Cape Town's Big Five Hiking Trails

By Jackie Dreyer

Please note: This piece was guest written by Tatum-Lee Louw, the Brand Content Manager of the Drive South Africa car rental company.

Cape Town is a lush evergreen province situated in the Western Province of South Africa. It is well-known as the Mother City and is the home of one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Table Mountain. The city is absolutely beautiful, and it’s popular hiking trails offer travelers an unforgettable experience along with picturesque views to last a lifetime.

Here are five of Cape Town’s best hiking trails:

Newlands Forest

If you ever want to go on a gratifying hike along the slopes of Table Mountain, Newlands Forest is your ideal destination. This strategically-located jungle in Cape Town is not only popular for walking and jogging, but it also attracts many picnickers, nature lovers, and leisure strollers. An exciting characteristic of the hiking trail is its wooden boardwalks, which are well-maintained along with the raised picnic expanse in the woods.

Hikers can choose many ways to get through the contour path that opens up pathways to the summit of the mountain. Newlands is located in the Southern Suburbs, so if it’s your first time in Cape Town, you might opt for renting a car instead of public transport.

Lion’s Head

Lion’s Head is a fun destination that coined its name from its characteristic shaped slope as seen along Table Mountain, which resembles the king of the jungle overlooking the picturesque Atlantic Ocean shoreline on one side, as well as Table Bay and Cape Town on the other. The hike accommodates adults, children, and pets, and even though you might find the walk steep at specific parts of the trail, the most memorable thing about hiking here is the breathtaking view of Cape Town.

Serious hikers frequently visit Lion's Head because of the series of ladders and chains fixed along the path to make the walk effortless at specific rock faces with steep sections. The local guides usually advise those hiking with young children to take an alternative route to avoid the scary chain section.

Constantia Nek to Kirstenbosch

Taking an exploratory hike between Constantia Nek and Kirstenbosch is a pleasantly-energetic walk that leaves guests satisfied, even during winter. The location is in Constantia, Cape Town, whereby the six-kilometer trail stretches within the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens and includes a stopover at the Kirstenbosch Tea Room, where you can have a delightful breakfast. Those who wish to spend more time enjoying the adventure can book for accommodation in Constantia.

This hiking trail begins from the entrance of the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens and ends at the scenic summits of Constantia Nek. Although the hiking trail is easily accessible, you will need a vehicle to transport you from the two different locations. Most outdoor enthusiasts contact the car rentals at Cape Town International Airport for advice on an affordable transportation option.

Jonkershoek Nature Reserve

The Nature Reserve is strategically located in the southwestern Cape, neighboring Stellenbosch and covering the magnificent Jonkershoek Mountains, as well as vivid sections of the Jonkershoek gorge. The circular hiking trail around this destination is approximately 10 kilometers in circumference and takes hikers way down to the valley floor.

The circular drive has four hiking trails with specific lengths and varied difficulty, which includes the approximately 5.3-kilometer Sosyskloof route, the 18-kilometer Swartboskloof Route, the 17-kilometer Panorama Circuit, and the 6.4-kilometer Eerste & Tweede Waterval route.

Kalk Bay Mountains

This mountainside destination is an ideal place that provides both casual and serious hikers with a variety of trails to explore. Kalk Bay trails cover the scenic coastal communities that over the years have enjoyed the stunning sights of the Kalk Bay Harbour, as well as the coinciding False Bay area. Just above Kalk Bay is Boyes Drive, which is one of the access points for this splendid destination, with Silvermine East being another access point that hikers can alternatively use.

Boomslang Cave is found within the Kalk Bay area, and hikers can practice carving here, making this destination a thrilling hiking spot for visitors. The cave can be easily accessed via the tunnels that cleverly cut through the mountain, which can help children learn in the course of the adventure in the woods. The Kalk Bay hiking trail combines two outstanding expanses of indigenous forests and ends up at the summit of the mountains.

There are plenty of other amazing picturesque views to explore in and around Cape Town. If you’re planning your summer holiday, check out some more of the Western Cape’s finest destinations on Glamping Hub!


Tatum-Lee Louw is currently the Brand Content Manager of the Drive South Africa car rental company. She completed her BA degree at the University of the Western Cape and is currentlly pursuing her Honors degree in Applied Linguistics. She has a keen interest in Digital Marketing, Linguistics, and Publishing.