Table Mountain walks through

indigenous forests

Explore the indigenous forests of the Western Cape on a Table Mountain hike with Ridgway Ramblers

The Echo Valley and Spes Bona Forests which are found in Kalk Bay section of the Table Mountain National Park offer one of my favourite Table Mountain hikes. At the highest point of this trail you reach 450m so this is not a tough trail at all. More a gentle meander through an area which is reminicent of the magical forests seen in Walt Disney productions.

You begin this hike on Boyes drive and follow the path just above the Kalk Bay harbour. The path begins with a fairly steep haul up to the Weary Willies clearing. Here the path splits and the route to Echo Valley is clearly signed to the left.

The path continues to climb gradually through the fynbos. It is well worth stopping to admire the view over False Bay behind you. Although you have been hiking for less than an hour you are already high above the town and deep into the pristine wilderness of the Silvermine Nature Reserve.

Looking down Echo Valley towards False Bay

As you continue along the path the valley gets narrower with steep cliffs on your right and Cave Peak on your left.

The steep cliffs of Echo Valley

About 40 minutes after turning onto this path you enter the Echo Valley forest. Here a wooden boardwalk weaves its way between ancient yellow wood and mikwood trees. At times you are forced to bend down to get under the leaning branches. 

Echo Valley forest

All too soon you exit the magical forest and find yourself at another junction. Take the right fork and head towards the Amphitheatre. Here is an open sandy area ideal for a tea break.  Several paths lead out of the amphitheatre. Follow the path signed to the Spes Bona Valley. After a short climb you drop down into another much longer stretch of magical forest.

The boardwalk through the Spes Bona forest

The Spes Bona Forest follows a canyon that with a perpetually dripping cliff face which provides water for the trees. Weaving through the trees the canyon is filled with many small caves and rocks colourfully decorated with moss and lichen.

The damp cliffs of the Spes Bona valley

 You can spend at least half an hour wandering down this path stopping to explore caves and admire the intertwined branches of the trees. At times it is difficult to see where one tree finishes and another begins. This is an enchanting area will worht a visit. Shortly after leaving the forest you arrive at a junction with another path. Turn right and in 10 minutes you will be back at Weary Willies clearing.