Hike on Table Mountain and you’ll be rewarded with a good workout, an exceptional view (if the weather plays along) and bragging rights to say you conquered one of the Seven New Wonders of the World.
That said, a hike up Table Mountain should not be underestimated. The weather changes quickly and it’s a steep climb. Study our hiking safety tips before heading out to ensure you know what you’re in for. If it’s your first hike on the mountain or you’d like some assistance, we’d highly recommend a guide like Hike Table Mountain, Table Mountain Treks and Tours or Mother City Hikers.
We’re taking a look at five great Table Mountain hikes to try and luckily the first one is a walk in the park.
If you want to see the top of Table Mountain without breaking a sweat, get yourself an iVenture card for access to the Aerial Cableway and over 50 other attractions! (You even get to skip the queue!)
1. The pipe track
This route doesn’t go up Table Mountain, but rather around it. It’s a much easier hike, but just as beautiful with spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and Lion’s Head and a chance to appreciate some of the mountain’s fynbos up close.
Park at the very first parking lot on Tafelberg Road and head to the right, up the concrete stairs where you’ll find the Pipe Track leading toward the Twelve Apostles. The track hugs the mountain for about 6 km to Corridor Ravine, but you can turn around at any point.
Approximate time: 1.5 – 3 hours one way, depending on fitness and how far you walk.
View on a map.
2. Platteklip Gorge
This zig-zag up the Table is the most popular route and feels a little like climbing stairs for an hour or two (or three, depending on fitness). It’s a beautiful trail and when the weather is good you’ll encounter many other hikers, so it’s a more social hike with great people-watching possibilities.
You’ll start the route on Tafelberg Road. Carry on driving after the Cableway station until you see the Platteklip sign and parking. When you start walking, keep left till you see the Platteklip turnoff. You’ll zig-zag your way up to a ravine and just when you feel like you’ve had enough you’ll emerge at the top. From there you take the route to the right and then you’ll be at the top of Table Mountain, where you can walk to the Cableway and restaurant with ease.
Approximate time: 1.5 – 3 hours one way depending on fitness and breaks.
View on a map.
3. Woodstock Caves
As the name suggests, this hike takes you to a large cave with an epic view of the area of Woodstock and surrounds. It’s a relatively easy and family-friendly hike, so be sure to pack a picnic and enjoy the view, shade, and tiny waterfall while you’re up there.
You have two starting point options. You can start via Tafelberg road, which entails driving past the Cableway station and parking either at the Woodstock Cave route’s start or as close as you can when the road is closed. The second option is starting at Rhodes Memorial and hiking to the King’s Blockhouse. Past the Blockhouse the road forks where you’ll take the left fork. At the next fork, take a right towards the Cableway.
Approximate time: 1.5 – 2 hours one way starting from Tafelberg Road, 2 – 3 hours one way starting from Rhodes Memorial.
View on a map.
4. Skeleton Gorge
The beautiful forest-like start and the beach-like finish to this hike makes this strenuous trail well worth the climb. It’s only about 3km, which sounds easy enough, but remember this is Table Mountain we’re talking about.
You start your hike in the abundant Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden (you’ll need to pay the regular entry fee) and climb up the back of Table Mountain. The first half is shaded and feels like you’re in a jungle somewhere far-off, but you’ll start seeing some spectacular views closer to the top. It’s a tough climb, but pack some snacks and enjoy a break on the aptly-named Breakfast Rock or relax on the “beach” at the reddish Hely-Hutchinson reservoir at the summit (please don’t swim here). It’s one of five reservoirs on the mountain and is a beautiful sight to behold.
From here it’s about an hour walk to the Table Mountain Cableway station if you want to spare your knees the trip down. Take the signs to Maclear’s Beacon and visit the big cairn that marks the highest point on Table Mountain (1 086 metres above sea level) on your way. Another option is to take Platteklip Gorge down, otherwise, head down Skeleton Gorge or Nursery Ravine to end up where you started.
Approximate time: 2- 4 one way hours one way depending on fitness and breaks.
View on a map.
Tackle the mountain from the Camp’s Bay side and you’ll be treated to serene views of the Atlantic Ocean and a less congested route.
You have two options for a starting point: You can either start with the Pipe Track (which could add an extra hour to your hike) or you can park in Theresa Road and walk up the Jeep track to the Pipe Track. For the latter, you’ll take a left once you’re on the Pipe Track to get to the Kasteelspoort turn-off.
It’s a picturesque walk up and you’ll want to take plenty of water breaks to enjoy the view. You’ll have the opportunity to marvel at the Twelve Apostles, Lion’s Head, the ocean and Robben Island on a clear day. In the early morning, you’ll be shaded from the sun by the mountain, making this hike pleasant even on warmer days.
Once you’ve reached the summit you’ll spot the “diving board” to your right where many pose for photos, but not to be attempted by the faint-hearted or on a windy day.
On this track, you’ll also spot some remnants of the old Cableway, used to ship supplies for the construction of the dams to the top of the mountain in the 1800s. Once you’re at the top it’s about an hour of walking to the Cableway if you want to head down that way.
Approximate time: 2 – 4 hours one way