Cape Town is renowned across the globe for its splendid natural beauty. Its iconic Table Mountain is one of the world’s seven wonders of nature. One of the best ways to experience Cape Town is by hiking. With hundreds of trails to choose from, there’s something for everybody, whether you’re fit or unfit, young or old. With so much variety, you can choose whether you want exquisite views of the sea and city, or if you’d rather enjoy the dappled shade of indigenous forest.
Some of the best hikes in Cape Town are the many Table Mountain hiking trails. Platteklip Gorge is a well-known trail leading to the mountain’s summit. Although this hike is only 2.5km long, it’s really steep and only recommended for relatively fit hikers. You’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views along the way. And, if your legs feel like jelly by the time you reach the top, you can always ride the cable car back down.
If it’s views you’re after, why not consider hiking Lion’s Head. This hill to the side of Table Mountain offers a 5.5km return hike. There’s a short section of climbing with handholds and chains near the top. If you’re worried about the climbing, there is an alternate route that will add about 30 minutes to your hike. There are plenty of photo opportunities at the top, with beautiful views all round. It’s become a tradition for some hikers to tackle this trail during the full moon. Be sure to take a torch or headlamp with you if you decide to join them.
Hikes to the Silvermine Reservoir are equally popular with locals and tourists. Favourite trails include the Elephant’s Eye Cave, Silvermine Ridge and Sentinel View. Many hikers stop at the reservoir to picnic and swim. A number of the Silvermine hiking trails are suitable for children and inexperienced hikers, and dogs can be walked there with a permit.
Meanwhile, the Constantia Nek hiking trail is a 14.6km hike that is paved for some of the way. Expect to see many other hikers on this trail, which goes past a lake and three reservoirs. There are many variations of this trail and other tracks that can be added to it.
Easy hiking trails in Cape Town for beginners include the Pipe Track on the slopes Table Mountain. It’s 6km long, but fairly level. You’ll enjoy beautiful views and pass through pretty ravines.
The Short Circular is a Newlands Forest hiking trail. The 3.4km walk is perfect to do with children and dogs. Lots of shade and a lake to swim in brings hikers relief on a hot day.
There are various day hike options at Cape Point. Choose between hikes starting at 2km up to 7.5km. The rugged coastline, pristine beaches, shipwrecks and stunning views are what make these hikes special.
There are various hiking trails in Cape Town with waterfalls if the thrill of water cascading down a rock face is what you’re after. The Skeleton Gorge trail starts at the stunning Kirstenbosch Gardens. It goes from one side of Table Mountain to the other through lush ravines and indigenous forest, and past a stream and waterfalls. This 5.5km hike ends at Maclear’s Beacon – the highest point on Table Mountain. It’s a long, strenuous hike with ladders and rock scrambling. It can be very slippery and should only be attempted by very fit hikers.
The Myburgh’s Waterfall Ravine trail starts in Hout Bay and goes through the Table Mountain National Park following a stream up to a beautiful waterfall. It’s a scenic hike, but very steep with a fair amount of climbing.
Another waterfall hike in Table Mountain National Park is the Cecilia Waterfall trail. This walk goes through the Cecilia Forest and is of moderate difficulty. You can cool down under the spray of the waterfall once you get there.
When tackling any of these hikes make sure you’re well prepared and keep safety in mind at all times. It’s best to hike in groups. Take lots of water and snacks, wear comfortable shoes, and take clothing for hot as well as rainy weather. Most of all, take time to stop and enjoy the beauty that Cape Town has to offer!