A hike on the lower slopes of Table
The contour path is a beautiful route that winds its way around the lower slopes of Table Mountain from Constantia Nek past the lower cable way station to the top of Kloof Nek. Covering a distance of around 15km. To do the whole path in one go is perfectly feasable but quite a long day. Generally is divided into 3 sections.
- 1) Constantia Nek to Kirstenbosch Gardens
- 2) Kistenbosch to Rhodes Memorial
- 3) Rhodes memorial to Kloof Nek
The section from Rhodes Memorial to Kloof Nek is the least shaded of the sections as you leave the forests of the South and Easterly sides of the mountain and walk above Cape Town on the Northerly slopes.
You begin the hike at the parking area at Rhodes memorial and take the path up towards the Kings Blockhouse. This is a steep stepped path which is pretty tiring. Once at the Kings Blockhouse it is worth stopping to admire the view. Then follow the path that continues around the mountain and towards Cape Town. After about 10 minutes you pass a ravine and above you is Woodstock Cave. This is one of the largest caves on Table Mountain and is clearly visible from quite far below. Sadly it has been damaged with grafitti over the years.
After you have passed the cave above you look out for a path that crosses the path you are on. This leads to the cave and it is worth following and taking a look. The shade provided by this overhang offers a good place for a break. Return to the contour path the same way. (the detour should take you around half an hour)
Once back on the contour path you continue for about half an hour. A few paths leading off the main path and up onto a higher contour path and Devils Peak. Your route stays on the main path. After about half an hour you round a corner and Table Mountain herself suddenly fills your view. It is a magnificent sight.
The path leads you past Platteklip Gorge and to one of my favourite parts of the contour path. Here is lies almost directly under the towering cliffs of Table Mountain. You pass several gorges with small waterfalls in the winter.
The views down onto Tafelberg Rd and the city are terrific. Once you reach the path leading down to the lower cableway station you know you are nearly done. Carry on for about 15 minutes and as the path begins to head around to Camps Bay. Look for a path leading down to your right. (the contour path itself peters out if you continue along it.) The path leads steeply down to join Tafelberg Road just above the 1st switchback on the road.