Hikers in sunset

Best hiking trails in Cape Town

Devraj Lahiri Devraj Lahiri 30 August 2021
45 view 6 min. read

Cape Town is one of the most sought-after destinations in the entire world. A modern city surrounded by splendid natural hiking rails that spellbound the visitor. This is the same for all South African cities and towns. The natural landscape is breathtaking and cannot be missed by the worldly traveler. Undulating mountains and lush green forests have a habit of mesmerizing the human soul. What also helps is the strong outdoor spirit and culture of Cape Town. A combination of this gives rise to a lot of trekking activities among the numerous trails surrounding the city. In this article we will talk about some of the best hiking trails in Cape Town. But to make this journey happen please check South Africa visa requirements on our website. 

1. Table Mountain

south africa cape town mountains

If you are a hiker and have never been to Table Mountain, then do not call yourself one. It is almost blasphemous to miss such a trail. The Table Mountain offers one of the best hiking trails in Cape Town. There are numerous types of trails on offer. From well-defined ones for the beginners to the rugged and rough ones for the experienced and the adventurous. One will also come across rocky inclines and loads of exposures to heights. A lot of local fauna will be encountered on the way. Features and fauna like mountain reservoirs, fynbos, and rock hyrax would be encountered in plenty. Plattekip Gorge is the shortest and steepest of the trail that will take the hiker to the center of the top. Skeleton Gorge is another trail that does challenge the hiker. It is also one of the best hiking trails in Cape Town. There are a few more trails like India Venster, Pipe Track, and Kasteelsport, each providing various degrees of challenge and activities.

2. Lion’s Head

panoramic view of lions head

Rising to 669m above sea level, Lion’s Head is one of the most iconic of natural structures in the whole of South Africa. It is situated to the right of the Table Mountain. It is also one of the most sought-after of hiking trails in Cape Town. It is also one of the recommended hiking trails in Cape Town for beginners. There is a steep route that can be completed with the help of ladders and ropes but if that is too daunting then one can always opt for the easier one which takes a longer route to the top. It is one of those hiking trails in Cape Town that shouldn’t be missed.

3. Newlands Forest

newlands forest in cape town

This is for those who love to hike amidst the silence and lush mountain forests. The Newlands Forest offers a variety of hiking trails depending on the ability and fitness levels of practitioners. Newlands Forest is also amongst the recommended hiking trails in Cape Town for Beginners. However, for the more experienced and able-bodied, there are numerous trails that will challenge their stamina and skills. The Contour Path to Rhodes Memorial, the Fernwood Trail, and the Forest Station Walk are some of the best hiking trails in Cape Town for beginners. Easy hiking trails in Cape Town are plenty and the Newlands Forest is one such place to find one. It is also one of the most dog friendly hiking trails Cape Town offers to its inhabitants and visitors.

4. Hoerikwaggo Trail

along silvermine panorama route hoerikwaggo trail hout bay

This is probably the best hiking trail on offer in Cape Town. Those who are looking for easy hiking trails in Cape Town would not be comfortable with this one. This is not considered to be one of the safe hiking trails in Cape Town for beginners too. The trail is named after the Table Mountain in Khoi, which also means “mountain in the sea”. It is a back-breaking 75 km trek that usually lasts for almost 5 days and are only meant for experienced practitioners of the sport of hiking. One also has to take the help of local hiking guides, without whom it would be near impossible to complete the trail. It is also not a dog friendly hiking trail Cape Town has to offer. However, there are plenty of hiking groups in Cape Town that provide sufficient support and information pertaining to this trail. Some of the best hiking clubs in Cape Town pronounce the Hoerikwaggo Trail as the most challenging in the region.

5. Constantia Nek to Kirstenbosch

kirstenbosch national botanical garden

This is probably one of the most safe hiking trails in Cape Town. It is easy and meant for the entire friendly. This trail begins at the Constantia Nek and walks on the eastern slope of the Table Mountain and reaches the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, which is situated six kilometers away. The road to travel on is mostly gravel. The path is covered with fynbos and gives the hiker a stunning view of the southern peninsula. This trail tops the list of where to hike in Cape Town.

6. Cape Point

cape point dias point lighthouse

This is another trail that hiking clubs in Cape Town talk about. It is one of those safe hiking trails in Cape Town that a hiker would wish to spend their late afternoon or evening at, whiling away time watching the Sun merge with the ocean or the stunning landscape surrounding the area. The region is sprawled with deserted beaches and shipwrecks and is ideal for the treasure hunters, playing the imaginary treasure-hunting expeditions. This hike includes the well-known Sirkelsvlei route and the Cape Point to Cape of Good Hope trail. It is also considered to be one of those dog friendly hiking trails Cape Town provides. If you are confused about where to hike in Cape Town and spend some time in solitude, this is the place to be.

7. Chapman’s Peak

chapman peak drive in cape town

This trail is situated above the marine drive which runs between Noordhoek and Hout Bay. The trail lasts for about three hours and helps hikers all the way to the peak of the mountain. This is considered to be one of those safe hiking trails Cape Town has in plenty. Highly recommended by hiking groups in Cape Town, Chapman’s Peak offers 360 degrees view of the peninsula. There is plenty of fauna enriching the way and the jagged landscape adds to the aura of the hike. There is a free day pass to be collected after which the walk starts all the way to the top.

8. Kalk Bay Mountains

aerial view of kalk bay in south africa

Kalk Bay is known for its numerous hiking trails all culminating above the seaside village. The trails are filled with dense vegetation and forests containing a wide variety of fauna, for the nature lover. The Kalk Bay Mountains are among the best hiking trails in Cape Town for beginners though there is plenty to be done by the experienced too. Easy hiking trails in Cape Town are in plenty but the Kalk Bay Mountains trail offers something to learn for those who wish to get a grasp of the sport of hiking. Hiking groups in Cape Town and Hiking groups in Cape Town, both recommend this trail highly and we know why. There are raised boardwalks to prevent erosion and plenty of sightseeing elements to capture on your camera. The Old Mule Path is the easiest of the lot and is a gentle climb along the mountainside. It is also one of the best places for whale watching between the months of June and November. If spelunking is your type, then once a month the Cape Peninsula Speleological Society provides a tour of the mountain caves.

9. Jonkershoek Nature Reserve

lake with bridge and awesome mountains

Hiking trails in Cape Town with waterfalls are hard to come by though there are a few in between. The Jonkershoek Nature Reserve is one of the few that has a wide variety of natural features, thereby attracting a large number of hikers. The hiking trails are not extreme in nature and can be completed by beginners as well as experts. It is also one of the dog friendly hiking trails Cape Town has to offer for the outdoor fanatic. The Jonkershoek Nature Reserve is a huge reserve covering over 9800 hectares of land and having over 1000 species of plants. There is also a large number of mammals and birds, who throng the forest reserve. The trail is interspersed with mountain rivers and waterfalls though the one which takes the cake away is the panoramic view of the valley.

10. Kogelberg Biosphere

view of the kogelberg mountains

This is a World Heritage Site situated in the southeast of Cape Town. The Kogelberg Natural Reserve is part of the Biosphere, the latter which covers around 10000 hectares of land filled with lush forest, teeming with flora and fauna. The pristine beauty of the trail is unmatched, and it is indeed at the top of the places saying where to hike in Cape Town. There are daily and overnight hiking trails and the best way to choose one is to befriend one of the numerous hiking groups in Cape Town. The trails range from easy to tough and do participate as per the ability. The Kogelberg Biosphere is also a dog friendly hiking trail Cape Town will be proud of. Hiking Trails in Cape Town with waterfalls is a rare sight, as had been mentioned previously, so this trail becomes an important one since it has waterfalls amongst its many beauties.

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Devraj Lahiri

Devraj Lahiri is a resident of Kolkata, India. He is an IT Entrepreneur by profession but a writer, traveller and a photographer by vocation. Besides, he is a gastronome who indulges in eating the myriad variety of delicacies while the universe keeps tempting him. His favourite leisure activity is walking around his hometown. The city of Kolkata is his muse, and he wishes never to leave it except for the short trips for travel inspiration.

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