Beautiful hikes in Cape Town

McClears Beacon

We love exploring the great outdoors and one of our favourite things to do on the weekend is to go out for a hike. Each weekend we try to tackle a new hike, as there are so many beautiful one’s in and around Cape Town. Below are a few of our favourites that we would suggest.

The Beard has an immense fear of heights, but has been doing what he calls “bravery training” to overcome this fear. Thus we attempt walks with heights and so far, we have managed to complete all of the hikes below.

  1. Pipe Track
  2. Wallys Cave
  3. Platteklip Gorge
  4. Sandy Bay to Oudeschip Peninsula
  5. Cable Car to Maclears Beacon

1. The Pipe Track

Pipe Track

This is an easy walk, that follows an old water pipe along the base of Table Mountain, below the peaks of the 12 Apostles. If you are looking for a scenic, gentle and mostly flat walk, then the Pipe Track is perfect for you.

The hike starts at the intersection of Tafelberg road and Kloof Nek. Park in the car park next to the Myciti bus stop, walk across Tafelberg road and then head towards the stairs (sign posted). The views from this track are breathtaking, with Lions head in the distance and constant views of the ocean, camps bay and beyond.

The walk is very popular with local’s for both trail running and walking. There are also a few paths that lead off this track up towards Table Mountain.

Duration (time that it took us):  3 hours (with some photo stops)
Distance: Approximately 6km one way to Corridor Ravine, you will go back the same way.
Difficulty: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Heights: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

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2. Wallys Cave

Wallys Cave

The infamous Wally’s Cave walk (the trail is usually a well-kept secret), there are a couple of routes to Wallys Cave, but this is the route we have always taken. Start at the hut/boom for the Lions Head hike as per the pic below.

Wallys Cave

Walk up the jeep track for about 500m, past 2 viewing benches on your left. Then keep your eye’s open for a slightly hidden path and some steps which will be on your right.

Follow this trail up, it’s quite a climb, but totally worth it. Keep heading left on the trails (when they split) and you will eventually find Wally’s Cave. The path is narrow and goes through a small Silver Tree forest and some beautiful fynbos.

Once you reach the cave, it’s a great spot to have a snack, a rest and admire the views of table mountain and Camps Bay. And don’t forget to take some photos, because if it’s not on Instagram, it didn’t happen. 🙂

Wallys Cave

Duration (time that it took us):  25 minutes up, 15 minutes down
Distance: Approximately 2km
Difficulty: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Heights: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

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3. Platteklip Gorge

Platteklip Gorge

This hike takes you up Platteklip Gorge to the Front Table of Table Mountain. This is no easy walk, but you really do feel like you have achieved something great when you get to the top.

The walk starts on Tafelberg road, drive past the cable car until you see a security hut and a sign board that says “Platteklip Gorge” park anywhere around here and start your walk up the stairs.

Platteklip Gorge

The trail has the most amazing views with Lions Head, Signal Hill and Devils Peak framing the city, with such beautiful views, you almost forget about the fact that you are breathing so deeply and that your legs are starting to ache.

Once you reach the top of the mountain, take a few moments to congratulate yourself and then make your way to the Cable Car (currently R120 for a 1-way trip), it’s a short 10-minute walk. Be sure to stop at, at least a few of the viewing points to admire the stunning views of the 12 Apostles, Camps Bay and Cape Town from the top of Table Mountain.

This is quite a popular hike and you will pass many other people on your way up, which is great as everyone encourages each other and motivates you to keep going.

Duration (time that it took us):  1,5 hours to the top
Difficulty: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Heights: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

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4. Sandy bay to the Oudeschip Peninsula

Sandy Bay

Sandy Bay, well know in Cape Town as a nudist beach, is possibly one of the prettiest beaches in the area. Drive to Llandudno and follow the signs to Sandy Bay. The walk begins from the parking lot at the end of the road.

Sandy Bay

You will walk along a sandy track and some board walk before you reach the beach (there are a couple of paths that lead off from this one, but if you keep right, you will eventually reach the beach). From here you will need to cross the beach (eyes averted down, as you will be one of the few people there fully clothed). Feel free to stop for a swim in the cool ocean or to bask in the sun, in a bathing suit or birthday suit :), the choice is your’s and Sandy Bay allows both. As you get close to the rocks at the end of the beach you will see a path up the dunes, and you need to take this path to continue with the hike.

Sandy Bay

Stay on this path that follows the coast until you reach the Oudeschip Peninsula, at this point you will be able to spot the shipwreck (Harvest Capella, 1986). We stopped along the way for a snack and to admire the view over the beach with Lions Head in the distance. This is an out and back route, so come back the same way.

Sandy Bay

It is advised that you walk in groups for safety reasons.

Duration (time that it took us):  3,5 hours, including a picnic stop
Distance: Approximately 9km
Difficulty: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Heights: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

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5. Cable Car to Maclears Beacon

McClears Beacon

A very easy walk with the most spectacular views of Cape Town, to the highest point of Table Mountain – Maclears Beacon. Park at the bottom of the cable car and purchase a return ticket (currently R240). Once you are at the top of the mountain, follow the path to Platteklip Gorge/Maclears Beacon

McClears Beacon

Once you pass Platteklip gorge, follow the path towards Maclears Beacon. On our way there we took the track that went across the middle of the mountain. From this side of the Table you are able to see as far as Hout Bay and pretty much the whole of the False Bay coast. Make sure you stay on the path and follow the yellow footprints which mark the route. Climb up a small rocky hill and from there you will be able to see a small mound of rocks which is Maclears beacon. We had a picnic up here with incredible views from every angle.

We chose a different path back to the cable car, which takes you along the front of the table. Again just follow the path and signs back to Platteklip Gorge. Please only take this route if it is not raining, windy or misty as it gets quite close to the edge of the mountain. (the Beard had the odd moment of fear along this route). This path follows along a couple of boardwalk’s and then leads onto trail again, running along the front of the mountain with the cable car in the distance.

You will rejoin the path close to Platteklip Gorge, and from here you make your way back to the cable car. Remember at the cable car, there are shops, a restaurant and even a bar for a celebratory beer or glass of bubbly.

Duration (time that it took us):  1,5 hours including a picnic
Distance: Approximately 6 km
Difficulty: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Heights: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

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Always remember to take enough water with you, a hat, some sunscreen and a snack/picnic, something warm (especially when hiking on top of Table Mountain  as the weather on top can be freezing even in summer) and be respectful to nature.

Hike safely and in groups and leave nothing behind but footprints.

*Distances and time are approximate

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