Newlands Spring

Tucked away down a small road in the heart of suburbia lies one of Cape Town’s greatest treasures: the Newlands Spring.
On paper, it sounds a little dodgy. Drive down Springs Road, park at the end of the cul de sac, and fill up your water bottles from a spring that comes out of a white plastic pipe at the end of the road. A number of friends told me about it and I laughed at them, loudly. Get my drinking water from a hole in the side of the road? No thank you!

But then I went to the spring myself, driven by curiosity and too many friends mentioning it all in the space of one week. And what I found was one of my favourite weekly stop-offs. Yes, you drive down Springs Road and park at the end of the road. Yes, you fill your water bottle from a white plastic pipe that juts out of the road. But that plastic pipe is simply acting as a conduit for the rush of pure, fresh spring water that tumbles out from its underground passage down a small slope and into the river below. The spring is on the edge of a nature reserve, and the air is scented with flowers and peppered with the sound of birdsong. There are trees growing all around it, and dappled sunlight to rest in during the hot summer days. And most of all, there is water – the most delicious water I have ever tasted.

You might not think that water has much of a taste, but you’d be wrong. City water tastes metallic and has a chemical aftertaste that you don’t notice until you drink the good stuff. More and more people seem to be getting hooked on the good stuff, if the number of water gatherers at the spring is anything to go by. On any given day a steady stream of people comes to the spring for their week’s (or day’s) worth of water – I’ve seen policemen and builders, old couples and students, fancy BMW drivers and clapped out old Beetle drivers, and every kind of water container you can imagine (including a dozen empty wine bottles!) It seems the spring is a uniting force.

And more than that, it is an ancient and natural force – part of the thirteen original springs that defined the location of Cape Town. The Reclaim Camissa initiative is working hard to make people aware of the original rivers of Cape Town (most of them bricked under the City Bowl) and the enormous importance of water conservation and respect for our rivers.

And next time you’re in Cape Town, take a meander over to Springs Road. But be warned – once you’ve tasted pure spring water, there’s no going back.

Image: Mixtribe

Our Readers Comments

  1. Hi,
    I recently discovered this spirng and was overjoyed at the prospect of beiing able to drink pure unadulterated water fresh from the earth. I told my dad about it and he, being ever the pessimist (which normally grates me but sometimes what he says is valid), told me it may be unsafe because its hard to know whether a sewage pipe or something has burst under the ground and infected the water. Anyone know if this spring is safe?

    🙂

  2. Hi Deni,
    I’ve been drinking spring water from the Newlands Spring for almost a year now, and I can assure you from personal experience that it’s completely safe. There are obviously no chemicals added to it, so it’s not ‘municipality safe’, but the scores of people who return every week to get their spring water all keep coming back for a reason.
    As for your dad’s concern, because the water is so pure it has no scent whatsoever (unlike the metallic scent from tap water). So if anything had burst underground you would be able to smell that the water wasn’t right before you took a sip.
    Give it a try – I promise you’ll never look back!

  3. I believe that the spring is to be shut down due to popularity; vehicles lining the street restricted access for an ambulance last Saturday. Would you know if the spring water collection point will be relocated? Why don’t they just limit parking with no-parking signs?

  4. silly question…i know its been said that the water is pure, but is it safe for pregnant woman to drink?

    • Hell yes it is, your baby will will have a spring in its steps, lol, yes it is safe.

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