A Hikers Heaven: Cape Town

Backpacking & Trekking, South Africa, Tours & Attractions — By on February 22, 2011 at 12:00 pm

By: Laura Malandra, LG South African Correspondent                                                                  

Hiking is an experience not to miss out on while in South Africa. The Cape Town skyline (from left to right) showcases Devil’s Peak, Table Mountain and Lion’s Head. Between these three mountains there really is no such thing as a bad hiking route. Each mountain offers a unique experience and whether you are a seasoned hiker or an average tourist there is a route for you. Cost to enter is free and most of the terrain is apart of the Table Mountain National Park. Established routes can be found on all three mountains for different experience levels but be warned routes are typically more adventurous and not as well groomed compared to US parks.

Lion’s Head:

The 45 minute hike to the top is a great warm up before tackling the larger Table Mountain. Parts of the path are a moderate uphill walk, but some climbing here and there will be involved. Beginners will be able to hold their own on this hike but a moderate amount of physical fitness is required especially towards the top. A must do popular event is the moonlit hike. About once a month, hikers head up to watch the sunset and enjoy the full moon. With the sun setting around 7:30, get there around 6:15 just to ensure you won’t miss the sunset. Long lines form then, so allowing extra time on a crowded full moon hike is a essential. Bring a bottle of wine and some snacks to the top to enjoy with friends as you watch the city light up under the moon. Make sure to bring a light jacket and a flashlight for the walk down (the moon provides great light but a flashlight is help!) Lion’s Head will be sure to be a great night with the sunset and the moonlight! The mountain is also a popular paragliding location.

Table Mountain                                                                                                          

Table Mountain, a popular tourist attraction, is a flat topped mountain that overlooks the city of Cape Town. Cloud’s often cover the top of the mountain giving the appearance of a “tablecloth.” The National Park allows visitors to either climb the mountain or take the cable car. I highly suggest hiking due to the various routes than can last anywhere from three hours to all day. The mountain range is almost impossible to get bored of due to its large size and the variety of reservoirs, dams, caves and other attractions within. If you are not a hiker but still want to check the mountain out, the cable car is a great option. An adult one-way ticket cost 90R. The cable car rotates allowing you to see the vast landscapes of the mountain during the fifteen minute ride. A great compromise is also taking the cable car one way and hiking the other. Operation of the cable car depends on the wind so check the website out prior to heading the mountain. The mountain is an appointee to be New7Wonders of Nature so whether you want to take a long hike or ride the cable car be sure to check it out.

Devil’s Peak

Devil’s Peak, named from a Dutch folk-tale, is another great mountain to hike. Various routes may be taken, but hikers should be careful of the wind and mist on the mountain. Be sure to stick to established routes because hikers lives have known to be lost on certain slippery and dangerous routes. A popular, safe and shorter route to check out goes from Rhodes Memorial to King’s blockhouse.

No matter what your level of hiking experience is, these mountains are sure to have the right trail for you. So grab your sunscreen, hiking boots, and water bottle and get out there!

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