Blew shows us the new Green Point Urban Park

Google Earth view of Cape Town around the new Stadium

Friends of ours who live in Green Point invited us for an impromptu Good Friday lunch at their new apartment. From their balcony, we had a lovely view of the new stadium – I still tend to call it the Green Point stadium, because it’s more or less in the same place as the old GP stadium that was demolished a few years ago. Apparently, though, its official name is the Cape Town Stadium.

The Green Point lighthouse with its distinctive red and white stripes

Green Point is the birthplace of soccer in South Africa – the first recorded public game was staged on the Common there in 1862. It was not a game of football that modern fans would recognise – it was played by ‘Winchester’ rules which allowed handling of the round ball.

This early ‘friendly’, between “15 officers of the army and a like number of gentlemen in  the civil service” – both sides wearing long ‘knickerbocker’ pants and bobble caps – ended in a 0-0 draw.” (PDF document)

I get the giggles just picturing what that match must have looked like! It sounds delightfully entertaining!

The area around the Stadium is called the Green Point Common:

View of the Cape Town Stadium and new paved walkway

“Formally ceded to the City as a recreational area by King George V in 1923, the 80 hectare Green Point Common has mixed recreational and sporting precincts. On the Western side the Common has been reconfigured into a landscape 12.5 hectare urban park. The park contains walkways,  landscaped green areas, water features and ponds, and a walking, cycling and jogging track.” (PDF document)

A paved walkway is currently being constructed from the opposite side of the stadium across the Green Point Common, past the Mouille Point lighthouse Green Point lighthouse, and down to the Green Point/Sea Point promenade.

View of the famous new Cape Town stadium from the walkway

The beautiful red-and-white Mouille Point lighthouseGreen Point lighthouse dates back to 1824, and is thus the oldest operational lighthouse in South Africa:

“Completed by German builder Herman Schutte in 1824 to curb the frequency of ships running aground off Table Bay, it originally had two fixed lanterns that burned nine litres of oil every night. The lighthouse was electrified in 1929 and, to this day, its light is still visible from a distance of 25 nautical miles. Until the 1850s, Mouille Point was used as farmland and livestock grazed on the neighbouring Green Point common – then a soggy vlei but currently under construction as a Soccer World Cup stadium.” (Cape Etc.)

Large flock of white birds in front of the stadium

This lighthouse is also famous for its foghorn, which emits a low, eerie hooting sound when the fog rolls in from the sea and obscures visibility. The sound can even be heard from far away in the City Bowl.

“Because of the foghorn the lighthouse has been given the nickname of “Moaning Minnie”. Green Point lighthouse has witnessed many a ship wrecked on its doorstep with the latest wreck happening in 1966 when the SS Seafarer ran aground during a gale force northwest storm. Fortunately no lives were lost as helicopters from the Ysterplaat airbase were able to lift people off the stricken vessel and land them safely on the beach.” Turtle SA)

Large pond with birds, with highrise apartment buildings in the background

Beyond the lighthouse is the so-called Sea Point Promenade, an ocean-front walkway that runs almost all the way from the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront to the far side of Sea Point. It is very popular among walkers, joggers, roller bladers, and dog walkers. On stormy days, the waves sometimes crash and foam over the balustrade, making it a little unpleasant for walking – unless you enjoy getting unexpectedly drenched by ice-cold sea water!

The construction of the paved walkway across the Green Point Common forms part of the new Green Point Urban Park Development. If you are interested, you can read more about this on the FIFA 2010 promotion pages of the City of Cape Town here, and a nice summary of the design of the stadium and the new 12.5 hectare urban park is contained in this PDF document.

A particularly noisy little bird

As Blew-girl really need a brisk walk in the fresh air to work off all the excitement of receiving visitors, we decided to explore the new paved walkway a little. It’s not, er… strictly speaking, um… open to pedestrians yet… so don’t tell anyone… shhhh!!

A canal runs all along the paved walkway. Actually, there appear to be a LOT of little pools and pretty canals, crossed by cute stone bridges, dotted about this new urban park. I’m sure it’ll look totally enchanting when all the work is done.

The supporting pillars for the stone bridge are already in place

The waterbirds seem to be delighted with all the new water features, and they’ve already moved in and chosen their breeding and nesting spots.

Some of the birds can be pretty noisy and downright chirpy and rude when they’re proclaiming their space! And if you happen to get too close to their nest, the parent birds may divebomb you. So be prepared!

The paved walkway abruptly came to an end when it reached one of the canals. It seems that not all the bridges are in place yet. 🙂 I really like the look of the stone walls – it makes the walls look kinda old (in a good, solid, long-lasting way), rather like the massive stone walls of the Cape Town castle. In the far background of the photo you can just see the top of Devil’s Peak peering over the lower slopes of Signal Hill.

One of the rustic-looking stone bridges

This is one of the stone bridges that has already been completed. I think it looks kinda rustic – and I really liked the colours in the photo below – the brilliant blue of the sky, the deep, calming green of the golf course, and the earthy browns of the stonework.

As you can see, the sides of the canal are still under construction, as are the various walkways. But it promises to be a very beautiful natural space in the midst of our bustling metropolis.

On the slopes of Signal Hill straight ahead are the houses of Green Point and Three Anchor Bay; the small but steep-sided peak of Lion’s Head can be seen in the far distance on the right.

These are the new canals and ponds, encouraging birdlife to move into the area

I read that this new urban park will also host “a biodiversity showcase garden and an eco-centre to promote sustainable living”, once all the hullaballoo about the FIFA 2010 World Cup has subsided (PDF document). I hope that’s going to happen, because it sounds like an excellent idea.

The highrise apartments of Green Point act as a backdrop to the whirling sprinklers irrigating the golf course

We turned around and walked back towards the gate at the start; here we turned sharply right, and trudged over a muddy construction site, and up onto the re-designed Metropolitan Golf Course.

This is a 9-hole, 74 par course. Sprinklers were twirling and whirling on the fairways, sending a spray of water into the air and irrigating the wide expanses of lush green grass. Luckily, we managed to time our walk in such a way that we didn’t get sprayed at all.

I was intrigued by the different types of grasses used on the golf course. An extraordinarily fine type of grass was used for the putting greens, while the grass on the fairways was definitely coarser, more like the buffalo grass we have at home. Look:

The boundary between two very different types of grass

Isn’t that interesting? If you know what kind of grass that is, please let me know?

We walked past a cluster of buildings housing South Africa’s oldest rugby club, Hamiltons. It was founded in 1875. Incidentally, there is also the Green Point Cricket Club, which was founded in 1897. Other sports clubs who have facilities here include athletics, cycling, tennis and bowls.

And we saw some white tent-like structures, which are probably used for traders and markets, although I’m not sure about that.

The home of Hamiltons, the oldest rugby club in South Africa

There used to be a regular (every Sunday) informal market around the old Green Point Stadium, with street sellers touting their wares at up to 400 stalls; it was very popular among tourists, who liked to buy all kinds of African curios, woodcarvings and sculptures here.

The mysterious white tents

During the construction of the new stadium, the market had to be temporarily relocated (City of Cape Town website). It seems to have been re-established here, though, now that the construction work has been completed, but I haven’t visited it in yonks.

We followed the newly constructed meandering paths across the golf course and through an underpass beneath a road.

It was somewhere around here that Blew-girl suddenly discovered a large stick.

Blew's Big Stick

We think it’s one of those stakes the workers use to stake out or measure where walls or fences or such-like are to be built. Hopefully they won’t miss this one too much when they return after the Easter weekend.

“Look,” she says, “it’s a really heavy stick. And it’s MINE.”

It's a heavy stick

“Well,” she asks, looking back curiously, “are you not going to follow me? Don’t you want the BIG STICK too?”

"Are you coming?"

Blew trots on ahead.

Blew carries her Big Stick

She disappears in the distance. She knows the way home, and we’re walking too slowly for her.

Blew trots off

We aren’t quite ready to go home yet, so we wander off the main track and across the golf course. Blew catches up with us and trots alongside us… although she remains determinedly out of reach.

“No,” she says, “you can’t take away my Big Stick! It’s MINE, and I shall carry it.”

Blew trotting across the grass with her Big Stick

“Ooof,” she sighs. “This stick sure is heavy. I need a little break in the shade. You go on without me. I’ll follow you just now.”

Blew decides to wait under a tree

Brave little Blew-girl – so faaar away.

Blew looks so tiny in the distance

“Hey,” she says, eyeing us, “what’s wrong with you, don’t you want to play with my Big Stick?”

Blew eyes us mischievously

Finally, we wander back to the start. Blew has found a tree and is waiting for us in the shade.

“Yay, you’re here! I’m really happy to see you,” she beams. “Come stand in the shade with me, my stick is soooo heavy.”

What a happy Blew-girl!

“Well,” we suggest, “you could always leave it here. You don’t have to carry it all the way home.”

“What?!” she scoffs. “No chance! You just want me to leave it here, so that you can play with it. I’m going to hide it from you!”

Blew picks up her stick a final time

Blew promptly runs off to hide her stick in the dense grasses and bushes lining the outer edge of the golf course.

“OK,” she pants, trotting towards us, “let’s go home. I’m thirsty.”

Blew returns after hiding her stick

What a personality! She is just such an entertaining dog. I love her to bits!

15 thoughts on “Blew shows us the new Green Point Urban Park

  1. It’s been so much fun to visit your Blog, came across from Mutterings on the Moor. I love S.A., I visited and stayed in Cape Town for a while back in 1991! I remember the Victoria & Albert Dock. It looks like a lot of work is being done there, that stadium is extraordinary, nice they are introducing plenty of green and gardens etc. Blew sure had fun! I’ve got 2 cats myself so also wedded to the Tribe of Cat! LOVE the Bear in your profile picture. Bear Hugs, Catherine

    • Hi Catherine! Thank you for leaving such a sweet comment! I’m delighted you’ve popped in and that you enjoyed reading a little about a place you’ve been to before. Bye for now.

  2. That is not a stick, it’s a pole!! Actually looks like a fence pole – can’t believe she carried it. What a cutie she is.
    Wonderful to see the progress around the stadium – I must make a plan to do some exploring around there too.

    • Giggle… Yes, it DOES look like a fence pole. I confess that it’s actually NOT as heavy as it looks… right at the end, she allowed us to pick it up, because we were worried that she was hurting herself. So we were quite relieved that it’s quite light. 😉

      • The Stadium’s Visitors’ Centre is open again – see here:

        “The Cape Town Stadium Visitor Centre opened on 9 February, and is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Hour-long tours commence at 10:00, 12:00 and 14:00. Prices are R30 for adults, and R15 for pensioners and children. The tours are run by the operators of the stadium, SAIL STADEFRANCE.

        The tour of the stadium includes the stands, players’ changing rooms, VIP/hospitality area and prison cell. Access to the pitch is, however, not permitted.

        Directions: From the new raised Green Point traffic circle, take the entrance closest to McDonalds, and park near the site of the old stadium. Enter via the entrance on Granger Bay Boulevard at entrance C onto the podium.

        For more information, call 021 430 7346.”

        I think it’s time to get some friends together for a guided tour! 😉 I wonder whether one needs to book?

  3. super photo’s of the park and bridges in Green point, now we must go and have a walk around this lovely area.

    Thank you for the many inspiring walks and lovely places that you visit. As I am not able to go out too much, this is a great way to see our local places, and many not known to me. Thanks again. Enjoying this tremendously.
    Keep up the great outings.

    • Hi Pauline – Oh, you are VERY welcome. I too love exploring our city and its surroundings, and learning about its history and picking up interesting snippets of information – perhaps it is the collecting and hoarding instinct in me that drives me! And may I ask why you aren’t able to go out much?

  4. I think it is an age related ” thing” plus when the roads are full of construction vehicles and other hazards I usually give it a wide berth !

    My biggest road experience was to take my Toyota station wagon to the bottom of the open cast copper mine at Nchanga in Zambia. Oh boy, are those trucks MASSIVE!
    I still have my trophy of a piece of copper from the mine.

    • Hi Pauline – thank you for explaining, I understand what you mean. There are A LOT of roadworks all over Cape Town at the moment, and it does make one feel more vigilant and stressed out, because one is constantly having to look out for and respond appropriately to traffic cones blocking off lanes, men waving warning flags, and sudden bottlenecks in the traffic. Never mind having to be hyperalert to what other road users are going to do! Add to that the normal day-to-day stresses of city driving, erratic pedestrians, sudden changes to one-way traffic, the parliamentary blue light brigade with their convoys of howling sirens, and of course the ubiquitous minibus taxis, and it’s not surprising that many of us prefer to stay at home or to limit our driving to our immediate neighbourhood! 🙂

  5. The tents are for hospitality/sponsors/commercial affiliate areas for the World Cup.

    Temporary offices have also gone up along the edge of Fritz Sonnenberg.

    Its all systems go!

  6. Hi I stumbled upon this blog while building links. I just wanted to say its great. The dog pictures are so cute! I loved the narrative you put with it. Also the stadium and surrounds looks fantastic! Cape Town definitely has the best one!

    • Hello James, and welcome to my blog. 🙂 I’m glad you liked the photos; Blew-girl is very photogenic and entertaining. I still haven’t had a chance to see the inside of the stadium, but hopefully will get around to it before the tournament starts! Good luck with your website, I hope you get lots of visitors staying at your guesthouse – and not only during the World Cup, but beyond too.

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