Following the sun, I discovered South Africa’s top tourist destination Cape Town by chance, but instantly fell in love with this place. While I spent the first part of my stay checking out trendy restaurants, laying on the beach all day and mingling with locals in Cape Town’s busy nightlife the proximity of untouched nature and mountains right at your doorstep fascinated me.
First those mountains only served as the beautiful backdrop whilst sipping cocktails on the beach, but when my fellow German traveler Vera suggested we take an easy stroll along the 12 Apostles in Camps Bay I did not say no. After all it was an easy stroll and not a dangerous climb on a mountain top, so what could possibly go wrong?
What we both did not expect was how breathtakingly beautiful Cape Town’s landscape is and what nature instantly does to your busy city-mind. It makes you slow down, it puts you in sync with life, it brings you closer to your true self and suddenly the friendship with my bestie was revolving around a soul-fulfilling search of the next mountain adventure and slowly our weekends changed from clubbing and cocktails on the beach to exploring the Cape on foot with the ready camera in our hands. Conversation sparked around the wildlife we spotted during our trips more so than around the who is hot in Cape Town.
From hiking the Cape with my now best friend and travel companion for the last two years I would like to share our top three hikes with you, but as we are still ladies with a passion for good food and wine enjoying the finer things in life, I selected our “Glam Hikes” for you, taking you both to the most photo scenic spots – we truly understand the importance of a kick-ass Instagram account – and hikes that won’t let you break too much in a sweat, which means they are suitable for all hiking beginners such as we used to be, not too long ago.
1) Tranquility Cracks
You are an Instagram queen and love breath-taking views and striking a yoga pose on a rock? This is hike is for you, it’s truly a stunner of a hike and it is also one of Cape Town’s best kept secrets. It takes around 6 hours and it can get hot in summer, take enough water, hat, sunscreen and start early.
You park your car in Camps Bay at Theresa Avenue (check in Google maps) and from there you take the footpath towards the 12 Apostles mountain range. The path you meet is called Pipe Track and runs parallel to the mountain range. Take a right once you meet the path. Eventually you make your way through a thick forest and reach a beautiful cave. This is your first view point and here you can perfectly enjoy a picnic. Follow the path which turns into contour path, but don’t worry, you are not exposed to too many heights.
At one point you will reach a very broad ravine, called Corridor Ravine, the path will take you there and you can’t miss it. Here you have to get your gym bunny on as you have to climb this ravine to the top for around 30-45 minutes. Once you reach the top – en voila – you are on top of Table Mountain and can see all the way to Hout Bay, Muizenberg and Constantia. Enjoy this view, take a breather and prepare for the tricky part: find the rock landscape Tranquility Cracks.
Once you reach the top of the ravine, take a left and follow the path. Keep your eyes open for a rock on the left side of the path and a tiny footpath to the left. If you proceed further and can see Lion’s Head on the other side, you have gone too far.
Once you are on the tiny path it will take you slowly towards the edge of the mountain again, this is where you find the Cracks where you can climb around a labyrinth of rocks. Enjoy a different view over Cape Town and have a second snack or picnic. You can take the same way down or follow the path further on the spine of the Twelve Apostles and take the route down Kasteel Port.
2) Ship Wreck Hike
You are a beach babe and would like to stay close to the sea? Then this hike is for you. This easy 4-hour hike does not require any climbing and will keep you nice and cool along the way. Leave your valuables at home and only go in big groups. Take a snack and lots of water.
Park your car at the Sandy Bay Beach parking lot, by Llandudno beach (Google maps is your friend) and take the path towards the beach. It’s a nature and nude beach which is also frequented by families and surfers. If you are lucky you can see dolphins playing along the coast. Keep a look out for a path when you reach the end of the beach before you reach the mangrove forest. Take this path and follow it to the right moving further along this magnificent coast line.
Along the way you find a beautiful little cave which is just perfect Instagram material as you can see onto the ocean. Enjoy the photo break and move along the even path until you reach big boulders to your right, this is where the ship wreck lies, but be aware you can only cross over the boulders when it’s low tide. From here you see another ship wreck in distance, but please don’t be tempted to walk there or even to Hout Bay – it is another 9 hours from here. Oude Skip is perfect for picnic and on your way back why not take a dip – nude or in your cozy on Sandy Bay beach? Or have a sneaky sun-downer on the beach.
3) Table Mountain Via Skeleton Gorge
You love adventures and the Jungle Book is your favourite movie? This hike is for you as get the climb some impressive steps through Cape Town’s indigenous forest and cross waterfalls. This hike can take 6-8 hours depending how much time you spend exploring the top of Table Mountain. Take loads of food as you’ll need the energy and a rain jacket and jersey as the weather can quickly change.
Park your car in Kirstenbosch Garden, we recommend you are there by 8am when the park opens. Once you are in the park find the sign leading you to Skeleton Gorge, no worries, it is not a dangerous ascent, it´s just has a scary name. The path is also well frequented by tourists during season. We love being under the forest canopy as it keeps the sun away. Take a second set of clothes in case you get wet from the waterfalls, which mostly occurs after there has been rain. After around 1.5 hours you reach the top. Well done gym bunny!
From here we recommend taking a stroll along the water reserves you find on top of Table Mountain, swimming not allowed, sorry, but I promise you, it will blow your mind. There is also the waterworks museum which you can visit and you’d be surprised about the many secrets Table Mountain holds. We recommend tracing your steps back or take a circular path and take Nursery Ravine down the mountain which offers breath taking views and it will take you right back to Kirstenbosch Gardens where you can enjoy a stroll through the gardens and have a bite at their cafe.
Pick one or even better all three of them and tell us what you think and share some pics with us. To follow our hiking adventures and to get inspiration for your next hike follow us on Instagram: wanderlust_south_africa or on Facebook Wanderlust South Africa
Following the sun, Sarah moved from her hometown Speyer in Germany to Cape Town in 2010. She is a digital advertiser with a passion for fitness, travelling, hiking, photography and good food & wine. “I love meeting new people and exploring places off the beaten track. Traveling to me means to explore your surroundings on foot and immerse into nature “.
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