Mountain Biking, Mushrooms and Weddings in Tokai Forest, South Africa

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Tokai Forest is popular among mountain bikers, hikers, nature lovers and people looking for a relaxing spot to enjoy some tea.

It falls under the auspices of the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) and contains an arboretum, which is as beautiful as it is controversial.

The Arboretum was established by Joseph Storr Lister in 1886 as an experiment to determine whether trees not indigenous to the area would grow. They did.

Unfortunately the did so to the detriment of indigenous flora and some people believe that they should be cut down to make way for endangered Cape Flats Sand Fynbos and Granite Fynbos. Others believe that the trees have earned a permanent home and to cut them down would negatively affect the ecosystems which have developed. There is also a vast tract of indigenous trees.

Regardless of the origins of the trees, Tokai Forest provides a number of leafy paths and trails with specially designated areas for mountain biking.

Most of the mountain biking trails are rated as moderate, which means that anyone can do them, but there are a few that are considered extreme and are only recommended for the very experienced and the very brave. It will cost you R10 to ride the trails, which start at the Arboretum.

It’s possible to purchase annual permits for R300, which will allow you to cycle all the paths within the TMNP. Call the TMNP Westlake office for more information: 021 701 8692.

For non-cyclists, there are a number of hiking trails of various duration and levels of physical exertion. All wind through the magnificent trees and provide plenty of bird watching opportunities, as well as the chance to spot some dassies and baboons.

With all the trees, the forest is heaven for dogs, and you’ll see many large and small canines taking their people for a walk. Another rather sedate activity is mushroom collecting. This not for the inexperienced, however, and should only be attempted in the company of someone who knows their edible fungi from the poisonous varieties.

Less sedate is paintball. Action Pursuit Group (APG) is based in the forest and makes good use of the trees and camouflage to offer paintball activities for those with a GI complex. APG caters to birthday and bachelor parties, team building events and pure and simple fun days out. Call 021 790 7603 for more information.

Then there are the weddings. What bride wouldn’t want to get married with the Constantiaberg Mountains and the Tokai Forest as a background? The Range has three wedding venues, two of which are in Constantia Valley and one in Tokai – at the Tokai Stone Chapel. Call +27 (0)21 – 713 2340/1 or email for more information.

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