The Cecilia Forest ramble on Table Mountain

Cecilia Forest is found on the Eastern slopes of Table Mountain in between Kirstenbosch Gardens and Constantia Nek. As the name suggests until a few years ago it was home to a pine plantation and under the managment of The South African Forestry company (SAFCOL) In the past few years management has passed to The National Parks Board and the forest is being removed and the land returned to the natural fynbos vegetation.

Whilst people’s opinions on the removal of the trees vary, the useful thing about the area being forestry was the forestry roads. These allow easy access to the lower slopes of the mountain and have always been open to the public.

Cecilia Forest

Cecilia Forest. Table Mountain

A really nice easy walk takes you on a circular loop on a mixture of forestry road and smaller paths. It should take about an hour and a half to complete. Its great for a Sunday morning stroll or quick dog walk after work. From the car park head towards the mountain but almost immediately turn right onto a smaller path that leads off the road. This path leads up and to the right through the newly developing fynbos. After 10 minutes you come to a junction. Turn right here and after a moment you cross a small bridge. Follow the path up the stream until it rejoins the forestry road.

The small bridge over the river

The small bridge crosses the river


Cross the road and continue on the path as it follows the stream. This short section of your walk is through indigenous forest and well worth the detour.After a further 10 minutes on this path you again join the forestry road at a junction. Here you can follow several routes. Right would take you onto the contour path above Kirstenbosch Gardens, whilst straight ahead (continuing on the path alongside the river) will take you up the mountain and away from the forest.

For the easy ramble turn left and take the upper road as it continues gently up the hill. You climb for about half an hour and then begin a long trundle downhill. Some stands of pine still remain but mostly you are surrounded by recovering fynbos.

15 minutes after the road begins to head down hill you pass a turn to the right. This is the road that leads up Constantia Nek. Ignore this and continue down hill. Now the vineyards of Constantia  and Eagles nest are visible. Another 15 minutes and you come to a boom. Do not go straight ahead but turn back on yourself and follow the lower road and it continues downhill. Another 10 minutes and follow a small path that leads through some cork oaks to rejoin the road again after 500m. (this just cuts out a corner)


Cork oaks in cecilia forest

The cork oaks in Cecilia forest

Passing a bench in the shade you come to a junction. Either road will take you back to the carpark. The lower one leads quickly down and after 20 minutes you take a right turn at the next junction which leads you right to the car. The upper road takes 15 minutes longer. Initially it is relatively flat and takes you past the forestry houses where it takes a  turn to the right and begins to lead down hill. At the next junction you turn right and follw the road back to your car.

Whatever your age or fitness level there is a hike on Table Mountain to suit you. Join Ridgway Ramblers on a guided hike and explore the paths of Table Mountain.