In case you didn’t already know about it, there’s a rather nice nature reserve around Koeberg Nuclear Power Station. It’s full of springbok and zebras and eland, as well as some walking and mountain biking trails. There’s also a stretch of amazingly deserted beach with not one single other person or footprint on it (something to do with the enforced ‘exclusion zone’ around the power station). Of course, there are quite a lot of power lines and long rows of giant pylons too. And a little old nuclear reactor. But you shouldn’t let that put you off.
I was feeling down in the dumps, because it was my dad’s birthday, and he happens to be dead. So I didn’t feel capable of scaling mountains. I knew the terrain around Koeberg was flat, and I also wanted to build a sandcastle. (My dad loved building sandcastles, so that’s the thing I do to remember him. That, and watching Top Gear while drinking copious amounts of wine.)
Also, the spring flowers were still out, and I wanted to see them again. Because you can never have too many spring flowers. Right?
Duration: About 4 hours, including a picnic on the beach and sandcastle building.
Trail directions we used: The map from the visitor’s centre (which, if you can’t find it, is actually just a couple of fenced off bays in the undercover parking). We did the shortest loop of the Dikkop Trail, and were very glad we weren’t more ambitious. 10,5km is much further than it sounds when most of it is through soft sand.
Remember: To bring your ID book with you. The security guards may or may not want this at the gate. Entry is free.
Parking: At the visitor’s parking inside Koeberg Power Station. (If you’re lucky, you’ll get to park undercover and return to a cool car.)
Highlights of this hike
- Walking directly underneath the main power lines coming from Koeberg and actually *hearing* the electricity. It sounds like a combination of running water and angry bees. Derek thought it was creepy; I thought it was cool.
- Seeing springbok pronking among the daisies, as well as some zebra and eland, which didn’t pronk.
- Getting That View of Table Mountain, along with daisies and giant power pylons.
- Discovering Cape Town’s most exclusive beach and picnicking right beneath the ‘Prohibited Area’ sign. (We did venture a whole metre to the other side of it, and surprisingly were not gunned down.)
- Non-highlight of this hike: Walking 5,000 miles through extremely soft sand under the hot sun. Our calves did not love us one bit.