The Contour Path around Table


The contour path which stretches +/- 16km from Constantia Nek to the cableway is a beautiful, shady and relatively flat route around Table Mountain. It is found on the Southern suburbs side leading to the lower cableway above Cape Town itself.  With a couple of short climbs this is a gentle stroll that is suitable for the whole family. Although it is perfectly reasonable to to the entire length of the walk in one go. Most prefur to break it into shorter sections.

Constantia Nek to Kirstenbosch 

The first section stretches from Contantia Nek to Kirstenbosch and should take an average walker about 2 hours to complete. The route begins at the top of Constantia Nek following a tarred road for a short time, until it becomes a jeep track through Cecelia Forest. Here the path is a clear road until just before Kirstenbosch it becomes a small but clearly marked path. Here you leave the pines and bluegums behind and enter the magnificent indigenous forest that lines most of the lower contours of Table mountain on the Kirstenbosch side. Once above Kirstenbosch, (where the views over the Southern suburbs and False Bay are superb.) there are a number of paths leading into the gardens itself.

View from the contour path

Overlooking False Bay and the Southern suburbs from the contour path

Kirstenbosch to Rhodes memorial

The next section of the path is a little more strenuous and should take the average walker around 3 hours to complete. It follows a clear path through indigenous forests above Kirstenbosch, Newlands forest and the Groote Schuur Estate in the shadow of Devils Peak. Many of the trees are labelled and much of the path is a well maintained boardwalk, protecting the path from erosion. Many paths such a Nursery Ravine and Skeleton Gorge lead off the contour path onto the back table whilst Newlands Ravine leads up to the saddle and to Devils Peak. On entering Groot schuur estate a few alien trees again appear. Majestic bluegums and black wattle, both imports from Australia that use up far too much water for our South African environment.

The contour path above Newlands Forest
The contour path above Newlands Forest


Rhodes Memorial to Kloof Nek

The final stretch of the path should take about 3 hours to complete. It takes you around the slopes of Devils Peak and to the Northern Slopes of Table Mountain. Leaving the South Easterly slopes of the mountain this is the least shaded section of the path but the views more than make up for this. Passing the Kings blockhouse which has fantastic views of the Southern Suburbs as well as the city of Cape Town and Table Bay the path continues around the slopes of Devils Peak beneath a large cave known as the Woodstock cave. This is a large overhang 50m wide byb 15m deep. It is reachable by a small path leading from the contour path and is well worth a visit. Few trees are found on this stretch of the contour path except in a few small areas so once around the corner Lions Head and Table Mountain itself come into clear view. Soon you leave the slopes of Devils Peak and begin walking on Table Mountain again. A steep path leads up  Platteklip Gorge to the main table.  Continue following the path towards Lions Head. Here it stays just below the cliff face. A steep path leads down to the cableway, or you can continue along the path,going under the cable car until you reach the next mountain corner. Before heading down to Tafelberg Rd it is possible to see Camps Bay below.