The Western Cape is a hiker’s paradise. The mountains make for beautiful vistas wherever you go; a coastline that is either jagged and rocky or white and sandy, scented fynbos that offers something throughout the year, well-marked paths, and the best of all..a variety of hikes to suit all fitness levels. We asked some of our outdoor loving friends to share their favourite Cape hikes.
Catherine Esterhuizen – rock climber, hiker, surfer, ace camper, mom to Hannah, lover of all things unpretentious.
“Anywhere in the Cederberg! The icon is Maltese Cross – brutal and beautiful especially when the flowers transform it into a wonderland of colour. Most parts of the Cederberg allow you to switch off, literally as there is no cell coverage, forget your creature comforts and be ‘in the moment’. I call it the last bastion of the true wild. People are friendly, history is fascinating and you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time when you find people using donkey carts! The Sevilla Trail and Sputnik at Tafelberg are also great – crazy spaceship look to the rocks, marvellous rock art, not strenuous at all and you can even hire a very knowledgeable guide. The Cederberg has something for everyone.”
Cindy Jacobus – recently engaged world traveller and survivor of two hurricanes,
“Jonkershoek in Stellenbosch has become one of my favourite hikes. It’s a brisk two-hour hike, not too strenuous and there are plenty of rockpools at the two waterfalls for a quick swim and a picnic. Aside from the beauty, a big bonus is that it’s not frequented by too many many people.”
Fadia Gamieldien – landscape artist, hiker, nature enthusiast, philosopher, makes a mean breyani, too.
“I love the Lion’s Head Hike because I used to go up there every day for exercise. It doesn’t smell like old takkies and the narcissism of muscle men admiring themselves in front of the big mirrors at the gym. I love the honey smell of fynbos and dassie pee. It is a great workout. The start of the hike is cardio and then climbing by gradients. I like the spectacular views of Cape Town. I like the way the vegetation changes on different sides of the mountain starting with our beautiful silver trees Leucadendron argentium. I started by crawling up on all fours and in two weeks I could run up in 10 minutes (made me feel like a super hero). I use it to train for longer hikes, too! I also like the feel and sound of the granite and sandstone gravel under my feet. The quartz is like diamonds in the sun. I like walking on pretty pebbles.”
Glynis Jennings – hiker extraordinaire, recently returned from lovely Midlands Meander but still thinks the Cape is the best.
“Definitely anywhere on Table Mountain. Sometimes I go up via Skeleton Gorge or the jeep track on the Southern Suburbs side, or I go up and down via the Cableway (using the Cable Card) and just walk around the top or up via the Camps Bay side and hike around the Back Table. Whichever route up, it’s the most amazing place to be. The view is awesome, especially when the mist rolls in and envelops the city. I love the fynbos and the flowers. The air is so clean and exhilarating up there. Most of the hikes are pretty easy, not too strenuous. It’s the best place to hike especially since it’s now one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World.”
Heather Karabus – long-suffering friend, admirer of pretty flowers, owner of 6-man tent, novice rock-climber.
“I’ve hiked all over Silvermine but after Noordhoek Peak Elephant’s Eye is a favourite. The mountain looks like an elephant’s head and there is a cave where the eye would be – hence the name. It’s an easy 2 hour hike from the reservoir, flat for the most part until the last 50 metres or so. The cave looks very close but you soon realise it’s a bit further and a bit steeper! On a warm day it’s a pleasure to reach the coolness of the cave and have a picnic while enjoying the fabulous view across Cape Town. I only wish I could get there more often!“
Tim Lundy – professional hiking guide and member of Cape Town Mountain Rescue, organises awesome hikes via Facebook group. His favourite hike is one of our favourites, too, so we must be doing something right. Follow Tim on Twitter for hiking info and his unique Twitter tracking @HikingCapeTown or join his Facebook group.
“The Noordhoek Peak circular hike is one of my all-time favourites because of the range of views. It’s not difficult and the best is the lunch spot at the top with an amazing view of Hout Bay on a good day. The hike starts at the base of the Silvermine dam and heads up to the ridge above the reserve and overlooks the whole of False Bay. From there we head up to the peak and your whole view changes! From the peak you look down on the world famous Chapman’s Peak Drive and Hout Bay. After lunch and a bit of a rest we then head back down in a clockwise direction around the dam below to the starting area. A great walk for birders especially, a pair of Black Eagles have been nesting and breeding on Noordhoek Peak for a number of years.”