10 top hiking routes in Cape Town

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10 top hiking routes in Cape Town

A selection of the best hiking routes in Cape Town and surrounds

Last Updated: 24 August 2017

People of all ages enjoy hiking because it strengthens friendships, allows you to get closer Cape Town's diverse natural environment and offers an escape from the daily grind. On your doorstep there may well be more walking and hiking routes than in any other place in the world from tough hikes to Sunday afternoon strolls and from seaside walks to urban adventures. Grab your hiking boots, a bottle of water and the rest of the family to embark on a cheap and healthy hike in Cape Town and Surrounds.

1 – Lion's Head Full Moon Hike
Distance: 5km
Time: 3 hours
Walk up the jeep track and begin to work clockwise around the mountain where you will spot Silver trees, rock kestrels and, after a slight rise, views of Table View, Robben Island and Signal Hill. Navigate the lower contour path to the summit over secure rock scrambles, chains and ladders. Visitors often take a picnic and a bottle of wine to the summit and enjoy spectacular views of the sunset and full moon. Read more about the Full Moon Hike

2 – Table Mountain: Skeleton Gorge to Maclears Beacon
Distance: 4km
Time: 2-4 hours
From the intersection of Skeleton Gorge and the Contour Path climb up the rocky steps and ladders of the Smuts Track which are shaded by Afromontaine Forest. After Breakfast Rock the path levels out towards Maclears Beacon and affords panoramic views of the Hottentots Holland Mountains. You'll pass three minor rock scrambles before you reach your final destination. 

3 – Chapman's Peak
Distance: 6km
Time: 3 hours
Start 700m before the major lookout point at the drives highest point and after a 30 minute hike you'll arrive at a crossroads on the plateau between Noordhoek Peak and Chapman's Peak. Turn right and head along Lower Chapman's Peak, round the corner to Chapman's Peak proper, cross the small saddle and begin the final ascent and scramble to the peak. You'll see Hout Bay, Karbonkelberg and the Noordhoek Amphitheatre.

4 – Cape Point
Distance: 4km
Time: 2-3 hours

Take the south east path from Rooikrans through high bush which later descends in long steep zig zags before it reaches broad rocky ledges. If you decide to fish you might catch snoek and yellowtail and on your return journey you should look out for the Diaz Cross Replica and animals including zebras and rheboks. Make a day of it with a ride on Cape Point's Flying Dutchman

5 – Kirstenbosch to Constantia Nek
Distance: 6km
Time: 4 hours
Your walk begins with magnificent views of Kirstenbosch and the southern peninsula at the start of the Smuts Track which is an initial gravel path which later turns right into the forest. Take the second jeep track and follow signs for Newlands Forest to the intersection of the Contour Path and Skeleton Gorge. Follow the sign for Nursery Ravine through mountain fynbos before the path widens to become a jeep track through Cecilia Forest after the second intersection. At the stone wall take the upper track and walk straight ahead until you arrive at the forest entrance.

6 – The Pipe Track
Distance: 6km
Time: 4 hours
At the intersection of Kloof Nek and Tafelberg Road take the flight of granite steps where Stone Pines and the common sugar bush offer shade and you'll see Oudekraal and Camps Bay coastlines. Pass the start of the Kasteelspoort path along the concrete jeep track and Corridor Ravine and cross Slangolie Stream.

7 – Kalk Bay Amphitheatre
Distance: 6km
Time: 3-4 hours
The stony path from the Ou Kraal sign on Boyes Drive sweeps through Kalk Bay and Hout Bay before heading right at the junction onto a gravel path that levels off to a wide sandy path. At Spes Bona Valley you'll encounter a forest of indigenous trees after which you must turn left at the four-way intersection. Walk up the ridge and head across the amphitheatre to Kroon se Bos. You'll pass Cavern Rocks and Wandering Willy's Weary Wait before turning left onto Buoys Drive.

8 – Upper City
Distance: 5km
Time: Allow 4 hours to look at sights
Your walk begins on the corner of Long and Strand Streets and passes landmarks including Koopmans de Wet townhouse, Greenmarket Square, the Groote Kerk clock tower, Bo-Kaap, the Anglican Cathedral, the Slave Lodge, the Rust-en-Vreugd townhouse, the Roman Catholic Cathedral, the Gardens, the houses of parliament, the National Gallery, the South African Museum and the Mission Church. Using a city centre map this walk is a great way of familiarising yourself with the city.

9 – Beach hike from Noordhoek to Kommetjie
Distance: 8km
Time: 4 hours
After walking through the bushes on the broad sandy path to the beach head southwards towards the wreck of Kakapo and past flotsam and jetsam, birdlife and tidal lagoons. Make your way around the point at the end of the beach where you'll see Cray fishing boats, the remnants of a trawler wrecked in 1974 and popular surfing spot Bokram Beach. As you round the corner you'll arrive at the resort village of Kommetjie.

10 – Silvermine
Distance: 2km
Time: 20-30 minutes
Begin this short walk on the jeep track below Wolfcop outcrop and head towards the small hill where a sandy path with log steps and branches leads to a waterfall. A broad rocky ledge rests at the top of the waterfall where you'll see fynbos, puzzle-rocks and the Orange-breasted Sunbird.

With reference to Mountains in the Sea: Table Mountain to Cape Point produced by John Yeld and Martine Barker for SA National Parks and Day Walks in and Around Cape Town by Tim Anderson.

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Feeling energetic? Be sure to check out our 10 top running routes and 10 top cycling routes in Cape Town and surrounds.

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