Hike the Table Mountain Trail

Day 1: Cape Point to Smitswinkel camp

Join Ridgway Ramblers on the full 5 day Table Mountain hike or for any shorter section that you have the time to enjoy. We will organise your food, accommodation and baggage transfer ensuring that you are free to enjoy the hike.

Day 1 of the Hoerikwagga or “Table Mountain hiking trail” stretches for 15km from Cape Point to the Smitswinkel tented camp right at the entrance to the Cape Point reserve. Although there are no tough climbs on this day, the trail is continuously going up or down over very uneven stony ground so don’t be fooled into thinking it is not tough. Most groups will take at least 6 hours get to camp.

Starting at the lighthouse you begin with a short climb to the top of Vasco Da Gama Peak. From here you get a taste of the magnificent views that are the highlight of todays walk.  Behind you Cape Point itself.

Looking towards Cape Point from Vasco Da Gama Peak

Cape Point

Whilst in front of you stretch the cliffs of the reserve falling steeply into False Bay hundreds of meters below.

After about an hours hiking you cross a small service road and pass a car park. The trail continues past the Rooikraans whale viewing site. (well worth a stop during late winter and early summer) You then follow a narrow path along the top of the cliffs. In the distance you will see 2 tall buildings. One on the coast the other on the left of you. These are the Da Gama Monument and the Diaz Monument. These were used as beacons by ancient seafarers who were able to pinpint the location of the dangerous whittle tock by lining up the 2 monuments with the mountainside at Simons Town. After about an hours hike the path begins to work its way inland until crossing a road. Shortly afterwards you reach the  Buffelsfontein visitors centre.

Cape Point. The Da Gama Monument

The Da Gama monument

The visitors centre is housed in the original homestead built in 1809. It contains lots of interesting information as well as being a useful stop to fill your waterbottles and even enjoy a cup of tea from the snack kiosk there.

Leaving the visitors centre you begin one of the longest climbs of the day. This takes you up to the top of Kanonkop. The cannon found here is believed to have been left by the British in the last occupation of the Cape in 1806. It was part of a line of signal cannons that were fired to announce the presence of a ship in False Bay.

You should reach here after about 4 hours hiking so it makes a great spot for lunch.Leaving Kannonkop the trail now leads you around the back of Paulsberg (the highest peak in the area) and then to the sea side of De Boer and Judas Peak. Although not climbing to the top of either Paulsberg or Judas Peak there are a couple of steep climbs here.

Once past Judas Peak it is only half an hour to go to the entrance gate. The path leads steeply down initially until a long flat stretch takes you a parking area above Smitswinkel Bay. You now follow the road through the gates and to your tented camp.