The next time you visit Cape Town make sure to pack your hiking boots – the Mother City offers some of the world’s most scenic hiking trails that simply must be explored. Here’s our Top 5:
1) Lions Head Full Moon Hike
Table Mountain may be Cape Town’s most famous landmark, but its neighbour, the distinctively shaped Lions Head, is just as exciting to climb. Overlooking the city and Table Bay on one side, and the scenic Atlantic Ocean coastline on the other, Lions Head is especially popular with Full Moon Hikers. From the top you are able to watch the sun setting over the sea and the moon rising over the mountains – a spectacular sight. Don’t forget to bring something to drink, so that you can have a well-deserved toast once you’ve reached the summit!
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Time: Approximately 2 hours
2) Silvermine East
The Silvermine Nature Reserve, which is part of the Table Mountain National Park, is only a short drive from Cape Town’s city centre. The park straddles the mountain, from the winding Ou Kaapse Weg (Old Cape Road) on the Tokai, Constantia and Westlake side, over the peak and into Noordhoek, Sun Valley and Fishhoek, overlooking the ocean. Hikers will be taken on a scenic trip through the fynbos, where thousands of plants unique to the Cape Floral Kingdom, including the famous South African Protea, can be seen and admired – don’t forget your camera!
Difficulty Level: Moderate- Difficult
Time: Approximately 3-5 hours depending on route taken
3) Olifantsbos Shipwreck Trail
The Olifantsbos Shipwreck Trail takes adventurers on a trip through Cape Town’s history as a trading post – once upon a time many Portuguese, Dutch, English and French ships ran into trouble along the coast, with some ship wrecks still visible today. Since the trail falls within the Cape Point Nature Reserve, an added bonus is walking amid the indigenous flora and fauna to be found at this southern tip of the African continent. You can pick one of three routes from Olifantsbos, all of which conveniently end back at the departure point.
4) Table Mountain Pipe Track
The Pipe Track, originally a service path for maintaining pipes leading from the high reservoirs, is one of Table Mountain’s easiest walks as it doesn’t include much climbing. The slight disadvantage is that it is an out-and-back track, meaning that you will have to retrace your steps on the way back. However, the breathtaking views of Table Mountain, Lions Head, the Twelve Apostles mountain range and Camps Bay will more than make up for it!
Difficulty Level: Easy
Time: 1-3 hours
5) Twelve Apostles Mountain Picnics
Guests staying at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa have the mountains on their doorstep – literally! There are various mountain trails to explore, from 10 minutes to 45 minutes in duration – the concierge desk can help with suggestions and will equip you with maps. Exclusively for hotel guests, the Twelve Apostles can also arrange a gourmet picnic at a specially laid out picnic site, so that you can reward yourself in style following your hike. Exercise, views and foodie delights – it’s the perfect combination.
Difficulty Level: Easy – Moderate
Time: 10 min – 45 min