Hiking Trails from Kirstenbosch Gardens

Some of the most beautiful hiking trails on Table Mountain begin in Kirstenbosch Gardens.

This side of the mountain (the SE side) is the wettest side of Table Mountain and thus is far greener than the Atlantic side. Of course it doesn’t have the dramatic and stunning views of the Western side but instead the trails lead through beautiful indigenous forestry and follow small tumbling streams.

The difference between the hiking trails on the different sides of the mountain is one of the things that makes Table Mountain hikes so special.

Skeleton Gorge and Nursery Ravine are the most popular on the Southern side. Both are accessed from the contour path. The quickest way to get to both of them is from Kirstenbosch Gardens.

From the gardens if you look towards the mountain you see a large square rock. This is Castle Rock. Nursery Ravine ascends on the left and Skeleton Gorge to the right.

Nursery ravine is a steep and steady staircase. Far more friendly than the huge mansize steps of Platteklip Gorge. The first 40 minutes of the climb is through forest with Nursery stream directly on your left. You then emerge from the trees and enjoy amazing views of the Southern Suburbs and False Bay. The next half of the climb is in the open and moves away to the right of the stream until you are 10 minutes from the top. The final 5 metres are up a very easy ladder.

Hiking trails from Kirstenbosch Gardens

Looking down Nursery Ravine from the top of Table Mountain

Skeleton Gorge is found 15 minutes along the contour path from Nursery Ravine. The first section of this route is very similar to Nursery ravine as it follows a small stream (this time on the right) up a steep stair case.

After about 40 minutes however the similarity changes. Instead of rising above the trees you encounter a series of 5 ladders followed by a section in the stream bed. (so this is not a great route following rain and during winter take great care if taking this route down the mountain)

One of the ladders in Skeleton Gorge

The first ladder in Skeleton Gorge


Eventually you emerge from the trees only 10 minutes from the top.

For more information on this or any other full day hike on Table Mountain click here

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