EASY CAPE TOWN HIKES FOR BEGINNERS (THAT ARE STILL AMAZING)Posted by Natasha | Dec 07, 2019 | Resources, Hiking
Cape Town is well-known for its outdoor culture. With its unique mountain ranges and forest trails -- some of which you can access within minutes, all of which offer hidden gems or epic views -- it’s easy to see why. However, not everybody can or wants to scramble up death-defying cliffs or into plunging ravines. Am I right? If this sounds like you then we have some good news. You can still immerse yourself into Cape Town’s outdoor culture with these carefully chosen easy-going hikes for beginners, perfect for all ages and fitness levels.
1. The Pipe Track
Duration: About 2 hours each way (if you go all the way) | Distance: 6km
Whether you’re new to hiking, have a few kids in tow, or just looking for a relaxing stroll in nature, the Pipe Track has you covered. Though it won’t get you to the top of Table Mountain, it still gives you fantastic views and that beautiful feeling that comes from spending time outdoors.
You can start at Kloof Nek (just as you turn into Tafelberg Road) or you have the option of starting at the top of Theresa Avenue in Camps Bay. The Pipe Track is an easy and mostly level walk that takes you along the Western base of Table Mountain, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Camp’s Bay and Lion’s Head.
This trail dates back to 1887 when it was first constructed to lay pipelines and today it still carries water from the Table Mountain reservoirs to the City of Cape Town. Steeped in history and with so much to see on this route, you’ll have plenty to keep your mind and body happy.
Duration: 20-30 minutes one way | Distance: 1,4km
Kloof Corner is a short and simple hike that goes about half way up Table Mountain. It’s a popular sunset spot for locals, with incredible views of Lion’s Head, Table Bay, and Camps Bay. You’ll start on Tafelberg Road by the Kloof Nek Water Treatment Plant where there is a sign marking the start of the trail. The mostly stepped path is fairly steep but do not fear - it will only take you about 20-30 minutes to reach the top! And you’ll have a pretty special sundowner spot waiting for you.
Duration: 3-4 hours in total, depending on what you choose to do once you reach the top | Distance: 3km
This one will require a bit more effort than the previous two. We promise it will be worth it. Why? Because Kasteelspoort is the only trail on this list that will actually get you to the top of Table Mountain! The Kasteelspoort Hiking trail is considered one of the easier hikes up Table Mountain, and (in our opinion) is a much better choice than Platteklip Gorge in terms of views and variety.
You can start your hike from two different points: At the top of Theresa Avenue in Camps Bay or at the top of Kloof Nek, walking along the Pipe Track first. The first option is the quickest as you cut out about an hour of walking along the Pipe Track.
Now, even though this is one of the easier ways to summit Table Mountain, it doesn’t mean it will be a quick walk in the park. Keep in mind that you are still climbing a mountain. It's wild out there, folks. Take the necessary precautions and wear comfortable walking shoes and clothing, and bring along some sun protection and enough food and water. Preparation ensures enjoyment!
Duration: About 3 hours, depending on how long you spend drinking in the views | Distance: 4.5km
Of course Lion’s Head is on this list! If you haven’t summited Lion’s Head, have you really even been to Cape Town? This iconic Cape Town hike is so dearly loved by both locals and visitors because it’s a relatively short and easy hike while still being fun (thanks to the ladders, chains, and short scrambles to the top). It also offers amazing 360 degree views of the city, Camps Bay, Table Mountain, and even Robben Island in the distance.
Duration: 3 hours in total | Distance: 5km
The Chapman’s Peak hike offers incredible panoramic views over Noordhoek and Hout Bay. You’ll begin with a short drive along the famous Chapmans Peak Drive. At the toll gate, ask for a picnic / day pass, or just say that you’ll be hiking Chapmans Peak and you will be exempt from paying any toll fees. The walk starts at the final corner where the day pass turn-around point is.
The trail can be a little confusing at times so make sure to read our full post on it. The hike should take you around 3 hours to complete, with a few minor inclines along the way. Nothing unbearable though! It is perfectly suited for a family outing.
6. Boomslang Cave
Duration: 2-3 hours in total | Distance: 3.9km
This one is a little more adventurous but still relatively easy. Perfect for novice hikers and kids, as long as they don’t mind dark, enclosed spaces (and, um, bats). Found above Kalk Bay, Boomslang Cave tunnels right through the mountain.
You can take the train to Kalk Bay Train Station and head up Boyes Drive where you’ll find the sign for Echo Valley. This is where your hike begins. You’ll follow the path through Echo valley for about an hour or so before you reach Boomslang Cave. You’ll need to get down on your hands and knees to enter the cave (no mini skirts or white pants for this adventure, kids). After a short shuffle the cave will open up into a larger chamber. We strongly recommend a headlamp or torch of some kind to help you explore the labyrinth of tunnels within the cave before coming out the other side, where you’ll be rewarded with breath-taking views over the Noordhoek valley.
7. Newlands Forest
Duration and Distance: Various
Newlands Forest provides many Capetonians with a peaceful break from city life. It’s where we go to walk, run, eat, play, exercise, meditate, and escape from the hustle and bustle of our nine to five’s. The main entrance is just off the M3 highway by the Wildfire Services and Reservoir turnoff. There is a large parking area by the entrance followed by a tar road that leads towards the mountain. There is a map at the end of the tar road and just before the forest to help you choose a direction, and various signs within the forest.
Newlands Forest has so many trails to choose from that it will be difficult to get into it here. Bring a packed lunch and go exploring! Humans get in for free but you’ll need a permit for your furry friends.
A few notes before you embark on your hiking adventure:
- Muggings are possible on these trails. Always be alert and aware of your surroundings. Whenever possible, try to hike in groups (four is the ideal group size) and leave valuables at home or out of site while hiking. Do ensure that one person has a fully charged cellphone with emergency numbers.
- Choose your route carefully and stick to it. Know where to begin and end and approximately how long it should take.
- Always take enough food and water.
- The weather on the mountain can change in an instant. Prepare for this by bringing both sun protection and a wind/rain-proof jacket.
- Respect other hikers and the nature area by taking home all trash, not disturbing any fauna or flora, and keeping noise to a minimum.
Take note of these emergency numbers:
- Metro Rescue - 021 937 0300 (for rescue and reporting crime)
- Metro Rescue - 10177 (medical assistance and rescue services)
- Emergency SAPS (South African Police Service) - 10111 (02110111 on mobile)
- Table Mountain Cableway Information - (021) 424 0015