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Top 10 Hiking Trails in Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa, has won countless ‘Best City’ awards, the reasons for which are plenty. The biggest part of what makes Cape Town so special, though, is its incredible, awe-inspiring beauty. Living in a city between the iconic Table Mountain and the glimmering Atlantic Ocean makes it feel like a permanent holiday, with plenty of diverse landscapes to explore. From the sun-kissed, sandy shores to the lush, mountainous regions ready to explore at a moment’s notice, Cape Town makes for an ideal hiker’s paradise. Here are top 10 hiking trails in Cape Town to consider when adventuring in the Mother City:

1.    Table Mountain

As Cape Town’s most famous iconic landmark, Table Mountain is always a top choice for hikers who visit the destination. Woodhead Dam lies on the top of the mountain, and is a large dam constructed in 1897 that supplies water to the city of Cape Town. If you are a hiker who prefers hiking in peace up the mountain and avoiding the large crowds, the back routes are recommended. However, there are a number of trails up and down the mountain available that offer different moods and challenges for different explorers. You can snake your way up from Constantia Nek, or take on the numerous steps up Nursery Ravine or Skeleton Gorge (which can be extremely slippery when wet). All routes are generally easy to follow and are well signposted.

Through Kirstenbosch to Bridle Path and down Nursery Ravine

Level: Difficult, Duration: Approx. 6 hours

To take on this route, park your car at the top gate of Kirstenbosch Gardens and take your first left after the entrance gate. This guides you along a long road that exits Kirstenbosch after about 15 minutes. Dogs can be brought along, but must be wearing a lead. As you make your way out of the gardens (at the tall dead tree), and the grave road begins to descend, there is a path that leads up to the right. Take this up to another gravel road and keep along the left, taking you into a forest. Upon reaching the large clearing, take the small path leading up along the stream to the right. These steps will wind all the way up to Bridle Path (also known as the ‘Jeep Track’), a cement road that guides you to the top of the mountain. When you reach the summit, the road arcs around past Overseers Cottage and onto the Woodhead and Hely-Hutchinson reservoirs. At the end of the road is a sign post that points to Nursery Ravine which indicates the way down. The descent begins with a short, steep ladder, and continues downwards with hundreds of stairs. Once you’ve reached the bottom, simply follow the signposts to get back onto the Kirstenbosch path.

Up from Constantia Nek to Bridle Path

Level: Moderate/Difficult, Duration: 4-6 hours

This trail is a relatively easier way to head to Bridle Path, and is a great hike if you plan on bringing children (so long as they are somewhat used to hiking). Park your car at Constantia Nek and make your way to the forest on the road that snakes up toward the mountain. After quite a while, this will turn into a cement road (mentioned in the previous route). From here you can reach the summit and choose which path to take back down.

Across Echo Valley to the Cable Car

Level: Difficult, Duration: Full Day +-8 hours (can be shortened with use of cable car)

The start and end points of this trail differ, so you will need to either have a car waiting at the end of the hike (at the cable car entrance) or be picked up once you complete the trek. Select either the Bridle Path or Constantia Nek trails upward and follow the signs that guide you across Echo Valley. The route will lead you across the valley and up toward the front of the mountain. Once you eventually conquer the mountain, you can easily catch a cable car downwards, or brave the descent of Platteklip Gorge.

Keep An Eye Out For:
–    Red disas and sundews that grow in this region
–    Redwood, oak, and several alien trees indicate you are in Lister’s Nursery
–    Golden orb spiders – they spin impressive yellow webs stretching up to 5 metres
–    Snakes, lizards, frogs, etc.

What to Bring:
–    Warm clothing – there is an icy wind at the summit
–    Hat and sunscreen
–    Hiking shoes
–    Hiking snacks (lunch is also available at the top of the mountain)
–    Money – Kirstenbosch requires an entrance fee
–    Important Numbers (Mountain Rescue if you get injured or lost – 021 937 0300. Cable Car to check they will still be running when you require them – 021 424 8181)

2.    Crystal Pools



Known as ‘Crystal Pools’, this marvelous trail officially makes up part of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, with the Steenbras River nearby. The route is a popular and relatively easy one, offering stunning sights and wonderful features as it leads hikers up to a series of mountain pools in a kloof.  Visitors must pre-book trips up the mountainside, which can be done at the Helderberg Nature Reserve in Somerset West. Permits are R65 per person, and gate times are from sunrise to sunset.

Main Trail

Level: Moderate, Duration: 2-4 hours

Make your way to Crystal Pools by driving out to Gordon’s Bay on the N2. Take the turn-off to Gordon’s Bay and, when there, you will reach a T-junction – turn left onto the R 44 (Clarence Drive – the coastal road that leads to Pringle Bay, Betty’s Bay, etc.) After around 6.6 kilometres you will arrive at Sunbird Guest Lodge on the right-hand side of the road. Park your vehicle further up along the road, over the bridge and on the right-hand side of the road. Cross the road and make your way along the fence to the entrance, where you will be able to present your permits.

The route begins fairly easily, and after a short walk down to the valley floor it follows the river up the valley. The path is well marked, with short red pegs in the ground every couple of metres.  When you reach them, you’ll see for yourself just how beautiful the pools really are. There are some impressive jumps offered off the cliffs into the cool water below. It can take some time to figure out the best launching spots, but at no time should you simply dive into the pools. The river and pools contained in the area are stunning but you cannot drink from them, so be sure to bring lots of drinking water along with you. From the summit, you will be able to view the top-most pool, as well as the wall of Steenbras Dam. In the other direction, there are vistas across False Bay to Cape Point. If you’d like to try out a more adventurous way of exploring, have a look at the abseiling tours available at Abseil Africa.

What to Bring:
–    Packed lunch
–    Swimming costume
–    Lots of liquid


3.    Newlands Forest



Set on the eastern escarpments of Table Mountain, Newlands Forest is a beautifully lush conservancy area beside the suburb of Newlands. It is owned and managed by the Table Mountain National Parks Board, along with the City Parks Department of Cape Town, and contains a fire station, a nursery, and a reservoir. The forest itself is a well-loved walking, hiking, and jogging region, especially due to its easy access from Cape Town’s southern suburbs. Hiking through this green, dense forest is not only soul-refreshing, but affords incredible vistas over the city, towards the Cape Flats. There are various routes to choose from, with the contour path following the winding of Table Mountain all the way from Tafelberg Road, past the cable car station, and through to Constanta Nek. The Newlands Forest section is well-maintained, with wooden boardwalks and raised picnic areas set amongst the trees. Dogs are also welcome to join you on hikes here, as long as they are on leads.

Main Trail

Level: Fernwood Track, Duration: +-3 hours

To reach this trail, take the Newlands Forest turnoff from the M3, where you will see a parking area and a security guard. Walk up the tar road, turn left and continue along this road. There are plenty of routes that turn off this path, but keep going as the road (‘Skelmkoppad’) curves up through the trees. The ruins of Lady Anne Barnard’s cottage lie three turns to the left, each marked with a bench, and if you take the third one and stay to your right, you will reach the landmark in a couple of minutes. Otherwise, keep going on the road until it opens into a clearing, where you can see the gum tree plantation across the valley. This is where you take the route that turns up to the left, leading onto Fernwood Track – a smaller trail that will lead you up to the contour path. From there, follow the contour route to the right. There is a fantastic picnic area raised off of the path with a tree sprouting through its middle, and directly opposite this is a trail that heads up Newlands Ravine. Here, you can unwind and enjoy some refreshments, and when you’re ready you can simply pick one of the many paths available to lead you down (or just retrace your initial route if you feel uneasy).

Constantia Nek to Kirstenbosch

Level: Moderate, Duration: 3 hours

Begin at Constantia Nek and continue along the tar road on the Wynberg side, which leads onto a gravel road that heads through the pine trees, towards Kirstenbosch. This turns into a path, and soon after presents log steps. Follow these steps up and you’ll spot a sign for the contour route. Follow this trail into Skeleton Gorge, and then make your way down Smuts’ Track into Kirstenbosch. There is a charming restaurant in Kirstenbosch where you will be able to enjoy some delicious lunch after your hike.

Newlands Forest to Rhodes Memorial

Level: Moderate, Duration: 2 hours

Take the Fernwood trail up to the contour route, and then keep along the path that snakes along the mountain, through the trees. Once you reach the second turnstile, take the path that heads down, leading you to the Rhodes Memorial where you can enjoy some tea at a restaurant that overlooks the beautiful city.

What to Bring:

Warm clothes
–    Sunscreen and hat
–    Water and snacks
–    Camera

NB: Children from ages 10 and up are permitted in the forest. Dogs are also welcome, but must be kept on a leash for the first 5 minutes, until you’ve reached the top of the road from the parking lot.

4.    Olifantsbos Shipwreck Trail



The Shipwreck Trail is one of the most fascinating and intriguing routes of Cape Town. Situated in the Cape Point Nature Reserve, you can explore the age old ruins of some of the most beautiful shipwrecks around. The Shipwreck Trail itself is named after the three remarkable shipwrecks that lie dispersed along the shores. During this route, you can expect to see a few wandering ostriches, snakes, seagulls, baboons, bontebok, rare African black oystercatchers, and more! There are three trails that begin and end at Olifantsbos which differ in length, so visitors are free to select one that suits their mood or requirements.  After entering the Cape Point Nature Reserve, keep an eye out for the Olifantsbos turn off to the right. This will lead you through the park and down to the beach, where you will find a parking lot. The drive there allows you to enjoy the abundance of fynbos and to spot the occasional animal along the roadsides. Look out for the Thomas T. Tucker sign on the left if you’re ocean-facing, as this signifies the start of all three routes.

Thomas T. Tucker Shipwreck Trail

Level: Easy, Duration: 1 ½ hours

Follow the yellow flagged markers along the trail down to the beach. You will leave the trail through the fynbos as you climb over a rocky area that takes you to the beach. Here, there is prolific ocean life to be seen in the water pools at the water’s edge. Carry on along the beach until you spot the remains of the Thomas T. Tucker (an American ‘Liberty Ship’ that ran into rocks while attempting to avoid torpedo attacks in a night of 1942).  You can either stop here for a rest and to take in the surrounding beauty some more before heading back the way you came, or you can keep going in the same direction in order to observe the Nolloth, taking one of the circular paths back.

Shipwreck Circuit

Level: Easy, Duration: 2 ½ hours

Continue past the Nolloth shipwreck and make your way upward, to the inland ridge. The route will lead back towards the Olifantsbos parking lot. Head past the sign that turns off to Sirkelsvlei and continue on toward Staavia Edge.

Sirkelsvlei Circuit

Level: Moderate, Duration: +-4 hours

As the biggest body of fresh water in the region, Sirkelsvlei is said to be fed by underground springs. You can reach this course by following the trail near the boom gate at the top of the road from the parking lot. You can choose which way to begin your hike with when the path divides – the Oceanside route will lead you along Staavia Edge, around to Sirkelsvlei, and then onto an arch-shaped rock before heading back to Olifantsbos.

Keep An Eye Out For:
–    Fields of white everlasting flowers
–    Various types of indigenous flora
–    Diverse fauna and birdlife

What to Bring:
–    Map/Pamphlet from Buffesfontein Visitors Centre (contains valuable info about the routes)
–    Sunscreen and hat
–    Hiking shoes (to brave the rocky sections with)
–    Camera (there are plenty of beautiful things to capture on this hike)
–    Water
–    Warm jersey/jacket (for the occasional icy winds)

NB: Children from ages 10 and up are permitted in the forest. DO NOT BRING FOOD ALONG AS IT WILL ATTRACT BABOONS.

5.    De Hel, Constantia

De Hel was once a verdant valley through which the Spaanschemat River ran down off the mountain escarpments. In 1714 the Dutch East India Company established a ‘buitepost’ and began setting up orchards and gardens. In 1790, the area was under the overseeing of a master woodcutter, with 15 men working for him, as well as 5 soldiers and the slaves that tended to them. By then fruit trees were plentiful and the tree felling slowly became more evident over the years. Presently, Mother Nature has reclaimed her land, with vines snaking all over the trees and bushes to form a solid wall of leaves. De Hel has since been proclaimed a Provincial Heritage Site by the Council of Heritage Western Cape. The area is incredibly green and abundant with overgrown jungle-like vegetation, making for some stunning hiking. The Constantia Green Belts take up several areas throughout this flourishing suburb, and there are a couple of trails where you can walk dogs, and some where you can even ride horses!

De Hel Nature Area

Level: Easy, Duration: +-1 hour

Park at the Constantia Nek Road entrance and keep an eye out for the small parking lot area on the left side of the road (coming from Rhodes Drive). There is another parking lot on Southern Cross Drive, and the path is semi-circular so you can begin at either entrance. There is a clear trail around the valley with smaller paths leading down to the streams that flow through it.

Alphen Trail

Level: Easy, Duration: Half an hour

Off of Constantia Main Road is Alphen Drive, where you can park for this trail. (You can also begin this walk on the other side, and park on Le Sueur Avenue). Head out along the path that neighbours the Diep River. There are several bridge crossings that allow you to walk along the other side if you’d like.

Brommersvlei Walk

Level: Easy, Duration: Half an hour

Park on Rathfelder Avenue or Brommersvlei Road. This tree-lined route leads you alongside the road before circling the gorgeous Bel Ombre Meadow (if you come from the Brommersvlei side).

Diep River Trail

Level: Easy, Duration: +-1 hour

This trail can join up with the Alphen Trail, the Brommersvlei Walk, and the Klaasenbosch Trail. Park on Le Sueur Avenue or Southern Cross Drive to begin. The route leads you along this lush, green belt, allowing you to continue along one of the other three routes to head back, or to simply retrace your initial steps.

Doordrift Walk

Level: Easy, Duration: Half an hour

This route begins in the same place as the Alphen Trail, but the path heads in the other direction. You can also park on Doordrift Road and complete the route the other way around.

Grootboschkloof Trail

Level: Easy, Duration: Half an hour

Park on Strawberry Lane, Spaanschemat River Road, or Willow Road, and continue along the trail by the river. You can join this route with the Spaanschemat River Trail if you are up for a longer trek.

Klaasenbosch Trail

Level: Easy, Duration: +-1 hour

There are a couple of parking areas along this route, with the top two being off Rhodes Drive near the top gate of Kirstenbosch and at Cecelia Forest. The bottom two can be found at La Sueur Avenue or Hohenort Avenue. The middle of the trail passes by the Cellars-Hohenort Hotel, where you can stop off for a delicious gourmet lunch.

Silverhurst Trail

Level: Easy, Duration: +-40 minutes

Park across the road from Peddlar’s on the Bend, located on Spaanschemat River Road, or at the other end of the route on Constantia Nek Road. This is a well-loved horse-riding route, so if you are bringing your dogs along, be sure that they are comfortable around horses before choosing this trail.

Spaanschemat River Trail

Level: Easy, Duration: +-Half an hour

This route begins from the same parking area as the Silverhurst Trail on Spaaschemat River Road, but heads off in the opposite direction. You can also park on Strawberry Lane at two different spots. This route is easy to join with the Grootboschkloof Trail at the far end from the Spaanschemat start.

Keep An Eye Out For:
–    Birdlife (especially the elusive Knysna Warbler)

What to Bring:
–    Hiking shoes
–    Camera (there are plenty of beautiful sights to capture on this hike)
–    Water

NB: Children of all ages are welcome, as well as dogs.

6.    Suicide Gorge

For those seeking some thrilling hiking action, Suicide Gorge is a fantastic choice. The route takes a whole day (8 hours) to complete, and offers 17 kilometres of exhilarating outdoor adventures through the picturesque Boland Mountains. Suicide Gorge is situated in the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve that stretches 70,000 hectares, some 90 kilometres southeast of Cape Town. The entrance can be found at Nuweburg, 11 kilometres from Grabouw on the R321. From Cape Town, take the N2 and turn left at the Orchard Farm Stall in Grabouw, and left again at the Villiersdorp junction. Suicide Gorge is somewhat of a wet hike, making it perfect for summer, providing incredible water feature sights, remarkable canyon scenery, waterfalls and massive jumps.

At the top of the rocky gorge you will find a group of rock pools where you can put your bravery to the test by trying your hand at kloofing – a combination activity of walking, swimming and jumping. The most thrilling things to do for most hikers here are multiple jumps from cliffs into the fresh water below, with heights that range from 3 metres to 20 metres in the air! Climbing Suicide Gorge requires you to have no fear of cold water or of daring heights, because once you enter the trail, the only way out is via some courageous leaps and clambers. To embark on a Suicide Gorge mission, you must be a fit and experienced hiker, and it is highly encouraged that you complete the route with someone who has attempted it before, as it can become dangerous in extreme weather conditions.

Main Trail – Suicide Gorge

Level: Difficult, Duration: Full day (8 hours)

Park in the lot next to the beginning point of the hiking trail, where you will find changing rooms and toilets. The route is well sign-posted, so just be sure to keep following the ‘Suicide Gorge’ directions. You will trek through a stunning forest and encounter tons of mountain fynbos before attempting to conquer the adrenaline-pumping Gorge. Continue along the course of the river to a junction pool by means of hopping over boulders, swimming, hiking, and launching into pools from spectacular heights. You can avoid the beginning jumps and swims by making your way around the water hazards, but try not to miss out on the fun of it all, because once you’re wet you’re most likely going to stay that way until the end!

After you reach the junction pool, you will have many more jumps and swims to take on, as well as sliding down moss-covered rocks into pools below. The river is a fast-running mass of tannin-coloured water, refreshing to drink and rejuvenating to swim in. There are various waterfalls and ancient rock formations molded by thousands of years of the free-flowing river. A couple of jumps, swims, rock scrambles, slips and slides later, you will reach the final compulsory jump to end off the route.

Keep An Eye Out For:
–    Rare and endemic fynbos species
–    King proteas and wild orchid Disa at summer’s end
–    Birdlife, including several raptor species
–    Animals (Cape mountain zebra, eland, bontebok, red hartebeest, klipspringer, common duiker, etc.)
–    Leopards (they occasionally visit the mountains, but are rarely sighted)

What to Bring:
–    Hiking shoes
–    Water bottle
–    Change of clothes (to keep in the car for after the hike)
–    Swimsuit, with quick-drying clothes to continue the hike in
–    Lunch and energy snacks
–    Waterproof sunscreen
–    Waterproof camera if you plan to take photos of your incredible surrounds
–    Money for the permit

–    The route is open from 1 November – 30 April
–    Permits must be purchased in order to hike (Call +27 (0)21 283 2949)
–    Hikes during Saturdays and Sundays must be reserved a month in advance (shorter booking periods are allowed for weekday outings)
–    Five groups of 6 people are permitted over the weekend, whilst groups of 12-15 are permitted during the week.

7.    Lion’s Head

Lion’s Head is the distinctive shaped mountain slope set next to Table Mountain. Views from the top are exquisite, with vistas over the city and Table Bay on one side, and the gorgeous Atlantic Ocean shoreline on the other. On clear days, you can even take pictures from the summit of the Cape Peninsula and the infamous Robben Island (which is easily spotted from the mountaintop). The trek to the top provides incredible views of Cape Town, and will easily help in keeping you motivated. The summit is a well-loved spot for paragliding due to the nearby beaches, as well as a popular spot for picnics and sundowners.

Main Trail – Lion’s Head

Level: Moderate, Duration: +- 1 ½ hours

The entrance to Lion’s Head is on Signal Hill Road, at the Base of Forestry Road. Coming from the middle of town, head up towards the mountain in the direction of Camps Bay, via Kloofnek Road. You will spot the turn-off for Lion’s Head at the lowest point between Table Mountain on the left and Lion’s Head on the right. The signage is clear, and Signal Hill Road will be just to your right. You will spot the parking lot to your left after about 100 metres. The trail itself is also clearly marked.

Along this route, you will come across a series of chains and ladders to help you as you clamber up a rather steep section of rocky faces. Though these chains do add to the sense of adventurous fun, treat them with caution as they are not suitable for young children or the elderly. Hikers with children are encouraged to take the more child-friendly alternate route around the chains. Be advised that you can also take part in the popular full-moon hikes that frequently take place up Lion’s Head, providing spectacular 180 degree views of the city and surrounds at dusk. During a full moon, hiking up Lion’s Head is breathtaking, with the sun setting over the ocean and the moon rising over the mountains.

What to Bring:
–    Water bottle
–    Hat and sunscreen
–    Hiking shoes
–    Camera

What to Bring (for full moon hike):
–    Water bottle
–    Warm jersey/jacket
–    Headlamp/torch
–    Hiking shoes
–    Camera
–    Backpack with food and drinks to enjoy at the summit

8. Paarl

As the birthplace of the Afrikaans language, a paradise for Shiraz enthusiasts, and a playground for nature-lovers, Paarl is a place filled with beauty. This beautiful winelands town was named after its mountain reserve, but more precisely, Paarl Rock itself. The massive rock is shaped by three rounded outcrops that form Paarl Mountain, and is the second biggest granite boulder in the world.

Paarl (‘pearl’) was so named due to the pearlescent glimmering of wet rock after rain. The area seems other-worldly with moonlike craters, alien-like glitter covering the granite, and the indigo skies stretching above the Drakensberg Mountains like a far-off, hazy hologram. This reserve boasts a certain mystical charm, still quite untouched by masses of feet. Feel free to take a drive to the Taal Monument – a sculpture constructed in commemoration of the Afrikaans language, from where you can also begin your hike up the mountain.

Main Trail – Bretagna Rock

Level: Moderate, Duration: +- 1 hour

There is only one way up here, but it proves for some great trekking in amongst stunning scenery. After entering the reserve, make your way directly to the top where you will find it difficult to miss the massive rocky outcrop. There is a rustic bathroom at the start of the trail. The hike begins on a recycled plastic path that is made to look like wooden slats. The trail then divides at the end point, with one direction heading to the shimmering rock face, and the other leading to a shady path lined with trees. The walk is rather straightforward, and encompasses a somewhat steep incline up to the chains onto which you hold tight and pull yourself up the rest of the way (it may sound difficult, but in reality is pretty easy.) On a clear day you will be able to spot Table Mountain from the top, as well as the deep blue of the neighbouring dams.

Keep An Eye Out For:
–    Baboons
–    Birds of prey
–    Reptiles
–    Wild olive, wagon trees, and a diversity of Boland fynbos.

What to Bring:
–    Hiking shoes
–    Water bottle
–    Sunscreen and hat
–    Picnic (to enjoy in one of the many craters)
–    Camera (to capture the beauty of the alien landscape)
–    Money (if you wish to enter the botanical gardens in the reserve)

NB: Children from walking age and up are permitted here.

9. Chapman’s Peak



‘Chappies’, local slang for Chapman’s Peak Drive, will always be a recommendation upon a visit to Cape Town. It is one of the Mother City’s most renowned landmarks, situated about 25 kilometres south of central Cape Town. Chapman’s Peak Drive will lead you around 9 kilometres and 114 curves of spectacular scenery, taking you through from Noordhoek to Hout Bay (or vice versa). It has been said to be one of the most beautiful marine drives in the world. Hiking Chapman’s Peak provides you with absolutely stunning vistas of the Atlantic Ocean, Hout Bay, Fish Hoek, Gordon’s Bay, and a gorgeous mountain range. It is one of the lesser hiked peaks on the Table Mountain chain, but is absolute paradise for hiking enthusiasts, affording you even better views than the road below. ‘Chappies’ is known as one of the most satisfying and rewarding treks on the Peninsula.

Chapman’s Peak Parking Area

Level: Moderate, Duration: +- 3 hours

Make your way through the toll gate in Hout Bay and keep going until you reach the parking area just beneath the ticket check point for motorists. There is a sign here pointing you to the beginning of the hike where you will be surrounded by proteas and other fynbos whilst climbing up the steep trail. Take time to appreciate your surrounding scenery. The route is very well maintained and easy to follow, paved with sandstone rocks the majority of the way. When the slopes even out near the top, make a right and keep going towards Noordhoek along a slowly rising trail. You will find yourself adventuring over and around the minor peak, eventually reaching the rocky summit of Chapman’s Peak, where you can enjoy a scenic picnic.

As you round the first peak, you will be treated to marvelous views of Hout Bay. Soon after, Chapman’s Peak suddenly pops into view, and a final climb up the saddle affords you exquisite views of Fish Hoek, Noordhoek Beach, and even Gordon’s Bay and Table Mountain on clear days.  To the south is Cape Point and Kommetjie. It is suggested that you begin your ascent up Chapman’s Peak in the late afternoon, as the morning and midday sun can cast too many shadows over the scenery or make the scenery look rather flat. However, in the late afternoon or sunset, the surrounds are lit up with a reddish radiance as the descending sun reflects off the usually bright sandstone cliffs. Climbing in the late afternoon also gives you the opportunity to enjoy the sunset on the summit, which makes for amazing sights.

Chapman’s Peak and Silvermine

Level: Moderate-Difficult, Duration: +-6 hours

Because this is not a circular route, transport will be required at both ends (Silvermine Nature Reserve reservoir, and Noordhoek beach). Drive toward Noordhoek, turn right into Silvermine Road, and then right at the T-junction into Noordhoek Main Road (M6). Pass the Noordhoek Village Centre on your right, and two paddocks on your left before making a left into Avondrust Circle. At the second right, turn into Beach Road and follow the marked signs to the beach parking lot. The route ascends from Noordhoek Beach to Chapman’s Peak, descends down the other side, and then climbs back up again before the final descent down to the Silvermine dam in Silvermine-west. The trail does rise and fall on several occasions, but the steep sections are not very long-lasting, and the rest is gradual.

Keep An Eye Out For:
–    Various types of fynbos
–    Ericas and proteas
–    Indigenous trees
–    Birdlife
–    Reptiles
–    Black eagles and fish eagles

What to Bring:
–    Hiking shoes
–    Warm jersey (the wind can get chilly at times)
–    Water bottle
–    Garbage bag (there are no dustbins, so be sure to clean up after yourself)
–    Sunscreen and hat
–    Picnic (to enjoy at the scenic summit)
–    Camera (to capture the beauty of the alien landscape)
–    Money (for Champman’s Peak toll coming from Hout Bay, and for conservation fee if ending a hike in Silvermine Nature Reserve)

NB: Children from ages 10 and up are permitted here, as well as dogs.

10. Bontebok National Park

Bontebok National Park falls under one of the Western Cape’s five South African National Parks. Despite being the smallest of the lot, Bontebok has much to offer visitors in terms of scenery, fauna, flora, and hiking trails. This conservation region was set up to protect the quickly vanishing population of bontebok (an indigenous species of buck), but there is much to admire here, including distinctive plants, an abundance of colourful birdlife, and spectacular views of Langeberg Mountain. Hiking trails here are open for both day and overnight guests, but due to its rather concealed location, privacy is almost guaranteed. These hikes are also very safe as no visitor can pass through reception without having signed in, putting you at peace of mind when hiking in the evenings.

The Aloe Walk

Level: Easy, Duration: 2 hours

This route is well sign-posted and simple to follow. The trail heads up on the higher, aloe-knotted banks, then drops down to the Breede River which has sculpted its way through a canyon dotted with birds of prey’s nests.

The Acacia Walk

Level: Easy, Duration: +-Half an hour

This is the shortest of all the walks here, but still provides a lovely hiking experience as you come into contact with plenty of acacia trees, thickets, and game. If threatened by animals coming in for a snack, acacia trees can let off a scent of shoe polish and will taste bitter. A recent study in the Kruger National Park discovered that all the trees in the area will swiftly follow suit – a form of ‘arboreal osmosis’.

The Bushbuck Trail

Level: Moderate, Duration: +-1 hour

If you head off on this track, try to make a day of it, as the route leads right to Die Stroom picnic area. Wooden decks and tables are provided, and the stone tables have permanent game boards carved into their surfaces so be sure to bring along some chess or checkers pieces! Bring along some tasty lunch to enjoy the finest river view this area has to offer.

Keep An Eye Out For:
–    Bontebok
–    Cape mountain zebra
–    Red hartebeest
–    Grey Reebok

What to Bring:
–    Picnic
–    Water bottle (and sundowners if you embark on a sunset hike)
–    Binoculars (for the plentiful and vibrant birdlife)
–    Sunscreen and hat
–    Swimsuit (there are designated swimming areas)
–    Money (There is a conservation fee for SA residents: Adults – R22. Children – R11. Standard fees for non-SA residents are as follows: Adults – R54. Children – R27.)

NB: Children from are permitted here, as there are various child-friendly routes.


About Amy Saville

Article by: Amy Saville
on May 21, 2014
Filed under  Adventure Activities • Africa Blog • South Africa 
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