South Africa is gorgeous! But its capital city, Cape Town is magical.
Flanked on one side by Table Mountain and on the other side with the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Town is a busy South African city. A ride up the famous Table Mountain cable car, is possibly one of the best ways to see the city. With pristine beaches, tranquil seashores, lush forests, botanical gardens, and stunning views, Cape Town has all you can desire. When you gaze out over the city from Table Mountain, you’ll have an adrenaline rush!
While reading this article, you’ll discover an extraordinary thing about the Western Cape. Apart from its spectacular scenery, the Western Cape has a variety of hiking trails. We’ve hired experts to create a list of seven best hiking trails in the Western Cape to help you. You’ll come across some of the most unforgettable views and make memories while hiking the Western Cape. These top seven hiking trails are for you to add to your bucket list.
Table Mountain Trail
The gigantic Table Mountain is the most popular landmark in Cape Town and it is the first choice for hikers. Table Mountain has numerous trails available for hiking lovers with splendid views and nature experiences.
Skeleton Gorge is the most challenging trail. It is steep from its start at Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden and gets steeper till it ends at McLear’s Beacon. The India Venster Trail Route, is one of the most direct routes up to the top of Table Mountain. It is a thigh crunching tough scramble. Kasteel Port and the Pipe Track are the trails for hikers looking for an easier walk.
Hiking Chapman’s Peak
One of the Table Mountain chain trails, Chapman’s Peak, is majestic. Chapman’s Peak is only a 38 minute ride from Cape Town. Haul up your Hilux roof rack upright and get ready for an adventure of sightseeing, hiking, walking and enjoying mountain bike trails on one of the world’s best coastal drives. Chapman’s Peak overlooks the marine drive from Noordhoek to Hout Bay while allowing tourists access to the highest cliff. When you reach the summit, you will see the kaleidoscopic panoramic view.
When you’re thinking of hiking Chapman’s Peak, consider that the trail allows children above ten years and even dogs to accompany you. The mountainous pathway is full of proteas, fynbos, and other similar fascinating flora found only in the Western Cape. Hiking on Chapman’s Peak guarantees abundant excitement!
Newlands Forest Trail
For those who love bushy canopy surroundings, Newlands Forest Trail is the perfect choice. Newlands Forest Trail has all the difficulty levels along contour paths around Table Mountain. Easily reachable from southern Cape Town, Newlands Forest offer walking, hiking, and jogging for locals and visitors. You can kick-start your hike from Constantia Nek or Rhodes Memorial. The Newlands Reservoir, The Lady Anne Barnard Cottage, and The City Park Nursery are three must-visit sights during the hike.
Hiking Lion’s Head
The Table Mountain range has more wonders in store for you: When you reach the top of Lion’s Head, you’ll see the enchanting views over Cape Town, Robben Island and the West Coast. The Lion’s Head trail starts at Signal Hill Road, and hikers can comfortably reach the summit, climbing with ladders and chains. Lion’s Head rump is a renowned world paragliding site because of the neighboring beaches. You can spend the evening at the world’s best picnic spot sipping the finest sundowners.
Crystal Pools Trail
Nestled southeast of Cape Town, Kogelberg Nature Reserve is home to the incredible Crystal Pools Trail. The hiking trail moves parallel along the Steenbras River. It is a unique trail site with mountain pools within the endless kloofs. The biosphere stretches for over 100,000 hectares, and it is the center of attraction of the Cape Floral Kingdom. Permission is required to gain access to the trail. Book a trip via [email protected]. Good news – dogs are allowed on this hiking trail!
Hiking Kalk Bay Mountains
Not only its foliage but also the captivating caves will amaze you while hiking the Kalk Bay Mountain Trail. You’ll love the Afromontane forests of the mountain range despite how dense they are. Standing at the Spes Bona and Echo Valley, you can view False Bay. The trail is best for the newbie hikers as it has plenty of signs showing route maps and tracks. The Old Mule Hiking Path is a sure spot to have on your bucket list. Visit between June and November for whale watching.
The Swellendam Hiking Trail
Into the iconic Marloth Nature Reserve, there lies the famous Swellendam Hiking Trail. Home to the beautiful fynbos plants and plenty of proteas making a bed of flora on mountains. The trail is perfect for people who love hiking. While hiking, you will explore lush green kloofs, mountain terrains, and fynbos covered valleys the entire way. It’ll take multiple days to complete the trail. You will stay over in simple huts, furnished with mattresses, basic amenities, mobile toilets, and clean drinking water. The trail is perfect for fit hikers. The waterfalls, rock pools, and thousands of trees make this multi-day route trail among the top ten hiking trails of the Western Cape.
The Final Words For Hikers
Not every trail has the same difficulty level. It is up to the hiker to choose what trail to take depending on their level of fitness. All of them are worth paying a visit if you really love hiking. With this list, we’re sure you won’t regret hiking in the Western Cape.
Emma Willson is a passionate writer & guest blogger. She is originally based out of California and has visited 16 countries of North America, South America and Europe. She continues to travel and has been working as a freelance writer for 4 years. She writes about different experiences she has during travelling and hopes to travel to more remote locations of the world in future. She is currently exploring the West Coast Way of South Africa.