The Dark Gorge route up

Table Mountain

Dark Gorge is a route up Table Mountain onto the saddle between Devils Peak and Table Mountain. It is not a well known or regularly walked route. Mainly because the last half an hour is very steep, loose and slippery. Its the kind of route where you need to have 3 points of contact at all times and even then test each foot or hand hold. It doesn’t really have any exposure and a slip would result in a long slide rather than a terrifying fall, but still it is a route not to be taken lightly and I would not recommend going down this route.

The start of the gorge is from the contour path between Newlands Ravine and Rhodes memorial. It is the next gorge past the Newlands ravine picnic spot. The path is not well marked. As you pass the gorge look for a small cairn and then follow the indistinct path slightly on the left of this cairn. The path leads up through the thick indigenous forest. Several fallen trees cross the path and it is overgrown in places. Still once you have found it it is quite clear.

The path on the lower section of Dark Gorge leads through thick indigenous forest

After about 30 mins the forest begins to clear. The gorge is quite wide here and strewn with large rocks and boulders. Up ahead you can see the gorge splits. Right leads you into Dark gulley which is not possible without ropes. So move across to the left hand fork and begin to m ake your way up Dark Gorge. There is no clear path here, you just have to make your way up.

The trees clear further up the gorge

The gorge gets narrower and narrower. The trees are now clinging precariously to the cliff sides which are running in water through much of the year.

Looking up the Gorge

Here is where it also begins to get very steep and possibly slippery. Towards the top look behind you onto the Southern Suburbs. Narrower even than Platteklip the view is amazing.

The view onto the Southern Suburbs

The final scramble brings you up onto the saddle and stunning views of Table Bay and Robben island.

From here I usually turn left and after 10 minutes come to Newlands Ravine which is a much safer descent back to the contour path.