Hiking in Cape Town is extremely popular as the Mother City offers a wide selection of hiking trails to choose from. If you are new to hiking and want to start off slow, Cape Town has many ‘hiking for beginners’ spots that are simple and effortless. Here are 8 beginner hikes in Cape Town you need to try:
The Pipe Track (From Kloof Nek)
The Pipe Track is one of those hiking trails where you’re allowed to end your hike at any time. Follow the pipeline across the straight and narrow path while enjoying scenic views of the ocean and the 12 Apostles Mountain range. However, if you would like to attempt the full trail, you would need to venture until Corridor Ravine. This would take you around 6km to get there and another 6km back.
Location: Kloof Nek until the path converges OR Kloof Nek until Corridor Ravine
Distance: 3km (From Kloof Nek until the path converges); 12km (Full trail)
Estimated Time: 40 – 45 minutes (From Kloof Nek until the path converges); 4 hours (Full Trail)
The first 30 minutes of the trail are a breeze with a straight-only path. The final 15 minutes is a stony pathway to the cave. Once inside the cave, expect mountaintop views of Woodstock and the CBD. Silhouette selfies from within the cave is a must-try.
Location: Rhodes Memorial (past the Cableway Station on Tafelberg Road) until the cave
Estimated Time: 1,5 – 2 hours
One of the most popular hiking trails in all of Cape Town. If you ever talk to a Capetonian about hiking, they’ve most likely hiked Lion’s Head at least once in their lifetime. On weekends, the trail is bursting with crowds who make their way around the smooth pathways followed by novice climbing using chains and ladders (you can avoid this activity by using an alternative path). Things get a little rocky thereafter as you make your way to the head of the lion. Once on top, expect panoramic views of the city, Table Mountain and the ocean. The hike is fairly quick as it takes roughly an hour to get to the top and another hour down.
Location: The pathway begins on Signal Hill Road and ends atop the mountain
Estimated Time: 2 – 2,5 hours
Cecilia Forest (via Rhodes Drive)
Looking to chase waterfalls? Cecilia Forest is the perfect beginner hike with a waterfall experience. The hike starts at the Cecilia Plantation car park along Rhodes Drive, opposite the Hohenort Avenue turn-off. From there you’ll journey through a pathway surrounded by plants and fresh air. The path is mostly straight but turns into a moderate uphill walk during the last bit of the hike. The trail ends at the scenic waterfall where you’ll be able to have a picnic or simply enjoy the sights and sounds. Note: The waterfall is at its strongest after some rain.
Location: Cecilia Plantation car park along Rhodes Drive until the waterfall
Estimated Time: 2 – 2,5 hours
There are many options to choose from when it comes to Constantia Nek. Possibly one of the easier options is walking from Constantia Nek to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. You’ll experience the scenic Constantia Valley, while also getting some great views of False Bay and Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. The route is mostly shady with a few steep inclines here and there.
Location: Constantia Nek to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Estimated Time: 2 – 3 hours
Looking for a shady hiking trail without the hot sun? Newlands Forest is the perfect spot. The Short Circuit trail in particular is great for beginners looking for a simple trail surrounded by greenery and crisp air.
Location: Newlands Forest
Estimated Time: 1 – 1,5 hours
Another popular hiking spot! Kloof Corner is an easy feat to achieve. The trail is also short and won’t take up much of your time. The only challenge is the final stretch of the hike where you’ll be required to walk up the rocky staircase – but fear not as this is a quick task. Once you’re at the top, you’ll realise how worth it all was.
Location: Tafelberg Road. Park at the second parking lot on your left. Cross the road to the Kloof Nek Water Treatment Plant where you will find a sign marking the start of the trail.
Estimated Time: 1 hour
Deer Park Loop
A favourite among dog walkers. Deer Park loop is also a great spot for trail running as well. Expect scenic views of Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak.
Location: Deerpark Dr W, Vredehoek, Cape Town, 8001
Estimated Time: 40 minutes – 1 hour