Top Dog-friendly Parks in Cape Town

Just like you, your four-legged friend truly enjoys a change in scenery, or just meet up with some friends. And as Capetonians, we are fortunate to have such easy (and relatively cheap) access to beautiful, dog-friendly nature reserves in the country.

There's nowhere better for your pooch to experience some freedom and fitness in the Mother City than a great on or off-leash area or walking trail. Luckily, there are a variety of dog-friendly parks and walks in Cape Town that will welcome you and your furry friend with open arms.

De Waal Park, Oranjezicht

Ideal for an escape from the hustle of the City Bowl, De Waal Park in Oranjezicht has always been a haven where furry friends can run, play and socialise to their heart's content. This well-maintained community park draws a strong crowd of pet lovers, so your dog can bank on meeting some new mates and socialise with a huge variety of other dog breeds whenever you visit.

The bonus feature includes a dog pond around the Victorian fountain, lots of bins and poo bags, and some handily placed seats, perfect for the owners of extra energetic pups. There is no entry fee to the park although donations to ‘Friends of De Waal Park’ are welcome.

Where: Camp Street and Orange Street, Oranjezicht, Cape Town

When: Monday to Sunday, 24 hours a day

Seapoint Promenade, Sea Point

Seapoint Promenade is a firm favourite for both locals and visiting tourists looking to soak up some sun and Atlantic Ocean seaviews. This epic paved pathway is regularly improved and features kids play areas, a free outdoor gym, and, at its southern end, a selection of ice cream, beverage, and food stands.

There’s also an open patch of grass adjacent to the Mouille Point lighthouse where dogs are allowed to run free off their leashes.

The views of the peninsula mountains, the Atlantic Ocean, and Robben Island are spectacular from every point along the winding promenade. Weekdays are generally quieter with less foot traffic which also allows well-mannered dogs to go leash-free, while leashed dogs are recommended for weekends.

Where: Parallel to Beach Road, stretching from Mouille Point to Seaoint, Cape Town

When: 24 hours a day

Newlands Forest, Newlands

Newlands Forest is a conservancy area of thick pine trees interspersed with indigenous vegetation and one of the greatest places to hike in the city. What makes it so special is you’re welcome to bring along two dogs (with a Level 1 permit) for your hike.

There are trails for all fitness levels, whether you’re after a leisurely low-intensity walk, or a more rigorous hike. And seasoned walkers have plenty of flowing streams for pets to drink from located on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain.

The forest is easily accessible from the M3 highway and, higher up, offers beautiful views over the Cape Flats.

Please note: Dog walkers require permits/activity cards, as per Table Mountain National Park rules. Find out more here.

Where: Off the M3 highway, Newlands, Table Mountain (Nature Reserve)

When: 24 hours a day

Alphen Trail, Constantia

While it's an on-leash area only, Alphen Trail in the Constantia Valley along Diep River should be on your list of dog-friendly parks to try in Cape Town.

But in addition, this Cape landmark is also a great space for local dog owners while their pawed pals sniff and explore this popular natural oasis. The starting point is a short and easy walk of only about 20 to 25 minutes, ending at the verdant Le Seuer Meadows.

That means your pet will reap in a fair amount of exercise as trail runners pass by.

Where: 31 Alphen Drive, Constantia, Cape Town

When: 24 hours a day

Leadville Dog Park, Sunningdale

As one of the few dedicated dog parks in the city, Leadville Dog Park in Sunningdale has evolved as the ultimate playdate and meet-up spot for dogs.

The facility is buzzing with various breeds after 4pm as owners unwind after work while giving their pets some much-needed exercise.

Let your dog run free amongst other dogs, making friends and enjoying some time outside at the same time.

With separated sections for different sized dogs, you can sit back stress-free and enjoy a cup of coffee and some food at Reload, the espresso bar located on the property, as well as a variety of services for your dog.

Where: Leadville Way, Sunningdale, Cape Town

When: Monday to Sunday, 7am to 8pm

Tokai Plantation, Tokai

Tucked away in Table Mountain National Park, the Tokai Plantation or Arboretum is a peaceful and magical nature reserve on the slopes of the Constantiaberg in Cape Town.

This wonderful dog-friendly destination boasts tall pine and gum trees that were originally planted in 1885. Dog owners can let their leashed paw friends explore nature, although a Level 1 My Activity Permit is required for entry.

Venture through a network of well laid-out tracks and trails through the forest while catching some fynbos, leopard toads, and unique bird life along the way.

Where: Tokai Road, Tokai, Cape Town

When: 24 hours a day

Rondebosch Park, Rondebosch

The Rondebosch Common is one of the more underrated dog-friendly spaces in Southern Suburbs.

The retreat covers approximately 40ha and is considered to boast ecological importance thanks to an ecosystem supporting over 230 species of indigenous plants, more than 40 bird species, many small mammals, frogs, lizards and snakes.

Several of the plants are recognised as rare and/or endangered. Water-loving dogs will delight and splash around in the ponds which are usually full in winter and spring, and the paths are still running with rivulets of water.

Where: Campground Road & Sandown Road, Rondebosch

When: Monday to Sunday, open 24 hours