The 25 Best Hiking Trails in and around Cape Town

The 25 Best Hiking Trails in and around Cape Town

From leisurely rambles to invigorating ascents, there’s something for everyone.

Whether you’re after a windswept coastal wander, a mountainous hike with spectacular views, or a leisurely amble through one of the Cape’s lush nature reserves, here’s our pick of the best hiking trails in and around the Mother City. So, lace up your hiking boots and get cracking… And, let us know your favourites in the comments below.

Important note Even if it seems like an easy trail, be prepared – an injury, severe weather or wrong turn could become life-threatening. Take water, snacks and warm clothing. Never hike alone, and pace it according to the slowest person in the group. Reserves may close their trails due to flooding or fire damage, so check before heading out; also always check the weather report. Make sure you have emergency numbers in your phone (these have been given for each hike). We also recommend @safetymountain as a useful resource for hikers. This free safety tracking service allows you to notify local trackers of your contact details, intended route and travel time via WhatsApp. You are then able to provide hourly updates on your progress, and to notify trackers when you are safely off the mountain.

Table Mountain hiking trails

Lion’s Head

Hiking Tails Cape Town Lions Head

The distinct slope next to Table Mountain known as Lion’s Head (669m) offers magnificent 360-degree views of the city, Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles, Table Bay and the Atlantic Seaboard, making it a top spot for Instagrammers. It’s a fairly easy spiral ascent of 2km, with a bit of climbing near the top using handholds and chains to assist you. As Cape Town’s most popular hike, it can get pretty busy – especially around sunset and full moon.
Start + end point Signal Hill Drive, at the base of the Forestry Road.
Duration 2 – 3 hours (up and down)
Good to know If you’d prefer to avoid the climbing and chains, a roundabout route (that’s still quite steep) adds half an hour to your hike. Bring a headlamp if you’re visiting at day’s end.
Child-friendly? Yes, although the roundabout route is recommended for them.
Dog-friendly? No
Guided option? Yes, from R950 per person.
Book Directly
Contact 021 422 1601 (SANParks Kloofnek Office)
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417, 107 or 021 937 0300
Cableway weather/operational updates: 021 424 8181

Platteklip Gorge

Hiking Tails Cape Town Platterklip Gorge

Probably the second most well-known hike in Cape Town (after Lion’s Head), Platteklip Gorge (on the front face of Table Mountain) provides a straight-up direct route to the summit, for those who think taking the cable car is for lightweights. But Platteklip is not so easygoing, despite its popularity, so do not attempt it in slip-slops. Sure, there’s not much rock climbing or scrambling, but there is a lot of upward walking (3km of it!). Rest often and enjoy the dizzying views.
Start point Tafelberg Road
End point Upper Cableway Station
Duration Around 3 hours (one-way), though some ridiculously fit people have been known to run up the trail in an hour.
Good to know Platteklip is best avoided on a hot day, as there is little shade. Be prepared for extremes of temperature – bring a hat, sunblock and a warm windproof jacket (it can be cold on the summit, even in midsummer). If you plan to take the cable car down, ensure you reach the station before the last car leaves: 5pm (winter), 7pm (spring & early summer), 7.30pm (summer, except 15 December – 15 January when it leaves at 9pm).
Important note SANParks has informed us that many rescues are undertaken at this site, as people underestimate the heat/weather and level of fitness required, or they miss the last cable car and end up stranded on the mountain at night.
Child-friendly? Yes, older kids, although take note of the above.
Dog-friendly? Not recommended, as they struggle in the heat (and are not allowed to ride in the cable car).
Guided option? Yes, from R950 per person.
Book Directly
Contact 021 422 1601 (SANParks Kloofnek Office)
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417, 107 or 021 937 0300
Cableway weather/operational updates: 021 424 8181

The Pipe Track

Hiking Trails Western Cape: The Pipe Track
@max8smith

This 6km trail along the western side of Table Mountain is not only mesmerisingly beautiful (thanks to the sea view, and blooming proteas in winter), it also has an interesting story – it was built for the purpose of servicing a pipeline that used to supply 19th-century Cape Town with water from the Disa Gorge. The route is mostly flat and easygoing, although it becomes slightly tougher after passing by Slangolie Ravine.
Start + end point Parking lot at the junction of Tafelberg and Kloof Nek Roads.
Duration 4 hours (there and back).
Good to know The Pipe Track can be tough on hot days, as large portions of it are exposed to the afternoon sun. There are a number of trails that lead off the Pipe Track, but these should not be attempted without a mountain guide. Many are not beginner-friendly, and not recommended for children or dogs (whereas the Pipe Track itself is). If you have a guide, head for Tranquility Cracks, a hidden gem that Capetonian hikers have only recently discovered (see below).
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? Yes, with a SANParks Level 1 My Activity Permit (R320 for a year), obtainable from the Tokai Plantation Office (021 712 7471).
Contact 021 422 1601 (SANParks Kloofnek Office)
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417, 107 or 021 937 0300

Maclear’s Beacon

Hiking Trails Western Cape: Maclear's Beacon
@ambzjones

At 21 metres above the Upper Cableway Station, Maclear’s Beacon is the official highest point on Table Mountain (1 088m) – and therefore, the highest you can get in Cape Town. Plaques at the cableway station point you towards the beginning of the hike, and from there the 5.5km trail is marked by yellow footprints. If you do the Platteklip and Maclear’s Beacon trails in one go, then you can truly say you’ve hiked from the bottom of Table Mountain to the very top!
Start point Upper Cableway Station
End point Maclear’s Beacon
Duration 2 hours (there and back)
Good to know There is a short section of rocky steps on the edge of the mountain that needs to be negotiated using chains and handholds. Do not attempt this trail in cloudy or misty weather, as it becomes disorientating and more difficult to find your way. If taking the cable car, buy tickets online to avoid the queues: return R320 – R390 (adult), R160 – R190 (child); one-way R210 (adult), R110 (child) – prices depend on time of trip, with the afternoon being cheaper.
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? No (and they are not permitted in the cable car).
Contact 021 422 1601 (SANParks Kloofnek Office), 021 712 7471 (SANParks Tokai Office)
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417, 107 or 021 937 0300
Cableway weather/operational updates: 021 424 8181

Devil’s Peak

Hiking Trails Cape Town Devils Peak

Aside from having a really cool name, Devil’s Peak offers numerous vantage points for gazing out over the cityscape from the bay to the foot of the mountain. It’s especially exhilarating to walk along The Saddle – the section that connects Devil’s Peak and Table Mountain; from there you ascend to the peak’s summit at 1 000 metres and are rewarded with incredible panoramic views. There are three possible paths, with the Tafelberg Road route (2.8km) best suited to beginners. The Mowbray Ridge route (5km), which starts at Rhodes Memorial, is a more tricky ascent, traversing the Knife Edge; the Newlands Ravine route (3.9km) is challenging but well shaded by beautiful indigenous forest.
Start + end point Tafelberg Road (2.5km from the Lower Cable Station) / Rhodes Memorial (via King’s Blockhouse for Mowbray Ridge or the Contour Path for Newlands Ravine)
Duration 4 – 5 hours
Need to know Hold onto your hats, it gets gusty up top! The strong icy winds can cause a drop in temperature of 10˚C. The closer you get to the summit, the trickier the hiking becomes, with some scrambling needed. The Knife’s Edge is not for those with vertigo.
Good to know Legend tells of a Dutch pirate named Van Hunks, who liked to sit on the mountain and smoke his pipe. One day he came upon a stranger dressed in black, sitting in his usual spot. The stranger, whose face was hidden beneath a wide-brimmed hat, challenged Van Hunks to a contest to see who could smoke his pipe the longest. As the two of them puffed away, a huge cloud of smoke covered the mountain like a tablecloth. Van Hunks finally admitted defeat, only for his opponent to reveal his true identity: he was none other than the Devil himself. So when you see clouds billowing over Devil’s Peak, remember the tale of Van Hunks. Perhaps he and the Devil are in their usual spot, puffing away at their pipes for all eternity.
Child-friendly? Yes, older kids should be fine on the Tafelberg route.
Dog-friendly? Yes, with a SANParks Level 1 My Activity Permit (R320 for a year), obtainable from the Tokai Plantation Office (021 712 7471).
Contact 021 422 1601 (SANParks Kloofnek Office)
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417, 107 or 021 937 0300

Skeleton Gorge

Hiking Trails Cape Town Skeleton Gorge

This 7km hike basically takes you from one side of Table Mountain to the other. Starting off in Kirstenbosch Gardens, you simply head up Smuts Track and Skeleton Gorge, where the enchanting forest provides shade for the first half of the hike. Along the way, you’ll encounter a stream, typical mountain fynbos and some interesting rock formations, before arriving at the top. Head straight to see the Hely-Hutchinson Reservoir with its white-sand beach, head left to access Nursery Ravine (a good alternative for going back down), or head right to Maclear’s Beacon, the highest point on the mountain, where you can take a well-earned rest and enjoy panoramic views of the city, ocean and Robben Island.
Start point Fragrance Garden, Kirstenbosch Gardens, Newlands
End point Maclear’s Beacon
Duration 2 – 3 hours, depending on your level of fitness (one-way)
Need to know This is a long and steep hike, with ladders to assist climbers to the top and a rockfall to overcome, meaning you must be fit. Parts of the gorge can be quite slippery, even during summer. Avoid this route during and after heavy rainfall. The entry fee for Kirstenbosch is R90 (SA + SADC nationals with ID); R130 (African nationals); R210 (international adult); all children pay R30. Kirstenbosch opens at 8am and closes at 7pm (6pm winter).
Good to know To get back down off the mountain, you can follow the Maclear’s Beacon hike (see above) to the Upper Cableway Station or, for an easier descent, go via Nursery Ravine – an alternative route that joins up with the Skeleton Gorge trail. This makes them a popular pairing, with one trail being used for the ascent and the other for the descent.
Child-friendly? Yes, for older kids, but it is hard going.
Dog-friendly? No
Guided option? Yes, from R1 300 per person.
Book Directly
Contact 021 422 1601 (SANParks Kloofnek Office), 021 712 7471 (SANParks Tokai Office)
Kirstenbosch: 021 799 8783, kirstenboschinfo@sanbi.org.za
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417, 107 or 021 937 0300

Constantia Nek to Kirstenbosch

Hiking Trails Western Cape: Constantia Nek to Kirstenbosch
@kate_elizabeth_alcock

A relatively easy 6km walk on a dirt path along the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, it is mostly flat with a few uphills in the beginning and downhill at the end. Along the way you’ll enjoy the greenery of the Cecilia Forest, cross several streams over wooden bridges, pass lush ravines and gorges hiding waterfalls, and have an aerial perspective over the Constantia Winelands and Kirstenbosch and views as far as False Bay. Best of all, you can finish with a picnic or lunch in the beautiful gardens.
Start point Constantia Nek parking area, off Rhodes Drive
End point Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Need to know The walk starts on jeep track, then joins the Contour Path around half an hour into the walk (take the path marked ‘Contour Path/Nursery Ravine’). Continue on the Contour Path until you reach the signpost for Skeleton Gorge – don’t head up, but down along Smuts Track, to get to Kirstenbosch.
Duration 2 – 3 hours
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? Yes, on a leash – but dogs are not allowed in Kirstenbosch. You can continue along the Contour Path to Newlands Forest, or even around the front of the mountain to Tafelberg Road.
Guided option? Yes, from R950 per person.
Book Directly
Contact 021 712 7471 (SANParks Tokai Office)
Kirstenbosch: 021 799 8783, kirstenboschinfo@sanbi.org.za
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417, 107 or 021 937 0300

Kasteelspoort

Hiking Trails Western Cape: Kasteelspoort

We love the 6.5km Kasteelspoort Trail for its alternative western access to the top of Table Mountain along a section of the Twelve Apostles  – not to mention the stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and beautiful fynbos flora. Once at the top, there are paths leading to different points of interest – such as the Diving Board (a rocky ledge popular for photos), the remains of the old 1890s steam-engine cableway (used to haul supplies up to the summit to build the two dams) and the two reservoirs themselves. To take the cable car back down, you’ll need to make the undulating trek through the Valley of the Red Gods (disa flowers) and Echo Valley – and discover that the top of Table Mountain is definitely not flat!
Start point On the Pipe Track (via the Theresa Avenue jeep track above Camps Bay; turn left once on the track to access the signposted trailhead).
End point Top of Table Mountain (Woodhead and Hely-Hutchinson Reservoirs / Upper Cableway Station)
Duration 4 – 5 hours
Need to know The hike is largely exposed to the sun and can be challenging, so not for novices without a guide – there is a short section at the foot of Kasteels Buttress that requires some scrambling over rocks, you’ll need to negotiate three ladders to reach the summit, and the ravine itself can be quite slippery (especially after rain). Beware of Table Mountain’s infamous cloudy ‘tablecloth’ moving in and covering the summit.
Child-friendly? No
Dog-friendly? No
Guided option? Yes, from R950 per person.
Book Directly
Contact 021 422 1601 (SANParks Kloofnek Office)
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417, 107 or 021 937 0300

Tranquility Cracks

Hiking Trails Western Cape: Tranquility Cracks
Dale Corin

The Cracks themselves are a number of caves, caverns and thin slits in the rocks on the Twelve Apostles side of Table Mountain. Some of the fissures are quite deep and interlinked, creating a maze of corridors – yellowwood trees and bushes hide the entrance so this precious mystery is not visible from the outside. The simplest and safest route is via steep, sometimes tricky Corridor Ravine, which starts on the well-marked Pipe Track trail above Camps Bay. This ascent to the top follows clear paths but once on top, take a left at the cairn and from there it can be a guessing game to find an ‘entrance crack’ – best take a guide or someone who knows the route to get you to your goal.
Start + end point Theresa Avenue entrance to Pipe Track above Camps Bay.
Duration 5 hours
Need to know This is a challenging 6km hike, not recommended for the unfit or novice. The Corridor is steep, with loose stones and can be slippery. Sections of the path are quite narrow. Many hikers use the nearby Kasteelspoort Trai (see above)l to get back down.
Child-friendly? No
Dog-friendly? No
Contact 021 422 1601 (SANParks Kloofnek Office)
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417, 107 or 021 937 0300

Other Cape Town hikes

Chapman’s Peak

Hiking Trails Cape Town Chapmans Peak

Starting midway along the iconic Chapman’s Peak Drive, this relatively short 4.6km trail (up and down) offers the opportunity for roadtrippers to stretch their legs and really take in the scenery, and be rewarded with some of the best views in Cape Town from 595 metres above sea level – of Hout Bay’s Karbonkelberg, Klein Leeukoppie and the Sentinel peaks, the Noordhoek and Fish Hoek valleys, and extending as far as Cape Point. Along the way, you’ll climb up a river valley and pass fields of proteas and ericas. It’s especially popular in the late afternoon, to catch the sunset, when the sandstone reflects the rosy hues of the sun.
Start + end point Chapman’s Peak Drive turnaround-point toll booth
Duration 2 – 3 hours
Need to know You will need to get a free day pass at the toll booth for parking and access to the hiking trail – the pass is valid from 6am – 8pm (summer) or 7am – 6.30pm (winter). Also, remember to take a warm top or jacket – Cape weather is unpredictable and it can be windy at the top. The trail is mostly rocky steps, with a bit of rock scrambling to reach the beacon at the summit.
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? Yes, with a SANParks Level 1 My Activity Permit (R320 for a year), obtainable from the Tokai Office.
Contact 021 712 7471 (SANParks Tokai Office)
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417, 107 or 021 937 0300
Chapman’s Peak Toll Plaza: 021 791 8220, info@chapmanspeakdrive.co.za

Elephants Eye (Silvermine)

Hiking Trails Western Cape: Elephant's Eye

This section of the Constantiaberg resembles an elephant’s head and there’s a cave precisely where the eye would be. Hiking to the Eye is easy enough and for much of the 5km there-and-back route you’re steeped in fynbos-smothered wilderness. What starts as a wide jeep track, with several short cuts and sidetracks to viewpoints along the way, turns into a contour path with a wee bit of scrambling as you approach the Eye. The cave itself – huge and deep, slightly mystical, moss-covered and fern-bedecked – affords a beautifully framed view of the Constantia Winelands and beyond.
Start + end point Silvermine Reserve parking area (Gate 1), Ou Kaapse Weg (M3), above Tokai.
Duration 2 hours
Need to know There’s also a lovely reservoir to cool off in when you’re done with the hike. The reserve is open from 7am – 5pm (summer) and 8am – 4pm (winter). There is an entrance fee: R36 (adult), R18 (child); R72 (SADC adult with passport), R36 (SADC child); R144 (international adult), R72 (international child). There is also a parking fee of R25 per vehicle. No credit card facilities at this entrance gate.
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? Yes, with a SANParks Level 1 My Activity Permit (R320 for a year), obtainable from the Tokai Office.
Contact 021 780 9002 (Silvermine gate)
021 712 7471 (SANParks Tokai Office)
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417, 107 or 021 937 0300

Elsie’s Peak

Hiking Trials Western Cape: Elsie's Peak
Jon Kerrin

This easy, circular 4.2km hike in the Peninsula’s deep south goes up towards the radio mast atop a peak named for its indigenous rooiels (butterspoon) trees. Access is very simple (and the trail clearly defined, with rock steps in sections), and possible from either Fish Hoek or Glencairn. Be prepared for cold wind and a few steepish sections, but what you’ll remember most vividly is the herby scent of fynbos and the vast panoramas; from the top, you’ll see all of False Bay as far as Strand and Gordon’s Bay.
Start and end point Berg/Mountain Road, Fish Hoek; or Golconda Street, Glencairn Heights
Duration 2 – 3 hours
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? Yes
Contact 021 712 7471 (SANParks Tokai Office)
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417, 107 or 021 937 0300

Lighthouse Keeper’s Trail

Hiking Trails Western Cape: Lighthouse Keeper's Trail

Aside from the baboons and crashing waves, the other thrill at Cape Point itself is this dramatic path, which affords invigorating high-angle views of the rocky cliffs that drop away to a wild, battered coastline, with animal sightings possible along the way. It’s overlooked by most tourists rushing to get to their next stop, but at 3.4km, it’s an easy walk along a narrow path, with historical bunkers, two lighthouses (old and new), thick fynbos and some of that world’s-end atmosphere that makes Cape Point so special.
Start + end point Behind the Upper Funicular Station (at the lighthouse).
Duration 1 hour
Need to know Park at Cape Point’s main parking lot and walk up to the station, or catch the 3-minute funicular to save energy and time (R85 adults, R45 children + teens). Do not approach or feed the baboons, and back away slowly if you encounter one on the path. The reserve gates close at 6pm (5pm in winter). There is an entry fee of R90 (adults), R45 (children); R180 (SADC adults with passport), R90 (SADC children with passport); R360 (international adults); R180 (international children). No cash, cards only.
Good to know The surrounding Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve offers several other day hiking trails, including the Shipwreck Trail along the beach at Olifantsbos, the Kanonkop Trail and Gifkommetjie Trail. Also see below.
Child-friendly? Yes, plus the ride in the funicular will be fun.
Dog-friendly? No, they are not allowed in the reserve.
Contact 021 712 7471 (Cape Point Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre)
021 712 7471 (SANParks Tokai Office)
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417, 107 or 021 937 0300

Farmer’s Cliffs Trail

Hiking Trails Cape Town Famers Cliffs

This easy-to-follow 8km stone path in the Cape Point Nature Reserve reveals fantastic views that cannot be seen from your car. The path winds up and down a number of hills – including Kanonkop, with its cannon used back in the day to warn Simon’s Town of approaching ships – with some rock climbing (or boulder hopping, if you prefer). You might be fortunate to spot some beachcombing ostriches, bontebok or baboons. The hike can be done in either direction, but we recommend ending at Buffels Bay beach, where you’ll find a glorious tidal pool, ablution block and braai area.
Start point South end of Smitswinkel Viewpoint parking area, just under 1km from Cape Point Reserve entrance gate.
End point Buffels Bay beach
Duration 3 hours
Need to know There isn’t much shade, so wear sunblock and a hat and bring plenty of water. Take two cars, leave one at Buffels Bay (6km from entrance gate) and take the other to the starting point, otherwise you’ll have a long walk there and back in the hot sun. The reserve gates close at 6pm (5pm in winter). There is an entry fee of R90 (adults), R45 (children); R180 (SADC adults with passport), R90 (SADC children with passport); R360 (international adults); R180 (international children). No cash, cards only.
Child-friendly? Yes, but it is a very long hike for them.
Dog-friendly? No
Contact 021 712 7471 (Cape Point Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre)
021 712 7471 (SANParks Tokai Office)
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417, 107 or 021 937 0300

Orange Kloof

Hiking Trails Western Cape: Orange Kloof
@audreypollack

This pristine wonderland is hidden behind Table Mountain (on the south side), and above Hout Bay. What makes it extra-special is that access is restricted – it’s the only hiking area in Cape Town where a permit is required. The 8km Disa River Gorge trail heads upriver, past waterfalls and river pools and through mossy, mysterious afromontane forest, until it reaches the top of Table Mountain. Along the way you can explore the 19th-century Woodhead Tunnel (built to convey water to the Pipe Track).
Start + end point Constantia Nek parking area, Rhodes Drive (starting on the Cecilia Forest jeep track).
Duration 8 hours (full day)
Need to know The permit is free but needs to be booked in advance – only one permit is issued per day, for maximum 12 people. The group also needs to be accompanied by a registered mountain guide. Hikers need to be fairly fit, as there is quite a bit of rock scrambling and ledge walking, and it can be slippery.
Good to know If you fancy staying overnight on Table Mountain, the Overseer’s Cottage is close by (from R3 340 per night for 6 people; sleeps 16). Book through SANParks.
Child-friendly? Yes, older children.
Dog-friendly? No
Contact Permits: 021 422 1601 (SANParks Kloofnek Office)
021 712 7471 (SANParks Tokai Office)
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417, 107 or 021 937 0300

Tygerberg Nature Reserve

Hiking Trials Western Cape: Tygerberg Nature Reserve
@love_jowee

Hidden among the hills in Cape Town’s northern suburbs, this nature haven offers an easy escape from the urban sprawl. Blessed with a rich diversity of plant, bird and animal life, this 388-hectare reserve offers spectacular views (including, for plane-spotters, close-ups of jumbo jets coming in to land at the airport!) There is a network of 13 well-marked, interconnecting trails, in some cases leading to panoramic views of Table Mountain, Robben Island and, in clear conditions, even the False Bay coastline. For maximum elevation, take the Golden Mole trail or the Ukhetshe trail that runs along the edge of the mountain. And with over 500 plant species, the spring flower displays are a spectacle.
Start + end point Info Centre at Tygerberg Nature Reserve, 1 Totius Road, Welgemoed
Duration Varies, from 380m to 3.6km
Good to know The trails are easy to moderate and great for families. There is also a wheelchair-friendly trail, close to the picnic area. There’s not a lot of shade, so take plenty of water, wear a hat and sunblock, and warm clothing in winter as it gets quite chilly up top. The reserve opens at 7.30am and closes at 6pm (7pm on weekends).
Child-friendly? Yes, especially if they like critters like tortoises and chameleons.
Dog-friendly? No
Cost R20 (adults); R10 (under-18s)
Free for babies/toddlers and Friends of the Reserve (with proof of membership)
Contact 021 444 8971, tygerberg.naturereserve@capetown.gov.za

Blaauwberg Nature Reserve

Hiking Trials Western Cape: Blaauwberg Nature Reserve
@stephan_barnard

This little-known reserve was recently declared a Provincial Heritage site, due to its extremely rare pockets of indigenous flora and its history (from ancient KhoiSan shell middens and old kraals to the 1806 Battle of Blouberg and WWII radar station). It has two hiking trails – the 4.4km Coastal Dune Trail is open to the public. As it marks the start of West Coast vegetation (famous for its spring wildflower displays), the reserve bursts into colour at that time of year, with over 560 species. There is a pocket guide available to help you identify the different flowers. Afterwards, settle in for a beachside picnic or braai at Eerste Steen (open until 7pm in summer or 5pm in winter).
Start + end point Enviro Centre at Eerstesteen Resort, Otto du Plessis Drive (M14), just outside Bloubergstrand.
Duration 1.5 hours
Need to know Entry to Eerstesteen costs R25 (vehicle), R17 (adult) and R10 (child). The Coastal Trail is easy, with no hills or steep descents, but it is quite exposed to the elements. Due to its proximity to urban areas, there is a risk of criminal activity. Do not hike alone and do not display valuables – the safest option is to join a Botanical Walk (once a month on Saturdays) with a knowledgeable flora guide. There is also a second hike, the 7.3km Two Hills Trail, which is opened once a month for a guided history-focused walk.
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? No
Contact 021 444 0454, blaauwberg.naturereserve@capetowngov.za
Friends of Blaauwberg Conservation Area: hike@bca.org.za
Emergency: 021 480 7700

Hiking trails around the Cape

Jonkershoek Nature Reserve

Hiking Trails Cape Town Jonkershoek

This stunningly beautiful nature reserve, in the rugged mountains just outside the historic town of Stellenbosch, is where locals go for waterfall-soaked adventures. It offers four hiking trails, including the invigorating 18km Swartboskloof Trail, which ascends to the top of Kurktrekkernek and then back down past a waterfall, where you can cool off. The 17km Panorama Circuit, as its name suggests, has wonderful views, lofty climbs (including to the top of Guardian Peak – from which you can spot Table Mountain and the Peninsula), and two waterfalls. Tweede Waterval is an easier, out-and-back 6.4km walk along the river and past the first waterfall, then a steep climb to the second. Alternatively, you could take the easygoing 5.3km Swartboskloof to Sosyskloof circuit through indigenous forest.
Start + end point Various trailheads on the Circular Drive at Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, Jonkershoek Road, Stellenbosch
Duration Swartboskloof Trail: 6 hours (start before 10am)
Panorama Circuit: 6 hours (start before 10am)
Swartboskloof to Sosykloof: 2 – 2.5 hours (start before 12pm)
Tweede Waterval: 2 hours (start before 2pm)
Need to know Some of the paths can be quite slippery when wet, so tread carefully. The waterfalls are even more spectacular in winter, but rather chilly for swimming! Reserve gates close at 6pm. All CapeNature reserves require visitors to purchase a permit to access hiking trails: R50 (adults) and R30 (children).
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? No
Contact Permits: 087 087 8250, reservation.alert@capenature.co.za
Jonkershoek office: 087 087 4118
Emergency: 021 937 0300

Bobbejaans River Trail

Hiking Trails Western Cape: Bobbejaans River Trail
@riathaterblanche

Situated in the scenic Limietberg Nature Reserve, between Wellington and Worcester, this 9km trail takes you along the river that gives it its name, eventually ending at a majestic three-tiered waterfall. About halfway, you’ll cross the Witte River, where you can take a refreshing dip in its pools. It’s an especially pretty trail in summer, when you’ll be walking amid proteas and disas. There are four other riverside hiking trails in the reserve, including the easy, family-friendly Happy Valley Trail and “semi-kloofing” Rockhopper Trail, plus the stunning Krom River Trail. It’s also the location of the Tweede Tol braai/picnic and campsite.
Start + end point Bainskloof Lodge parking area near De Nek/Eerste Tol on Bainskloof Pass (R301).
Duration 5 hours
Need to know The trail is not recommended during winter, as the Witte River can become quite rough following heavy rainfall. All CapeNature reserves require visitors to purchase a permit to access hiking trails: R50 (adults) and R30 (children).
Child-friendly? Suitable for fit teenagers.
Dog-friendly? No
Contact Permits: 087 087 8250, reservation.alert@capenature.co.za
Limietberg office: 021 871 1535
Emergencies: 021 871 1535/6 (weekdays); 082 494 9707 (weekends)

Paarl Rock

Hiking Trails Western Cape: Paarl Rock

This 4km trail takes you to the top of the large granite rock that looms above Paarl (and which gives the town its name – and the second-largest on the planet). It offers views of flourishing fynbos fields, the winelands and the mountains beyond. From here, it’s a short hike to the summit of a second, even larger formation known as Bretagna Rock, and along the way you’ll pass a cannon that was once used to signal the arrival of ships in Table Bay. From Bretagna Rock, a wooden walkway leads to a secret cave and a patch of forest. Feel free to explore the numerous other footpaths that wind throughout the beautiful reserve and, once you’re done, enjoy a packed lunch in the picnic area.
Start + end point Meulwater braai and picnic area, Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve, 6 Jan Phillips Mountain Drive, off R45, Paarl
Duration 2 hours
Need to know The surface of these large ‘pearl rocks’ can be slippery, so don’t venture too close to the edge! (Needless to say, not a good idea in wet weather.) The reserve is free to enter on weekdays; on weekends it costs R25 per person (cash only, no cards). The reserve’s opening hours are 7am – 7pm (6pm in winter). The gravel road up to the starting point is quite rough and winding, so drive carefully.
Child-friendly? Yes, but not Bretagna Rock.
Dog-friendly? No
Contact 021 807 6231 / 073 748 6325, Lindsay.Lewis@drakenstein.gov.za 
Emergency: 021 872 2323

Jason’s Hill Hiking Route

Hiking Trails Cape Town Jasons Hill

Not only does Jason’s Hill Private Cellar produce award-winning Breedekloof wines, it also gives visitors effortless access to the splendour of the Slanghoek Mountains. The estate’s 6.6km circular hiking route offers gorgeous scenery, a fresh mountain stream, two waterfalls and abundant fynbos and birdlife (plus perhaps a sprinkling of snow in winter) – perfect for wine lovers who are also nature lovers. They can reward their efforts with a wine-tasting afterwards.
Start + end point Jason’s Hill Private Cellar, Slanghoek Road, Rawsonville
Duration 4 hours
Need to know The hike is quite rugged and requires caution. It should be started before 1pm and hikers need to register at the reception desk and pay R50. The estate is open 8am – 5pm on weekdays and 10am – 3pm on Saturdays.
Child-friendly? Yes, with parental supervision.
Dog-friendly? No (although the farm dogs may decide to join you).
Contact 023 344 3256, info@jasonshill.co.za

Grotto Bay

Hiking Trails Western Cape: Grotto Bay
@workc_ation

The residents of this private nature reserve/housing estate, nestled on the West Coast near Yzerfontein, set up and maintain four hiking trails in their little patch of paradise. Protecting strandveld fynbos (which bursts into colour in spring), it is the coastal scenery that’s the big drawcard – coves, bays, rock formations, cliffs, pebble beaches, dunes and the pristine white sands of Long Beach stretching all the way to Yzerfontein. Some trails pass waterholes and pans filled with birds, and buck, tortoises and wild ostriches may be spotted inland. The reserve also has an African black oystercatcher conservation and breeding programme on Long Beach.
Start + end point Gate house at Grotto Bay Private Nature Reserve, Grotto Drive, off R27, West Coast
Duration 2 – 5 hours, depending on the trail (from 3km to 15km)
Need to know There’s no charge, but day visitors must register at the gate house at the entrance. Bring your own picnic and make a day of it in a sheltered bay.
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? No
Contact 022 492 3752 (gate)
083 680 0341, manager@grottobay.org

Kogelberg Trail

Hiking Trails Western Cape: Kogelberg Trail
Hiking South Africa

Rich plant life, majestic mountain peaks and the cool waters of the Palmiet River make the Kogelberg Nature Reserve a favoured destination for hikers. The above-mentioned trail is a circular route that covers roughly 24km, as it takes hikers deep into the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom, along three rivers, through an indigenous forest and up into the high fynbos fields with ocean views. Or you could try the 10km Palmiet River Hike for a more easygoing adventure.
Start + end point Kogelberg Nature Reserve office parking lot, R44 between Betty’s Bay and Kleinmond
Duration 8 hours
Need to know The trail is not difficult and has no scrambling, but it is long, so hikers are advised to start around 8am. The gates close at 6pm. All CapeNature reserves require visitors to purchase a permit to access hiking trails: R50 (adults). There are wonderful eco-cabins if you want to stay overnight.
Child-friendly? No, as the trail is quite long.
Dog-friendly? Dogs are not allowed in CapeNature reserves.
Contact Permits: 087 087 8250, reservation.alert@capenature.co.za
Reserve office: 087 288 0499
Emergency: 082 783 8585

Boesmanskloof

Hiking Trails Western Cape: Boesmanskloof
Kellie Paxian

Whereas one would have to drive around the Riviersonderend Mountains to get from Greyton to McGregor (a detour of 96km), the 14km Boesmanskloof Trail takes you as the crow flies, through steep gorges, up to a 650-metre-high viewing point, past rock pools and the beautiful Oakes Falls, all the way spotting a variety of fauna and flora.
Start + end point Greyton (Greyton Nature Reserve,Nerina Street) or McGregor (at Die Galg, 14km south of town – it has overnight facilities)
Duration 5 – 7 hours
Need to know The terrain is quite strenuous so you need to be fit. It can be hiked in one day, if you start around 7am, but you will need to arrange transport back to your starting point (be it Greyton or McGregor). Or you could stay overnight in either village and return via the same route the following day! All CapeNature reserves require visitors to purchase a permit to access hiking trails: R50 (adults); these are also obtainable from the tourism offices in the two towns.
Child-friendly? No
Dog-friendly? No
Contact Permits: 087 087 8250, reservation.alert@capenature.co.za;  info@boesmanskloofmcgregor.com
Emergency: 082 496 2448; Bernardo: 082 612 4623; Sandra 072 514 4209
Greyton Tourism: 028 254 9564/9414, McGregor Tourism: 023 625 1954;

Helderberg

Hiking Trails Western Cape: Helderberg

If you’ve been to Lourensford or Vergelegen wine estates in Somerset West, and gazed up at the mountains looming above them – and thought you’d like to explore them, here’s how. The Friends of the Helderberg Nature Reserve is the access point for eight hiking trails (graded from easy to strenuous, and measuring from 3km to 12.5km), offering adventures through beautiful flora and up the craggy heights of West Peak and the Dome, with exhilarating views over False Bay and the Winelands. The Protea Trail (6.2km) is especially good for a tantalising taste of the longer trails.
Start + end point Visitor Centre at Friends of the Helderberg Nature Reserve, Verster Avenue, Somerset West
Duration Depending on the trail, from 45 minutes to 8 hours.
Need to know Only one trail is a noncircular route, and three of the routes go outside of the reserve, into the wilderness and up to the top of the mountains (1 003m altitude). The Visitor Centre is a gold mine of information. The reserve is open daily from 7.30am to 7pm (5.30pm in winter, and 8pm in midsummer). The entry fee is R25 (adult), R15 (child, student or senior citizen). There are also regular three-hour guided themed walks (proteas, medicinal plants, fynbos, birds) and night walks.
Child-friendly? Yes, certain trails.
Dog-friendly? No
Contact 021 851 4060, info@helderbergnaturereserve.co.za
Emergency: 021 937 0300

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Disclaimer:

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: 28 April 2022

6 Responses to “The 25 Best Hiking Trails in and around Cape Town”

  1. Hettie Gets

    THANK YOU!!! Do you maybe know of any hikes in the Franschoek mountains, please?

    Reply
  2. Karen Johnson

    Please send info on group hikes and walks tx

    Reply
  3. Zainul Ally

    Hiking, athletic clubs, food

    Reply
  4. Stewart Flockhart

    Please could you inform us (@Weimaranerdukethe on Instagram) of the the Dog Friendly Hikes in and around Cape Town? 🙏

    Reply
  5. Hettie Gets

    THANK YOU for this awesome list! Lots of hikes I have never heard of… what about the Mt La Rochelle hike? There’s also the Chrystal Pools hike, Gordon’s Bay, which you might want to add to this wonderful list? But yes, this is a bottomless pit – how lucky can one be!!

    Could you possibly please put together a list of ‘DAY TRIPS FROM CAPE TOWN’? Things like Ardene’s Flower Farm, Dylan Lewis sculpture garden, etc etc etc etc etc? That would be hugely appreciated, as I can’t really find anything comprehensive online?

    Also, do you maybe know how I can organise a coastal walk around Robben Island, please?????????

    Thank you for your TOTALLY FABULOUS Guide – I use it all the time!

    Reply