Things to do in Napier
What to do in a village is often the nagging question for tourists. There are no malls. No cinemas. No crowds. No schedule. What many don’t realise is that visiting a small town is about relaxing, truly relaxing. It is about having the time to do exactly as you please and to touch back with nature. Between relaxing in the sunshine and strolling through the meadows there are several things you definitely want to do and see while visiting Napier.
The arts and culture in Napier is most certainly a highlight of the area. Between hearty breakfasts and country-style lunches you can explore the local art at the galleries. Then pop into the military museum to delve into past wars or the stain glass shop where you can observe the beautiful forms and colours that glass can take.
If you are an avid historian or culture enthusiast, then you can also simply stroll through the town and soak up the old world charm and take in the many ancient buildings that still stand today. The church is one grand highlight that you simply cannot miss with its impressive architecture and austere presence. Just behind the church outside the Municipal offices is the largest sundial in South Africa. It was made by Du Toit in 1965, who had no formal experience but for his astute observations of the sun’s rays when he was waiting at the station and reading Laryenhoren’s book about sun dials. For this reason, the sun dial is one of a kind. Even with only an informal study, Du Toit managed to accurately portray the time with his first and only masterpiece. Twice a year the dial is accurate and for the rest it is but a few minutes off. To get a true idea of the town’s history there is a historical walk that will make you feel as if you have walked into the distant past as you listen to the tales.
There are several outdoor activities that will result in big gulps of fresh air and a sunny adventure. For those that love being in nature and exploring its wonders on foot, there are hiking trails that will take you through the scenic country. The Grootberg hiking trail is one of the more popular self-guided trails around Napier. The 8km trail leads through indigenous fynbos and offers exquisite views over the smooth Agulhas plain to the South and the rolling hills to the North. There is also a guided hike that you can take if you would like someone with local knowledge to enlighten your trip with facts about the surrounding nature, history, culture and the active bird life. Bird watching is a great pastime as the birds drawn to the fynbos have vivid colours and an entertaining disposition.
Another way to enjoy the great outdoors is to horseback through the countryside. You will not see a shortage of these majestic beasts as many of the Garden Plots have one or two horses and out in the farms their coats glisten in the sun. Take the time to arrange a horse ride and enjoy the breath-taking scenery at your own pace. After this invigorating adventure there could be nothing better than enjoying the sensational food that the village has to offer. From cosy and quaint restaurants serving fresh farm-style food to restaurants with a chic atmosphere and international cuisine, there is no shortage of options. A visit to the Napier Brewery is always a superb way to end the day. Sip on the ales and beer made from the tiny brewery and the owner’s passionate hands.
Napier is the ideal place to go on holiday and actually feel like you are on holiday. The freedom to do as you please is uplifting and you will return home feeling relaxed. From family holidays to romantic getaways there is something for everyone. No matter whether you plan on braving adventures in the outdoors, putting your feet up to embrace the country life or if your timely arrival is coinciding with one of the events (such as the Patat Festival) you will undoubtedly fall in love with the charm of Napier.