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Best Hikes in Cape Town

Cape Town’s mountains are world-famous for their natural beauty, wildlife, and plant life. However, these aspects, combined, create the perfect trails for keen amateur and professional hikers. Hiking culture has grown exponentially in Cape Town, with residents and tourists taking advantage of nature’s walkways. However, if you’re considering going for a hike in Cape Town, remember to practise basic safety and go in a group – it’s easy to get lost or hurt on a rugged mountain! But without further adieu, here are the best hikes you can do during your stay in Cape Town.

Lion’s Head

Ask any Cape Tonian fitness freak if they’ve been up Lion’s Head, and they’ll definitely say yes. Lion’s Head has become somewhat of a staple route for hikers with its (relatively) short route of 2 hours, its pristine, 360° views of the Mother City, and its friendly hiking culture. If you want to avoid the crowds it’s recommended to go for a sunrise hike, but if you want to immerse yourself in the culture, go for a sunset or a full moon hike. Additionally, Lion’s Head is a great hike for beginners and even features handholds and chains to help you out if the going gets tough. The spot at the top is perfect for Instagram photos and even a picnic.

Devil’s Peak

Ah yes, Devil’s Peak – the often overlooked yet still significant trail that overlooks much of Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs. This hike isn’t too difficult if you know the correct routes – Devil’s Peak is known for its intersecting trails that can lead you on a steep ascent, so it’s preferred to go with someone who knows the way up. Therefore, depending on the route, the whole hike up and down the mountain should take you about 4 hours, and you can expect to see stunning views of the Southern Suburbs and Table Mountain, as well as historical buildings such as the King’s Blockhouse. However, take care on Devil’s Peak as the wind gets quite gusty, so stay off the edges.

It’s interesting to note, too, how Devil’s Peak got its name: as the story goes, Dutch pirate Jan van Hunks was challenged to a smoking competition with a stranger up the mountain. After smoking up a thick fog, van Hunks admitted defeat, only for the stranger to reveal themself to be the Devil. To this day, folklore states that anytime a ‘blanket’ of clouds rolls over Table Mountain, van Hunks and the Devil are smoking up a storm.

Constantia Nek to Kirstenbosch

This pleasurable hike is about 6km in length and allows you to experience some of the best forestry and flora that the Cape has to offer, and the best view of the Constantia Winelands. The path is takes you along numerous bridges, and past gorgeous ravines and hidden waterfalls. The best part is that you end off in the picturesque Kirstenbosch Gardens, so bring a picnic basket and your camera! Additionally, this hike is great for dogs. However, dogs are unfortunately not allowed into the Kirstenbosch Gardens, so take a detour past the gardens and into Newlands Forest. In total, the hike should take between 2 and 3 hours.

Final Steps

The great thing about these hikes is that their starting points are all within a 45-minute drive from the O’Two Hotel, so you don’t have to venture too far to experience a truly Cape Tonian hike. Finally, should an emergency arise during your hike, keep these numbers safe so that you can always have help on hand:

Table Mountain National Park emergency numbers: 086 110 6417, 107 or 021 937 0300

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