The Best Overnight Hiking Trails in Cape Town

The Best Overnight Hiking Trails in Cape Town

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When a walk in the woods just isn’t enough…These overnight hiking trails will lead you deep into the heart of nature.

1. The Cape of Good Hope Trail 

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A circular trail that takes you along cliffs and windswept beaches, past shorelines and shipwrecks, offering incredible views of fynbos reserves and the raging ocean along the way as you traverse Africa’s (almost) southern tip.
Starting point Cape of Good Hope entrance
End point Cape of Good Hope entrance
Overnight accommodation Signposts along the way will direct you towards the overnight huts, situated high up on ridges overlooking the coastline. You will need to bring your own bedding, but the solar-powered huts are equipped with hot showers, braai facilities and cutlery. Collect your key at the Cape of Good Hope entrance before you embark on the hike.
Good to know Gates open at 6am from October to March, and at 7am from April to September. The hike must start at 9am to ensure hikers have enough time to reach the accommodation before nightfall. Secure parking for your vehicle is located at the entrance.
Contact 021 780 9204,
Cost R245 (excluding optional portage fee)
R125 (conservation fee, adults)
R65 (conservation fee, children aged 2-11)
Location Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve

2. Boesmanskloof Hiking Trail

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Travel between the villages of Greyton and McGregor via a trail that passes through the Riviersonderend Mountains. You can complete the trail in one day, but it’s considered an overnight hike because participants like to return to their starting point the next day (you could arrange transport if you’re not up for the return walk). Either way, the trek offers spectacular scenery, and the opportunity to spot mountain-dwelling wildlife such as klipspringers, caracals and even the elusive leopard.
Warning Word has it a rampaging band of baboons has seized control of the trail and now demand a toll from any who seek passage (okay, that bit was made up).
Starting point Greyton / McGregor
End point McGregor / Greyton
Overnight accommodation Overnight accommodation can be found in the towns of Greyton and McGregor, or at Die Galg (on the McGregor side of the mountain).
Good to know The area is extremely warm and dry during summer months, and extremely cold and wet during winter. The hike requires a degree of fitness, as the trail frequently ascends and descends through mountainous terrain. Stick only to known routes and keep the group together, this is a mountain trail and should not be taken lightly.
Contact 021 483 0190,
Cost R40 (tariff)
R40 (conservation fee, adults)
R20 (conservation fee, children aged 3-12)
Location Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve

3. Fynbos Trail

This is a three-day hike that can be undertaken with or without a guide, and not only offers mesmerising views but also a glimpse into a sustainable and ecofriendly future. A visit to Growing the Future Sustainable Agriculture and Life Skills College is included in the package, after which hikers descend into a nature-lover’s paradise as the trail takes them through a thousand-year-old Milkwood forest (one of only eight remaining in the world) and a flourishing eco-system containing around 800 species of fynbos and 100 bird species.
Starting Point Steynsbos Milkwood Forest
End point Steynsbos Milkwood Forest
Overnight accommodation Hikers spend the first night at Fynbos Retreat, a farm house overlooking a swimming dam, and the second at Cone Bush Cottage on Witkrans Farm.
Good to know A family-friendly experience that is more of a celebration of the environment than a fitness test, the trail has hosted hikers as young as three and as old as 90!
Contact 082 464 5115,
Cost R980 (self-guided, self-catered, accommodation included) + R200 (optional portage fee)
Note Packages that include catering and professional guides can be purchased at prices ranging from R2 000 – R3 000
Location Grootbos Nature Reserve

4. Harkerville Coastal Hiking Trail

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Emerge from lush green forests to the sight of the bright blue Indian ocean, in a hiking adventure that takes you in among the beauty of the Garden Route. Starting off at Harkerville Forest Station, you’ll be following a circular trail under trees, across beaches, along cliffs and over rope bridges before you eventually arrive back at your starting point.
Starting point Harkerville Forest Station
End point Harkerville Forest Station
Overnight accommodation The Harkerville hut at the start of the trail has bunk beds, toilets, hot showers and a braai area, as well as a place to park your vehicle. By nightfall, you’ll have reached the Sinclair hut, which also has bedding, a braai area and flush toilets, but no showers (there are wash basins).
Good to know The trail involves lots of ladders, chains, bridges and wooden stairs, making it one for committed hikers only. Bring plenty of drinking water as there is little to be found along the way, aside from what’s available at the huts.
Contact 044 302 5600,
Cost R225
R56 (conservation fee)
Location Garden Route National Park

5. Limietberg Hiking Trail

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This trail takes you from Tweede Tol picnic and camping site to Eerste Tol, and then onto Bainskloof Corner Lodge, where you can choose to return via the same route the next day, take the old Bainskloof Pass (a national monument), or navigate the rock pools and rivers of the Rock Hopper trail (a challenging endeavor that can only be attempted in summer).
Starting point Tweede Tol Campsite
End point Tweede Tol Campsite
Overnight accommodation The Bainskloof Corner Lodge provides self-catering accommodation fit for backpackers, as well as more comfort-oriented guest rooms with ensuite bathrooms.
Contact 021 483 0190,
Cost R40 (conservation fee, adults)
R20 (conservation fee, children aged 3-12)
Location Limietberg Nature Reserve

6. Boosmansbos Wilderness Area

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For those seeking solitude, the Boosmansbos (angry man’s forest) hiking trail delivers. Named for the hermit who supposedly roamed these woods in the early 19th century, scaring off anyone who dared disturb him or his precious bee hives, the region provides around 64km of marked trails that lead up and down cliffs and deep into one of the Western Cape’s most expansive forests. Hikers can wander freely without fear of being disturbed, because hey, if it worked for an eccentric old beekeeping hermit, it will probably work for you.
Starting point Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve Office
End point Your choice
Overnight accommodation Huts located in the reserve offer shelter, but not much else (no toilets, and drinking water comes from a nearby stream). A true wilderness adventure then, and you can even choose to camp out in the open.
Good to know A maximum of 12 people are allowed on the hiking trails at a time. Hikers can choose their own route, but be sure to bring enough food, water and warm clothing, as well as a map.
Contact 021 483 0190,
Cost R60 (tariff)
R40 (conservation fee, adults)
R20 (conservation fee, children aged 3-12)
Location Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve

These popular multi-day hiking trails might also interest you:

Cederberg Wilderness Trail near Clanwilliam
Whale Trail in De Hoop Nature Reserve
Otter Trail in Garden Route National Park
Oystercatcher Trail near Mossel Bay

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The Inside Guide has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, we do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, cost, time, and location.

Time of publication: 12 May 2016

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