Hiking Trails Cape Town | Views to Rival the Worlds Best

twelve apostles

Hiking Cape Towns many trails is an absolute blessing, especially for those who love the great outdoors. For those of us lucky enough to call this incredible city home, the many Cape Town hiking trails are often taken for granted.

Whether you’re a local looking to tackle a little more of the Mother City, or you’re exploring this wonderful place for the very first time; here’s where you should go hiking in Cape Town. 

  • Silvermine
  • Constantia Nek
  • Lions Head
  • Skeleton Gorge
  • Chapmans Peak North
  • Platteklip Gorge
  • Little Lions Head
  • Newlands Forest
  • Signal Hill
  • The Pipe Track
  • Seapoint Promenade

Hikes in Cape Town

For those ready to tackle the slopes of Table Mountain and the many surrounding mountains, here are the best hikes in Cape Town.

Silvermine Hike 

There’s something special about experiencing Cape Town from a variety of angles all in one hike. This trail starts out at the Silvermine parking lot – expect an entrance fee of around R30 per adult. Dogs are allowed on the trail but charged an additional R15. 

The beginning of the trail winds its way up a gravel path quite steeply for around 30 minutes – 45 minutes. As you walk along the trail be sure to look back on the view behind you. You’ll see the Silvermine Dam glistening and Muizenberg Beach in the far distance.

As you wind your way to the top of the mountain you’ll get views of the western coastline and of Hout Bay Harbour encircled in mountains. You can even take a peek down at Chapmans Peak Drive. 

Once you’ve taken in some spectacular views, continue along the trail where you’ll look down on Ou Kaapse Weg (Cape Towns old main road). Before making your way back down to the dam. 

This loop trail has views of the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town unique to the trail. 

Constantia Nek

No hiking list is complete without a Constantia Nek hike. Park in the Constantia Nek parking lot opposite the famed La Parada (which absolutely pumps on Sunday evenings). Parking is free but do be sure to get there early if you’re going on a morning hike, as it does fill up fast. 

It’s one of the most popular hiking trails in Cape Town for a couple of reasons. You can hike for hours or simply half an hour along this trail. There are many trails that join up with the Constantia Nek contour path, so you can have a completely different experience each time you walk the trail.

It starts in a forested area and remains that way for much of the walk. You’ll get views of the stunning Constantia Valley and its many vineyards, as well as the rest of the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town. 

This is easily one of the best hiking trails in Cape Town for beginners. 

Lions Head

Lions Head

Lions Head is a local favourite so you’ll likely find the trail busy almost every day of the week. For this reason, it’s best to head out early. And by early I mean before dawn. Park along the roadside and get going, and don’t forget to bring your flashlight or torch if you’re starting in the dark.

The first part of the hike is fairly easy. A steady incline on a wide gravel road winds its way around the mountain. You’ll take in views of the western coastline as well as of the city and the beautiful Table Mountian. 

The wide gravel road soon becomes a narrow path. Expect a decent amount of scrambling over rocks and making your way up a few chains. This is not incredibly daunting, however, it’s not recommended for those who have a fear of heights.

When you reach the top you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the city, western coastline, Table Mountain, and even Bloubergstrand in the distance. It’s not hard to see why this is one of the Cape Town hikes with so much allure. 

Do be warned that although many Capetonians take on this hike every weekend, it’s not for the faint of heart. The incline doesn’t cease, so be sure to do at least a little training before tackling this challenge or be prepared to take a fair amount of breaks.

Insider Tip: There is a bit of rock scrambling near the top, so be sure to have proper hiking shoes on when you tackle Lions Head. Although it’s doable in takkies, hiking shoes provide a lot more comfort for this challenging hike.

Skeleton Gorge

Lovingly referred to as Skellies by locals, this hike is a bit of a challenge. It’s stepped most of the way and is rather steep, but it should only take around an hour to get to the top. As you reach the top of Table Mountian, you’ll come across white beach-like sand which gives way to a dam.

This is a great place to take a refreshing dip to cool off from the heat. While almost the entire hike is shaded, you’ll likely work up a sweat from all those stairs.

From the top, you can actually walk across the top of Table Mountain to the cableway. Where you can take a ride down and Uber back to your car. But that’s an adventure for those looking to do a long hike in Cape Town.

Chapmans Peak North

The Chapmans Peak North trail heads up from Cape Towns most scenic road – Chapmans Peak Drive. If there’s ever a view that can take your breath away, it’s going to happen along this route. The trail is fairly steep but not too challenging. 

There are a few small scrambles involved but for the most part, it’s quite easy and the views of the western coastline are an absolute treat. Be sure to take your camera with for this trail. You’ll also be able to look across the bay and see Hout Bay Harbour. 

The best time to do this hike is in the evening. Watching the sun set from the top is nothing short of magnificent. 

Platteklip Gorge

Platteklip Gorge

Platteklip Gorge hike starts from Tafelberg Road and heads straight up the face of Table Mountain. This hike is incredibly steep the entire way up, although the path is well maintained and there are perfectly placed steps the whole way.

Be warned, this is not a hike for the faint of heart or the unfit. Also, be prepared to take plenty of breaks along the way (your lungs will thank you). Take more water than you usually would, especially if you’re tackling this track in the heat of Cape Town summer. 

The views are absolutely spectacular from as little as halfway, so you’ll have those to appreciate while you stop to catch your breath. Once you’ve reached the top, you can enjoy a flat walk on the top of Table Mountain. Spending some time up there is highly recommended, as it’s unlikely you’ll be doing this hike again in any rush. 

Venture over to the Cable Car to take the easy way down, or enjoy a coffee at the restaurant on top of Table Mountain before heading back over to Platteklip for the walk down. 

Insider Tip: It’s better to wait for your knees to stop shaking before attempting the walk down. Because of the trails steep incline, it’s not one that you want to fall down. 

Little Lions Head

Many people mistake this peak for the actual Lions Head, but it is a smaller peak that mimics the shape of the real one. It’s located between Hout Bay and Llandudno, and although fairly steep, it’s short and very doable, even if you’re unfit.

Once you reach the top, you can enjoy panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean, Hout Bay, and the Twelve Apostles. It’s a sight that’s hard to beat.

Insider Tip: This is the perfect hike to pack your GoPro, the views from the top are ones you’ll want to capture and save for a lifetime. 

Fun Walks in Cape Town

If you’re looking to get out in nature without the exhaustion of taking on the mountains fiercest inclines, here are a few walks better suited to your fitness level. 

Newlands Forest

cecilia forest

Set on the slopes of Table Mountain, Newlands Forest is home to a variety of different trails, most of which lead to the contour path. All of the paths are shrouded in forest, making for a magical, fairytale type setting. 

This is a great place to go for those that want to immerse themselves in nature and take in the earthy smells of the eucalyptus and pine trees.

It’s also the perfect place to take your pooch for a walk. An easy walk can easily turn into a more challenging hike here as some of the best hiking trails in Cape Town branch out from this forest.

Signal Hill

The Signal Hill hike is only somewhat considered a hike because of its length. It can take up to 90 minutes to get to the top. But don’t let that fool you, it’s one of the easier walks in Cape Town.

You’ll wind your way up and along Signal Hill taking in stunning views of Bantry Bay, Camps Bay, the Cape Town city bowl, and the Waterfront. If you continue along Signal Hill you’ll come to the noon gun. The famed gun is shot every day at 12 pm to signal the time.

After a visit to the noon gun, you can walk down to the Bo Kaap, another area in Cape Town well worth exploring. The colourful houses line cobbled streets making it a great place to take photos in Cape Town.

The Pipe Track

the pipe track

 

Increasingly popular with beginner hikers, The Pipe Track is a fairly flat walking route that starts from the very beginning of Tafelberg Road. The trail follows the contours of the mountain, eventually leading you above the houses of Camps Bay, providing stunning views of the beaches and coastline. 

It’s a great spot to walk in the early evening as the sunset viewed from the Pipe Track is absolutely spectacular. Make sure you time your walk impeccably though, as you don’t want to be stuck on the track after dark. 

It’s not the safest of walks in Cape Town, so be sure to travel with a group of friends – safety in numbers is the name of the game.

Seapoint Promenade

While this iconic walk is known to many Capetonians, it’s definitely worth a mention. It’s also a walk that continues for as long or as short as you wish. With stunning sea views and wonderful photo opportunities the entire walk long, your eyes will be thoroughly entertained. 

Along the promenade, you can stop for an ice-cream, hotdog, or smoothie at one of the many stands. Or opt to walk a dog from the Oscar Arc Woof Project (if you’re walking on a Saturday). 

This walk can stop when you reach the end of the promenade in Seapoint, or you can venture on a little further, walking over into Camps Bay and continuing on to Bakoven, and even Llandudno. 

If you realise you’ve taken on a little too much to walk back, no problem. Simply rent a bicycle at one of the many Up Cycle’s stores located along the seafront, and cycle your way home. The bicycle can be dropped off at a different Up Cycle’s store, so you won’t need to return it to the one you rented it from.  

Hiking Trails in and Around Cape Town

Now that you’ve seen what Cape Town has to offer, it’s time to get out there and hit the trail. Whether you’re a beginner just starting out on your hiking journey, or you’re a veteran who has been hiking these trails for years, there’s sure to be a trail on this list you haven’t tackled.

See you out there on some of the best hiking trails in Cape Town!

With Love From:

A local

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email