Spring time in the Mother City means 3 things: (1) Temperatures are finally starting to rise, so chuck away your warm winter blanket. (2) Nature has come out to play in full force, showing off its beauty around EVERY twist, turn, hill and mountain top. (3) Its the PERFECT time to explore and discover new things, thus making it the perfect time for hiking – YAY! Hiking in the Mother City takes on a whole new meaning during spring time, and if you haven’t experienced it yet, NOW is your time to shine! Here are a couple of hiking trails you should definitely try out:
- Table Mountain: OF COURSE I’m going to start with the biggest one of them all, how could I not? Yes, hiking Table Mountain is by far the toughest one of them all, but damn it’s INCREDIBLE! This is one hike you should definitely try at least once in your life, and what better time than Spring time when the temperatures are not too hot. For first time hikers I definitely recommend the Platteklip Gorge hike, it’s more tolerable of us ‘not-so-experienced-hikers’ but still offers all of the same magnificent views and cool experiences. Just remember to take enough water 😉
- Lions Head: Lions Head is definitely a strong contender when it comes to getting a super good workout in, while still enjoying incredible Mother City views! Yes, people do indeed run up this mountain, NO, that doesn’t mean you need to do it too – well, unless you’d like to of course! The walk to the top will take you approximately an hour and 30 minutes, depending on fitness levels and how many times you stop to take pictures, yes, the views are EPIC! This incredible Cape Town landmark is also popular among hikers for its full-moon hikes, definitely adding a different element of exhilaration and beauty to the mix.
- The Pipe-track, Kloof Nek: With incredible views over Camps Bay and Lions Head, the Pipe Track is a definite favourite amongst most. Another bonus for first time hikers is that it is pretty effortless and is generally all on the flat, unless you start the hiking trail from Camps Bay, then the initial climb will require some effort, but it’s still doable, so don’t worry! The Pipe Track follows a path between Kloof Nek and Kasteelspoort, adjacent to Table Mountain, and is guaranteed to provide you with SENSATIONAL views, a good workout and even some rich Mother City history. Yes, the Pipe Track trail actually follows the pipeline that was built for the purpose of servicing a pipeline that used to supply 19th-century Cape Town with water from the Disa Gorge. And the name makes sense now doesn’t it!
- Boomslang Cave: To this day this is still one of my favourites. This novice caving gem is positioned just above Kalk Bay and is not too difficult to access. On Boyes Drive above Kalk Bay station you will come across a sign that says Echo Valley, hike up the steps and follow the signs to Boomslang Cave. At the top of the valley gorge you will find this magnificent Kalk Bay cave – and what a super cool find it will be! Now you better be prepared to crawl on your hands and knees, as this is the only way you’ll be able to enter the cave, but I promise, it’s all worth it!
- Kloof Corner: Kloof Corner is a great alternative to Lions head, especially if you’re keen to see a magnificent Mother City sunset. It is also possibly the easiest hike on Table Mountain, taking you approximately 40 minutes and therefore a good choice for those embarking on their first Cape Town hiking adventures. Plus, not every day will provide you with sufficient time for a long hike, Kloof Corner ensures you get a good workout in, enjoy some spectacular Cape Town views all while not taking a bulk of your time, especially on week days or after work.
- Cecilia Waterfall Hike: I had your attention as soon as I said waterfall right? I knew it! Who can resist a good hike to a waterfall – definitely not me! The Cecilia Waterfall Hike both starts and ends in the Cecilia Forest that can be found just off Rhodes drive. Alternatively this hike can also be started from Kirstenbosch, but this alternative is a lot tougher and includes SEVERAL steps – but if stepping is your game then go for it! This hike will take you approximately 3 hours and certainly requires a bit of hard work along the way, especially going up Cecilia Ravine. BUT, the end point is a cool, leafy and moss covered enclave which is home to none other than the Cecilia Waterfall – this might just make it ALL worth it!
- Tygerberg Nature Reserve: This is a great hiking choice if you’re in the mood for something a little different. Hidden among the hills in Cape Town’s northern suburbs, Tygerberg Nature Reserve doesn’t only allow you to escape form the hustle and bustle of the city, but you also get to marvel at a diverse and extensive plant and bird life! Which is pretty incredible if you ask me! It also boasts a network of walking routes to choose from, all well-marked and spread throughout the reserve, thereby each offering you a slightly different experience. Some even involve a bit of climbing! But there’s one thing that’s for certain – Tygerberg Nature Reserve most definitely guarantees a panoramic view of Cape Town that is truly unrivalled!
- Elephant’s Eye Cave, Silvermine: This is a super cool hiking trail that is loved by children and adults alike! This is a slightly more taxing hike, but still classified as not too difficult. You’ll make your way from the car park at Silvermine’s reservoir and continue to follow the sign-posted jeep track up the mountain. Once you reach the fire lookout hut, you can rest assured that you have managed to conquer the bulk of the hike. Elephant’s eye is a big hole that is positioned at the steepest part of the hike – and certainly a pretty cool sight to see. When embarking on this Mother City hiking trail, be sure to take full advantage of all the glorious things it has to offer, especially the spectacular views and shaded pine trees that make for the perfect resting spot, plus you can even take a picnic with!
- Chapmans Peak: Wow, if you’re in the mood for a killer view, the legendary and world-renowned Chapmans peak is guaranteed to give you just that! This is a popular trail, especially amongst novice hikers, chosen for its relatively effortless terrain and shorter distance. Plus, it offers you the VERY best vantage point of the Fish Hoek and Hout Bay valleys, Karbonkelberg, Klein Leeukoppie, as well as Cape Point. Starting at the Chapman’s Peak tollbooth, this hike will take you approximately 1-2 hours.
- Kasteelport Hiking Trail: The cool thing about Kasteelport hiking trail is that there are several paths leading to different points – therefore every time you take a different route, you are guaranteed a new adventure, how cool is that! But the one thing they ALL have in common is a truly MAGNIFICENT view of Cams Bay, Twelve Apostles and the Atlantic Ocean. It is also suitable for all fitness levels and provides easy access to the mountain. But be prepared to do a bit of rock scrambling as it’s not smooth sailing all the way through, good gripping shoes are therefore highly recommended!
- More Cape Town hiking trails: Other cool, and equally beautiful, Mother City hiking trails include: Maclear’s Beacon, Devil’s Peak, Skeleton Gorge, Constantia Nek to Kirstenbosch, Woodstock Cave, Little Lion’s Head & Lighthouse Keeper’s Trail. But some of these can be pretty tough and require a bit more experience and higher levels of fitness.
Before embarking on your Cape Town hike it is always a good idea to do a little bit of research on the hiking trail you’re keen to take on – this way you can ensure you know exactly what to expect and you don’t get caught between a rock and a hard place, quite literally speaking. What are you waiting for? Go get your Mother City Spring time hike on!