Shady Table Mountain hikes

February is traditionally the hottest month in Cape Town so it makes a lot of sense to consider the shade available when planning for a hike on Table Mountain. Here are a few shady Table Mountain hikes I can recommend.

The Western side of Table Mountain

If you are up good and early you can get along the Pipe Track and most of the way up one of the routes of the Western side before the sun gets over the mountain. There are a multitude of routes you can choose from. Diagonal is my favourite and the first route you pass if you leave your car at the top of Kloof Nek. So you can quickly be on the back table well before the reaches you. The most well know route on this side is Kasteelpoort which is a bit further along and always great. To get to the start of this route even quicker you can always park at the top of Theresa avenue in Camps Bay. Once the sun is up though these routes are very hot. The bare rock reflects the heat making it even hotter so I would definitely try to avoid these routes at 2 to 3 pm. If you really have to descend the mountain on this side Woody is the quickest and does have some shade on the way down.


Hiking on the Pipe Track

Enjoying the early morning shade on the Pipe Track

Above Kirstenbosch Gardens

Although facing the morning sun, the Kirstenbosch side of the mountain is covered in trees that can offer some excellent shade. Favourite is Skeleton Gorge which has trees most of the way up. Alongside this is Nursery Ravine. Also a favourite but the trees disappear about half way up.

Plenty of trees in Skeleton Gorge offer some wonderful shade

Plenty of trees in Skeleton Gorge offer some wonderful shade


Other shady Table Mountain hikes

Disa Gorge is a beautiful gorge above Hout Bay facing South. It has trees for some of the route, but you do need to get a permit for this area of the mountain. Only 1 permit of a maximum 12 hikers is allowed daily, plus those hiking the Hoerikwuagga Trail. If you get a permit it is well worth it.

With all the above routes once you are onto the back of Table Mountain you get very little shade. So planning a shady route up doesn’t mean you don’t have to pack a hat and sunblock. (and take plenty of water)

If you are looking for something a bit less strenuous and shorter there are routes on the slopes of Table Mountain where you can avoid the sun pretty most of the time.

Newlands Forest: Offers some fantastic shady walks. You can go right up to the contour path or explore the maze of paths that are found in the forest. You can get in at least a few hours hiking here.

The contour path: The most shaded part of the contour path is above Kirstenbosch and Newlands Forest. Access from Cecelia forest and hike all the way to Rhodes memorial in shade 90% of the way. Just the final descent to Rhodes mem is pretty hot and dusty. Its a good 3 hour hike with some quite steep sections.

Newlands Forest hiking trail

One of the many shady paths in Newlands Forest

Cecelia Forest: Although much of Cecelia has been harvested, there is still some shaded hikes on offer. If you go the way to Rooikat Ravine and Cecelia waterfall you will have some good shade for about half the hike.

So don’t think because its a hot day you can hike. Start early and choose a shady route.

You won’t regret it.

For more information on Table Mountain hiking trails click here.

or contact Ridgway Ramblers