The 20 Best Hiking Trails in Cape Town

The 20 Best Hiking Trails in 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 a forest or nature reserve, here’s our pick of the best hiking trails in Cape Town.

What’s your favourite trail in Cape Town? We’d love to hear from you 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 according to the slowest person in the group. Trails may be closed temporarily 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.

Platteklip Gorge

Cape Town Hiking Trails: Platteklip Gorge
@ramonmellett

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 can’t ride in the cable car).
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

Maclear’s Beacon

Cape Town Hiking Trails: Maclears 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! Signs 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 R395 (adult), R195 (child); one-way R220 (adult), R120 (child).
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? No (and they are not allowed 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

Lion’s Head

Cape Town Hiking Trails: Lions Head

No list of hikes would be complete without mentioning the distinct slope next to Table Mountain known as Lion’s Head. At 669m, it 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
Contact 021 422 1601 (SANParks Kloofnek Office)
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417, 107 or 021 937 0300

Devil’s Peak

Cape Town Hiking Trails: 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, Van Hunks, who liked to sit on the mountain and smoke his pipe. One day a stranger dressed in black was sitting in his usual spot. The stranger 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 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 My Activity Permit (R340 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

Kasteelspoort

Cape Town Hiking Trails: 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 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, in the process, 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
Contact 021 422 1601 (SANParks Kloofnek Office)
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417, 107 or 021 937 0300

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 Tranquillity Cracks, a hidden gem that Capetonian hikers have only recently discovered (see below).
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? Yes, with a SANParks My Activity Permit (R340 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

Tranquillity Cracks

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 the steep, sometimes tricky Corridor Ravine, which starts on the well-marked Pipe Track 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 the Pipe Track above Camps Bay.
Duration 5 hours
Need to know This is a challenging 6km hike, not recommended for the unfit or novices. The Corridor is steep, with loose stones and can be slippery. Sections of the path are quite narrow. Many hikers use the nearby Kasteelspoort Trail (see above) 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

Newlands Forest

Cape Town Hiking Trails: Newlands Forest
@dalebedford

If your ambitions are less mountain goat and more nimble antelope, this green, shady swathe on the eastern slopes of Table Mountain is your ideal playground. Explore a network of paths, with rocky patches, wooden boardwalks, streams, bridges, waterfalls and assorted nooks and crannies (including a lovely timber picnic carousel). Head up to the Contour Path via the Skelmkoppad and Fernwood Track or Middelpad, or to Rhodes Memorial on the Woodcutters Path (these are only the main routes, note – there are many other possibilities). Depending on which route you take, you may be treated to sunlit patches and bigger views, but mostly it’s a place to get lost in the serene greenery. The city will feel miles away.
Start point Parking lot near Newlands Fire Base, Union Avenue (M3), Newlands
End point Back where you started, or Rhodes Memorial or even Kirstenbosch (if you’ve followed the Contour Path).
Duration Varies, 1 – 4 hours
Need to know It’s open daily from 8am to 6pm, but is officially closed from June to September (due to winter rains). Go early, as it can get very busy. Have a map (take a snapshot of the sign at the start of trails) or an understanding of the network, as it’s easy to become disoriented.
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? Yes, with a SANParks My Activity Permit (R340 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

Cape Town Hiking Trails: Skeleton Gorge

This 7km hike basically takes you from one side of Table Mountain to the other. Starting off in Kirstenbosch Gardens, you 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 in summer. Avoid this route during and after heavy rainfall. The entry fee for Kirstenbosch is R100 (SA + SADC nationals with ID); R140 (African nationals); R220 (international adult); children (6 – 17) pay R40. Kirstenbosch opens at 8am and closes at 7pm (6pm winter).
Good to know 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 going up and the other for coming down. Alternatively, you can follow the Maclear’s Beacon hike (see above) to the Upper Cableway Station.
Child-friendly? Yes, for older kids, but it is hard going.
Dog-friendly? No
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

Cape Town Hiking Trails: Constantia Nek to Kirstenbosch
@passportpair

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 of 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 Garden
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 (see below), or even around the front of the mountain to Tafelberg Road.
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

Orange Kloof

Cape Town Hiking Trails: Orangekloof

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 for which 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 970 per night for six 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

Chapman’s Peak

Cape Town Hiking Trails: Chapmans Peak
@theblondeabroad

Starting midway along the iconic Chapman’s Peak Drive, this relatively short 4.6km trail (up and down) offers roadtrippers the opportunity to stretch their legs and really take in the scenery. They’ll 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, 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 some scrambling to reach the beacon at the summit.
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? Yes, with a SANParks My Activity Permit (R340 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

Noordhoek Panorama Circuit

Hikes: Noordhoek Panorama Circuit

If you think Chapman’s Peak Drive is spectacularly scenic, you’ll love this 21km route that takes you to where the real coastal views are – to the top of Chapman’s Peak (593 metres) and past Noordhoek Peak, then above Silvermine Dam, passing Spitskop, Bokkop and Dassenberg. There are several viewpoints with 360-degree panoramas, from Hout Bay to False Bay to the far end of the peninsula. You’ll also pass the ruins of the old 17th-century silver mine, and end your hike by walking through Noordhoek’s greenbelt. For trail runners, this is a great (half-marathon!) route.
Start + end point About 500 metres from the end of Chapman’s Peak Drive/M6 (Noordhoek side); look for the green cycling sign “Single File Please”. There is a parking area around the bend.
Duration 8 hours
Good to know The hike pretty much comes full circle at Noordhoek Farm Village, which has plenty of eateries to rest, refuel and reward yourself. There is a detailed map of the route on the free Forge app.
Child-friendly? Not really; it’s a long way and quite strenuous.
Dog-friendly? Yes
Contact info@nrpa.co.za (Noordhoek Ratepayers Association)
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417, 107 or 021 937 0300

Elephant’s Eye Cave

Cape Town Hiking Trails: Elephants Eye

This section of the Constantiaberg resembles an elephant’s head, with 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 Dam parking area, Silvermine Reserve (Gate 1), Ou Kaapse Weg (M3)
Duration 2 hours
Need to know There’s also the lovely Silvermine 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: R38 (adult), R19 (child); R76 (SADC adult with passport), R38 (SADC child); R152 (international adult), R76 (international child). No card facilities at this entrance gate.
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? Yes, with a SANParks My Activity Permit (R340 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

Noordhoek Peak

Cape Town Hiking Trails: Noordhoek Peak

The views from this lofty mountain (754m) are pretty spectacular. A 7km loop hike, you’ll head past the Silvermine dam wall and steadily up, up, up on a wide gravel track, each gain in elevation offering increasingly better views over the Peninsula – from Muizenberg and Zandvlei to Fish Hoek, Simon’s Town and Noordhoek-Kommetjie’s stretch of beautiful white beach. And just like that, you’ll be on the summit (indicated by a stone cairn), gazing out over all of Hout Bay, down on to Chapman’s Peak Drive and across to the Atlantic’s distant horizon.
Start + end point Silvermine Dam, Silvermine Reserve (Gate 1), Ou Kaapse Weg (M3)
Duration 2.5 – 3 hours
Need to know The peak is quite exposed and can be windy, so take care. This track is also used by mountain-bikers, so keep an eye out on blind corners. The reserve is open from 7am – 5pm (summer) and 8am – 4pm (winter). There is an entrance fee: R38 (adult), R19 (child); R76 (SADC adult with passport), R38 (SADC child); R152 (international adult), R76 (international child). No card facilities at this entrance gate.
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? Yes, with a SANParks My Activity Permit (R340 for a year), obtainable from the Tokai Plantation Office.
Contact 021 780 9002 (Silvermine gate)
021 712 7471 (SANParks Tokai Office)
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417, 107 or 021 937 0300

Silvermine River Walk

For a pleasant, peaceful amble, this circular route in the Silvermine Reserve – along the river from near the entrance gate to the reservoir – is perfect. The sound of water flowing (and birds singing) is the soundtrack to your stroll, the surroundings are green and pretty (the reserve has over 900 species of fynbos), passing through some keurboom forest, and you’ll cross a bridge over a small waterfall. This 5km hike includes stretches of jeep track, rocky bits (easy scrambling) and wooden boardwalk – including the final stretch around the dam. It’s a great multi-generational family option.
Start + end point Entrance gate parking area, Silvermine Reserve (Gate 1), Ou Kaapse Weg (M3).
Duration Around 2 hours
Need to know It’s possible to braai in the reserve in winter, so pack some supplies; park a second car nearer to the dam where the braai areas are situated. The reserve is open from 7am – 5pm (summer) and 8am – 4pm (winter). There is an entrance fee: R38 (adult), R19 (child); R76 (SADC adult with passport), R38 (SADC child); R152 (international adult), R76 (international child). No card facilities at this entrance gate.
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? Yes, with a SANParks My Activity Permit (R340 for a year), obtainable from the Tokai Plantation 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

Cape Town Hiking Trails: Elsies 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 winds 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 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

Farmer’s Cliffs Trail

Cape Town Hiking Trails: Farmers Cliffs

This easy-to-follow 8km stone path in the Cape of Good Hope 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, Main Road (M4)
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 R94 (adult), R47 (child); R188 (SADC adult with passport), R94 (SADC child); R376 (international adult); R188 (international child). 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

Lighthouse Keeper’s Trail

Cape Town Hiking Trails: Lighthouse Keepers

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 R94 (adult), R47 (child); R188 (SADC adult with passport), R94 (SADC child); R376 (international adult); R188 (international child). 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

Tygerberg Nature Reserve

Cape Town Hiking Trails: Tygerberg Nature Reserve

Hidden among the hills in Cape Town’s northern suburbs is a nature haven that 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, Totius Street, 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

Cape Town Hiking Trails: 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 wildflower displays), the reserve bursts into colour in spring, 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.
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), open until 7pm in summer or 5pm in winter. 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

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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: 05 April 2023

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6 Responses to “The 20 Best Hiking Trails in Cape Town”

  1. Olivia

    Please subscribe me

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  2. Rik De Decker

    Please subscribe me?
    Some awesome walks!

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  3. Flo

    So so helpful and informative thank you!

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  4. Iain

    May I please subscribe?

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    • The Inside Guide

      Hi Iain, we’ve subscribed you to our newsletter. Stay tuned for updates!

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  5. Kardess Kock

    Thank you for this information.

    Reply