlands Forest is a wonderfully relaxing and scenic place for a braai. Bring your own wood, charcoal and grill and set up in the designated braai and picnic areas. There is ample shade under the pine trees and there are also several hiking trails in the area.
The Silvermine Nature Reserve falls under the Table Mountain National Park and is arguably one of Cape Town’s most beautiful locations for a picnic all year round. Braaing is only permitted here during winter due the risk of wildfires, but Cape Town’s temperate climate ensures many braai-worthy days even in the colder months. Silvermine’s relatively secluded braai areas are scattered around a natural reservoir in which you can take a dip if you feel like cooling off.
Situated in the Blaauwberg Nature Reserve, and only 30 minutes from Cape Town, Eerste Steen is the perfect escape from the bustling city. This peaceful resort is surrounded by indigenous fynbos and boasts spectacular views of Table Mountain and the ocean. There are plenty of picnic and braai spots, a play park for kids, and excellent opportunities for watersports.
Tucked away in a sheltered cove between Camps Bay and Llandudno, this hidden gem offers private braai spots and seating overlooking the sparkling sea. The small sandy beach is surrounded by large boulders that keep big waves at bay, making it an ideal place to swim. The waters are also calm enough for snorkeling near the shore.
Located in the majestic Cape Point Nature Reserve, Buffels Bay and Bordjiesdrif offer braai and picnic spots right on the beach. At both sites, there are tidal pools for safe swimming, grassy picnic areas and unrivaled views of the mountains and ocean. The reserve baboons like to make an appearance when they smell food, but whatever you do, don’t feed them!
Perdekloof and Wildschutsbrand are two picnic areas found in a tranquil wooded area just past the beach village of Scarborough along the Cape Peninsula. Wildschutsbrand is the larger of the two and is open all year round, while Perdekloof is closed during the winter months. At these sites, there are ample braai facilities with tables and seating.
If you’re keen on a day trip out of Cape Town, head to Tsaarsbank in the West Coast National Park, an hour’s drive from the city center. Tsaarsbank is a marine protected area on the Atlantic Ocean coastline, and offers plenty of braai spots and whale-watching opportunities between August and October.
Another fantastic day trip from Cape Town, Klippies Bay and Sparks Bay are situated in the breathtaking Kogelberg conservation area along the False Bay coast. The day camps are reachable via a spectacular marine drive (R44) along the Kogelberg Mountains. When you arrive, you’ll come across a camping site, but the two day camps are situated a few meters down the road. Here you’ll find a tidal pool and numerous braai spots along the beach. Kogel Bay is a wonderful spot to unwind and enjoy a languid braai in beautiful natural surroundings.
Kogelbay Resort and Beach, +27 21 21 856 1286