The Best Hiking Trails in Cape Town 2018

The Best Hiking Trails in Cape Town 2018 Image: Jonkerhoek

From leisurely rambles to invigorating hikes, Cape Town has 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 city. So, lace up your hiking boots and get cracking… And, let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Important note Although the Cape is rich in natural beauty, tourists and locals are urged to take necessary precautions when exploring secluded areas, as crimes and accidents do happen.
Those venturing into the Table Mountain National Park should have the following emergency numbers on hand: 086 110 6417/ 107 or 021 480 7700. Criminal incidents should be reported to the nearest police station as soon as able.
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.

It helps to have a map, and for that, SANParks and The Inside Guide recommends Slingsby Maps as an essential resource for hiking enthusiasts. Detailed maps of some of the Cape’s best hiking trails are available, including the Pipe Track, Cape Point and the Cederberg. Contact Slingsby Maps at 021 788 4545 for more information.

Hiking trails in Cape Town
Hiking trails around the Cape

Hiking Trails in Cape Town

These hikes are within easy reach of town, and will take you far above the bustle of city life.

1. Lion’s Head

Hiking Tails Cape Town Lions Head

The distinct slope next to Table Mountain known as Lion’s Head offers magnificent views of the city, Table Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, making it a top spot for Instagrammers.
Starting and ending point Signal Hill Road, at the base of the Forestry Road.
Duration 2 – 3 hours
Need to know You will have to do some climbing, however there are handholds and chains to assist you. If, like me, you’d prefer to avoid the climbing, a roundabout route (that’s still quite steep) adds half an hour to your hike.
Child-friendly? Yes, although they’ll probably want to avoid the climbing chains (and rock scrambling near the end of the trail)
Dog-friendly? No
Contact 021 422 1601 (Kloofnek Office)
021 712 0527, Table.Mountain@sanparks.org
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417/ 107 or 021 480 7700
Location Lions Head

2. Platteklip Gorge

Hiking Tails Cape Town Platterklip Gorge
Ramon Mellett

Probably the second most well-known hiking trail in Cape Town (after Lion’s Head), Platteklip is not so easygoing, despite its popularity. Sure, there’s not much climbing or scrambling involved, but there’s a lot of upward walking, which probably makes it the ideal route for a workout. It provides a direct route to the summit of Table Mountain, for those who think taking the cable car is for lightweights.
Starting point Tafelberg Road
End point Upper Cableway Station
Duration 3 hours, though some ridiculously fit people have been known to run up the trail in an hour.
Need to know Platteklip is best avoided on a hot day, as there is little shade to be found along the trail.
Be prepared for all types of weather, and bring a hat, sunblock and jacket.
Proper hiking shoes are required; do not attempt this trail with slip-slops.
If you plan to take the cable car down, make note of operational times and ensure you reach the station before the last cable car leaves.
Important note SANParks has informed us that many rescues are performed at this site, as people underestimate the heat and the level of fitness required, or they miss the last cable car and end up stranded on the mountain at night. Please take the necessary precautions.
Child-friendly? Yes, although take note of the above.
Dog-friendly? Bringing dogs is not recommended on this trail, as they struggle in the heat.
Contact 021 712 0527, Table.Mountain@sanparks.org
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417/ 107 or 021 480 7700
Location Table Mountain National Park

3. The Pipe Track

Hiking Tails Cape Town Pipe Track
Red Bull South Africa

This trail is not only mesmerisingly beautiful, it also has an interesting history, in that it was built for the purpose of servicing a pipeline that used to supply 19th-century Cape Town with water from the Disa Gorge, hence its name…
Starting point The junction of Tafelberg Road and Kloof Nek (you can park your car in the Kloof Nek parking lot)
End point Camps Bay
Duration 4 hours. The route is easygoing, although it becomes slightly tougher after passing by Slangolie Ravine.
Good to know There are a number of trails that lead off the Pipe Track, but these should not be attempted without the assistance of a knowledgeable guide. Many of these trails are not beginner-friendly, and they are not recommended for children or dogs.
If you do have a guide, it’s recommended to visit Tranquility Cracks, a hidden gem that Capetonian hikers have only recently discovered. These are narrow, labyrinthine tunnels through the rock, formed naturally through erosion.
Need to know The Pipe Track can be tough on hot days, as large portions of it are exposed to the afternoon sun.
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? Yes, although the Table Mountain National Park is under the jurisdiction of SANParks, which requires that dog-walkers have a Level 1 My Activity Permit (R270 for a year). Contact Tokai Plantation Office (021 712 7471) for more information.
Contact 021 712 0527, Table.Mountain@sanparks.org
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417/ 107 or 021 480 7700
Location Table Mountain National Park

4. Maclear’s Beacon

Hiking Tails Cape Town Maclears Beacon
Lara in London

At 21 metres above the Upper Cableway Station, Maclear’s Beacon is the highest point on Table Mountain. Plaques at the Upper Cableway Station point you towards the beginning of the hike, and from thereon the 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 hiked from the bottom of Table Mountain to the very top.
Starting point Upper Cableway Station
End point Maclear’s Beacon
Duration 1 hour
Need to know SANParks does not recommend attempting this trail in cloudy or misty weather, as it becomes more difficult to find your way in such conditions.
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? No
Contact 021 712 0527, Table.Mountain@sanparks.org
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417/ 107 or 021 480 7700
Location Table Mountain National Park

5. Tygerberg Nature Reserve

Hiking Trails Cape Town Tygerberg

Hidden among the hills in Cape Town’s northern suburbs, this lush haven offers an easy escape from Bellville’s urban sprawl. Blessed with a rich diversity of plant and bird life, the 388-hectare Tygerberg Nature Reserve offers spectacular views of city, sea and mountain.
Well-marked hiking trails wind their way throughout the reserve, in some cases climbing up hills that offer unrivalled panoramic views of Cape Town. Table Mountain and Robben Island are both visible from this vantage point and, in clear conditions, you’ll be able to see the False Bay coastline.
Good to know Tygerberg Nature Reserve’s network of walking routes includes a wheelchair-friendly trail, close to the picnic area.
Starting and end point Tygerberg Nature Reserve entrance
Duration Varies
Need to know Be sure to take plenty of water, as the more rigorous trails can be quite testing. You’ll want to pack warm clothing in winter, as it gets quite chilly up top.
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? No
Cost R15 (adults)
R8 (under 18s, senior citizens, students)
Free (children under 3, Friends of the Reserve with proof of membership)
Contact 021 444 8971, tygerberg.naturereserve@capetown.gov.za
Location Tygerberg Nature Reserve, Totius Road, Welgemoed

6. Kasteelport Hiking Trail

Hiking Trails Cape Town Kasteelspoort

We love the Kasteelspoort Hiking Trail for its easy access to the mountain, and suitability to all fitness levels. Not to mention the the stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, Twelve Apostles, and Camps Bay. There are several paths leading to different points – such as the old Cableway Station and the two reservoirs – making each trek a different adventure.
Starting point Top of Theresa Avenue, Camps Bay / Top of Kloof Nek Road
End point Top of Table Mountain / The Woodhead and Helly-Hutchinson Reservoirs
Duration 3 – 4 hours
Need to know While the path is shady in places, it’s best get started in the early morning, and to bring a hat and plenty of water. There is a short section at the foot of Kasteels buttress that requires a certain level of scrambling over rocks, and Kasteelspoort Ravine can be quite slippery (especially after rain), so bring good, gripping shoes and be cautious.
Child-friendly? This trail is not recommended for children or novice hikers, as rock scrambling can be quite challenging at certain points.
Dog-friendly? No
Contact 021 712 0527, Table.Mountain@sanparks.org
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417/ 107 or 021 480 7700
Location  Table Mountain National Park

7. 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 upon the cityscape as it stretches from the bay to the foot of the mountain. It’s especially exhilarating to walk along the Saddle – the point that connects Devil’s Peak and Table Mountain; and from there you can ascend to the summit, where you’ll be rewarded with incredible panoramic views of Cape Town.
There are three possible routes to the Saddle, with the Tafelberg Road route being best suited to beginners. The Mowbray Ridge route, which starts at Rhodes Memorial, is considered a more tricky ascent; while the Newlands Ravine is challenging but well shaded.
Good to know Legend tells of a Dutch pirate named Jan Van Hunks, who liked to sit upon the mountain and smoke his pipe every so often. 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 is in his usual spot, together with the devil, the two of them puffing away at their pipes for all eternity.
Starting point and end point Tafelberg Road / Rhodes Memorial / Newlands Forest
Duration 4 hours
Need to know Hold onto your hats, it gets windy up top.
Child-friendly? No
Dog-friendly? Yes, although the Table Mountain National Park is under the jurisdiction of SANParks, which requires that dog-walkers have a Level 1 My Activity Permit (R270 for a year). Contact Tokai Plantation Office (021 712 7471) for more information.
Contact 021 712 0527, Table.Mountain@sanparks.org
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417/ 107 or 021 480 7700
Location  Table Mountain National Park

8. Skeleton Gorge

Hiking Trails Cape Town Skeleton Gorge
Bold Travel

This hike basically takes you from one side of Table Mountain to the other. Starting off in the the serene Kirstenbosch Gardens, you will arrive at the steep ascent of Skeleton Gorge where indigenous trees provide shade. Along the way, you’ll encounter a stream, typical mountain fynbos and some interesting rock formations before arriving at Maclear’s Beacon – the highest point on Table Mountain. Take a rest and enjoy panoramic views of the city and Robben Island.
Starting point Kirstenbosch Gardens
End point Maclear’s Beacon
Duration 2 – 4 hours (depending on your level of fitness)
Good to know Nursery Ravine provides an easier alternative route that also joins up with the Skeleton Gorge trail at certain points. This makes them a popular pairing, with one trail being used for ascent and the other (preferably Nursery Ravine) being used for descent.
Need to know This is a long hike with ladders to assist climbers to the top, and a rockfall to overcome, meaning you have to be extremely fit. Parts of the gorge can be quite slippery, even during summer. It’s recommended to avoid this route during and immediately after heavy rainfall.
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? No
Contact 021 712 0527, tablem@sanparks.org (Table Mountain National Park)
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417/ 107 or 021 480 7700
021 799 8899, Kirstenboschinfo@sanbi.org.za (Kirstenbosch)
Location Kirstenbosch

9. Chapman’s Peak

Hiking Trails Cape Town Chapmans Peak

Its (relatively) short distance and effortless terrain make this a popular trail. Starting at the toll booths, it offers great vantages of the the Fish Hoek and Hout Bay valleys, as well as Cape Point, Karbonkelberg and Klein Leeukoppie.
Starting and end point Chapman’s Peak toll booths
Duration 1 – 2 hours
Need to know You will need to get a day pass (request one at the toll booth, there is no charge) for safe parking and access to the hiking trail. Also, remember to take a warm top – Cape weather is unpredictable.
Child-friendly Yes
Dog-friendly? Yes, although the Table Mountain National Park is under the jurisdiction of SANParks, which requires that dog-walkers have a Level 1 My Activity Permit (R270 for a year). Contact Tokai Plantation Office (021 712 7471) for more information.
Contact 021 712 0527, tablem@sanparks.org (Table Mountain National Park)
021 791 8220, info@chapmanspeakdrive.co.za (Chapman’s Peak Drive)
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417/ 107 or 021 480 7700
Location Chapman’s Peak Drive

10. Constantia Nek to Kirstenbosch

Hiking Trails Cape Town Constantia Nek Kirstenbosch

A relatively easy walk on a dirt road and wooden track, it consists mainly of mild uphill sections, but is mostly downhill and flat. Along the way you will enjoy the greenery of Cecilia and Newlands forests and vast views of the slopes of Table Mountain, an aerial perspective of Kirstenbosch, and even views as far as the Cape Flats.
Starting point Constantia Nek
End point Kirstenbosch Gardens
Duration 2 hours
Need to know Guided walks can be booked in advance, and arranged to suit your interests and needs.
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? Dogs are not allowed in Kirstenbosch Gardens
Contact 021 712 0527, Table.Mountain@sanparks.org (Table Mountain National Park)
021 799 8899, Kirstenboschinfo@sanbi.org.za (Kirstenbosch)
TMNP emergency numbers: 086 110 6417/ 107 or 021 480 7700
Location Kirstenbosch

Hiking Trails around the Cape

1. Jonkershoek Nature Reserve

Hiking Trails Cape Town Jonkershoek

This lush nature reserve, situated near the historic town of Stellenbosch, offers four challenging hiking trails, including the invigorating Swartboskloof Trail, which ascends to the top of Kurktrekkernek, and then back down past a waterfall, where you can take a refreshing dip. Alternatively, you could take the more easygoing Swartboskloof to Sosyskloof hike.
Starting and end point Jonkershoek Nature Reserve
Duration Swartboskloof to Sosykloof: 2 – 2.5 hours
Swartboskloof Trail: 6 hours
Panorama Circuit: 6 hours
Tweede Waterval: 2 hours
Need to know Some of the paths can be quite slippery when wet, so tread carefully.
All CapeNature reserves require visitors to purchase a permit before they can access any of the hiking trails. Contact CapeNature to book your permits, or acquire them at the reserve office.
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? No
Cost CapeNature Permit: R40 (adults); R20 (children)
Contact 021 483 0190, reservation.alert@capenature.co.za
Location Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, Jonkershoek Road, Stellenbosch

2. Bobbejaans River Trail

Hiking Trails Cape Town Bbobbejaans
Keziah Fredericks

Situated in the scenic Limietberg Nature Reserve, this trail takes you above the river that gives it its name, eventually ending at a majestic waterfall. Along the way you’ll cross the Witte River, where you can take a refreshing dip in its cool waters.
Good to know There are several other hiking trails in the Limietberg Nature Reserve, including a two-day overnight trail. It’s also the location of the Tweede Tol campsite.
Starting and end point Bainskloof Corner Lodge parking area
Duration 6 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 before they can access any of the hiking trails. Contact CapeNature to book your permits, or acquire them at the reserve office.
Child-friendly? Suitable for teenagers, if they are fit.
Dog-friendly? No
Cost CapeNature Permit: R40 (adults); R20 (children)
Contact 021 808 5121 (Tweede Tol campsite)
082 494 9707 (emergency number)
021 483 0190, reservation.alert@capenature.co.za (booking enquiries)
Location Bainskloof Corner Lodge, Limietberg Nature Reserve

3. Paarl Rock

Hiking Trails Cape Town Paarl RockHiking Trails Cape Town Paarl Rock
Extreme Jogging

This hiking trail takes you to the top of a large granite rock that looms above the Paarl Mountain Reserve, offering views of flourishing fynbos fields and the mountains beyond. From here, it’s a short hike to the summit of a second, even larger rock formation known as Bretagna Rock, and along the way you’ll spot a cannon that was once used to signal the arrival of ships in Table Bay.
Feel free to explore the numerous footpaths that wind their way throughout the beautiful reserve and, once you’re done, reward yourself with a relaxing packed lunch in the picnic area.
Starting and end point Meulwater Day Braai and Picnic Site, Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve
Duration 2 hours
Child-friendly? Yes, although keep in mind that there are sections that are not suitable for prams, such as the rocky stairs. Prams can only be used if you are taking the jeep track to the top.
Dog-friendly? No
Cost R52 per vehicle
R17 per passenger (on weekends and public holidays)
Free (weekdays)
Contact 082 744 5900 / 082 335 0461, louiseR@drakenstein.gov.za
Location Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve, 6 Jan Phillips Mountain Drive, Paarl

4. Jason’s Hill Hiking Route

Hiking Trails Cape Town Jasons Hill

Not only does Jason’s Hill Private Cellar produce multi-award-winning wines, it also boasts a hiking route with enchanting scenery, straggling streams, wondrous waterfalls and abundant wildlife – all of which nature lovers can experience firsthand. The 6.5km trail departs from Jason’s Hill between 8am and 1pm – every Monday to Friday – and between 10am and 1pm on Saturdays.
Starting and end point Jason’s Hill Private Cellar
Duration 3 – 4 hours
Child-friendly? Yes, although children under 18 require parental supervision.
Dog-friendly? Dogs are not permitted on the hiking trail, although there are dogs on the farm who may decide to join.
Cost R30
Contact 023 344 3256, info@jasonshill.co.za
Location Jason’s Hill Private Cellar, Slanghoek Road, Slanghoek Valley, Rawsonville

5. Macassar Dunes

Hiking Trails Cape Town Macassar Dunes
Caleb Langton

Follow in the footsteps of the ancient San people, who lived and foraged along this coastline centuries ago. The Massacar Dunes Conservation Area has a rich biodiversity and, as the name implies, a mesmerising landscape of windswept sand dunes. Also to be found within the reserve: the last remaining forest of the endangered white milkwood trees.
Starting and end point Macassar Road, off Baden Powell Drive
Duration Your choice
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? No
Contact 021 400 3855, macassar.reserve@capetown.gov.za
Location Macassar Road, Macassar / Baden Powell Drive, Khayelitsha

6. Crystal Pools

Hiking Trails Cape Town Crystal Pools

This hiking trail is very doable for anyone who is reasonably fit, and slightly challenging for those who are not. The rockpools along the way, where you can cool down during your walk, make it well worth the slog. The half-day hike takes you through rocky, but generally flat, terrain, and all the way at the top is a wonderful waterfall. But it is quite a trek, so make sure you have plenty of snacks, water and energy to get there.
Starting and end point Steenbras Nature Reserve entrance
Duration 3 hours
Need to know The trail is only open from 1 November to 30 April.
Child-friendly? Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
Dog-friendly? No
Cost R65 per person (valid until June 2018)
Contact 021 444 6927, steenbras.naturereserve@capetown.gov.za
Bookings must be done via email, at least two working days before your visit
Emergency number: 021 957 4725
Location Faure Marine Drive R44, Steenbras Nature Reserve

7. Farmers Cliffs Trail

Hiking Trails Cape Town Famers Cliffs

This easy-to-follow 8km stone path boasts fantastic views that cannot be seen from a car (so take your smartphone or camera with you). The path winds up and down at various points, with some rock climbing (or boulder hopping if you prefer), with only the calls of the chacma baboons breaking the silence. Once at Buffels Bay beach you’ll find a tidal pool, ablution block and braai area.
Starting point Smitswinkel Viewpoint parking area
End point Buffels Bay beach in Cape Point Nature Reserve
Duration 3 hours
Good to know Take two cars and leave on at Buffels Bay, and take the other to the starting point at Smitswinkel Viewpoint, otherwise you’ll have a long walk there and back in the hot sun.
Need to know There isn’t much shade, so be sure to wear sunblock, bring a hat and plenty of water.
Child-friendly? Yes, but it is a very long hike for children to do.
Dog-friendly? No
Cost Entry into Cape Point: R145 (adults); R75 (children)
Contact 021 712 0527, Table.Mountain@sanparks.org
021 780 9010, info@capepoint.co.za (Cape Point)
Location Cape Point Nature Reserve

8. Cape Point Nature Reserve

Hiking Trails Cape Town Cape Point

Cape Point is a landform at the southeast corner of the Cape Peninsula, which runs north-south for about 30 kilometres at the extreme southwestern tip of Africa, and is often (mistakenly) cited as the point where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. There are a number of trails, ranging from two-hour to two-day hikes. The scenery along the way is diverse, and includes fynbos and fauna, shipwrecks, whales and vast stretches of empty beaches.
Starting and end point Varies
Duration 2 hours – 2 days (your choice)
Cost Entry into Cape Point: R145 (adults) and R75 (child)
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? No
Contact 021 712 0527, Table.Mountain@sanparks.org
021 780 9010, info@capepoint.co.za (Cape Point)
Location Cape Point Nature Reserve

9. Boesmanskloof

Hiking Trails Cape Town Boesmanskloof

How convenient are mountain passes! Back in the day, if there was a mountain in the way, you’d have to walk over it! Jokes aside, this hike allows you to do exactly that. Where travellers would normally have to drive around the Riviersonderend mountain range to get from Greyton to McGregor, the Boesmanskloof trail takes you right through it, passing by the beautiful Oakes Falls on the way and granting you the opportunity to spot a variety of mountain-dwelling flora and fauna.
Starting point Greyton / McGregor
End point McGregor / Greyton
Duration 6 – 7 hours
Need to know The trail can be hiked in one day, but you will need to arrange transport back to your starting point (whether it be Greyton or McGregor). Or you could just return via the same route the following day.
All CapeNature reserves require visitors to purchase a permit before they can access any of the hiking trails. Contact CapeNature to book your permits, or acquire them at the reserve office.
Child-friendly? No, as the trail terrain is quite strenuous
Dog-friendly? No
Cost CapeNature Permit: R40 (adults); R20 (children)
Contact 023 625 1621 (reserve office)
082 496 2448 (emergency number)
021 483 0190, reservation.alert@capenature.co.za (booking enquiries)
Location Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve, Reitz Street (off Robertson Road), R60, Robertson

10. Kogelberg Trail

Hiking Trails Cape Town Kogelberg
CapeNature

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 abovementioned trail is a circular route that covers roughly 24 kilometres, as it takes hikers deep into the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom. Or you could try the Palmiet River Hike, for a more easy-going adventure.
Start and end point Kogelberg Nature Reserve office
Duration 8 hours
Need to know The trail is long, so hikers are advised to start as early as 10am (8am in winter).
All CapeNature reserves require visitors to purchase a permit before they can access any of the hiking trails. Contact CapeNature to book your permits, or acquire them at the reserve office.
Cost CapeNature Permit: R40 (adults); R20 (children)
Child-friendly? No, as the trail is quite long
Dog-friendly? Dogs are not allowed in CapeNature reserves.
Contact 021 851 6982 / 021 851 4060 (reserve office)
082 783 8585 (emergency number)
021 483 0190, reservation.alert@capenature.co.za (booking enquiries)
Location Kogelberg Nature Reserve, R44, Kleinmond

11. Krom River Trail

Hiking Trails Cape Town Krom River
Peter Thompson

This noncircular route in the Limietberg Nature Reserve crosses two rivers before it reaches the Krom River waterfall and pool. Follow the white boot prints (painted on rocks along the ravine) for breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, and into a fairytale-like indigenous forest. Once through the Worcester exit of the Huguenot Tunnel, take the first road on your left to the parking lot.
Starting point Follow the Krom River signs
Good to know There are several other hiking trails in the Limietberg Nature Reserve, including a two-day overnight trail. It’s also the location of the Tweede Tol campsite.
Duration Around 5 hours
Need to know The trail is closed during winter.
All CapeNature reserves require visitors to purchase a permit before they can access any of the hiking trails. Contact CapeNature to book your permits, or acquire them at the reserve office.
Child-friendly? Yes
Dog-friendly? No
Cost CapeNature Permit: R40 (adults); R20 (children)
Contact 021 808 5121 (Tweede Tol campsite)
082 494 9707 (emergency number)
021 483 0190, reservation.alert@capenature.co.za (booking enquiries)
Location Limietberg Nature Reserve, 267 Main Street, Esterville, Paarl

Research by Matthew Flax, Sharon Kariwo, Alicia Chamaillé and Simone Michaelis

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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 March 2018

Add new comment

39 Responses to “The Best Hiking Trails in Cape Town 2018”

  1. Roschan Maytham

    Hi guys, thanks for the very helpful tips and info regarding the hike at Chapman’s Peak.

    It wasn’t that easy finding, one needs to go through the toll gate and drive to the security check/ Day Pass limit. Maybe one can edit that.

    I found it a little tough for my 5 y 11m old daughter though. She completed the hike but was relatively tired afterward. Other than that the website got it spot on.

    Thanks for the great guide. We’re looking forward to trying some of the family friendly hikes out!
    Regards

    Reply
    • The Inside Guide

      Thanks so much for your valuable tips, Roschan. We will make a note in the write-up. And, well done to your daughter! Shew, that’s impressive.

      Reply
  2. Irma

    Lovely list and locations. May we have destinations where we can take our four legged family members, please?

    Reply
    • The Inside Guide

      Hi Irma. Many of these hiking trails are located in CapeNature reserves, which do not allow dogs. However, some of the SANParks areas do, specifically Newlands Forest, Chapman’s Peak, Devil’s Peak and the Pipe Track, although you need to purchase a level 1 My Activity Permit (R273 for a year, contact Tokai Plantation Office at 021 712 7471 for more information). Other popular places to take dogs include the Alphen Trail in Constantia, and Liesbeek River Trail in Newlands.

      Reply
  3. Jurgen

    and if you venture a little more west you’ll find the wildest hiking trails of the Cape along the Langeberg: Arangieskop near Robertson, Bloupunt near Montagu and the Gecko trail between the Nuy and Koo valleys! Tough by NICE!

    Reply
  4. Bradwin

    In response to those looking to join a group to hike in Cape Town at almost any weekend, try making contact with TRAILBLAZERS HIKING CLUB

    Reply
  5. Halleluya

    Hi there
    I will be in Cape Town from the 1st Jan to 8th Jan 2018.
    It will really be great if i can get a group to do some trails with.

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Christoph

      Hi
      I’m already in CT and will also stay until 8th January 2018. You can contact me for hiking.
      Best, Christoph

      Reply
  6. Jenni

    Muizenberg Boardwalk to St James is NO LONGER dog friendly.
    St James Staion is in St James and Kalk Bay Station is in Kalk Bay. The walk to St James beach or station is easy but thereafter becomes rocky, uneven and NOT for prams. An alternative is to go to the Main Road at this point to finish the walk to Kalk Bay.

    Reply
  7. Nicole

    Hi there
    We will be in Cape Town and would like to do a hike in the first week of August 2017. Where do I find a group to join? We have already tried the Lions Head walk. We are looking for nothing too strenuous but enjoyable. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Claire Nel

      Hi Nicole. I run Yoga Weekend Getaways in Cape Town and we have a getaway planned for the 11-13 August. Our weekend includes meals and accommodation, yoga, reflexology and a guided 14 Coastal Reserve hike. Let me know if you are interested. Claire

      Reply
      • nicole

        Thanks Claire

        We will be back in The Netherlands that weekend already. Maybe next year!

        Reply
      • Angela

        Hi Claire, sounds lovely! I’d be interested in upcoming events that you have. Could you let me know? Thanks, Angela

        Reply
  8. Ana Belen

    Hi there!! I’m looking forward to do some of these trails. I will be there the week from the 20th February 2017, so if there is someone interested I would be more than happy to share this experience! 🙂

    Reply
    • berny

      Hi Ana

      I have done a few hikes around CT. I may be available to hike this week.

      Regards
      Berny

      Reply
  9. Heather Ditmars

    Fantastic list! I’m also a fan of the pipeline track. Such a gorgeous country! -Heather from SheGoesGlobal.net

    Reply
    • Zaza

      Hi all I would love to meet some folks or group of people to hike with, I wanna explore more on this journey.

      Reply
  10. Pieter

    Hi there peeps, can anyone hook me up with someone who has done most of the hikes around Cape Town? It’s for a very good reason 😀 I need to find out something specific…

    Reply
    • Johann

      Pieter. I know exactly what you want to find out.

      One of the twelve daily passes??

      Reply
      • Pieter

        Hi Johann, what do you think I want to find out? 🙂 I’m was looking for a great spot to propose! Seeing we are close to Hermanus during the time I want to do it, I started making plans for somewhere in the Fernkloof nature reserve.

        Reply
        • Johann

          I’m a wedding photographer!! I can photograph it for free? I’m in cape town from 11-18 dec and early january. Haha. If your interested – JohannBekker.com.

          But i dont want to sound weird or salesy. For that area i do not know.

          Reply
          • Pieter

            Ek neem aan jy is afrikaans Johann…Dis great van jou om aan te bied om dit vernuut dit doen, maar ek twyfel of dit so gaan uitwerk. Ek beplan dit vir 4/5 Jan 2017 en ek sal verseker nie van jou verwag om soveel moeite te maak nie.

            Ek het darem n vriend wat gaan uithelp met die verloop van die avontuur 😀

          • Johann

            Awesome!! Alle sterkte! Post fotos! #hikeshesaidyes ? Haha eks sommer net nuuskierig

  11. Ivor

    Thanks for this great list! I will definitly explore some of them. “in Cape Town” is perhaps a bit of a stretch. If these were in Europe you would have to cross a few borders to get to some of them, but eitherway, they are still nice hikes. Have fun!

    Reply
    • Matthew Flax

      Hi Ivor. Thanks for your comment. 🙂

      Agreed that some of these trails are quite far out, and we figured that might raise some eyebrows, but we wanted to include options aside from really well-known Table Mountain trails like Lion’s Head and Skeleton Gorge.

      Conversely, going with “Best Hikes in the Western Cape” would’ve given us a mountain to climb (heh) in terms of narrowing down the candidates. We hoped that keeping the focus on Cape Town but limiting it to trails located 2-3 hours drive away at most would strike the right balance.

      Reply
    • Christi

      Great list but I was going to say the same thing. Wanting to do a lot of hiking on my 2 week visit in April but after mapping these out, it seems like quite a few are a trek from Cape Town! I’ve hiked Lions Head & Table Mountain on a previous visit. If you had to narrow this list down to 1-2, which would you recommend? Thanks in advance! 😉

      Reply
  12. Berg en Toer'er

    Very nice walks and hikes. The title is a bit confusing. Cape Town is a city. The second hike on here is The Wolfbergskere…thats in the Cederberg a good 5hour drive. So nice hikes but maybe the article should be titled “Hikes in the Southern Cape.”

    Reply
  13. brent

    We love and admire you and so look forward to your next shared journey. Happy hiking.

    Reply
  14. Cape Hiker

    It’s a nice list of trails around Cape Town (except Harkerville – that’s 4 hours’ drive away), but for many of them the term “hike” is perhaps not applicable; some of them are mere strolls or short walks in a beautiful setting. Some of the most spectacular routes on Table Mountain are missing – India Venster & Kloof Corner Ridge (both should be done with a guide) are fantastic; as is a number of the routes on the Apostles side (e.g Kasteelspoort).

    Reply
    • The Inside Guide

      Hi Cape Hiker

      You’re right – they’re not exactly hikes, but beautiful walks. India Venster is breathtaking, but we would be cautious about encouraging it on this platform.
      Happy hiking!

      Reply
  15. Combrinck

    Firstly, great article.
    I want to go on the SKELETON GORGE, I want to find out if there is any additional costs to the hike, or just the entrance fee to KIRSTENBOSCH?

    Thank you!

    Reply
  16. stonley

    Hello I would like to book at the krom rivere trail. It is possible to arrange the permit trail via email? Want to arrange for 5 people..

    Reply
    • The Inside Guide

      Hi Stonley
      You are through to The Inside Guide. Unfortunately, you need to call Krom River to book.
      Good luck

      Reply
  17. Yasmin

    Hi there,

    Just want to inform you that I visited Kirstenbosch botanical gardens after reading on your website that my green card could be used to enter for hiking trails.

    Ive just pulled my whole hiking group in on the hike only to be told that green cards cannot be used here. Weve wasted a trip. Please insure you amend the details there asap as ive heard that we havent been the first group have this happen to.

    Yasmin Allie

    Reply
    • The Inside Guide

      Oh dear, Yasmin, we must apologise for that, and amend the post immediately! We are sorry to have inconvenienced you and your group. Regards, The Inside Guide

      Reply
  18. Trek

    Wish i had found this info before i explored Cape Town’s trails. I eventually found an app called Trail Guide South Africa. Took most of the guess work out of looking for hiking trails and then it was fantastic.

    Reply
  19. Joanne

    Yes half an hour is an exaggeration. I would say its roughly the same. In fact it is the quicker route to go when there are many people queuing at the chains.

    Reply
  20. Mike Eloff

    great article guys but climbing Lions Head via the route that skips the chains adds on only 10 minutes and is hardly steep at all compared to via the chains.

    Reply