Top Hiking Destinations in Cape Town South Africa

Top Hiking Destinations in Cape Town, South Africa

 

Top Hiking Destinations in Cape Town, South Africa

 

he Cape Town area is surrounded by a unique range of mountains called the Cape Fold Mountains. They were formed eons ago to create a wonderland of majestic peaks and amphitheatres with valleys and slopes dominated by vegetation called ”Fynbos”.

Fynbos is unique in being one of the most diverse groups of plants in the world and only found in the Western Cape district of South Africa.

The mountains here are any hiker’s playground with so many trails and areas to explore. There is a trail for every type of hiker, from laid back half day hikes to more extensive multi day hikes for those wishing to push the limits. The landscapes of the Cape are breathtaking and the benefits to general fitness and mental health are an added bonus that will have you coming back for more.

Let’s check out some favorite hiking spots in Cape Town

 

 

jonkershoek-waterfall Cape Town

 

Jonkershoek Nature Reserve

 

Jonkershoek Nature Reserve is situated just outside Stellenbosch, about a 40 minute drive from Cape Town.

There are a few different hikes to choose from in this stunning valley.

The Panorama route takes one along the contours of the valley and zigzags its way up to a saddle on the higher ground between two peaks. The trail then takes a loop to re-join the first section of the trail back down to the start. This is an intense trail not for the unfit.

There is also the Swartbos Kloof trail and the Waterfall trail which are both a bit more laid back than the Panorama route.

Payment for hiking can be made at the gate entering the reserve and is open 7 days a week. Winter time can be a hazard on these hikes because Jonkershoek valley has the highest rainfall catchment in the whole of South Africa, making things wet, slippery and dangerous for hikers.

 

 

lions-head Cape Town

Lions Head Hike

 

Lions Head hike in the mother city is a great way to familiarise yourself with Cape Town’s lay of the land.

It is very easily accessed and takes you on a 3 to 4 hour trip around this famous mountain peak, where you can view the city bowl and harbour on one side and the western seaboard of Cape Town on the other side.

It’s not a strenuous hike and hikers can take their time to take in the views and stop for a picnic along the way. It’s a great if you are visiting Cape Town and access is free of charge. Get out there and do it.

 

 

elandspad Cape Town

 

Elandspad Hike

 

Elandspad hike in the Limietberg reserve is a mere 35 minute drive from Cape Town towards du Toits kloof.

This trail follows the Elands River upstream towards it’s source and then turns back on the same route out. It’s a beautiful valley and not too strenuous, so it’s the perfect trail for a family outing.

There are spectacular pools where you can take a dip in the summer when things get too hot in the valley. You might also come across the occasional trout fisherman plying their trade on the crystal clear runs of this stream. Make sure you get a wild card or day permit from the nearest Cape Nature office.

 

 

hoerikwaggo Cape Town

Hoerikwaggo Trail

 

The Hoerikwaggo is a 5 night multiday hike which traverses the Table Mountain National park from the spectacular Cape Point Mountains to Table Mountain itself.

It is a relatively strenuous hike because of the distances each day and because of the ever changing landscape you need to cross. Accommodation for each night is in tented camps with communal ablutions and cooking areas.

This trail will give you a very good idea of the wild side of Cape Town before civilisation happened here, and you’ll encounter many animals along the way. It’s long and gruelling but well worth the trek!

kromriver Cape Town

 

Kromriver Trail

 

Another fantastic day hike in the Limietberg reserve is the Kromriver day hike. It starts at the same parking as the Elandspad hike and deviates at the confluence of the two rivers.

The Kromriver is stunningly beautiful with unspoilt pools of the purest water. The trail follows the river upstream and ends at a waterfall pool where you can enjoy a relaxing hour or two before heading back downstream to the car park.

Also make sure you have a wildcard or a day permit from your closest Cape Nature office.

 

 

signal-hill Cape Town

Signal Hill

 

This short meandering trail on one of Cape Town’s famous landmarks is also a great half day hike or walk. It’s quite easy going and offers splendid views of Table Mountain, Cape Town’s harbour and the city bowl.

Plan it so that you hike in the morning and reach the summit before noon, then relax with a picnic and wait for the noon cannon to be fired. This is an iconic tradition to Cape Town and happens each day without fail at the strike of exactly 12:00 o’clock midday!

 

skeleton-gorge cape town

Skeleton Gorge

 

This famous hike on the eastern slope of Table Mountain starts off at Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. The name makes it sound like a place from a pirate movie and no one actually knows why it is called Skeleton Gorge, but maybe the bones of a lost explorer were once found here.

The hike takes one up through lush montane forests of indigenous hard woods to the more open summits of Table Mountain.

It can be very slippery here, so care should be taken and the hike is more suitable for the sure footed. There are also a few chain holds to follow on steeper parts of the hike. Rather do this hike as a group and have fun searching for the lost skeleton!

 

cecilia-forest cape town

Cecilia Forest Hike

 

This lovely trail is one for the whole family and takes approximately 2 to 3 hours to complete. The trail is situated just next to Kirstenbosch.

It slowly ascends through beautiful fynbos and eventually reaches a forested ravine where you will make your way up over wooden steps and walkways until you reach a peaceful waterfall in Cecilia ravine. It’s a nice and relaxed trail with stunning views of the eastern side of Cape Town.

That’s it!

Always adhere to the trail markers and hike in a small group instead of attempting trails on your own. In the cape it’s advisable to wear adequate footwear with good ankle support and always carry a rain jacket or windbreaker, the weather here can turn from sunshine to cold in a matter of a half hour.

Most importantly, get out and enjoy our diverse landscape and amazing floral kingdom unique to the Cape Town area. You won’t find anything like it anywhere else in the world.

 

 

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Top hiking in Cape town

 

 

 

 

 

guest author bianca-knauf

Guest Author bio

Bianca Birgit loves Hiking & the Outdoors. Her passion for nature has taken her around the globe but she always returns to the wild walks and cool mountain streams of the Cape.

Check out Bianca’s blog at My Wild Earth

 

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17 Responses to Top Hiking Destinations in Cape Town South Africa

  1. Alli November 21, 2017 at 8:52 am #

    Gosh – these are some seriously gorgeous hiking views. I can’t narrow down a favourite . . . but if I had to, those views from Signal Hill would take it! Hiking these areas would be an absolute dream for me!! 🙂

    • Noel November 21, 2017 at 11:04 am #

      Yes to many beautiful hiking trails to enjoy in Cape Town, I would love to also do all of them.

  2. Sangeeta November 21, 2017 at 6:34 am #

    I am a regular hiker and love these pictures. Signal Hill seems to be my favorite. Also; the first picture on your post has an awesome array of colors; would love to know if it is taken during fall or during sunset

    • Noel November 21, 2017 at 8:20 am #

      These hikes are stunning including the imagery of Cape Town, hopefully the guest blogger will explain the images for you.

  3. Suruchi Mittal November 21, 2017 at 6:13 am #

    Great post with great pictures. All these trails look worth exploring and the views from top will be mesmerizing. Best is, there are so many hiking options in Cape town South Africa and one can choose the trail according to their needs and stamina.

    • Noel November 21, 2017 at 8:21 am #

      Yes, it looks like these Cape Town hikes are variable depending on your interest and hiking ability, hope you can hike some of these destinations.

  4. Thomas Mathys November 21, 2017 at 12:42 am #

    What a fantastic list of hikes you can do in Cape town <3 I think i'd love to do the Signal Hill one. The view is one of the reasons, but the noon cannon sounds awesome to me 😀 The Kromriver Trail sounds like an amazing experience as well, especially with the waterfall in the end.

    • Noel November 21, 2017 at 8:22 am #

      These Cape Town hikes sound amazing don’t they, I think Signal Hill would be my favorite also.

  5. Paige Wunder November 21, 2017 at 12:38 am #

    I didn’t realize just how many amazing hiking opportunities there were in South Africa! I know the waterfall trail in Jonkershoek Nature Reserve would be at the top of my husband’s list and I would be all about Hoerikwaggo Trail for those ever-changing views! I love variety in my trails.

    • Noel November 21, 2017 at 8:23 am #

      It is amazing how there can be so much nature in a city and Cape Town does show it off.

  6. Jose Harvey November 20, 2017 at 5:54 am #

    Cape Town is definitely on the list for me and when I finally do go, I want to make sure I partake in some outdoor activities. Hiking around the area must have been pretty awesome and gave you a real feel for the locale. Skeleton Gorge is definitely appealing to me and soooo sounds like something from a pirate movie.

    • Noel November 20, 2017 at 6:55 am #

      Cape Town is an amazing destination with all these gorgeous hikes and beautiful landscapes to enjoy, hope you get to do this soon!

  7. Lois Alter Mark November 19, 2017 at 6:17 pm #

    What stunning scenery. My son visited Cape Town a few years ago and had a great time exploring. I would love to visit this beautiful area.

    • Noel November 19, 2017 at 7:30 pm #

      Cape town is definitely a hiking lovers destination along with some cool historical places and unique scenery worth visiting.

  8. Ryan Biddulph October 24, 2017 at 8:42 am #

    Love those ocean views Bianca and Noel. Inspired post here. Cape Town has some of the more dramatic ocean views on earth; very pristine and primitive, lots of raw power churning up as the sea hits the rugged shores. I also dig how you have so many brilliant vantage points to take classic shots, with high mountains hugging the coastal area.

    Ryan

  9. Suzanne Fluhr October 17, 2017 at 8:21 am #

    Thanks for sharing this guest post. It made a great pin for my South Africa Pinterest board. We visited Cape Town and visited some of the places described here, but not under our own power. There’s a cable car up to Table Mountain, but one can still do quite a bit of walking on paved paths at the summit—sort of like dessert without first clearing one’s plate. You will also get some exercise if you visit the beautiful Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, even without the hike described in this post.

    • Noel October 17, 2017 at 8:30 am #

      The natural landscape around the city is really spectacular, I would love to go and explore these amazing hiking destinations of Cape Town from our guest blogger.

I look forward to hearing from you and continuing our discussion with any comment you would like to add

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