With winter finally coming to Cape Town, the hiking enthusiasts, especially the weekend are faced with the temptation to curl up in bed with a good book on a Sunday morning, instead of getting out there and enjoying the Mountain in the rain. Hannes (hike leader) thought the only way to overcome this was to issue a challenge to motivate a few stalwarts in to action.
It did not seem to have much effect however as only two of us joined him. Nevertheless it was a very rewarding hike, with the rain staying away for the most part. Parking at Kloofnek, so that we could do a circular route, we hiked along the Table Mountain Pipe Track, meeting plenty of runners and a few walkers on this section, until we came to the Kasteelspoort path intersection. I always enjoy this path as it is steep enough to be challenging but has enough variation and views to distract from the effort.
At the top there were quite a few surprising displays of pink Watsonias, deep blue Arosteas and bright red and white Anaxeton and some fading King Proteas.
It looked as if we were going to have a rain free hike, but as often happens in our Mountain, what it looks like and what happens is not always the same. As we climbed out of the Valley of the Red Gods, the rain started to come down. As it was heading for lunch time, we found shelter in the cave in the Valley of Isolation. In spite of the stream running through the middle and the waterfall on the outside we managed to find dry places to sit and enjoy our snacks and flasks of hot drinks.
As we moved on the rain was more of a light misty drizzle with a weak sun trying to break through every now and again. Hopeful of avoiding the steep trek down Platteklip Gorge, we headed through Echo Valley and up the short ladders to the cable station. As we got closer the clouds cleared for a moment, showing off the beaches of Camps Bay and the rough seas beyond. Very close to the top, was a royal display of red King protea, contrasting with a magnificent golden brown of a fading group retained their shape and beauty in spite of the colour loss.
We reached the cable station just in time to grab a quick cup of coffee, before the cableway closed and we caught one of the last rides down for the day. Pleased with ourselves for having met the challenge we headed for the one of our favourite watering holes and a well deserved beer.
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
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
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.
Your Cape Town Host
For information on guided day walks and overnight hiking trails in TableMountain contact Frank
Posted in Cape Town Hiking Trails, Day Walks, Hiking Table Mountain, Table Mountain Trail
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