Unlocking the Streets: Your Guide to Identifying Walkable Areas in South Africa

Story Highlights
  • What is a walkable area?
  • How to spot a walkable area in South Africa
  • 5 Popular walkable areas in Western Cape, Gauteng, Kwazulu-Natal and Eastern Cape

Welcome to the vibrant streets of South Africa, where urban exploration meets pedestrian bliss! In this article, we’ll reveal the secrets to spotting walkable areas that inspire adventure and foster connection. From bustling metropolises to charming towns, we’ll equip you with the knowledge to uncover walkable havens that nourish the spirit.

So, lace up your walking shoes and embark on a captivating journey through South Africa’s pedestrian-friendly gems.

What is a walkable area?

A walkable area refers to a neighbourhood, district, or community that is designed and developed in a way that makes it easy and pleasant for people to walk. In a walkable area, the built environment, infrastructure, and amenities are designed to prioritise and support walking. Walkability is a measure of how friendly an area is to pedestrians.

It is important to note that South Africa is a great place to walk, but not all areas are created equal. Below are the key characteristics to help show you;

How to spot a walkable area in South Africa:

  • Pedestrian Infrastructure: Walkable areas have well-maintained sidewalks, crosswalks, and pedestrian signals that ensure the safety and convenience of walkers. They may also have dedicated walking paths or trails that separate pedestrians from vehicular traffic.
  • Accessibility: Walkable areas provide easy access to essential services and amenities within a reasonable walking distance. These may include grocery stores, schools, parks, public transportation, workplaces, restaurants, and retail shops.
  • Compact and Mixed-Use Design: Walkable areas often have a compact and connected street grid, with shorter blocks and frequent intersections. Mixed-use zoning allows for a blend of residential, commercial, and recreational spaces, reducing the need for long-distance travel and enabling residents to accomplish multiple tasks within a walkable distance.
  • Safety: Walkable areas prioritise pedestrian safety through measures such as well-lit streets, clear signage, traffic calming techniques, and reduced vehicle speeds. This creates a safe and comfortable environment for walking.
  • Aesthetics and Public Spaces: Walkable areas often feature attractive and inviting streetscapes, with amenities like benches, public art, landscaping, and green spaces. These elements enhance the walking experience and promote social interaction within the community.

The concept of walkability aims to encourage physical activity, reduce reliance on private vehicles, improve public health, enhance social connections, and reduce traffic congestion and pollution. Walkable areas foster a sense of community and contribute to a more sustainable and liveable urban environment.

It’s important to note that the level of walkability can vary depending on the region, city, or neighbourhood. Some areas may have a higher walkability score and more pedestrian-friendly infrastructure than others.

5 Popular walkable areas in Western Cape, Gauteng, Kwazulu-Natal and Eastern Cape:

Western Cape

  1. Cape Town City Bowl: The City Bowl area in Cape Town offers a compact and walkable environment, with attractions such as Long Street, Company’s Garden, and the bustling Bree Street. It’s a vibrant area with a mix of shops, restaurants, and cultural landmarks
  2. Stellenbosch Town Center: Stellenbosch, a historic town in the Western Cape, features a charming town centre with Dorp Street as its main thoroughfare. It’s a pedestrian-friendly area with cafes, boutiques, art galleries, and beautiful Cape Dutch architecture.
  3. Sea Point: Situated along the Atlantic Seaboard, Sea Point offers a scenic promenade perfect for walking, jogging, or cycling. The area has stunning ocean views, recreational parks, and various eateries along its pathway.
  4. Franschhoek Village: Franschhoek, known for its picturesque vineyards and wine estates, has a walkable village centre with Huguenot Road as its main street. It’s a delightful area to explore on foot, with gourmet restaurants, wine-tasting venues, and boutique shops.
  5. Hermanus Cliff Path: Hermanus, a coastal town, features a scenic cliff path that stretches along the shoreline. The cliff path offers stunning views of the ocean, with benches and lookout points for leisurely walks while enjoying the natural beauty of the area.


  1. Maboneng Precinct, Johannesburg: The Maboneng Precinct is an artistic and trendy neighbourhood in Johannesburg, known for its pedestrian-friendly streets, creative studios, art galleries, and vibrant atmosphere.
  2. Melville, Johannesburg: Melville is a lively suburb with 7th Street as its main hub. It offers a range of restaurants, cafes, boutiques, and art spaces, providing a walkable and bohemian experience.
  3. Sandton City and Nelson Mandela Square: Sandton City, located in Sandton, is a shopping and business district with a pedestrian-friendly environment. Adjacent to it is Nelson Mandela Square, featuring outdoor sculptures and an array of restaurants and shops.
  4. Melrose Arch, Johannesburg: Melrose Arch is a vibrant mixed-use precinct in Johannesburg. It features pedestrian-friendly streets lined with cafes, restaurants, shops, and offices. The architecture and design of Melrose Arch create a pleasant atmosphere for walking and exploring.
  5. Parkhurst, Johannesburg: Parkhurst is home to a number of parks and green spaces, which provide a great place to relax and enjoy the outdoors. These parks are also great places to walk your dog or take a leisurely stroll.

Kwazulu Natal

  1. Howick: The town of Howick itself has a charming centre with a range of shops, cafes, and restaurants. The streets are pedestrian-friendly, making it pleasant to walk around and explore the local offerings. You can browse through boutique stores, visit art galleries, and enjoy a meal or a cup of coffee in one of the cosy eateries.
  2. Florida Road, Windermere: Florida Road is a popular entertainment district in Windermere, Durban, known for its vibrant nightlife, restaurants, bars, and shops. It’s a lively and walkable area with a bustling atmosphere.
  3. Ballito: Ballito is a coastal town located north of Durban. It features a pedestrian-friendly promenade along the beach, which is a popular spot for walking, jogging, and cycling. The area offers a relaxed atmosphere and beautiful ocean views.
  4. Umhlanga Village: Umhlanga Village, near Durban, is a pedestrian-friendly area with a village-like atmosphere. It offers a range of shops, cafes, and restaurants, as well as a scenic promenade along the coastline.
  5. Durban North Japanese Gardens: The Japanese Gardens in Durban North provide a serene and peaceful environment for a leisurely walk. The gardens feature picturesque paths, water features, and beautiful flora.

Eastern Cape

  1. Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth: Summerstrand is a coastal suburb in Port Elizabeth known for its beautiful beaches and scenic promenade. It offers a pleasant walking experience with stunning ocean views, and there are also various amenities, restaurants, and shops along Marine Drive.
  2. Richmond Hill, Port Elizabeth: Richmond Hill is a trendy neighbourhood in Port Elizabeth with a village-like atmosphere. It features a mix of restaurants, cafes, boutiques, and art galleries, creating a pleasant area to explore on foot.
  3. Grahamstown: Grahamstown, recently renamed Makhanda, is a historic town famous for its annual National Arts Festival. The town centre is compact and pedestrian-friendly, with charming streets lined with Victorian-era buildings. Taking a leisurely walk around the town allows you to appreciate its rich history and cultural heritage.
  4. Hogsback Village: Hogsback is a picturesque village nestled in the Amatola Mountains. It offers a tranquil setting with forested walking trails, waterfalls, and charming accommodations, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in nature.
  5. Beacon Bay, East London: Beacon Bay is a modern suburb in East London that offers a safe and pleasant environment for walking. The area features well-maintained sidewalks and a variety of amenities, including the Retail Park shopping centre. The Nahoon Estuary Nature Reserve is also nearby, offering scenic trails.

In Closing

South Africa is a diverse country with a rich tapestry of walkable areas that offer both locals and visitors an immersive experience of its natural beauty, cultural heritage, and vibrant urban landscapes. By understanding the key factors that contribute to a walkable area, such as pedestrian infrastructure, safety measures, and accessibility, you can easily spot these gems throughout the country.

No matter which province you find yourself in, South Africa offers an array of walkable areas that ignite the senses and captivate the soul. By spotting these walkable gems, you’ll unlock a treasure trove of experiences, connecting with the country’s vibrant spirit, diverse landscapes, and warm-hearted people one step at a time. So whether you’re a seasoned walker or you’re just getting started, embrace the adventure, and let South Africa’s walkable areas guide you on a journey like no other.

Please note that these areas are generally considered walkable and offer a mix of attractions, but it’s always advisable to exercise caution and follow local safety guidelines while exploring any destination.

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Looking for a walkable neighbourhood? Start your search in the following popular areas:

Akasia, Alberton, Bedfordview, Benoni, Boksburg, Centurion, Edenvale, Johannesburg, Kempton Park, Midrand, Pretoria, Randburg, Roodepoort, Sandton, Soweto

Western Cape
Atlantic Seaboard, Bellville, Cape Town, Durbanville, Gordons Bay, George, Hermanus, Knysna, Mossel Bay, Paarl, Plettenberg Bay, Somerset West, Stellenbosch

KwaZulu Natal
Amanzimtoti, Ballito, Durban, Hillcrest, La Mercy, Margate, Pinetown, Pietermaritzburg, Umdloti, Umhlanga, Westville, Zimbali

Rest of South Africa
Bloemfontein, East London, Hartbeespoort, Hoedspruit, Nelspruit, Polokwane, Port Elizabeth, Potchefstroom, Rustenburg, St. Frances Bay, Witbank

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