Category Archives: Hiking Table Mountain

Table Mountain Hikers Guide

1st July 2019 – posts that are not dated may be out of date. We are currently updating information.
Warning: Hiking in Table Mountain should not be undertaken without adequate preparation – do not take advice from someone who does not understand hiking and the Mountain:

The Table Mountain Cableway is closed from 8th July to 18th August 2019 for annual maintenance. The only alternative is a hike to the top – using a guide is advised.

  1. Are you fit enough and do you have the right skills for the route you are undertaking?
  2. Do you know the route or have someone with you who does know the route, maps and directions?
  3. Do you know how long the route will take, what the distance is and what the terrain is like?
  4. Does someone know where you are going, what routes and what time you are expected back?
  5. Do you have the correct equipment, footwear, warm clothing, rain gear, hats and sunblock?
  6. Do you have enough water and snacks / food for the route you are doing?
  7. Do you have the emergency numbers and a fully charged cell phone?
  • Cape Town City Emergency: 021 480 7700 or
  • Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR) 021 937 0300
  • Table Mountain National Park: 086 110 6417


  • Table Mountain is not flat – behind the ‘flat Table top’ are cliffs and ridges, valleys & peaks, seasonal waterfalls and slippery slopes.
  • Main paths in Table Mountain are marked at certain strategic junctions only, subsidiary paths are not marked at all.
  • The weather on Table Mountain can change very quickly, with cloud and mist that makes seemingly clear paths disappear into oblivion and bringing temperatures down.
  • The temperature at the top of the Mountain is usually considerably colder than in the City and surrounding areas, with wind often creating a wind chill factor.
  • There is no potable water on the Mountain, with many areas of the Mountain having no running water at all, particularly in summer.
  • The cableway closes in high wind conditions, so cannot always be relied upon as a route down.
  • There are an estimated 250 km of hiking paths in the Mountain and many rock scrambles and climbing routes known only to experienced regular hikers and climbers. What may seem easy to one person, may be very difficult for another.

For more information or to book a guide: or go to the contact form.




Tranquilty Cracks

Meridian - Tranquility Cracks Sept 2014_0013

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.

Meridian - Tranquility Cracks Sept 2014_0001When 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.

Meridian - Tranquility Cracks Sept 2014_0003One 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.Meridian - Tranquility Cracks Sept 2014_0042

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.

Meridian - Tranquility Cracks Sept 2014_0015

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.

Meridian - Tranquility Cracks Sept 2014_0026

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.

Meridian - Tranquility Cracks Sept 2014_0031A slip on the slope nearly saw me putting my hand on a baboon spider hidden under a rock.Meridian - Tranquility Cracks Sept 2014_0035

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.

Meridian - Tranquility Cracks Sept 2014_0021

Cable Way closed – guided day hike suggestion

Kasteelspoort to Cable Station Hiking Route


For information on Table Mountain guided day hikes complete Trail Enquiry Form or contact us



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.IMG_2122

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.IMG_4557

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.IMG_2136

Silvermine Panorama Route


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.


IMG_4306I 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.IMG_4308

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. IMG_4321The 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).

IMG_4311From 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.IMG_4310





Cableway Closed 28 July – 10 August

A reminder that the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway will be closed from 28th July to 10th August. The only way up is to walk it. While we always think that this is the best way up it means you also have to walk down. For more information or guided walks CONTACT US.


How to book the Hoerikwaggo Trail.

Read our summary of the Hoerikwaggo Trail on the Table Mountain Hiking Trails blog and decide how you want to do it. For additional information you can also read the background History & Present development status.

Logo for letterhead

1. You want to do it all yourself

Contact the SANParks booking office and book the accommodation directly. Rates, availability and on-line booking of the various tented camps can be checked on-line via the SANParks – TMNP web site.

Table Mountain National Park do not provide logistical support, guiding or catering and you need to ensure that there is accommodation availability at each of the tented camps in the sequence in which you want to use them. The trail is planned to be walked from South to North, but can be walked in the opposite direction.

2. You want us to provide one or more of guiding, transport or catering services

You do the booking, but you want one of the above services, look at our Slackpacking Rates under Individual Services, fill out the TRAIL ENQUIRY FORM and tell us what you want.

3. You want us to do everything

Option 1.

Make up a party of between six and ten of your friends, tell us when you want to do it and whether you want to do all or part of the trail. If you want to do one or two nights only tell us which part. We will do the rest.

Option 2.

Plan your holiday or your hike well in advance around one of the fixed departure dates. This means that you will join a group that is leaving on a specific date, usually a Mondy. We only do this about four times a year and departure is subject to a minimum booking by at least six people. In the case of individuals, there may be a single supplement if you want your own private accommodation.

See Trail Departures on our blog or ask about dates on the TRAIL ENQUIRY FORM. These dates are fixed 6 to 12 months in advance and have to be confirmed at least three months in advance in order to secure the accommodation.

Option 3.

Book a private trail on a date that is convenient to you. This is a more expensive option if the party is smaller than six and price would depend on the number in the party. We would quote for this on an individual basis.

Option 4.

Give us a date, or range of dates, that is convenient to you, together with the size of your party and we will try to market it as a fixed departure date. The further in advance this is done the higher the chances of success, but we can never be sure that we will get additional bookings.

For more information:

complete the TRAIL ENQUIRY FORM or e-mail

The Hoerikwaggo Trail History & Present (part 2)

The Hoerikwaggo Hiking Trail

Hoerikwaggo_002 (1)

Cape Point – where the Mountain meets the sea

The original plan for the longer route from Cape Point to Table Mountain took a bit more time to develop. The concept was for a trail from the lighthouse at Cape Point and finishing at the lower cable station on Table Mountain. Altogether a six day trek, with five strategically placed comfortable, fixed tented camps. The trail was to be guided by specially trained guides, self-catering, but with luggage and food transported.


Tented Camp – Orangekloof

The site chosen for the construction of the first of the tented camp, was in the restricted area of Orangekloof. This valley was a bit of a mystery to many Capetonians as it was always a place with access by permit only. Originally controlled by the City, management of the area passed to SANParks with the establishment of Table Mountain National Park in 1998.


Woodhead water tunnel on Disa Gorge

The camp, made up of fixed tents was opened in September 2006. The construction is on permanent wooden bases made from timber from cleared alien trees. There are four two sleeper tents and one four sleeper tent, with central ablutions and a communal kitchen and braai (barbeque) area. The kitchen is fully equipped with cutlery, crockery and cooking utensil, as well as a gas hob and wood burning Agar stove. There are electrical plugs in the kitchen. All buildings and furniture are of wood made from alien timber and the construction has been done on a ‘touch the earth lightly’ principle. Should the camp be decommissioned at any time in the future there should be little, if any evidence of its existence. The first trail on this section of the trek, took place shortly after opening. The route was from Silvermine to Orangekloof via Blackburn Ravine and Vlakkenberg (Day 1) and Orangekloof to Table Mountain via Disa Gorge and Echo Valley (Day 2).


Disa uniflora – end of January & February

The next camp at Silvermine was opened in April 2007, with the next section of the trail being from Kommetjie (Slangkop Lighthouse) to Silvermine. Located close to the Silvermine Dam, the camp has a similar configuration: four two sleeper tents, one four sleeper, a central ablution area and a communal catering area with gas hob, Agar stove and braai area. There is electrical lighting but no plugs.

Silvermine camp kitchen & braai
Tented Camp – Silvermine

It was expected by many that the rest of the camps would follow fairly quickly after this and that the trail would be open and operational within a year or two. This was not to be and the Slangkop Lighthouse camp followed only in 2009, with six two sleeper tents. This was the first camp to be fully electrified, with a gas stove and oven replacing the wood burning Agar stoves. Finally the Smitswinkel Bay camp was completed in August 2010, with six two sleeper tents with en-suite showers and individual kitchens. Each camp is unique both in design and décor, being built to blend in with the environment and adapted for local climate and environmental conditions.

Looking in to Hout Bay from Chapmans Peak path

A hikers view of Hout Bay

By the time the final camp was built the concept of a regular trail between Cape Point and Table Mountain, managed and marketed by Table Mountain National Park had been abandoned. The reasons for this are not entirely clear, but the long time-line between the building of the first camp and the last one, was probably a contributing factor. Most of the guides trained originally to lead the Trails had left SANParks or moved to other positions within the Table Mountain National Park. The planned camp at Simonstown has never been built and the walking route between Smitswinkel Bay and Simonstown has been excluded from the Trail.

Current situation:

Hoerikwaggo_034 (1)

Tented Camp at Slangkop

Each of the tented camps can be booked as accommodation only, with no requirements to hike the trail or even do any hiking at all. The tents are sold per unit, with a minimum booking being for a two man tent. With the exception of Smitswinkel Bay camp, ablution and kitchen facilities have to be shared with other guests. Beds with comfortable mattresses are provided, but guests need to provide their own pillows, bedding or sleeping bags. Hikers wishing to trek the whole route need to plan strategically and book the accommodation according to their own itinerary and group size. It is important to plan well in advance to ensure the accommodation is available.

The diving board at Kasteelspoort

The diving board overlooking Kasteelspoort

SANParks do not provide guides, nor do they provide logistical support, catering or any other support services. Hikers wishing to do the trail have to arrange their own logistical support, including road transport between Smitswinkel Bay and Simonstown. This route can be walked, but then private accommodation would need to be arrange in Simonstown, as TMNP do not provide facilities there.A fully guided and catered option for this trail is provided by Slackpacker SA, a minimum number of six people is required to operate the trail, with fixed departure dates being arranged from time to time.

Platteklip Gorge the steep trek up

Platteklip Gorge – the end of the trail

For information on guiding, catering, transport and logistical support services visit Slackpackers SA, complete the TRAIL ENQUIRY FORM or e-mail

The route that is promoted by Table Mountain National Parks, is:


  • Day 1: Trek from Cape Point to Smitswinkel Bay along the False Bay coastal path.
  • Day 2: Hikers arrange their own transport from Smitswinkel to Simonstown, starting the hike at Red Hill, via Kleinplaas Dam to Slangkop. There is an alternative start in Simonstown at the Klawer Steps, for a slightly longer route.
  • Day 3: Slangkop  to Silvermine via Noordhoek Beach, Chapmans Peak and Silvermine Ridge.
  • Day 4: Silvermine to Orangekloof via Blackburn Ravine, the contour path, Manganese Mine, Vlakkenberg and Constantia Nek.
  • Day 5: Orangekloof to the end on Table Mountain cable way via Disa Gorge, the Dams, Echo Valley and the ladders to the cable station. Descend via cable car or walk down Platteklip Gorge.
The finish (or start) on Platteklip Gorge

The finish at the bottom of Platteklip Gorge

The trail can be done as one complete five day trail or in sections of two days or more. The route is marked with yellow painted HK posts at strategically important places; nevertheless there are still a few places where a wrong turn can be made at an intersection, particularly in adverse weather conditions. It is advisable to have at least one member of the party who knows Table Mountain and the route, hike with a hiking club or enlist the services of a trained mountain guide.Details of each camp and the description of the routes are provided on a separate page.

For more information complete the TRAIL ENQUIRY FORM or e-mail