Cape Town is a hiker’s haven offering many well-maintained trails set amid amazing landscapes in and around the city. And there’s no need to worry if you aren’t in top shape, as there are hikes with fantastic views for folks of every fitness level. Here are a few of the most amazing hikes in Cape Town.
1. Pipe Track
With incredible views of the mountains, Atlantic Ocean and sea-side neighbourhoods of Camps Bay and Bakoven, this easy to moderate level hike is simply breathtaking. This 6km hike is fairly secluded and takes a bit over four hours to do.
2. Lion’s Head
Lion’s Head is a short summit hike that offers hikers panoramic views of Cape Town, with even better views around sunset. It’s also a popular night hike during a full moon. The hike has moderate difficulty and two routes to the top.
3. Constantia Nek
Enjoy a fairly easy hike along a low pass on this hike over the Table Mountain range. The “nek” is one of three passes connecting Hout Bay to the rest of the city.
4. Silvermine East
Situated in the Silvermine Nature Reserve, this moderate-to-difficult hike overlooks the seaside suburb of Muizenberg. You can expect to see interesting rock formations and plenty of untouched fynbos.
5. Devil’s Peak
Starting on Tafelberg Road (the same road that the Cape Town Cable Car station is on), hikers follow a zig-zag path onto a steep route to the peak. The hike offers amazing views of Table Mountain and the city below.
6. Newlands Forest Contour Path
Just a stone’s throw from the city centre is this forest trek that offers shade from trees, streams to cool down in, and various paths to choose from. The hike is fairly easy and child friendly.
7. Chapman’s Peak
Hikers are spoilt by the beauty of this hike, which highlights the natural beauty of Cape Town. There are two routes to the top, which is covered with thick fynbos, and both offer amazing views of Hout Bay, Fish Hoek and Gordon’s Bay.
8. Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
With several paved walks in and around this amazing garden, you can spend the whole day exploring. It’s also a great place to learn more about indigenous plants. Certain paths are wheelchair friendly.
9. Boomslang Caves
An easy and fairly safe hike above the quaint harbour town of Kalk Bay, you can of course get incredible views from the top — just don’t mind the bats inside the caves (and don’t touch!).
10. Paarl Rock
About an hour outside of Cape Town is the Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve and Paarl Rock. This moderate hike has spectacular views of Paarl and Table Mountain in the distance.
11. Crystal Pools
One of the most popular hikes in Cape Town is Crystal Pools. The hike involves boulder-hopping to a series of mountain pools in Steenbras Nature Reserve. Only 50 people are allowed on the hike per day and it is closed during winter.
12. Suicide Gorge
This eight-hour hike is physically taxing and should be done with a guide. It involves very challenging river crossings, cliff jumps, and numerous dangerous trails.
13. Platteklip Gorge
This three-to-four-hour hike is fairly steep and follows along the front face of Table Mountain. The trail ends on top of the mountain where hikers have the choice of walking back down, or taking the famous revolving cable car.
14. Muizenberg Mile
Starting from Surfer’s Corner at Muizenberg Beach and heading towards the ocean pool at St James, this one is pretty easy and more of a walk than a hike. You’ll need to time the walk according the tide, as the water washes over the walkway twice a day.
15. Cape of Good Hope Hiking Trail
Hikers are in for a treat as they trek to the spot where two oceans meet, surrounded by fynbos and some of Cape Town’s best wildlife. This hike is two days long over 23.3 km, but fairly easy.
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This article was originally published on October 24, 2014.