WFOT Congress 2018 – Top 10 Hiking Trails in Cape Town

There’s no place like home; especially if the place you call home, is Cape Town! There’s a lot of things to love about this beautiful city, but perhaps the most popular of all is undeniably the spectacular views and scenery.

Now, there are various ways to catch a good angle of the city with no bad angles –  Whether you’re lounging on one of our spectacular beaches or taking a drive around the famous Peninsula; but if you want to be a little extra while on holiday, then pack in a pair of hiking boots, because the views from the peaks of our most famous mountains are just beyond iconic!

I’m not going to lie; I enjoy the occasional hike, but I’m certainly not the hiker of the family. That title goes to my sister. But if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to get out and enjoy a different perspective of the city away from the hustle and bustle of the normal touristy spots, then hiking is probably the best way to do it. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or an aspiring trail blazer, there’s a walk or hike to suit you! From an easy stroll through lush, green forests to some more challenging climbs; you will be sure to find a route that suitable for you. Here’s a list of a few of the most popular hiking trails.

NEWLANDS FOREST

 Wide, inclined paths; shaded by lush, tall trees makes this a really great trail for beginners. There are a few trails within Newlands forest…some leading to little streams and other offering some spectacular views. Either way, it’s a pretty grand way to burn calories, enjoy the outdoors and see another side of Cape Town. Difficulty level : Easy
ο»Ώ

CECILIA FOREST

Similar to Newlands Forest, Cecilia forest is situated in the beautiful part of Constantia and offers a few captivating hours out in nature. If you prefer to avoid the heat of the day, then this walk through the forest is ideal. The walk sometimes features fresh mountain water streams and a waterfall.  Difficulty level : Easy to Intermediate

PIPE TRACK

If you’re looking for something moderately easy, then this one’s for you! The Pipe Track stretches from Kloof Nek (bottom part of Table Mountain) to Camps Bay. There’s a varied terrain and has enough of an incline to make you a feeling that you’re getting a workout without leaving you feeling exhausted. Also, as with all these trails…the views are amazing!  Difficulty Level : Easy

RHODES MEMORIAL

I remember coming here a lot as a kid and haven’t done this trail in a while. You can start the hike from the parking lot at Rhodes memorial, but there’s also a path that joins up from Newlands forest. I’d rate this trail as intermediate as there are some parts that requires a little more effort than others. Added bonus is that you can catch either breakfast, or a post hike bite at the Rhodes Memorial restaurant.

LIONS HEAD


It’s supposed to be a quick hike with a short summit, but that really depends on your fitness levels. This hike offers panoramic views of the Atlantic seaboard and apparently the sunsets are spectacular! You also get some great visuals of Table Mountain, Signal Hill and Robben Island en route and makes for some great photo opportunities at the summit.  There’s a little bit of climbing involved, but nothing too hectic. Difficulty level : Intermediate 

CONSTANTIA NEK

Your walk begins on the forestry road just above Constantia Nek. There are two routes to follow depending on how fit and strong you are. On the left hand side you will find some steep steps to climb which will take you to the last section of the climb. It’s technically a “short-cut” but it is also slightly harder than the alternate route which is a slower and more winding route up the mountain. There is one ridiculously steep incline right at the end, but if you make it up, it gives way to a more even pathway that takes you to a dam. Truly spectacular! Difficulty Level : Easy/Intermediate

Woodhead Dam, Constantia Nek. Picture courtesy of @shaqct


KLOOF CORNER

Steep inclines and steps can be a challenge for some, but the panoramic views make it worth the climb! Highlights include views of the city, Table Mountain, Robben Island, the Atlantic Seaboard, Sea Point and Devil’s Peak. Summer sunsets are also spectacular.

Picture courtesy of @shaqct (Instagram)


SKELETON GORGE

The name is enough to scare the living daylights out of you, but I promise it’s not so bad! Skeleton Gorge is one of the more strenuous routes around (according to me) and covers a distance of about 6.2km and gains around 930 metres of elevation. I wouldn’t say it’s a struggle, but at the same it’s not a walk in the park. I’ve seen some fit people cruise pass me on this hike even though I thought I was “managing”, so if a casual stroll is what you’re after then this is NOT for you!  The first half of the route follows a forest ravine and is well shaded (with lots and lots of steps and incline) but once you emerge from the forest as you reach the top, you will be bombarded with views from all directions! From here you could follow the pathway to Table Mountain and take the Cable car down, or you could head towards Nursery Ravine and return to Kirstenbosch Gardens. Difficulty Level : Moderate to Hard


PLATTEKLIP GORGE


Most people will tell you that the top of their bucket list when coming to Cape Town, is to go up Table Mountain. Now you could take the easy, clichΓ©d, touristy route and go up the cable car…or, you could save yourself a good buck or two and hike up! The trail is basically a stairway of  1800 stone steps to the top of Table Mountain. I’m not going to lie…it’s quite a climb; but the breaks you take along the way gives you plenty of opportunity to absorb the view. The route gains around 700 metres over a distance of only 3km making the gradient steep and relentless, BUT the views from the top is beyond amazing!! Plus, if you’re too tired to hike down, there’s always an option to take the cable car πŸ˜‰  The route is quite exposed so be sure to go early to escape the impact of the heat. Difficulty level – Difficult

INDIA VESTER

Now if you’re really up for a challenge then this one’s for you! I’ve haven’t personally done it myself, but I’ve heard that it is relentless. This trail is for the adventurous!

And that’s it! A few of the most popular hikes in Cape Town.
Thanks for reading!
Peace,
NAMU πŸ™‚

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *