7 Best Hikes In Cape Town (How To Get There + Best Views)
Cape Town is without a doubt one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Because of all the natural beauty the city is blessed with there are so many amazing hikes. Hiking was our favorite activity while we were in Cape Town and you are really missing out if you don’t go on at least one hike while you are there. In this article will go in detail through the best hikes in Cape Town.
Most of the hikes are incredibly accessible from the city center which is quite unique. Usually you have to take a decent drive out of a city to feel like you are in nature. But in Cape Town in many parts of the city you can literally open your front door and start walking and you will be up Table Mountain within a matter of hours.
Because they are so accessible this means you generally will not need a guide. Which also makes them a cheap travel activity. But even if you need a guide the hikes are so amazing it would be well worth your money. So keep reading to find the best hikes in Cape Town.
1. Lions Head
If you are short on time and can only do one hike in Cape Town I would recommend Lions Head. It is one of the best hikes in Cape Town and we liked it so much we hiked up more than once.
Not only is it one of the most beautiful hikes in Cape Town but if you are in good shape the Lions Head hike it is not too hard either. At the top you will have amazing 360 views of Table Mountain, Camps Bay and more!
2 hours return
How To Get There
To get to the Lions Head Hike starting point you will need either to drive or get an Uber to the Lions Head Hike Parking Lot, which is marked on Google Maps.
The hike starts out easily with a wide smooth path beginning at the car park. As the path winds around Lions Head you will have great views of Table Mountain and the surrounding beaches.
The path starts to get rockier the higher you get and eventually you will arrive at sections where you must climb ladders. One section in particular is very steep and has staples and chains to help you climb.
This section is fun if you are into climbing. However if you are afraid of heights you might find it a bit scary. If this is the case you can simply follow the path to the left of the staples and take the more gentle route up. This is also a good route if it is very busy as there can be lines to go up the staples and chains.
After the staples and chains there is a fairly steep rock scramble to the top, then you can take in the views and relax.
We also highly recommend going up Lions Head for sunset. But if you do so remember to bring a headlamp or torch as it will get dark quite quickly after the sunsets.
2. Skeleton Gorge
Skeleton gorge is a unique hike in Cape Town because of how green it is. Most hikes in Cape Town will take you through beautiful but quite arid, dry areas. This hike however starts off in the stunning Kirstenbosch Gardens and takes you through lush green forests where you climb ladders beside large boulders and creeks all the way to the top of Table Mountain.
It is quite a tough hike as it will take you to the top of table mountain so requires a decent level of fitness. However when you make it to the top you will be rewarded by a secret beach at the top!
There are water reservoirs at the top of Table Mountain that used to supply the city with water. The reservoir at the top is surrounded by sand dunes so it feels like you are at the beach.
The water in the lake at the top is a deep brown color but the color is from plant matter and it is totally safe to have a swim and cool off after your hike.
The combination of the lush green forests and the beach at the top makes this a very unique hike and one of the best hikes in Cape Town
4 hours return
How To Get There
To get to the Skeleton Gorge hike you will need to make your way to Kirstenbosch Gardens. The entry fee is 210 rand. Once you are in Kirstenbosch the hike is up the hill at the back of the Gardens.
There is also a free way to get to the Skeleton Gorge hike if you go through Newlands Forest. However we have not been that way and the Kirstenbosch Gardens are worth visiting anyway so we recommend this route.
As mentioned above the hike begins by walking through Kirstenbosch gardens. Once you find the start of the trail it will immediately become very steep and there will be a lot of stairs to climb.
We did the hike on a very hot day and would recommend to go early in the day if you go in summer. It was incredibly humid amongst all the trees and we were getting quite a sweat on. So make sure you bring along plenty of water.
Eventually you will arrive at some areas that are very steep. So there will be some ladders and handles on the rocks to help you climb which is good fun.
As you get closer to the top the forest cover will disappear and you will have a great view over Cape Town. Once you are at the top you should find some maps on concrete posts showing you the way to the Hely-Hutchinson Reservoir. This is where the secret beach is where you can cool off after your hike.
Once at the top you can either go back down the same way you came up.
Or if you have more energy you can follow the path to Maclear’s Beacon which is the highest point on Table Mountain. We took this route and walked to the Cable Car and took that down the Mountain.
This was a very cool route however it should only be attempted if you are in very good shape and have plenty of food and water. We underestimated how tough it would be and were quite dehydrated by the time we arrived at the Cable Cars, so bring as much water as you can!
Kasteelspoort is a very beautiful but tough hike up Table Mountain. As there are no easy ways up Table Mountain! It has great views of the ocean the whole way up and the spectacular “diving board” rock formation at the top.
We really liked this hike because compared to other hikes up Table Mountain there were few people on the trail. Also being able to see the ocean the whole way up was really beautiful. If you like a thrill like me you can get a photo on the diving board at the top. Overall it is definitely one of the best hikes in Cape Town
4-5 Hours return
How To Get There
There are two options to get to the starting point. You can either walk along the Pipe Track until you see the sign pointing you towards Kasteelspoort. This will add another 45 mins to the hike.
The other option is to drive or Uber to the Kasteelspoort starting point on Theresa Ave behind Bakoven Beach. This is the route we chose to take.
The start of the hike will begin relatively easily on a wide road that is quite steep from the beginning. When this road reaches the Pipe Track you will need to take a left until you see a sign pointing to the Kasteelspoort trail.
Once you are on the Kasteelspoort trail it will immediately become a lot narrower and steeper. The path will go steeply directly up the hill and there will be some small rock scrambles along the way.
As you get higher and higher it will be quite tough but there are a plenty of real nice spots to stop and take in the view over Camps Bay.
After about 2-3 hours depending on your speed you should be at the top. Then if you want you can take your picture on the diving board! The pictures make it look a bit scarier than it is, as there is actually quite a bit of space on top. Just be careful if it is windy as Table Mountain often has very, very strong winds!
Once at the top you have two choices to make. You can either head back down the mountain the same way you came up. Or if you have a bit more energy in store you can walk The Valley of Red Gods path that will take you to the Cable Car.
The Valley of Red Gods path takes you through the middle of table mountain. It is not a flat easy path and there are some descent climbs but also some very nice view points along the way to the cable car. So if you have the time and energy is a great route with almost no people.
4. Devils Peak
Devils Peak is a hike that in my opinion is underrated. From ground level it does not look as impressive as Table Mountain and Lions Head as it’s shape is not so unique. But because of it’s position, at the top you will have an amazing 360 view looking at Table Mountain and the whole of Cape Town.
In one direction you will be looking across the face of Table Mountain towards Lions Head and the Atlantic ocean. While in the other direction you can see across to Constantia, Muizenburg and False Bay. Due to the unique perspective at the top i think that it is one of the best hikes in Cape Town and highly recommend it.
4-5 Hours. Elevation is similar to Table Mountain so requires a good level of fitness.
How To Get There
To get to the starting point you will need to drive or take an Uber past the cable car station to the point on the map.
Just a warning that if you take an Uber you may have trouble getting one to pick you up when you come down. We could not get one so we just hitched a ride with a another hiker we meet at the bottom. So if you can’t get an Uber we recommend you try and ask for a ride.
The start to the Devils Peak hike is clearly signposted on the side of the road. You will start by immediately climbing some stairs. The hike is very exposed to the sun in the afternoon so if it is a hot day it would be best to start in the morning.
The path zig-zags up the side of Table Mountain for about 40 min before flattening out and heading towards Devils Peak.
When you get to saddle rock you turn right and take the path straight to the top. The path is very steep over the last sections towards the top so be prepared for a fairly tough climb. There are a few spots slightly off the path where there are some great view points on the way up.
But of course never stray very far from the path as it can be very dangerous to do so on Table Mountain.
Once you are at the top you will have 360 views and lots of spots to stop and take it all in while you have a snack. Then just head back down the same way you came up.
5. Chapmans Peak
Chapmans Peak is the farthest from the city of all the hikes we have mentioned so far. From the top you will have spectacular views across Hout Bay and to other side Long Bay. It is a much different view than all the others on the list and one of the best bikes in Cape Town.
Also before or after the hike you can take a drive along Chapmans peak drive which is one of the top things to do in Cape Town.
3 hours for the standard hike. 5 hours if you start at Chapmans Peak Hiking Trail North.
How To Get There
When you google Chapmans Peak Hike it will come up with three options. Chapmans Peak Hiking Trail North, Chapmans Peaking Hiking Trail and Chapmans Peak Hiking Trail South.
For the standard hike you should go to Chapmans Peak Hiking Trail not North or South. The start is clearly signposted.
We had a bit of confusion with our Uber driver and ended up at the North Trail. It is a much longer hike but if you have the time I would recommend it. As you will end up at Chapmans Peak while having amazing views of Hout Bay along the way.
The path begins straight from the car park at the start of the hike. The path goes steeply up the hill for about 30 min before you come to a cross roads in the path where you must take a right turn.
When you make the turn the path will be less steep here and there will be awesome views of Hout Bay.
As you go along the path it will look like you are getting closer to the top. But there is a bit of a false summit and the true summit is further on.
There are a few minor rock scrambles and then you will be able to enjoy the view at the top. You will have an awesome 360 view of Hout Bay, Table Mountain and Long Beach. The views from the top are amazing and make it one of the best hikes in Cape Town for sure.
Just a warning that if it is windy in Cape Town the summit may be incredibly windy as it was when we were there.
6. India Venster
India Venster is by far the most adventurous trail on this list. The trail takes you straight up Table Mountain underneath the cable cars and is not for the faint hearted. It is a very steep climb but you will be rewarded with some amazing views of Lions Head and Camps bay.
The hike gets it’s name because of a rock formation on the way up that looks like the Indian subcontinent and Venster is the Afrikaans word for window.
There are some sections were you are required to do some rock scrambles and climb some chains and ladders. It is similar to Lions Head but it is much higher and longer. The path is well marked with yellow footprints on rocks to show which way to go.
I did the hike solo for the first time and had no problems. However if you are not confident navigating out in nature or are scared of heights I would recommend getting a guide or joining a group to go up. There are some very exposed sections and if you stray off the path it will be very dangerous
2.5-3 hours to the top.
How To Get There
To get to the India Venster hike start point make your way to the Table Mountain cable car station. Once you are there look for the vida e caffe cafe and the starting point to the trail will be on the right. It will go up the hill behind the cable car station.
The hike is fully exposed to the sun during the day so on hot days it is best to start early in the morning
The trail goes up the hill behind the cable car station and starts off moderately steep. You will shortly arrive at a crosspoint with another path where you need to follow the signs. They will point you up the hill where there will be some minor rock scrambles as the path gets steeper.
I will not get into a detailed description of which way to go as you get further up as there are a number of rock scrambles and a section with chains to climb. I found my way up fine but I must emphasize that if you do not have a good sense of direction or are afraid of heights then you should definitely get a guide or go with an experience group.
The scrambling and ladders are great fun and are apart of the reason I think it is the best hike in Cape Town.
Once you get to the top underneath the cable cars the path goes around the corner where you will have amazing views looking right down at Camps Bay.
The path then takes you to a junction where you can either go down Platkellip Gorge or take the cable car down. Personally I would recommend taking the cable car down. As I walked down Platkelip Gorge on another hike and didn’t find it a fun experience. But if you want a challenge then go ahead!
7. The Pipe Track
The Pipe Track is by far the easiest hike on this list. It is a good option if you do not feel like an overly tiring hike and is great for beginners.
The track starts at Kloof Corner up behind Camps Bay and makes its way along the cliffs of Camps Bay towards to Kasteelspoort hike starting point. Along the hike you will have spectacular views of Lions Head, Camps Bay and the 12 Apostles above.
We did the hike close to sunset and found that it was particularly nice to do the hike at this time. As the sun was low in the sky there was a golden glow on Lions Head and Table Mountain that was very nice.
3 hours return
How To Get There
To get to the Pipe Track starting point you need to make your way to the start of Tafelberg Road. This is the road that leads up to the cable cars up Table Mountain.
At the very beginning of the road you will see a block of toilets next to a parking lot. The start of the trail is directly across the road from this parking lot.
Compared to all the other hikes on this list the Pipe Track is very flat and not too tiring. The beginning of the track is quite flat then has some down hill sections before it winds up into some ravines.
For most of the track the trail just meanders along the face of the cliff. However the path has a lot of loose rocks in sections so make sure to wear some appropriate shows.
Along sections of the track you may see some pipes that give the track it’s name. The pipes you see were used to transport water from reservoirs on the top of Table Mountain for use in the city.
Just after you see the sign for the Kasteelspoort hike there will be a road that will take you down to Bakoven Bay if you want to explore that area. We went to Bakoven for sunset and highly recommend it. Otherwise not too long after the sign for the Kasteelspoort hike you will come to the end of the Pipe Track and it is time to turn around.
Now You Know The Best Hikes In Cape Town + How To Get There
There are so many more amazing hikes around Cape Town and I will be back one day to do some more. But this list gives you a perfect start when you are visiting Cape Town for the first time.
That’s because all hikes in this guide are easy accessible from Cape Town and will give you the best views of the city and surroundings.
If you have any recommendations for what you think the best hikes in Cape Town are please comment below.
2 thoughts on “The Best Hikes In Cape Town (How To Get There + Best Views)”
It was mOUNTAIN mAN Academy Pty Ltd honor to have crossed paths with this amazing couple. I will definately be using this for my hikers in future. I find it very clean crisp and well researched as I have been in our mOUNTAINS for the last 3 years x 365 days x 8 hours. Well done for a very well documented blog. Happy trails and I will be following your other travels closely.
Thank you so much! It was a pleasure to meet you and we are very greatful for the lift you gave us after finishing Devil’s Peak hike. We hope to be back in Cape Town to do more hikes and cross path with you again.