Hike along the 12 Apostles of Table


The 12 Apostles of Table Mountain are the impressive cliffs that tower over Camps Bay. Tall and imposing they appear assailable only to expert climbers. However there are many routes up the 12 apostles that although steep require no technical skills.

The 12 Apostles of Table Mountain

The name the 12 Apostles is a bit of a mystery as there are more than 12 buttresses along the rocky face none of which bear the name of an apostle! The main buttresses are as follows: Grotto,  Porcupine, Jubilee, Barrier, Valkan, Kasteels, Postern, Wood, Spring, Slangholie, Corridor, Kleinkop, Grootkop.

These 13 buttresses cover the cliffs from the main Western Table as far as Grootkop which is the high rounded peak above Hout Bay. Behind Grootkop there are a further 2 buttresses: Victoria and Grove.

To hike along the entire range would cover a distance of  +/-10km. This may not sound far but would take the average person around 7 hours to complete. This route would take you up Hout Bay corner. This is a steep scramble starting from Suikerbossie restuarant. This is one of the more difficult routes up the 12 Apostles and although no ropes are required it is not a simple hike. Once at the top of the corner (at a height of 700m) the path leads through some of the most remote parts of Table Mountain around the back of Grootkop. The path here although reasonably clear is interupted by several smaller paths leading to other  routes such as Myburghs waterfall and Judas Peak. As this is such a remote area of the mountain it is definitely not recommended without someone who knows the route well.

Heading towards Grootkop on the back of Table Mountain

After about 2 hours you climb around Grootkop and to the main 12 Apostles path. The first route up here would be Oudekraal ravine. This is a steep loose path leading off the Pipe Track extension. Also a very under utilised path the views from here are absolutely spectacular.

The top of Oedekraal Ravine

From now on you pass several routes that lead up onto the 12 Apostles from the Pipe Track that are fairly straight forward. For those looking for a shorter walk or who would not like to tackle the Hout Bay corner scramble, these are the better paths to follow. The first of these is Corridor Ravine. Similar to Oudekraal Ravine this route is steep and loose underfoot. Fine to come up but not recommended to go down. From the top of Corridor there is short climb before dropping down to the top of Slangholie ravine. This is a very dangerous route definitely not recommended. A short up from here takes you past a small path that leads to the 3 firs route. This is a route with some severe exposure and although very enjoyable I would not recommend it unless there is someone with you knows the path. After another half an hours walk you pass a sign to Woody Ravine. This route is closed due to a rock fall about half way down. Another half an hour beyond this brings you to Kasteelspoort. This is the most popular and easiest route up the 12 Apostles.

The top of Kasteelspoort.

If you started in Hout Bay you will now have been walking for around 5 hours, and are now about 3/4 of the way through your hike. You continue along the path to the Valley of the Red Gods. Here you have a choice. A small path leading to the left will take you the Diagonal Path.  This is a wonderful path that will lead you onto the Pipe Track by taking you along the side of the mountain around Barrier, Jubilee and Porcupine buttresses. A bit of a scramble with some exposure, this may not suit everyone. If you prefer a simpler route then continue on the 12 Apostles path through the Valley of Isolation  and into Echo Valley. To the left is Blinkwater Ravine. This should be your way down but is also closed due to a rockfall. So you now continue straight up onto the Western Table. Here you need to climb 300m, which at the end of a long day can be a challenge. You arrive at the top of Platteklip Gorge, so can choose between the Cable car or Platteklip Gorge for your downward journey  

Looking down Diagonal Path