The Newlands Forest hike on

Table Mountain

A group of Capetonians discover the pleasure in a Table Mountain walk

The run walk for life organisation specialises in starting people on a routine of fitness and excercise. Even people who have not excercised in years are welcomed and helped to begin with some gentle walking around a playing field.

Yesterday a group from the Cape Town run walk for life chapter took their walking a step further and went for a walk on Table Mountain. The group ranged in age from early 20’s to late 60’s and came from a variety of backgrounds. As an introductory walk we did a 5km circuit beginning and ending at the forestry station.

The first 2km of the hike follow a jeep track which winds its way through the forest up to a height of 400m where it joins the contour path. This first 2km is a steady climb through a number of switchbacks until the wide track becomes a small path for the last 200m. This early part of the walk passes through areas of plantation with tall pines reaching skywards.

The team takes a break on the way to the contour path

The last 200m before reaching the contour path the jeep track gives way to a small path which winds its way over some sometimes slippery rocks and into the indigenous forest of this Eastern side of Table Mountain.  On reaching the contour path we took a right turn and followed the boardwalk for 1km above Newlands. 

Here the path is wonderfully shaded by magnificent indigenous trees such as the yellowwood, assegaaibos, milkwood and red alder. Eventually the trees open out to reveal stunning views of the Southern suburbs on one side, whilst the sheer cliffs of Table Mountain rise up on the other side.

Looking up towards Devils Peak with the Southern suburbs behind

Before Ascension gullwy we took the path that leads off the contour path and back into Newlands forest. After a steep downhill we again joined a jeeptrack and took a liesurely stroll back down the hill to the carpark.

The jeeptrack through Newlands Forest with Table Mountain in the background

The transition from walking on the roads to walking on Table Mountain was not an difficult as some had expected. The main difference is the care needed when walking on slippery and uneven surfaces. Some were surprised the ease with which they managed the climbing. However we were probably walking at a slower and more relaxed pace than when walking along the road.

We will certainly be planning more mountain walks in the future. It seems a shame to walk on the roads when in Cape Town we have so much opportunity for walking in the peace and quiet of nature.