Tokai Forest is a peaceful oasis in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town, made up of a beautiful natural forest. The area is a favourite spot for hiking, horse riding, dog walking*, cycling*, braais, and picnics. Located on Tokai Road to the south of Constantia, Tokai Forest boasts the shady Arboretum; which forms the base of most hikes.
The Tokai Arboretum was established in 1885 by Joseph Lister as a research project to find out which exotic trees would grow well in the Cape Colony. Today, there are over 1,500 trees (some over 100 years old), such as oak trees, cypresses, pines, and giant Californian redwoods, all of which are labelled for your interest. A booklet documenting these trees can be found at the office and tea room. The lovely tea garden, called Lister’s Place, offers wheelchair access and great refreshments. Don’t miss the Saturday organic market held at the nearby Porter estate.
Various hiking trails depart from the Tokai Arboretum. The walks are tranquil with trickling streams, chirping birdlife, and nothing but peace and quiet to surround you. Take the mountain biking trails, the circular route in the arboretum, or hike up to Elephants Eye. All of the walks are clearly marked and you can easily plot your route using the boards at the entrance to the Arboretum. Please note that there are large troops of baboons that inhabit the forest and visitors are discouraged from feeding or taunting them.
Tokai Forest is said to be one of the best outdoor braai spots in Cape Town, offering a scenic place to enjoy a lazy afternoon. Situated on the edge of the Tokai Plantation, the braai and picnic spots are spacious and shady, offering ample space for large families. Entrance fees are charged per car and bicycle.
*Please note that cyclists and dog walkers require a permit from SANParks