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Posted on: Friday, 23 November 2012
South African Hiking Trails

Walking Table Mountain

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Table Mountain

Table Mountain

Table Mountain looms graciously over the Mother City of Cape Town. Indeed, it is one of the most loved sights in the world, particularly amongst locals. This mountain has been recognised for its natural beauty and its iconic status by being recognised as one of the world’s Seven Wonders. The best way to experience the aesthetic beauty of Table Mountain is to walk through the fynbos, long grasses and Western Cape scrub.

There are a number of walking and hiking trails that squiggle up, down and across Table Mountain. These are of various lengths and for a number of different fitness abilities. From these, all of the gorgeous Western Cape vegetation can be enjoyed in quiet serenity, the smell of fynbos hanging languorously in the air while birds soar in the heights above. At the top of the mountain, Lion’s Head, Devil’s Peak, Signal Hill, Robben Island and the magnificent blue of the oceans lie below in their natural majesty.

These are the most popular routes for those wanting to explore the picturesque Table Mountain:

City Bowl Views

City Bowl Views

Platteklip Gorge

Duration: 3 – 4 hours

This is the route that the very first explorers took to the flat top of Table Mountain and promises stunning views along its entire length. If you have the energy to walk an extra 90 minutes, you can also take a detour to Maclear’s Beacon, which is the highest point on the mountain. This extra section means seeing the whole of the central top of the mountain. From the top, take the Table Mountain aerial cablecar down and enjoy the 360-degree views as the revolving floor of the car reveals Cape Town’s City Bowl in all is beauty.

Skeleton Gorge via Maclear`s Beacon to the Front Table

Skeleton Gorge

Skeleton Gorge

Duration: 5 hours

This route takes walkers from the exquisite Kirstenbosch Gardens in Newlands across Table Mountain. As such, it begins with an easy amble through the gardens before the more strenuous climb upwards begins. Some areas require that you use provided ladders and negotiate rock falls. At the highest point, Maclear’s Beacon, the views are nothing short of breathtaking. The fynbos, rock formations and stunning birdlife make this trail truly memorable.

Kasteelspoort via the Valley of the Red Gods to the Front Table

Duration: 4 hours

Starting from Camps Bay, you will ascend the mountain with the Atlantic Ocean behind you and the 12 Apostles rock face ahead. In the Valley of the Red Gods, stunning rock formations and gorgeous views complete the experience. Once at the top of Table Mountain, it is a quick, easy walk to the cablecar, which will transport you to the opposite side of the mountain.

Walk The Flat Top

Walk The Flat Top

Table Mountain

Duration: full day

Table Mountain is deceiving in that it looks like it is just a flat-topped result of a prehistoric volcanic eruption. In reality, it has three hidden valleys, fascinating rock formations and inviting views that are quire unexpected in places. This hike begins with an ascent from Kasteelspoort (from the Camps Bay side) and the hikers can descend from the Platteklip Gorge or the cablecar.

Destination Info:

Other Table Mountain Walks include:

Amelia Meyer


Amelia is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for all things travel-related. She is based in Knysna, but has studied, lived and travelled further afield. She studied Film, Media and Literature at the University of Cape Town. She began her solo career in the form of Voxate Writing & Editing in 2008 and loves every minute of it. Amelia believes in silver linings, lessons learnt and the responsibility to do what’s right. When she is not writing, she can frequently be found at the local animal shelter, on the bicycle trails of the nature reserves or sampling new restaurants with her family.

You are reading Popular Hiking Trails and Walks in South Africa Series Read more from this series of articles.