The beautiful forest-like start and the beach-like finish to this hike makes this strenuous trail well worth the climb. It’s only about 3km, which sounds easy enough, but remember this is Table Mountain we’re talking about.
You start your hike in the abundant Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden (you’ll need to pay the regular entry fee) and climb up the back of Table Mountain. The first half is shaded and feels like you’re in a jungle somewhere far-off, but you’ll start seeing some spectacular views closer to the top. It’s a tough climb, but pack some snacks and enjoy a break on the aptly-named Breakfast Rock or relax on the “beach” at the reddish Hely-Hutchinson reservoir at the summit (please don’t swim here). It’s one of five reservoirs on the mountain and is a beautiful sight to behold.
From here it’s about an hour walk to the Table Mountain Cableway station if you want to spare your knees the trip down. Take the signs to Maclear’s Beacon and visit the big cairn that marks the highest point on Table Mountain (1 086 metres above sea level) on your way. Another option is to take Platteklip Gorge down, otherwise, head down Skeleton Gorge or Nursery Ravine to end up where you started.
Approximate time: 2- 4 one way hours one way depending on fitness and breaks.