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
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.
Posted in Cape Town Hiking Trails, Hiking Table Mountain, Table Mountain Accommodation
Tagged Cableway, Cape Town Hiking, Day hikes, Day walks, guided walks, Hike Table Mountain, Kasteelspoort, Nursery Ravine, Platteklip Gorge, ramble, Skeleton Gorge, walk