Hike on Table Mountain.  Smuts


Enjoy a guided hike on Table Mountain with Ridgway Ramblers. We will ensure that your hike on Table Mountain is the highlight of your holiday.

Smuts Track is a classic Table Mountain route. Named after Jan Christiaan Smuts (1870-1950) a former prime minister of South Africa who was reputed to regularly walk this trail until well into his 70’s. It is a longish day hike and takes you from Kirstenbosch Gardens and finishes on Tafelberg Road. You therefore need to arrange for someone to pick you up the end of the walk.

You start in Kirstenbosch gardens and ascend onto the back table via Skeleton Gorge. This route is spectacularly beautiful. It is a deep gorge lined with indigenous trees as it follows a small stream. There are a few ladders to be negotiated as well as a few hundred metres of the path where you are actually walking in the stream bed.

It should take you around 2 hours to get to the top of the gorge. Here you can enjoy a break in the last shade of the day. Here a number of paths meet so you need to take the path leading to the right (facing towards the middle of the mountain) which leads up for 20 metres before levelling off and heading North along the Eastern side of the mountain.

The view towards False Bay from Smuts Track

After twenty minutes walkking you cross a small stream. This is the window gorge stream which in Febuary is home to a wonderful display of the Red Disa. The path now climbs up the slopes Fernwood Peak. There are a couple of places which involve some very minor scrambling. After 15 minutes you arrive at a flattish area. To your right you can see the wall of the aquaduct. Built in the late 1900’s to steer the water flowing from the peak into the reservoirs. Built of local sandstone the wall blends well with its surroundings. After a short break you head on up the slope. In the distance you will see a pointed pinnacle and a wierdly shaped block. You head straight towards these 2 landmarks.

"dog head" rock marks the paths route

From the Aquaduct it is still a good half hours climb to these markers. Once there ensure you turn around and look at the view. Almost the entire back table now stretches below you. You can see the Hely Hutchinson reservoir and down into Hout Bay. You can also see the Overseers hut, the Constantiaberg, The Muizenberg Mountains and False Bay. It truly is spectacular.

The view is magnificent

 Immediately past “dog head rock”  the path veers sharp right for a few metres before straightening up and heading North again. Here the path is less clear and you need to look for yellow feet on the rocks. Some wooden walkways now lead you over some damp patches and to 2 small rock scrambles. These are your last of the day. After the 2nd one take the small path to your left and after 5 minutes you are at Maclears Beacon.

The highest point on Table Mountain. Maclears Beacon

The hike from the top of Skeleton Gorge should have taken around 2 hours. This is a perfect time to take a lunch break. You then have a number of choices. The first is which route to take to Platteklip Gorge. If it is a windless, clear day I recommend the cliff edge path. This is the path that follows the extreme Northern face of the mountain. The views are spectacular, but there are some places which are close to a sheer 800m drop. This route is not recommended in wet weather or strong winds. The aternative route takes you straight from the beacon along the mountain. The path is not clear so again you follow yellow feet. These 2 paths converge at the top of Platteklip Gorge and here you have another decision. The steep but awe inspiring Platteklip, or the cable car.