A Historical hike on Table


The Pipe Track and Kasteelspoort

One of the most popular routes up Table Mountain on the Camps Bay side of Table Mountain is Kasteelspoort. One of the things I find most enjoyable about this hike is the history attached.

To get to Kasteelspoort you can either park at the top of Theresa Avenue in Camps Bay or at the corner of Kloof Nek and Table Mountain Roads. Parking in Camps Bay takes you to the actual climb much quicker however you miss out on the Pipe Track with its fascinating history and amazing views.

Starting at the top of Kloof Nek follow the path that goes around the side of Table Mountain. The path here is wide and clear. Almost immediately fantastic views of Camps Bay are revealed. The path is lined by some alien pines but as you continue along more and more beautiful pincushions and other fynbos plants appear. The path remains relatively flat and winds its way in and out of various ravines along its way. In several places you pass remnants of the “Pipe” after which the path is named. This path is the service path that was built in the late 19th century in order to lay the pipeline from the reservoirs of Table Mountain to Kloof Nek.

After about an hour on the pipe track you come to the beginning of  the Kasteelspoort route. It is well marked with a trail head. 

The path climbs straight up initially but then begins to traverse to the right. It continues steeply up and across taking you up to, and then around Kasteels buttress.  There are a couple of places where you need to use your hands and do some very minor scrambling but this is really one of the easier routes up the mountain. After about 20 minutes you pass a big wash away where the water has obviously flushed down the mountain washing away some of the path. Walk straight across here and pick up the path on the other side. Another 20 minutes should take you to a wide slab and a chance for a welcome break.

Kasteelspoort is especially interesting as the site of the “old Cableway”  The equipment and materials for building the reservoirs on top of the mountain were winched up here. Have a closer look at the slab of rock you are on. Close to where you climbed up you can see the rusty remnants of part of this winch.

Once you have your breath back carry on up the mountain. The path now leads straight up Kasteelspoort itself.  The huge slab of rock on your right reveals the reason for naming this route “castle gate” This next sections should take around half an hour.

Once on the top turn right and follow the path for about 5 minutes to a junction. Here take another right turn and it takes you the site of the top of the old cable car. Here huge block of concrete mark the area and some of the cliff edges are clearly man made. Look down the mountain and you can pick out the slab of rock on which you were resting earlier. Imagine the cable between these 2 areas and equipment being hauled up the mountain by this method. You can’t help but marvel at the ingenuity of our forbears.

 This point is also well worth a visit just for the views.