A view of Table Mountain from the deck of the MSC Opera

Top Hiking routes in Cape Town

Cape Town's hiking trails and beaches are its biggest natural attractions. Whilst most tourists take the Cable Car to the top of the Table Mountain, and many hike up Lions Head, most of Cape Town's hiking routes are enjoyed by far too few.

Muizenberg Hikes

The most popular route is the coastal walk from Muizenberg to Kalk Bay which includes 3 tidal pools:

  1. St James tidal pool
  2. Dalebrooke tidal pool
  3. Brass Bell tidal pool

Steenberg Buttress

Close by is Steenberg Buttress; to hike to it start either at Silvermine Gate 2 or on Boyes Drive.

The mast at the top of Steenberg Buttress, with Muizenberg Peak and False Bay in the background

Warning: path finding on the western end of the Steenberg Buttress is difficult.

Northern end of the Steenberg Buttress

Not to be missed is exploring the cracks on the south-western wall of the Steenberg Buttress:

View of the north-eastern side of Steenberg Buttress:

Eastern side of Steenberg Buttress, with Marina da Gamaand the Cape Flats in the background

Hiking with dogs in Cape Town

(Your dog will fall even more in love with you if you take it hiking; but please take enough water for it, and if it's too hot then don't go hiking. Note that there are poisonous snakes on Table Mountain, which present a bigger danger to dogs than to humans.)

More popular hikes for dogs are

  1. Constantia Nek (beware of baboons),
  2. Cecilia Forest (beware of baboons),
  3. Newlands Forest,
  4. Tokai Forest,
  5. Deer Park,
  6. The Pipe Track,
  7. Platteklip Gorge.

However, be aware that these routes, being popular, have many people as well as other dogs on them. Many hounds prefer the less travelled routes.

De Hel nature area in Constantia is also a good option.

Lions Head contour path is a good sunset hike.

Noordhoek Beach is dog friendly (and horse friendly!), and Sandy Bay is an option if your hound doesn't mind nudists!

If your dog is less approachable then choose colder or rainy days (there will be less people) for the most popular trails like

On Simonstown side there's the hike to Kleinplaas Dam.

Silvermine has many options:

  1. Silvermine gate 1: River Walk (plenty of water during the rainy season) to Elephant Eye and back.
  2. Silvermine gate 2: Steenberg Plateau, St James Peak to Muizenberg cave (but note there is no water on these routes).

At Devils Peak start there are a lot of different trails which is nice because even if it looks busy, not everyone is doing the same route and if you do come back along Tafelberg road, it’s wide enough to avoid other dogs.

Fairly easy are Platteklip Gorge, Kasteelspoort, Woody Ravine, Corridor Ravine, Nursery Ravine, Cecilia Ridge and the Bridle Path.

The following routes are more difficult but doable for agile dogs: Diagonal, Constantia Corner and Three Firs (exposed).

From Woodhead or Hely Huutchinson Dam you can do all three established trails towards the top and the Upper Cable Car Station but you should avoid the bit from the top of Echo Valley to the top of Platteklip Gorge as this route has ladders.

A bit further afield are:

  1. Bergpad in Stellenbosch (see AllTrails)
  2. Helderberg Farm on the R44 has a variety of hiking routes from the easy to the more technical. A once off fee is charged for your dog which includes a coloured leash that you have to use... green for dogs that can be approached and red for dogs that should not be approached. It's a relatively large area, so can contain a relatively large number of hounds whilst still offering sufficient space for all.
  3. Paradyskloof (see AllTrails)

Dog on Steenberg Buttress

Activity permit

You'll require an activity permit to walk your dog in Table Mountain National Park.

Dogs are not allowed in:

  1. Orangekloof,
  2. Cape Point,
  3. Boulders below the board walk,
  4. Silvermine Dam western and northern side and dam wall as signposted,
  5. Tokai Park (former Tokai Plantation) upper section (slopes of Constantiaberg),
  6. Oudekraal.

Dogs must be leashed on Lion's Head and generally in car parks and immediate vicinity of roads at the trail heads. The rest of Table Mountain National Park is dog friendly and off leash.

Table Mountain Road hikes

The most popular hiking routes up Table Mountain all start along Table Mountain Road, with Platteklip Gorge being the most hiked route to the Table Top. These routes offer views of Cape Town's city centre, the harbour, Signal Hill and Lion's Head.

An easier option is the 30 minute hike to Kloof Corner (not to be confused with the extremely difficult and advanced scrambling/climing route called "Kloof Corner Ridge", which lies above it). Kloof Corner is suitable for beginners; don't forget to pack drinks for sundowners.

Cable car up Table Mountain

Click here to book a ticket for the Table Mountain cable car; NB: , unless it is stipulated differently, your ticket can only be used for seven days from the date which was selected. The cable car is closed during strong winds; keep an eye on their website to see whether it has been closed.

Birthday special

At the time of writing, the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway company was offering a special to South Africans who were 4 years and older; to enjoy a free cableway ticket during the calendar month of their birthdays (don't forget your ID).

Khoisan land

At the start of the trail next to the Cable car station, stands this "Official Decree by the Royal House of the Khoisan Nation, Sovereign State of Good Hope", stating that "Table Mountain. In the name of the almighty father, our God Yhuh and with his authority, I, King Khoebaha Calvin Denver Cornelius III, head of the Royal House of the Khoisan Nation and legal custodian of all Khoisan Land, hereby annex this mountain as part of our sacred grounds, under the international law for the benefit of its people. This done by decree of Goab King Khoebaha III, on this the 16th day of June 2022."

Sovereign State of Good Hope decree


Other routes

Camps Bay Hikes

Park in Theresa avenue and hike your way up to the Pipe Trail and the plethora of trail options it presents

Cape Point Hikes

Requires payment to enter.

Cecilia forest

Easy trails in the forest which fringes Constantia.

City Bowl Hikes

From Signal Hill to Lions Head and Deer Park.

City Centre

Get a feel for the City. See the historical buildings (e.g. the Castle, the City Hall, the Grand Parade), the Company Gardens, Greenmarket Square.

Constantia Nek Trails
Take a gentle hike up the Bridle Path, or if you're more adventurous its a relatively easy scramble up to the Eagle's Nest and then Constantia Corner.
Fish Hoek Hikes

Trails include Elsies Peak, Trappieskop (start at Clovelly or Kalk Bay, Tunnel Cave (as well as Peers Cave), as well as its famous beach and cat walk.

Hout Bay Hikes

Numerous trails, and a beach to walk on.

Kalk Bay Mountain Hike

Numerous trails start on Boyes Drive; from Trappieskop to Boomslang Cave and Echo Valley.

Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens

Paid entry required. Numerous trails through the many labelled indigenous gardens.

Kommetjie Hikes


Newlands Hikes

Trails through the pine forest up to the contour path and its famous picnic spot, as well as Newlands Ravine above (Dark Gorges is not recommended because of safety issues).

Sea Point promenade

Watch the waves break.

Silvermine Nature Reserve

Numerous trails with scenic views.

Simon's Town Hikes


Table Mountain Top Hikes

Take the Cable Car, India Venster (scrambling involved) or Platteklip Gorges (like a long staircase).

Tableview promenade

Watch the waves break and the classic view of Table Mountain across Table Bay.

Tokai forest

A two hour walk to Elephant's Eye Cave (Prinseskasteel)


Views of the Victoria and Alfred basins, boats & shops.


Table Mountain and the Western Cape region is home to the smallest of the world's major floral kingdoms, with its fynbos species; none of which are more impressive than the King Protea, South Africa's national flower.

King Protea flower, spotted on the hiking route from Silvermine Gate 2 to Steenberg Buttress

After the fires on Devils Peak, in the ashes of the proteas we saw these watsonia borbonicas flourishing:

Hiking checklist

Before hiking make sure you have packed everything you may need, have properly considered whether the route is within your capabilities, that you are not hiking alone and that others (not on the hike) know where you are going.

Things to take with

Water (take enough so that you wont have to rely on rivers which may have dried up)


Fully charged cellphone / mobile / smartphone (but be aware that you the signal is not reliably on all parts of the mountain)

Waterproof clothing

Warm clothing (the temperature at the top of Table Mountain is colder, and weather conditions can change rapidly).

Hiking boots

Map (the Slingsby Maps are recommended, as they don't run out of batteries, but do take a magnifying glass as well)

Permits, if needed, such as for Orangekloof.

Sufficient cash or credit cards to pay for entry fees, e.g. for Cape Point or Silvermine gate 1.


First aid kit

Leave firearms at home (they are not allowed in the national park).

Route considerations

Is the route safe from criminals; routes such as The Sentinel (where Nick Frischke was last seen) are bristling with hardened gangsters.

If it has recently been raining, is it still a safe route? (e.g. Skeleton Gorge can become extremely dangerous and should be avoided when it's recently been raining).

What time does the sun rise/set and what is the likely beginning/ending time of your hike?

How fit are you and is the hike within your capabilities? You cannot rely on the Cable Car to take you down, as it stops operating in windy conditions.

How good are you at scrambling/climbing and handling exposure, and does the route involve scrambling/climbing/exposure?

Social considerations

Have you left details of your route and times with somebody not coming?

Never hike alone (are you in a group with at least one person who knows the route?)

We welcome feedback to help us improve our coverage of Cape Town's hiking routes