26 Julie 2017

Cape Town was recently voted the second cheapest city to live in the world, although locals may beg to differ. Luckily we’ve put together a guide to how you can navigate the Mother City in a truly wallet-friendly way.

Our advice: print this guide out and keep it in your ever-so-empty back pocket.

CONQUER CAPE TOWN’S GREAT OUTDOORS

Take a full moon hike up Lion’s Head

A fan of hiking and outdoor activity? We’ve got the scoop on of Cape Town’s finest outdoor experiences. Between Table Mountain and Signal Hill you’ll find a mountain steeped in romance and tradition. Climb the mountain just before sunset and enjoy a picnic with a few good folks and the breathtaking view of Camps Bay and Cape Town, basking under the lighting of a majestic Cape Town full moon.

Swing on the Sea Point Promenade

A visit to Sea Point is not complete without taking in the crisp ocean air along the stunning seaside promenade. The promenade is frequented by walkers, cyclists and skaters – a sunset jog is a fantastic idea. Can’t afford an outing to a theme park? Get in touch with your inner-child and swing high in the air at one of the grassy parks or flex those muscles at the innovative outdoor gym. Cape Town is characterised by its amazing sea views and Sea Point exhibits this by providing a perfect vantage point.

Drink in nature in Cecilia Forest

Cape Town’s vast natural beauty is something unmissable and all the serious hikers should head over to the Cecilia Forest to catch a glimpse of the legendary fairies and take a sip of fresh mountain water to revitalise their bodies, whilst opening their minds. Start your hike where Hohenort Drive meets Rhodes Drive in Newlands. The glades, streams, waterfall and mossy paths will soothe your soul and leave you in a state of equanimity.

Experience Cape biodiversity at Green Point Urban Park

Green Point Urban Park is an amazing sphere of natural beauty. It’s spacious and perfect for you to get to know the plant species around you. The setting is an immaculately landscaped greenway that is equally informative for children and adults. The cleverly designed biodiversity garden contains over 300 clearly labelled Cape plant species, making it a free alternative to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. Afterwards, unwind on the sprawling lawn and enjoy a packed picnic with your family or friends.

Feed the squirrels in Company’s Garden

Just as the Company’s Garden used to enchant ocean-weary travellers who’d arrived to a strange land years ago, today this green patch continues to charm tourists and locals alike. Hemmed in by the busy streets of the CBD, the winding avenues of oaks, the inviting carpet-like lawns and the mosaic of indigenous herbs and succulents are ideal for a few hours spent lazing away a spending-free day. Not to mention, who can resist the cute and fluffy squirrels climbing the trees and hopping right up to you? These bushy-tailed animals don’t want your money, just a few peanuts will do. Bring a picnic blanket and goods from home and come enjoy the idyllic setting with someone special or your loved ones.

Hang up your hammock in De Waal Park

De Waal Park is a community park situated in the heart of the City Bowl. Renowned for its wide variety of trees and its social doggiesphere, both adults and children can kick back, hang up a hammock and take a nap. This is also the perfect spot for some quality time with your family or a relaxing, romantic retreat for couples. Pack a picnic basket and a blanket and have a tranquil day surrounded by the beauty of nature under Cape Town’s sweet sun.For more outdoor options check out our overview of parks in Cape Town. Enjoy some of SA’s hottest local music acts at De Waal Park Summer Concerts

Music concerts are another big part of summers in Cape Town. You usually have to pay to see some of these local music acts, but during magnific summer days De Waal Park plays host to musicians, who get spectators dancing and singing along to some of their favourite local songs. The wonderful thing is that this musical journey is free of charge and the venue it is hosted at, is organic and conducive for a really chilled vibe, suitable for the entire family. For more on De Waal Park Summer concerts check out: Concerts In The Park.

 

Surf at Muizenberg beach

The surfing culture out at surfer’s corner in Muizenberg has been alive and well for generations now. This little coastal community is filled with friendly faces and awesome vibes. Come rain or shine, cold or hot – the waves are actually best in winter – one of the most legendary ways to reconnect with Cape Town’s majestic oceans is by riding the swells that ebb and flow at Muizenberg beach (or any of the Cape’s iconic surf spots). Get there early to miss the traffic jam! You won’t need a cent to make a day of it.

Take the family on a Muizenberg meander

This walk on the beach occurs every Saturday after that month’s full moon. The family-friendly event focuses on making the Muizenberg beach a safer space for all, but is a fun night out for all ages. The walk commences from Knead Bakery at 6:15pm and attendees are welcome to bring a group of people with – the more the merrier after all!

PUT ON YOUR THINKING CAP

Fall in love with books at the Centre for the Book

A unit of the National Library of South Africa, the Centre for the Book aims to promote a culture of reading, writing and publishing in all local languages. Look out for their reading–related activities and events such as poetry readings, writing groups and workshops. A visit to their soaring wood-panelled interior will inspire even the most reluctant bibliophobes.

Borrow a book at the Kloof Street Library

Sunny day? The friendly staff at Kloof Street Library will help you choose the perfect novel, African heritage or children’s book, to enjoy in their delightful garden. This quaint library is situated in an old gabled house at the top of the CBD’s buzzy Kloof Street.

Network at Creative Mornings

One Friday of every month a group of creatives get together at different locations to network and share ideas and insights. Started by Capetonian Catherine Henderson in May 2010, the regular 20- to 30-minute morning talks feature one creative speaker and free coffee and snacks. So, start the morning inspired and filled with new ideas.

 

Join in a Pub Quiz

If you have a thirst for knowledge and beer on tap then throw your hat into the ring for quiz night at your local pub. Most of them have a small fee, but luckily Aandklas in Stellenbosch is for FREE! Take a bunch of mates to their Thursday quiz, have a ball and enjoy seeing how good your general knowledge is!

GET TO KNOW YOUR HERITAGE

Amble along Signal Hill

Signal Hill is located next to Lion’s Head, with stunning views of the Atlantic. It’s home to a number of historic features such as the Signal Hill cannon, which originally notified the public when a ship was in trouble. This old Capetonian tradition still takes place every day on Signal Hill, just below the mountaintop. At 12h00 exactly, the Noon Gun is fired – an opportunity for people to set their watches (and block their ears).

Check out the Just Nuisance Monument

This monument in Simon’s Town commemorates Just Nuisance, a Great Dane who befriended the Royal Navy and made such an impression that he was enlisted, wore a sailor’s hat, turned up at functions and did much to boost the morale of sailors at sea. You can also visit the Simon’s Town Museum, which displays his papers, collar and photographs.

Visit all the Iziko Museums

The Iziko Museums regularly have free entry days (usually on public holidays), which make for prime opportunities to explore the extensive art, social and natural history collections housed in these Cape Town institutions. Particularly interesting is the Bo-Kaap Museum, which showcases Islamic heritage  and culture in South Africa, and is set in the historic neighbourhood that is home to many Muslims and descendants of freed slaves. Additionally, The Planetarium, a celestial dome in the South African Museum Building in the Company’s Garden is an incredibly entertaining day out.

FILL UP WITH FREE FOOD AND WINE

Visit the Century City Natural Goods Market

For a free family-friendly outing in the Northern Suburbs, gather the kids and head over to the Century City Natural Goods Market on the last Sunday of each summer month (October to April). Set on the grassy expanse next to the large wetland and bird sanctuary of Intaka Island, this outdoor market is ideally located for a lazy weekend day spent soaking up the sun. No-charge entertainment, like jumping castles, train rides and magic tricks, is on offer; though the expansive green usually provides the little ones with room to engage in more than enough activity. For adults, a variety of artisan stalls are available for your browsing pleasure and live local music acts provide the backbeat to a leisurely day.

Taste some tipple at Wine Concepts on Kloof

This CBD-based wine store has free wine tastings, every single day! Yes, you read that right, you can sip ’n swirl some of the best wines around all for mahala. Tastings take place from 4pm until 7pm on Mondays to Fridays and on weekends from noon until 3pm. And what’s more, you get a cool 10% off any of the wines put up for tasting that day.

Show & Tell at The Drawing Room

This Observatory-based café and art gallery has a variety of exhibition openings and show & tell’s for the public. Known for the delish food and a good cuppa joe, art lovers can catch the work of up-and-coming artists or mingle with like-minded individuals. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for details about upcoming events.

Sample the fare at Neighbourgoods Market

Get a little gourmet Saturday treatment from 9am to 2pm. The bustling Neighbourgoods Market is every foodie’s dream, stocking items from over 100 speciality traders offering fine food, wine and local produce. There are plenty of chutneys, cheeses cakes and wines for you to sample here. A little forward planning for that pay-day picnic never hurt anyone.

More wine tastings (hiccup) at Tjing Tjing

There’s no reservation needed at Tjing Tjing for their free wine tastings on Wednesdays. Just stop by from 5pm onwards to sample some top-drawer blends and meet the winemakers.

Hang out at the City Bowl Market

Housed in a historic hall on Hope Street in the middle of the CBD, the City Bowl Market is a wonderful collection of stalls featuring vintage clothing, great coffee, Nutella-filled crépes, wooden arts and crafts and so much more. Walking around and chatting to the warm and friendly locals will cost you absolutely nothing. The market is open every Saturday between 9am and 2pm and every Thursday evening between 4:30pm and 8:30pm.

Keep it real at the Bay Harbour Market

Described as “a real place for real people”, the Bay Harbour Market (also informally called the Hout Bay Market) is the epitome of Cape Town’s relaxed atmosphere. Trading times are Friday 5pm to 9pm; and Saturday and Sunday 9:30am to 4pm. Keep it real, keep it free and head down to this original and interesting gathering to see what beautiful things people are creating. You might catch a clown entertaining the kids or a musician singing his heart out.

GET INTO THE ARTS & CULTURE SCENE

Take a diamond tour at Shimansky

Embark on a fascinating, behind-the-scenes look at experts delicately shaping platinum, learn about the factors that affect the value of a diamond and witness the result of human expertise in Shimansky sparkling showroom. Although the tour is free, you or your girlfriend/wife/partner may emerge doe-eyed for diamonds. Read about the Shimansky diamond tour.

Attend a poetry reading at A Touch of Madness

Situated in an old Victorian house, this Observatory-based restaurant and bar is well-known for its crazy delicious food and madcap atmosphere –the name says it all. If you’re strapped for cash, you can attend their weekly poetry evenings every Monday from 8pm until 10pm. The line-up changes from week to week so come with an open mind and hear from some of Cape Town’s budding poets.

Catch contemporary South African art at Whatiftheworld Gallery

WhatiftheWorld Gallery provides a platform for established contemporary artists and gives collectors the opportunity to discover new artists. Plus you can peruse these works of art for free.  It’s run by one of the co-founders of the NeighbourGoods Market and was one of the first galleries to open in Woodstock. They also represent some of SA’s finest designers (not just artists) – check out their website for more info that you can include. Find more galleries here.

See edgy urban art at Worldart Gallery

Openings at this CBD-based gallery tend to spill out onto Church Street, a pedestrianised mall brimming with African art and craft. Worldart specialises in accessible urban art by young local talent, many of whom are illustrators and street artists.

LIFT THE BANK BALANCE BY LIFTING THE SPIRIT

Walk a dog and make a best friend

If you can’t lift the bank balance why not lift the spirits? TEARS, which is located just off Kommetjie Road on the M5, is a non-profit organisation that rescues abandoned dogs and cats. Donate your time and take part in their dog-walking programme. We guarantee that after a few hours with a furry friend, you’ll feel like a million bucks. Email tears@tears.org.co.za for more information.

Plant a tree and help Greenpop grow

Greenpop plants trees, runs educational programmes and hosts restoration festivals all in the name of a greener future. The NGO spearheads fun events aimed at raising environmental awareness: plant days at schools and football fields, jam sessions in Long Street’s car parks, bicycle rides in Cape Town and tree planting projects in Zambia. You can get involved for free by signing up on their volunteer database.

The Woodstock Street Art Walking Tour

The Woodstock Street Art Walking Tour Is a 60 to 90 minute walk that starts and ends at The Woodstock Exchange in Woodstock. The tour forms part of the Township Art Tours program run by Juma Tours and includes a tour of murals, installations, graffiti and a gallery visit in the greater Woodstock area. There are daily tours that run at 10am; 12pm; 14pm; and 16pm. Get in on this cultural experience. Bookings can be made on routestreetart@gmail.com. The tour is free but gratuities are welcome.

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Scientific Facts

Scientific Name: Spheniscus Demersus
spheniscus = Greek, small wedge (their formation when swimming)
demersus = Latin, plunging
Class: Aves
Average Statistics: Weight – 2,1 To 3,7 kilograms (4.63 To 8.16 pounds)
Height – 50 cm (19.7 inches)

Description

Penguins are flightless, aquatic birds, which live in the southern oceans in climates as varied as Antarctica and the Galapagos Islands on the equator. There are seventeen species in all but the African Penguin is the only one to inhabit the African continent and its inshore islands. It used to be known as the Jackass Penguin, on account of the braying sounds which it makes on land, but the name ‘African Penguin’ has now been adopted to distinguish it from the Jackass Penguin found in South America, which is slightly different in appearance and behaviour. Another name that is occasionally used is the Blackfooted Penguin. The closest relatives of the African penguin are, in fact, the Humboldt and Magellanic penguins of South America and the Galapagos penguins of the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador. Penguins are ancient birds, probably evolving about 65 million years ago, at the time that dinosaurs became extinct. Since penguins are well adapted to the cold, the South American and African penguins feel the heat on land and have evolved various ways to cope with the sun. African penguins have a black stripe curving across the top of the chest. They are insulated by air trapped between their feathers. This makes the birds extremely vulnerable when they are moulting, which they do annually, and for this period of about three weeks (at Boulders about November) they are land-bound, getting thinner and more bedraggled until the moulting process is completed. Before moulting they eat hugely and put on about 30% more fat. Moulting takes about three weeks, during which their weight almost halves. Although the African penguins are quaintly clumsy on land, and ungraceful emerging from the water, in the sea they are extremely skilful swimmers, reputedly reaching speeds of 24 kilometres (15 miles) per hour. Rather than using their feet to swim, as many aquatic birds do, they use their wings that have been modified to form extremely efficient flippers. Their webbed feet are used mainly when swimming on the surface of the water. Their feathers have become very small and waterproofed, overlapping to provide better insulation. The African and South American penguins have shorter feathers than the Antarctic birds, since they do not face such great cold. Penguins also have heavier bones than most birds to enable them to dive. African penguins live an average of 10 to 11 years but sometimes reach as much as 24 years.

Range & Habitat 

African penguins inhabit twenty-seven sites. Most are on inshore islands, of which the best known is Robben Island. There are only three of them on the mainland sites. The largest existing colony is on St Croix island near Port Elizabeth, with about 50 000 birds. Dassen Island off Yzerfontein, once home to over a million penguins, now has about 30 000, while Dyer Island near Gansbaai has about 20 000. The most remarkable of the mainland colonies is Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town with over 2500 birds.

Diet & Eating Habits 

African penguins feed mainly on small pelagic fish (fish which swim on the upper layers of the open ocean) like pilchards, anchovies, horse mackerel and herrings. Competition with commercial fishing has forced them to adapt their diet. They now also eat squid and small crustaceans as well. Since penguins are capable of diving considerable depths, up to 35 metres, remaining under water for 1½ minutes, they can reach fish that other birds cannot. Sometimes they travel considerable distances to feed, up to 30-70 kilometres, although they have been known to travel over 200 kilometres. Particularly when they are feeding demanding older chicks, penguins will spend much of their days at sea feeding. On average a penguin will eat about 300 g of fish a day, although this will increase to over 1 kg before moulting or when feeding older chicks.

Reproduction

There is little distinction between male and female African penguins, although the male is slightly larger and has a longer bill than the female. Penguins are usually about 4 years old when they begin breeding. African penguins will remain with a single partner for many years, producing one or two eggs a year. They only separate normally if breeding has failed for some reason. They can breed at any time of the year, but the Boulders population tends to breed in March to May. The incubation period lasts forty days, and the fledging period from 60 to 130 days. Young penguins have blue-grey backs and white fronts, without the black and white markings of their parents. Originally the African penguin nested in guano (hardened bird droppings, in the past several metres thick) but when this was mined for fertiliser in the nineteenth century they were forced to adapt to other conditions. Now they nest in crude shallow burrows dug out of the sand or under beach vegetation. The main reason for digging burrows is to protect the eggs and chicks from the heat of the sun. Antarctic penguins do not do this. Penguins prefer to return to the same nesting site every year and will persevere most determinedly to get back to their old nests. At Boulders they have been known to climb over the fence that was erected to prevent them from spreading inland. Incubation of the eggs lasts for about forty days. When the babies hatch, they are already covered in a layer of gray fluffy feathers which provide them with insulation and waterproofing. The parents share the nesting and feeding duties. While one partner stays behind, without food or water, for about two and a half days, the hunting partner will swim as much as ten miles out to sea to find tasty food. The babies are usually fed in the late afternoon. The parents regurgitate partially-digested fish into their mouths. Parents continue to keep close watch on their chicks for about a month and the chicks leave the nest after about two months. This can take much longer, however, if the parents have not been able to supply them with enough food. Going to sea is the most hazardous time of a fledgling’s life – only about half the birds that go out for the first time return home. At this stage remain at sea for many months and only return home for their first moult. Young penguins continue to stay out at sea for long periods, sometimes travelling great distances. Only in their 3rd to 4th years do they come back to their homes to mate for the first time. At Boulders the penguins are relatively safe although cats and dogs have attacked them. One of the greatest problems now is that they like to stand under warm cars and several have been run over.

The Boulders Colony 

In 1983 a pair of African penguins were spotted on Foxy Beach at Boulders and in 1985 they began to lay. Since then the colony has grown rapidly, increasing initially at about 60% a year. By 1997 there were 2350 adult birds. Such a quick growth of the colony was the result of immigration, particularly from Dyer Island, as well as by reproduction. Birds have probably come to False Bay because of the good fishing available since commercial purse seine fishing has been banned in the Bay. Although Simon’s Town is very proud of its penguins, nearby residents suffered badly as the birds invaded their gardens, destroyed the undergrowth and were generally very noisy and messy. The great increase in tourists has also been a problem. As a result, the area has now been taken over by Cape Peninsula National Park, the birds have been restrained from wandering inland by a fence, board walks and an information room have all been established. Boulders still remains the only place in the world where one can actually swim amongst the penguins as they have continued to invade more beaches. They are remarkably untroubled by people but one should avoid harassing them by getting too close or chasing them. Beware!! They have a vicious bite.

The Calendar Of “Penguin Activities” For Boulders

January : Juveniles moulting and adults feeding up for breeding season.
February To August : Breeding season.
September To October : Penguins at sea, feeding up for moulting.
November To December : Moulting season.

Conservation

Because they live so far north, and in a relatively accessible region, African penguins have been particularly vulnerable to human depredation. From the time of time of the first Dutch settlement at the Cape in 1652 penguins were an invaluable addition to the settlers’ food supply. Penguin eggs have also been regarded as a delicacy and were sold and eaten well into the twentieth century. In more recent times the decline in food supply has forced penguins to adapt their eating habits. Seals, which used to share the same small fish, now increasingly prey on the penguins instead. Oil spills from tankers are also a hazard since the oil clinging to their feathers affects their insulation. As a result of all this, there has been a serious reduction in their numbers, and African penguins are now regarded as an endangered species. There were several million African penguins in the nineteenth century. In 1930 there were still over a million birds but there are now only about 179 000 left. All the penguin breeding sites are now protected. At Betty’s Bay, another mainland site, a fence has been erected to prevent disturbance from people and predators. This colony has now grown to about 100 pairs. Nevertheless, threats to their safety remain.

Organisations Concerned With The Preservation Of The African Penguin

SANCCOB

(the Southern African National Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds) was formed about twenty years ago to rescue penguins from oil spills and other disasters. It operates a rescue and rehabilitation centre for injured seabirds near Tableview in Cape Town. SANCCOB is funded solely by membership fees and public donations, and has been scientifically proven to be the most successful sea bird rehabilitation centre in the world. In 1994, when the tanker, the Apollo Sea, was wrecked off the Cape Town coast, about 10 000 birds were oiled. About half of these were saved. Much was learnt from this and other disasters. When another major oil slick threatened the penguins after the bulk ore carrier, Treasure sank off Robben Island in June 2000, an even larger rescue operation was conducted. Over 18 000 oiled penguins were rescued and cleaned. More than 19 000 unoiled penguins were trucked to Port Elizabeth, where they were released. It was hoped that the oil would have dispersed by the time they returned home. They proved to be efficient navigators. Three of the rescued birds, named Percy, Pamela and Peter, had transmitters attached to their backs. All made it home safely, finding their way speedily and with remarkable accuracy.

 

credit: simonstown.com

19 Julie 2017

Nothing soothes the soul quite a good as a wonderful cup of coffee. You can search high and low for the perfect cup and once you have tasted the aroma, magic happens.

Here are some of the local coffee shops in and around Simon’s Town:

Quarterdeck International Coffee Shop

SONY DSC

Located at 111 St Georges Street, Jubilee Square, Simon’s Town, Cape Town, this Coffee Shop will serve you delicious coffee from:

Summer: Monday to Sunday 7am – 6.30pm, Winter: Monday to Sunday 8am – 5pm

Lekker

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Located at 106 Main Rd, Kalk Bay, Cape Town, Lekker will serve you everyday from 06:45am – 9pm

Lighthouse Cafe

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Located at 90 St Georges Street Simon’s Town, Cape Town, and their operating hours are:

Sunday / Monday / Tuesday: 08h30 – 16h00

Breakfast till 11h30 only

Wednesday – Saturday: 08h30 – 22h00

Lunch from 11h30

Harbourview Restaurant

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Harbourview Restaurant is located on the corner of Wharf Street and the main road through Simons Town and is open from 8am – 9pm

7 days a week.

 The Sweetest Thing Patisserie

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Located on 82 St Georges Street, Main Rd, Simonstown, The Sweetest Thing Patisserie will serve you everyday from 8am – 5pm

Monocle & Mermaid

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Located on  126 St Georges St, Simon’s Town, their operating hours are from:

Wednesday 8:30AM–6PM
Thursday 8:30AM–6PM
Friday 8:30AM–9PM
Saturday 8:30AM–6PM
Sunday 8:30AM–4:30PM
Monday 10AM–6PM
Tuesday 8:30AM–6PM

 

Cafe Penguino

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Cafe Penguino is located on 18 Kleintuin Rd, Simon’s Town, and will serve you from 09:00am – 17:30pm

Cafe Pescado

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Enjoy a lovely time at Cafe Pescado located on 118 St Georges St, Simon’s Town where they operate from 09:00am – 23:00pm on a daily basis.

Olympia Cafe

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Quirky, popular joint with water views offering specialty coffee, breads, pastries & cafe eats is located on 134 Main Road, Kalk Bay, Kalk Bay and they operate from 07:00am – 21:00pm

 

credit: googlesearch

 

The Cape has so many amazing hiking trails that it can be difficult to pick one! We have done the research for you so that you have all the relevant information at your fingertips and can go ahead and choose the one most suited to you.

Please make wise choices… as some hikes are for experienced hikers and should not be ever done on your own. Rather do them in a group for safety purposes and pack rain gear or a jersey as the weather can change quickly on a mountain. Be sure to pack at least 1 litre of water, some snacks and some kind of sun protection, which is essential.

Table Mountain Hikes

Hiking Up Table Mountain Via Platteklip Gorge

photo of the city of cape town
THE PLATTEKLIP GORGE PATH IS ABOUT 3KM LONG

@hike_table_mountain

The Table Mountain cable car is the easiest way to ascend to the top of Table Mountain – the glorious natural heritage site that looms above Cape Town’s city bowl. If you seek a sense of accomplishment and physical exhilaration then ascending to the top via Platteklip Gorge is a must.

The hike begins about 1.6km after the cable car station (to the left) on Tafelberg Road and is well signposted all the way to the top.

Although it is the easiest way to climb to the top of Table Mountain, it is physically taxing, although not requiring much mountaineering skills. The 3km long trail rises by 700m and is a relentless and steep gradient to climb. Only attempt this hike if you are confident that your fitness levels will allow you to ascend at a fair pace.

It is essential to take plenty of water with you on this hike as you’re exposed to the sun for the duration of the hike and you’re not going to find any water on the mountain. You should also pack something warm in your hiking bag as the temperature often decreases by 6 to 8°C once you reach the summit.

The hike will reward you with a stunning panorama of Cape Town as you look down onto the CBD and Camps Bay. You have three choices once you reach the top of Table Mountain:

  • Take the cable car down,
  • Take in the views and return down via Platteklip Gorge,
  • Proceed to hike even further along the multitude of hiking trails.

None of the routes on the top of the mountain require much skill and can actually be regarded as leisurely walks. The most prominent one would be the walk to Maclear’s Beacon which affords you a stunning view of the Cape Flats and Table Bay.

  • Location:
    • 1.6km after the Cable Car Station
  • Distance:
    • 3km (take the cable car down)
  • Elevation:
    • Very steep, climbs 950m
    • It is fairly strenuous but well-marked
  • Estimated Time:
    • 3 – 4 hours
  • General Contact:
    • +27 (021) 712 0527
  • SANParks Emergency Number:
    • +27 (0)21 957 4700
  • Map:

Lion’s Head Hike

photo of lion's head mountain peak
ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR HIKES IN THE MOTHER CITY

@jessgrammer

The hike up Lion’s Head is iconic. It is one of the most popular hikes in Cape Town. Its gradient is not as punishing as the climb up Table Mountain and it is arguably a much prettier hike.

This is especially true when you decide to do it at sunrise or sunset. The climb yields some stunning views of the Sea Point area and you also walk through one of the highest concentrations of beautiful Silver Trees, which are endemic to the Cape Peninsula.

The hike is pretty easy to access, even without a car. Cape Town’s transport system will easily get you to Kloof Nek and then it’s a short walk up the road to Signal Hill until you reach a gravel parking area on both sides of the road. You start your ascent via the gravel road, which has a boom.

The popularity of Lion’s Head has fooled many people over the past couple of years as they assume that it is an incredibly easy hike that can be attempted in wholly inadequate footgear, or by relatively unfit people. This has resulted in a few people having to be rescued off of the mountain.

The hike can be deceptively tricky especially if you decide to use the chains to climb the rock face. It is advised to rather use the chains on the return trip if you wish to have a rather exhilarating descent.

An important point to note is that early on you shall encounter a fork in the path. The upper right fork will take you to Lion’s Head. The left hand fork will take you to Lion’s Rump – commonly known as Signal Hill.

You should bring plenty of water along for this hike and make sure to pack warm clothing if you plan to do the sunset hike. Cape Town can get icy once the sun has set, even if you’re hiking.

  • Location:
    • 650m up Signal Hill road
  • Distance:
    • 5km
  • Elevation:
    • 500m, but a gradual slope
    • A fairly easy hike
  • Estimated Time:
    • Roughly 3 hours
  • General Contact:
    • +27 (021) 712 0527
  • SANParks Emergency Number:
    • +27 (0)21 957 4700
  • Map:

Devil’s Peak Hike

photo of devil's peak mountain
DEVIL’S PEAK BLANKETED BY A SEA OF CLOUDS

@gmh__photography

If there is one place in Cape Town shrouded in folklore – it is Devil’s Peak. The legend is that Jan Van Hunks, a regular pipe smoker that lived at the foot of the mountain, was often forced out of the house by his wife when he wanted to smoke.

One day while smoking he met a mysterious man who was also smoking. They ended up bragging about how much they smoked and entered into a pipe-smoking contest. The man turned out to be the Devil and Van Hunks ended up winning the contest. The smoke he produced formed the blanket of cloud that is called the tablecloth cloud when it covers the mountain.

Luckily, you won’t meet the Devil or Van Hunks on the hike to Devil’s Peak. There are two routes to the top. The one is an incredibly easy route that involves parking on Tafelberg Road and taking a hike up to the top.

The other route is the ascent via Mowbray Ridge and the Knife Edge Path. This is reserved for expert hikers. If you want to take on the challenge , then head on over to Rhodes Memorial, as the hike begins there.

Your first landmark is the King’s Blockhouse. Climb up to the concrete reservoir behind the Blockhouse which marks the beginning of the Mowbray Ridge. This is a good place to stop as there is usually fresh drinking water in the reservoir.

Your next landmark is a lookout hut perched on top of the cliff. The only way to get there is to ascend straight up from the reservoir. A faint path shall appear on your right a short while into ascent. Do not take that path as it will not take you to Devil’s Peak.

Take a moment to rest at the lookout and take in the view. Take note of the time, as the next turnoff from the main path you need to take should come up in 15 minutes. Continue along the main path until it starts to zig-zag.

A faint path up should appear on the fifth bend – this is known as the Knife Edge Path. You will need to take this path to get to the final ascent to the summit of Devil’s peak. You could continue along the main path to reach Devil’s Peak, but the Knife Edge Path is much more breath-taking, in terms of aesthetic beauty.

Be warned however,if you’re afraid of heights then this is not the path for you as it features precipitous drops on both sides. This path shall lead you straight to the vertical ascent up Devil’s Peak and onto some stunning views of the city.

You descend via the Saddle between Devil’s Peak and Table Mountain. Upon reaching the Saddle you shall encounter three ravines: Dark Gorge, Newlands Ravine, and Els Ravine. The first and last are reserved for experienced mountaineers as they require ropes. Rather head to the far side of the Saddle and climb up high before turning left – signposts should guide you to the top of the ravine.

You descend from the Newlands Ravine down a contour path which takes you back to the Rhodes Memorial where you can head to the tearoom for a well-deserved cup of tea.

  • Location:
  • Distance:
    • 8.5km from Tafelberg
    • 13km from Rhodes Memorial
  • Elevation:
    • 1260m
    • For experienced hikers
  • Estimated Time:
    • 4 hours excluding breaks
    • Over 5 hours with breaks
  • General Contact:
    • +27 (021) 712 0527
  • SANParks Emergency Number:
    • +27 (0)21 957 4700
  • Map:

Kirstenbosch Hikes

photo of kirstenbosch gardens
FOR AN EYEGASMIC HIKING EXPERIENCE

@firotography

Many hikes in Cape Town either begin in the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens or end in Kirstenbosch. You will have to pay an entrance fee for Kirstenbosch regardless of whether you start or end your hike there. The tariffs are as follows:

  • Price:
    • Adults: R60
    • Students: R30
    • Children (6 – 17 years): R15
    • Under 6 years: Free
    • Botanical Society Members: Free
      • (see here for how to join)

The two best hikes are as follows: the hike up Skeleton Gorge and the contour path from Constantia Nek to Kirstenbosch.

  • Map:

Skeleton Gorge

photo of woman at Skeleton Gorge
A STRENUOUS, YET FRIENDLY HIKING EXPERIENCE

@ambersescapades

The hike is incredibly well-maintained due to its constant use and the majority of the hike is well signposted, so there is virtually no chance of getting lost.

It can be a strenuous hike due to its distance and gradient but it doesn’t require much experience, as there are only a few rock scrambles and ladders.

It is best to approach the hike via Skeleton Gorge, as opposed to climbing up Nursery Ravine. Nursery Ravine should rather be used to make the descent.

Nursery Ravine is incredibly steep and can make for a bone-jarring descent that should be done carefully. The rest of the hike is a brief walk along a contour path to get back to the Gardens where you can relax and enjoy one of the most beautiful places in South Africa.

  • Location:
  • Distance:
    • 6.2km
  • Elevation:
    • 930m
    • A strenuous hike but has shade
  • Estimated Time:
    • 3 to 4 hours
  • General Contact:
    • +27 (0)21 799 8783
  • SANParks Emergency Number:
    • +27 (0)21 957 4700
  • Map

Constantia Nek To Kirstenbosch

photo of constantia nek
A VIEW OVERLOOKING THE VALLEY BELOW

@nickjohnh

This hike doesn’t begin in Kirstenbosch but rather at Constantia Nek and ends in Kirstenbosch. It is a favourite early morning hike as you can end it with a lovely breakfast at Kirstenbosch’s restaurant.

The contour path that you follow makes the hike an easy one and is suitable for the entire family. It is fairly lengthy as it takes about 2 hours to do one-way.

It is best to travel in two cars and leave one at Kirstenbosch so that you don’t have to walk back.

The contour path is well-maintained by its constant use. It takes you through a wonderful mixture of indigenous fynbos species and towering invasive trees that form part of the Cecilia Forest plantation. The trail is well-marked and you’ll find yourself leisurely strolling along the trail taking in all of the sights.

  • Location:
  • Distance:
    • 5km
  • Elevation:
    • Relatively flat with a few hills
    • Easy walk for the whole family
  • General Contact:
    • +27 (021) 712 0527
  • SANParks Emergency Number:
    • +27 (0)21 957 4700
  • Map:

Hikes To Waterfalls

The mountainous nature of the Cape Peninsula and our high winter rainfall results in a number of waterfalls around the Cape Town area. They are not as majestic as the Victoria Falls, but are breath-taking nonetheless.

Crystal Pools Hike

photo of crystal pools
ONE OF CAPE TOWN’S MOST SOUGHT AFTER WATERFALL HIKES

@trailblazershikingclub

This one of the most popular waterfall hikes in Cape Town. It is situated in the Kogelbay Biosphere just outside of Gordon’s Bay near the Steenbras River mouth. The hike takes you up to the waterfall that feeds into the Steenbras River.

It is named after the fact that the hike is dotted with a series of pools that allow for an exuberant swimming experience that has made the hike so popular.

Pack in a costume or wear clothing that dries easily. Please do not dive into the pools, as they are quite rocky.

Due to it’s popularity a permit is required for the hike. The trail is limited to 50 people a day and you will need to email the City of Cape Town in order to acquire a permit. The steps are as follows:

  1. E-mail your name, the size of the group, contact number and the date of the hike to steenbras.naturereserve@capetown.gov.za. The minimum group size is 3 and the maximum is 10.
  2. Await confirmation that you have a provisional booking.
  3. Pay the R60 per person via EFT.
  4. Email your proof of payment to the City on the same email address.
  5. Wait for your permit to be emailed to you.

The hike is only open from 1 November to the end of April and as of this publication – the hike is currently fully booked until April.

Hikers wishing to approach this hike should be relatively fit. They must also not be fooled into wearing flip-flops as the hike has some serious rock scrambles. The hike is well-marked by a series of pegs to keep you on track.

  • Location:
  • Distance:
    • 5km
  • Elevation:
    • There are some gradual ascents
    • It is a fairly easy hike but don’t take it lightly
  • Estimated Time:
    • Roughly two hours, but give yourself time to swim
  • Map:

Cecilia Forest Waterfall

This hike is close to Cape Town and the waterfall in question is on the backend of Table Mountain. You hike up through Cecilia Forest – one of Cape Town’s many plantations, to access it.

Much of the plantation has been felled recently and replaced with fynbos, thus enhancing the natural heritage of the area. If you wish to see the trail in its full beauty then do it in spring when the majority of the trail is through flowering fynbos. The only negative aspect is that the initial stage of the hike has a lot of exposure to the sun and it is thus better to do it in the early morning or late afternoon, or on a cool and cloudy day.

The hike requires you to make your way to the edge of Kirstenbosch, along the same contour path that extends from Constantia Nek. Upon reaching the edge, you will encounter a signpost indicating the various routes.

You must take the route that points you towards the Cecilia Ravine via the way of Rooikat Ravine (labelled as Rooikatkloof on the sign). The rest of the hike is a rather steep climb up a series of wooden steps. The exertion is worth seeing the pristine and tranquil waterfall at the end of the hike. Give yourself two hours to do this hike.

  • Location:
  • Distance:
    • roughly 4km
  • Elevation:
    • 460m
    • It is a fairly easy hike
    • One climb for half an hour
  • Estimated Time:
    • About 2 – 3 hours
  • General Contact:
    • +27 (021) 712 0527
  • SANParks Emergency Number:
    • +27 (0)21 957 4700
  • Map:

Krom River Hike

photo of the krom river pass
THE TRIAL IS SITUATED CLOSE TO THE HUGUENOT TUNNEL

@thesecretadventurer

The Krom River Hike is a situated well out of Cape Town after the exit of the Huguenot Tunnel. Look for a small road on the left with an “authorised vehicle only” sign. Just like Crystal Pools, this hike requires a permit to ensure that only a few people can use the trail each day. Booking the permit:

  • Contact Cape Nature on +27 (0)21 483 0190
  • The permit must be booked for at least two people
  • Cost: R30 per person

The hike is well marked and follows the river for a while. You will cross over the river several times before the path takes you up a ravine to a rock pool with a waterfall.

This is one of two rock pools along the hike where you can cool off. The path then continues to a bigger and better rock pool. Remember to pack your costume If you want to swim.

The trail will take you through an incredibly beautiful section of the Boland where you will be able to see some of the hardier species of fynbos that exist within the Cape Floral Kingdom.

There are sparsely dotted trees along the wetter parts of the ravine and you can find disas along the final waterfall if you look close enough.

The hike is often closed during the winter months due to the river overflowing after high rainfall. This hike is best done in summer or spring.

  • Location:
    • Park near the Worcester exit of the Huguenot Tunnel by the “authorised vehicles sign”
  • Distance:
    • 7km
    • A moderate fitness level is needed for this hike
  • Estimated Time:
    • 6 hours
  • Map:

Other Hikes Near Cape Town

Silvermine Nature Reserve

photo of silvermine nature reserve
EXPLORE SILVERMINE NATURE RESERVE WITH FRIENDS

@jackiecapedigital.co.za_

Silvermine is an immensely popular destination for family outings and picnics. It isn’t as far away as Cape Point and the entry fee isn’t as high.

Silvermine has a stunning and easy hiking trail along a gravel road and that takes you on a full circuit of the nature reserve.

You can follow the main road from the parking lot for the duration of the hike, but there are also several trails that fork off from the main path which will take you around the reserve.

Upon leaving the car park, it is best to keep to the left as the right hand track is used on your return. This path will take you below Noordhoek Peak and take you past some truly amazing viewpoints which gives you a bird’s eye view of parts of False Bay.

You can also fork off from the main path and tackle the climb up to Noordhoek Peak if you’re looking to take in the tremendous view the peak offers. It is best to reach the top by late morning else you will be looking into the sun.

If you follow the main path it will take you to the trail that heads to Elephant’s Eye Cave. This can also be accessed from the Tokai Forest.

You can skip this trail and head back down to the car park. But you would be missing out on exploring a cave that offers a unique view of the Southern Suburbs.

  • Location:
  • Entrance Fee
    • Adults, R50
    • Children, R25
    • Wild Cards, free
  • Distance:
    • About 9km
    • The hike is moderately steep but not too strenuous
  • Estimated Time:
    • 3 hours
    • Add an extra hour to explore the caves
  • Contact:
    • +27 (0)21 789 2457
  • Map

Newlands Forest

photo of newlands forest
STROLL LEISURELY THROUGH NEWLANDS FOREST

@deancothill

Newlands Forest is one of the more popular walking locations in Cape Town due to the towering trees which provide ample shade for a leisurely stroll through the forest.

The only downside to Newlands Forest is that it is often quite busy and the various trails within the forest are also poorly marked and inadequately signposted.

It is a confusing labyrinth of trails, but it is difficult to get lost when you bear in mind that your car is always going to be at the bottom of the slope.

You can also reach Kirstenbosch gardens from Newlands Forest via the contour path or make your way to the famous Rhodes Memorial which is perched above the gorgeous Upper UCT campus.

These are both easy hikes, but it is advised to make sure you have cars at the end of both hikes as they are fairly lengthy.

  • Location:
  • Distance:
    • 3km per trail
  • Time:
    • Each circular trail can be done in just over an hour
    • These are less like hikes and more like gentle rambles
  • Contact:
    • +27 (0)21 712 0527
  • Map:

Chapman’s Peak Hike

photo of chapmans peak hike
GORGEOUS VIEWS OVERLOOKING THE SEA

@kristovtrollip

Chapman’s Peak Drive is famous for its gorgeous views and for being a truly amazing piece of engineering. It also boasts a moderate hike that will leave you winded if you struggle with vertical inclines.

The hike is well sign-posted and the steep vertical climb will take you through beautiful indigenous fauna and give you brilliant views of Hout Bay and later of False Bay. It is an absolute must if you wish to tackle some of the best hikes Cape Town has to offer.

The hike begins just before the ticket checkpoint on Chapman’s Peak Drive so you don’t have to pay the toll fee. It is a very worthwhile hike on a windless day, to have a picnic with an amazing view.

Chapman’s Peak Drive itself was built by convict labourers. The construction started in 1915 on the Hout Bay side with the Noordhoek side being started a year later. The construction from Hout Bay to the lookout point was completed in 1919, but it was only two years later when the road from Hout Bay to Noordhoek was completed.

The drive remains a feat of engineering prowess as the City of Cape Town regularly has to find new ways to ensure that the mountain doesn’t collapse on top of the road. They have set up an ingenious series of measures to catch falling rocks as the area is prone to rock falls further along the road.

  • Location:
    • Above Chapman’s Peak Drive
  • Distance:
    • 2.5km
    • Moderate hike
  • Estimated Time:
    • 3.5 hours
  • Map:
 Credit: vibescout.com

A warm welcome awaits with our complimentary home-made Hot Chocolate – wonderful for a fire-side winter-warmer! 20% discount on all bookings for 2 adults sharing a room, minimum 2 nights’ stay. Rates from R 590 per person per night, breakfast included. Valid for bookings in May until August ’17winter special 2017

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