Hike across Table Mountain

One of my favourite hikes on Table Mountain is one that takes you right across the back of Table Mountain from the Camps Bay side to the Southern suburbs side.  This route ensures you enjoy the absolute best of the views and enjoy the variety of plant species on the mountain.

I prefer to start on the Camps Bay side and take advantage of the shade in the morning. Park at the car park on Tafelberg rd and set off along the pipe track. Immediately the views of Camps Bay and the Atlantic are beautiful. The flattish pipe track allows you a gentle warm up for an hour or so before you begin the climb up Kasteelspoort. One of the most popular routes up Table Mountain, Kasteelspoort begins quite steeply but then turns to the right and begins a more gradual ascent with small sections of very easy scrambling. After about an hour you come to “breakfast rock” This is a large flat rock where the remains of the old cableway used to transport the equipment for the building of the reservoirs in the late 1800’s was located. You can still see some of the anchor points in the rock. From here you can see Table Bay, the West coast and Robben Island as well as the 12 Apostles, Camps Bay and the Atlantic. After a decent break here you continue up the gorge. Pretty much straight up you should reach the top in about 40 minutes.

At the top of the gorge you come to a junction. Turn right here and follow the 12 Apostles path for 5 minutes before hitting the next junction. It is well worth taking a 10 minute diversion here by turning right and going to the lookout point. Here is the famous “diving board” rock were the brave can be photographed and you can also see more remains of the original cable car.

The Kasteelspoort view point

The Kasteelspoort view point

From here return to the junction and go straight ahead towards the reservoirs. About 20 minutes down here you come to another junction. Right will take you along the Woodhead Reservoir wall with outstanding views of Disa Gorge, whilst straight ahead will take you along the reservoir to the waterworks museum and the Hely Hutchinson dam wall. Either is wonderful.

If you cross the Woodhead reservoir wall once on the other side turn left and walk towards the Hely Hutchinson dam on the other side. Just before reaching the other dam wall turn off the road to the right. Follow this path and take the left turn after about 10 minutes that will take you alongside the Hely Hutchinson reservoir. At the end of the dam you will be amazed to find yourself on a sandy beach with sand dunes behind you. A wonderful place for a lunch spot, or just to sit and contemplate the peace and quiet.

A reservoir on top of Table Mountain

Relaxing by one of the reservoirs on Table Mountain

Leave the beach and walk straight ahead and you will find yourself in a small section of beautiful forest. This is the start of Skeleton gorge which is your descent. This route follows a small stream and unlike the stark cliffs and dramatic scenery of the Kasteelspoort side, you will find yourself descending through a fairy forest filled with tree ferns and grandfathers beard lichen hanging off trees. Especially in winter this route can be damp so be carefull of slipping.

Skeleton Gorge

Hiking down the beautiful Skeleton Gorge

 

After negotiating a couple of ladders you will find yourself in Kirstenbosch gardens where there are plenty of taxi’s to take you back you your car.

To find out more about hiking on Table Mountain click here