I always feel my healthiest after a long hike. Pumping my legs up and down hills, getting the blood flowing, burning off some of the excess vacation calories, seeing the world from a different angle, simply being outside. My favourite holidays involve hiking, biking or other outdoors activities, hence the name of this website! Whenever my husband and I visit a new city, we spend our first full day on foot or rented bike, getting to know the lay of the land. This step is essential in any vacation; if I want to get to know a city like locals do, I need to walk their streets!
When I’m visiting a place that also has direct access to nature, that’s my second step. My husband and I love to find the best local hikes (preferably with rewarding views).
Cape Town is one of my favourite cities in the world for this reason. There are so many amazing hikes to explore, which can be accessed directly from neighbourhoods at the base of Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, Signal Hill, etc.! I love to head out in the morning, bag packed with snacks, water and other essentials, and find a new route up and over (or diagonally across) the mountain.
In one of my most recent visits to Cape Town, I went on a journey from Observatory to Rhodes Memorial, across the contour path to Newlands Forest, all the way to Skeleton Gorge trail, down to just above Kirstenbosch, across again to Newlands Forest, into the Newlands neighbourhoods and then back to Observatory. The total hike was about 15 kilometres. I’ve included a map of the area (from a photo I took on the trail) to indicate where I journeyed.
If you ever find yourself near Rhodes Memorial, it’s absolutely worth the uphill hike to see the monument. From there you can head on the contour trail either towards Newlands Forest or back towards the Cable Car access to Table Mountain. You could literally spend days hiking all of the different trails on Table Mountain and still not see everything. There are some gorgeous dams, rock formations and other features to see on top of the mountain – but that’s for another day and another post.
Always remember to be safe on the mountain – hike in a group and take all of your essentials (water, food, rain gear, etc.). Be alert and careful, look out for each other and don’t take any risks! The mountain is not a place to test nature’s willingness to kick your butt if you aren’t safe. 🙂
Here’s a more detailed description of my hike:
- Park near Mostert’s Mill
- Cross the M3/Rhodes Drive via the pedestrian bridge, just past Mostert’s Mill
- Hike uphill to Rhodes Memorial
- Above the Memorial, turn left and follow the contour path to Newlands Forest
- Once you’ve hit the wooden pathway you’re close to Newlands Ravine
- There’s a nice spot for a picnic at the intersection with Newlands Ravine trail
- Continue along until you hit Skeleton Gorge, then turn downhill
- Be sure not to enter Kirstenbosch, but if you do, go straight to the ticket counter to pay entrance fee (it’s just good to be an honest citizen and patron of nature)
- If you entered Kirstenbosch you can walk back along the road, otherwise:
- Hike the Silvertree or Yellowwood trail from Kirstenbosch to Newlands Forest
- Exit Newlands Forest and walk to Main, which you can then take back to the Mill
- Stop for lunch on the way – Forrester’s Arms is a great bet!