This is a special place in Table Mountain that has a reputation for being difficult to find. At one time, people who knew the route kept is a closely guarded secret. Although today it is still easy to miss the turnoff, once you know where to look it is not difficult to find.
When the day starts with amazing numbers of beautiful sunbirds and sugarbirds feasting on the newly opened yellow pincushion Proteas, you know it is going to be a good one. It was a perfect Cape Town spring day, with only a bit of high cloud around as we headed up Kasteelspoort. Unfortunately one of the party discovered that his winter hibernation had caught up with him and wisely decided to turn around, accompanied by his concerned family. This left only four of us.
One member had never been up the route before, so we stopped a few times to catch our breath and admire the view. A visit to the old cableway docking station and diving board viewpoint is a must, with it’s stunning vista over Camps Bay and the Atlantic Coast.
From there it is an easy walk down the Twelve Apostles path, past the turnoff’s to Woody Ravine, the Firs and Slangolie before coming to the Tranquility path. A short walk and scramble and we were up above the Cracks, where we put our packs down and spent a bit of time exploring.
There was time also just to sit and enjoy the environment, watch the cableway ascending and descending in the distance and have an early lunch.
It is a really short walk from there to the Corridor Ravine path, marked by a large cairn. The route is steep, but short and apart from a few places where there are loose stones, a relatively easy path down.
A slip on the slope nearly saw me putting my hand on a baboon spider hidden under a rock.
The views from this path are magnificent, as it joins up with the Pipe Track that leads back to Camps Bay. Another beautiful day in Table Mountain.
Posted in Cape Town Hiking Trails, Day Walks, Hiking Table Mountain
Tagged Cape Town, Cape Town Hiking, Day, Day hikes, Day walks, Hike Table Mountain, hiking, Kasteelspoort, ramble, Table Mountain, Table Mountain Hiking, Trail, Trekking, Western Cape Hiking Trails
Kasteelspoort to Cable Station Hiking Route
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One of the most popular hiking routes from the Camps Bay / Twelve Apostles side of the Mountain to cable station, it is a more interesting alternative to Platteklip Gorge, but also considerably longer. The path also gives access to the Back Table, from where there are many options and alternatives. The track is steep with a few minor rock scrambles, but very little exposure to heights. In summer, on the way up, there is very little in the way of shade once the sun is high. There are magnificent views of Camps Bay and Atlantic Coast all the way up and once at the top, an interesting deviation to the site of the original cable way docking station, built during the construction of the dams in about 1898, as well as the ‘diving board’ rock.
At the top of Kasteelspoort, the route is marked with a built cairn but paths branch out to various parts of the Mountain from here. It is important that you go with someone who knows the way, especially in mist or rainy weather. There is still a fairly long trek to the cable station, from here, with the route passing through the Valley of the Red Gods, the Valley of Isolation and the end of Echo Valley before the climb up to the Western Table. At various high points there are views of Hout Bay and the Peninsula and on this part of the route you should be able to find the occasional shady place for a rest.
Generally the path is good and clear, but there are a number of rock bands where the path disappears, to be picked up on the other side. There are a number of steel ladders that need to used to get to the higher level. The path can be accessed from Camps Bay, or can be started from the Pipe Track at the top of Kloof Nek Road. There is a fairly long, flat walk to the start of the ascent from the Pipe Track, but it has the advantage that it can be turned in to a circular route if the cable way or Platteklip Gorge is used as the return route. Allow 5 to 6 hours if using the cableway, with an extra hour for the trek down Plattklip Gorge. There is limited if any water on the mountain in summer, so take at least two to three litres.
Also known as the Skyline Route, the unique aspect of this circular route, is the views it provides, of both False Bay on the one side and Hout Bay on the other. This combined with extensive stands of proteas, one or other of which seem to be flowering at most times of the year. Much of the lower part of the area was once covered by pine plantation, with the natural fynbos being re-established after the extensive fires of 1999 & 2000.
I have done the path twice recently, once in the anti-clockwise direction and once clockwise. Both are equally spectacular, but for some reason the clockwise route seems to be faster. Ideal hiking for a warm winters day.
The trail starts at the Silvermine Dam, at the end of the tarred road that leads in to the reserve, with the first part of the walk along the edge of the dam, before a short winding path leads off a jeep track to the plateaux above. The path meets and follows the jeep track in few places and one has to be careful of mountain bikers who also use this route. Eventually the path leads to the viewing platform at the top of Blackburn Ravine, with a much photographed view over Hout Bay. The circular route branches off shortly before the platform, leading up to the ridge above. It is a walk of about an hour from here to the highest point at Noordhoek Peak. The views over the Atlantic coast are quite spectacular and include a designated viewing sight of the nesting place of a pair of black eagles (the nest can only be seen, not reached).
From Noordhoek Peak the path follows the jeep track for while before the path branches to Silvermine Ridge and back to the dam and car park. The hike takes about 3½ to 4 hours.
Posted in Cape Town Hiking Trails, Day Walks, Hiking Table Mountain
Tagged Cape Town Hiking, Day hikes, guided walks, Hike Table Mountain, ramble, Silvermine, South Africa, Table Mountain Hiking Trails, Western Cape Hiking Trails
We did this awesome route on Saturday with Meridian Hiking Club. We left early from Constantia Nek to join Karen and he hiking club group that had spent the night at Overseers Cottage.
I had done it about three or four years ago with Tim Jenkins, but when I tried to explore the route last year with a couple of friends we ended up at the Hole in the Wall and came back through the hidden forest. That was quite an adventure in itself. It was therefore good to do it with Karen, who knows the route well and also showed us how it links with the Hole in theWall Route.
The views over Orangekloof are wonderful and scrambling behind the rock faces is quite interesting and surprising in places. There are some slightly exposed paths around the front of the ledge, but in most instances there are alternative routes around the back, where gaps open up unexpectedly in front of you. In some cases you have to look for the entry points and squeeze into places that look a bit inaccessible. Although narrow in places they are easy to get through once you see the route. There are impressive sandstone cliffs above you with some protruding rock overhangs all the way along the route – hence it’s name.
The path is clear in most places, but not always. It is essential to do the route with someone who knows the way. We had tea at the end of the ‘Overhang’ trail, enjoying looking down into Orangekloof and overHoutBay. The path to the top of the ridge and then down into the valley below is not clear and you really have to look for thecairns. Once in the valley, the path links back to the concrete road and Overseers Cottage around the corner.
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Tagged Cape Town, Cape Town Hiking, Catered, Catering, Day, Day hikes, Day walks, Hike Table Mountain, Hikiing, South Africa, Table Mountain, Table Mountain Hiking, Trek, Trekking, Trekking Table Mountain, Walks