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Hiking and Walking Routes in Cape Town and Surrounds

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Hiking and Walking Routes in Cape Town and Surrounds

Discover the hikes and walks to do in Cape Town and outlying areas

Last Update: 16 January 2018

In a city where its most famous landmark is a mountain, it's only fitting that in this picture comes a wide selection of hiking and walking trails to discover and enjoy. 

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SKELETON GORGE
Known for its popularity among locals and tourists, Skeleton Gorge is a scenic trek not rivalled by many. Ideal in dry conditions, this hike is great for both the seasoned and novice hiker. During the summer months you’ll be able to get some shade along the Afromontane forest nearly all the way up Skeleton Gorge. Bear in mind that this hike can get quite strenuous so be prepared to really work those muscles, and take the necessary safety precautions.
Number of routes: Two routes
Difficulty: Moderate

 

MAMRE NATURE GARDEN
Situated along the West Coast, in the little town of Mamre, this National Heritage Site has picnic spots, short trails and a 1.5-hour trail walk. The 254ha reserve has an abundance of vegetation and small animals such as caracals and various reptiles. Pack your picnic basket and make a day of it.
Number of routes: Two routes
Difficulty: Moderate 

 

A post shared by Janel Fick (@janelfick) on Sep 4, 2016 at 8:18am PDT

 

MEADOWRIDGE COMMON
Situated in the heart of the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town, Meadowridge Common is a small protected area of about 8 hectares. The common boasts endangered fynbos, which is indigenous to Cape Town. During September and October you can expect gorgeous floral displays, as well as a number of insects, birds and amphibians – the endangered Cape Rain Frog has also been spotted here. The Common offers a relaxing environment suitable for anyone looking to just enjoy being outside.
Number of routes: One route
Difficulty: Easy 

 

A post shared by Liam Ghani (@themuddledpantry) on Oct 4, 2017 at 11:00pm PDT

 

MACASSAR DUNES CONSERVATION AREA
If you are looking for a place featuring multiple activities, then Macassar Dunes Conservation Area is the place for you. With views extending across False Bay, all the way to Kogelberg and Hangklip, the views are as enticing as the “entertainment”. The latter includes wonderful picnic spots, fishing in designated areas (permit required), hiking, swimming and bird watching.
Number of routes: One route
Difficulty: Easy

 

HIKING IN TABLE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK

LION’S HEAD
This short summit offers panoramic views of Cape Town and unbeatable sunsets. It’s a popular route to do on nights where there’s a full moon. If you’re relatively fit, you’ll find yourself at the top quite quickly, which is why it’s such a popular after-work hike. There’s a little bit of climbing involved, but there are handholds and chains to help you on your way up and down. You can also take the roundabout way, which skips the climbing part if you are walking with small children or dogs.
Number of routes: Two routes
Difficulty: Moderate

 

DEVIL’S PEAK
This path zig-zags up from Tafelberg Road (where the Cableway station is) and then takes a steep route up to the peak. There are fantastic views of Table Mountain and the city below once you reach the top.
Number of routes: Three routes
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult

 

KASTEEL POORT
The climb up Kasteel Poort is not for the unfit; although, the Cableway does offer an alternative route for those not up to the walk up. From the top of Kasteel Poort you’ll be able to see all the way across the Twelve Apostles mountain range, and once you reach the front of the mountain, the city views are incredible.
Number of routes: Three routes
Difficulty: Easy to difficult 

 

DEER PARK
If you’re in the city and craving a nature fix, then this small reserve on the lowest slopes of Table Mountain is your solution. You can walk your dogs or just go for a stroll in this forested area. Once you’ve walked up a bit you’ll have a clear view of the mountain right ahead, and here you can choose to link up to a longer hike if you’re up for it.
Number of routes: Four routes
Difficulty: Easy to moderate 

 

A post shared by Cobus F. Potgieter (@rumin0) on May 17, 2017 at 8:45am PDT

 

WOODSTOCK CAVE
You may have spotted this cave from De Waal drive, it’s a thin crack in the mountain that invites exploration. You can reach it from either Rhodes Memorial or from Tafelberg Road, both routes offer expansive views of the city below.
Number of routes: Two routes
Difficulty: Moderate

 

BRIDLE PATH AND NURSERY RAVINE
This hike takes you all the way to the top of the other side (the “back” side) of Table Mountain; it’s a lot quieter than the front side and has the added beauty of large water reservoirs. There are various routes to the top, but they are all fairly strenuous, so if you’re not used to hiking then rather start with something a bit shorter.
Number of routes: Three routes
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult

 

ELEPHANT’S EYE
The eye of the elephant in question is a large cave in the Silvermine Nature Reserve that, when squinting, resembles the head of these large, majestic creatures. Though all the way across the city from Table Mountain itself, the reserve is still part of park, and has great picnic spots next to the reservoir where you can have a braai.
Number of routes: Two routes
Difficulty: Easy to moderate

 

A post shared by Roy Mathieu Borole (@rm_borole) on Sep 13, 2017 at 2:49am PDT

 

SILVERMINE EAST
This is also in the Silvermine Nature Reserve, but on the side overlooking Muizenberg. It offers fantastic views, interesting rock formations and plenty of untouched fynbos.
Number of routes: Three routes
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult 

 

A post shared by Zoë Palmer (@zoedpalmer) on Jan 8, 2018 at 11:01am PST

 

BEACH WALKS IN CAPE TOWN AND SURROUNDS 

OLIFANTSBOS SHIPWRECK TRAIL
This isn’t your average stroll along the beach, but the scenery makes it all worth it. Set in the Cape Point Nature Reserve, this route may have you hiking next to a herd of bontebok or a troop of baboons foraging in the rock pools. If that’s not enough excitement for a seaside stroll, there are shipwrecks dotted along the wild beaches for you to explore.
Number of routes: Three routes
Difficulty: Easy to moderate

 

 

SANDY BAY
This beach walk offers a few unusual sights in addition to the vistas of rocky outcrops and expansive shoreline – it’s the only designated nude beach in Cape Town! Apart from the, err, human aspect, Sandy Bay is a gorgeous stretch of beach with soft white sand, rock formations and interesting seaside plants.
Number of routes: Two routes
Difficulty: Easy to moderate

 

MUIZENBERG MILE
This gorgeous, seaside walkway winds its way along the beach and rock pools in Muizenberg. You’ll want to time your walk with the tide, as the breaking waves can get a bit too close for comfort at high tide.
Number of routes: One route
Difficulty: Easy

 

 

FOREST WALKS IN CAPE TOWN AND SURROUNDS

NEWLANDS FOREST CONTOUR PATH
Trees stretching up high above the shady paths, streams to splash in, and plenty of paths leading through the forest and up onto the mountain slopes above it can all be found in Newlands Forest. The routes we’ve chosen take you up onto these slopes, but if you just want a quick walk this is an ideal spot to walk your dogs (and children).
Number of routes: Three routes
Difficulty: Easy to moderate 

 

A post shared by duncan alfers (@dalfers) on Dec 3, 2017 at 10:23am PST

 

SPES BONA FOREST
You’ll need to hike up through lower slopes of this fynbos covered mountain near Kalk Bay before you reach this forest, but it’s worth the trek. A raised wooden walkway winds its way in amongst the old gnarled trees which are kept alive by the constant dripping of water running down the mossy cliff on the right.
Number or routes: Three routes
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult 

 

A post shared by Tarryn (@tarryn_capetown) on Jan 9, 2016 at 10:40pm PST

 

TOKAI ARBORETUM
Popular with cyclists, this forest is also great for a quick stroll or a steady climb up to the mountain slopes above it. The majority of the trees aren’t indigenous, but they do shade the paths just the same.
Number or routes: Two routes
Difficulty: Easy to moderate

 

DE HEL
This dense green belt in Constantia is surprisingly large; the path leads down into the valley leaving you feeling as though you’ve been swallowed up by the forest. It’s a dog-friendly, kid-friendly haven of nature in the suburbs. Constantia has a number of green belts to walk in throughout the suburb.
Number of routes: Nine routes
Difficulty: Easy

 

 

SWIMMING HIKES IN CAPE TOWN AND SURROUNDS

KROM RIVER
Save this one for summer as the path leads up a river to two spectacular rock pools, which can be icy even when it’s warm. The walk itself isn’t too long, so you can spend plenty of time swimming in the mountain pools.
Number of routes: One route
Difficulty: Moderate

 

A post shared by Jennaevelevy (@jennaevelevy) on Dec 19, 2017 at 6:31am PST

 

SUICIDE GORGE
Not one for the fainthearted, this is an extreme hike with very high jumps down the river into the pools below. We recommend doing this with a guide as it can be dangerous.
Number of routes: One route
Difficulty: Difficult 

 

A post shared by Aaron (@resetyourcompass) on Sep 21, 2017 at 10:30pm PDT

 

BONTEBOK NATIONAL PARK
Take a dip in the designated swimming spots along the Breede River, the body of water that runs through this park. Choose one of the paths alongside the river, or save your swim for after the hike.
Number of routes: Three routes
Difficulty: Easy to moderate 

 

WALKS THROUGH INDIGENOUS FYNBOS IN CAPE TOWN AND SURROUNDS

LA MOTTE
This hike, around the famed La Motte Wine Estate in Franschhoek, is truly a feast for the eyes. Just an hour's drive out of Cape Town, this route invites you to enjoy all the flora and fauna the region has to offer. This guided walk will lead you past the picturesque vineyards of La Motte and up through the surrounding mountain range where you can see some of the indigenous plant and wildlife the winery is making a concerted effort to protect. Once you're done, reward yourself with wine tasting or a meal at Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant.
Number of routes: One
Difficulty: Moderate

 

 

CHAPMAN’S PEAK
Ericas, proteas and indigenous trees can all be found in the thick fynbos covering this peak. You’ll also have the added bonus of breathtaking views of Hout Bay, Fish Hoek and Gordon’s Bay.
Number of routes: Two routes
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult

 

 

NURSERY RAVINE
This hike above Cecilia Forest takes you past a number of different types of flora: you’ll spot sun dews on the wet rocks alongside Bridle Path, grasses and bushes on the plateau and the occasional red disa near the reservoirs.
Number of routes: Three routes
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult 

 

A post shared by Waleed Samsodien (@waleedsa) on Dec 26, 2017 at 12:34am PST

 

SILVERMINE EAST
Also part of the Silvermine Nature Reserve, the slopes on the East side are covered in ericas in various shades of pink, depending on the season, while leucadendrons and asteraceae provide a splash of yellow in spring.
Number of routes: Three routes
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult 

 

A post shared by Camilla Christie (@nubigenus) on Dec 2, 2017 at 8:47am PST

 

FERNKLOOF NATURE RESERVE
It’s said that 1474 plant species have been uncovered in Fernkloof! You’ll find ericas, watsonias and plenty more in a dazzling display of fynbos finery. The herbarium in the reserve has been given international status and is home to some 1600 mountain and coastal species — that’s more than in the entire United Kingdom.
Number of routes: Four routes
Difficulty: Moderate to difficult

 

 

KIRSTENBOSCH NATIONAL BOTANICAL GARDENS
Here you’ll find all sorts of indigenous fynbos, as well as an afromontane forest. There are sections devoted to fragrant plants, edible plants, medicinal plants and other interesting sub-categories. It’s also a great place to learn a bit more about indigenous species as plenty of information is available.
Number of routes: Seven routes
Difficulty: Easy to difficult

 

 

HIKES OUTSIDE OF CAPE TOWN

PAARL ROCK
The Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve is about an hour’s drive from Cape Town. Climb to the top of Bretagna Rock, a granite outcrop, for fantastic views (you can see as far as Table Mountain on a clear day).
Number of routes: One route
Difficulty: Moderate 

 

A post shared by Teresa Truda (@artyteres) on Dec 31, 2017 at 5:10am PST

 

TYGERBERG NATURE RESERVE
Less than half an hour from Cape Town, and a short drive from the Northern Suburbs, this nature reserve is a great place for a walk or jog. This piece of nature is home to quite a few birds of prey, as well as small striped mice scurrying through the undergrowth. It’s not an expansive reserve, but it does offer a great view across Cape Town from the various picnic spots.
Number of routes: Seven routes
Difficulty: Easy

 

A post shared by Elmarie le Roux (@elmarielr) on Dec 29, 2017 at 9:51am PST

 

THE GRAVE OF JUST NUISANCE
It’s a short, steep climb up this Simon’s Town hill to the grave of Cape Town’s most beloved historic canine, Just Nuisance. The Great Dane is the only dog to ever be enlisted in the Royal Navy back in 1939. The walk to his grave is moderate but very scenic. From the top you’ll have a bird’s eye view of the seaside suburb u below, and if your timing is right, you may even hear the sound of naval trainees and their marching chants. 
Number of routes: Three routes
Difficulty: Easy to difficult 

 

A post shared by Jamie Almacin (@jamie_almacin) on Aug 21, 2017 at 5:48am PDT

While hiking remember to enjoy the view (and not just focus on the effort of the exertion!). And if you are in the Constantia area maybe you will be lucky enough to spot a beautiful treehouse home

Refer to our hiking safety guide, especially if you’re new to Cape Town, and make a note of the rescue and emergency numbers.

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