Brooke Sawards’s guide to Cape Town’s most popular trails.
If you find yourself lucky enough to be visiting Cape Town on the Western Cape of South Africa, you’ll find you are spoiled for choice. Not only is this city buzzing with nightlife, an enviable foodie scene and endless attractions, it is also a hiker's paradise. There aren’t many major cities in the world that are as hiker friendly as Cape Town. And when you find yourself on the trails of the Mother City, you’ll want to begin your explorations on the famed Table Mountain.
Table Mountain, Cape Town
When you arrive in Cape Town, South Africa, one of your first points of reference will be the mesmerizing Table Mountain. At 1,086 metres in elevation it certainly isn’t an unbeatable feat by any measure, but the fact it presides directly over the Cape Town city bowl makes it an unforgettable sight to the eye. Weather depending, there are endless hikes to make your way up or around the mountain, each offering their own unique benefits (both visual and physical!) These are the top 5 hikes to try when you visit Table Mountain.
1. Kloof Corner
We’ll start with an easy hike to get you started, which comes in the form of Kloof Corner. Although it is brief (20 minutes one way), don’t underestimate the steep climb that awaits you as you make your way up the edge of the mountain. Kloof Corner is a popular choice for locals and visitors alike, especially in the warmer months as it offers one of the best sunset viewings in the city. South Africans like to call this a “sundowner” spot, meaning it is a great place to perch yourself as you sip a beer or a cider and watch the sun go down.
2. The Pipe Track
Another great introductory hike can be found on the Pipe Track, which effortlessly makes its way around the mountain. The track starts at the Pipe Track car park, stretching some 6 kilometres as it hugs the mountain and finishes at Corridor Ravine. On this trail you will get a great view of Lion’s Head in the distance, as well as Camp’s Bay down below. The trail is mostly flat and best enjoyed at sunset.
3. Platteklip Gorge
As the most popular hike up Table Mountain, Platteklip Gorge has a reputation to live up to. This steep trail feels more like you are climbing stairs for the first hour or two, as you arduously make your way up the mountain. The trail begins at Tafelberg Road and follows a zig-zag path up to the ravine. Just when you think you can’t carry on any further in the uphill battle, you will find yourself at the saddle. From there you can either walk down or catch the cable car and enjoy a great view over the city of Cape Town.
This hike tackles the Atlantic facing side of the ocean, offering sweeping views of Camps Bay down below. It is one of the least congested routes so be sure to hit the trails with a few others as the old saying goes: safety in numbers. This trail is great for leisure hikers who prefer to take their time and will provide great rewards for doing so. You’ll get a great view of Lion’s Head, Twelve Apostles and on a clear day you can see out to Robben Island.
5. Skeleton Gorge
If you fancy a visit to the Kirstenbosch Gardens, there’s a great hike that starts here and winds its way through to the top of Table Mountain. Be sure to bring some cash as you will need to pay the regular entry fee to enter the gardens. Once inside, the trail takes a sheltered forest path in the beginning and takes hikers along the 3 kilometre route to climb the back of Table Mountain. Once you reach the summit you can either take the cable car down or make your way down Platteklip Gorge for some new scenery.
Brooke chooses to hike in the Altalight low, and here is what she had to say about them!
For as long as I can remember I’ve been smitten with hiking. But as many of us can probably relate, I’m more adventurous in my mind than what actually translates on paper. This year I set off to make more of a hiker out of myself when I opened the box to my altalight low-rise hiking shoes.
What I love most about these shoes is that they don’t look or feel like a hiking shoe. While the altalights might appear as if they are any regular sneaker, they indeed offer the ankle support and flexible soles needed in a diverse pair of hiking shoes.
These are incredibly lightweight, making them a great choice for anyone who travels frequently (like I do!) I also don’t need to switch from my everyday shoes into hiking shoes, so they’re a great all-rounder for adventurous types who are looking for one versatile shoe.