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Travel bucket list idea:

Last updated: 28 May, 2023
Expert travel writer: Richard Holmes

Towering more than 3,000-feet above the city, Table Mountain defines the skyline of Cape Town. And while going up by cable car is an easy option for the unfit, hiking the mountain slopes is a far better way to appreciate the flora, fauna and fine views of this World Heritage Site.

There are dozens of routes on, up and around the mountain. The most popular, independently-tackled route is the well-marked Platteklip Gorge (a challenging 2- to 3-hour hike). If you want something more adventures – like the forested trails that lead up the eastern slopes above Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens – book a guided hike. Guides will teach about the local fynbos and the Cape Floral Kingdom as you ascend.

The true summit is at Maclear’s Beacon, but keen hikers should allow time to discover the quieter trails that explore the ‘Back Table’ to the south.

Logistics

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 13+
When: All year around
Duration: 2-3 hours

Getting there & doing it

The Table Mountain National Park stretches almost the length of the Cape Peninsula, though the most popular trails are centred on Table Mountain itself.

Independent hikes are easily accessible, but a good map (available from local outdoor stores) is essential for safe walking. Most of these begin close to the lower cableway station above the city, which can be reached by e-hailing or public transport. If you’re an inexperienced hiker, definitely hire a guide for all but the most popular routes.

Always wear appropriate walking shoes, carry sufficient water and a charged mobile phone with emergency numbers pre-loaded.

When to do it

Trails are accessible year-round, but be extremely cautious of the capricious weather. Sunny summer days can change rapidly due to high winds, covering the mountain in cloud, while winter cold fronts bring rain, high winds and occasional snow.

Summer sees the more popular routes get extremely busy. Start early to avoid the crowds.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

Table Mountain Adventurous Hike & Cable Car Down

Cape Town

Table Mountain Adventurous Hike & Cable Car Down
Join a bucket-list African adventure. We will hike Table Mountain using the lessor known, more adventurous route up, away from the crowds. Once on top, we will have a rare opportunity to walk along the Rim of Table Mountain (where tourists don't usually get to experience unless with local knowledge). After a quick picnic we then make our way to the upper Cable Station where we will take the cable car back down the mountain (if open - ticket fare not included - if the cable car is closed, we will hike down a common route)

Price: $93

Min age: 10

Rating 4.95 / 5 [109 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Private Hiking Tour of Table Mountain

Cape Town

Private Hiking Tour of Table Mountain
A private guided hike up Table Mountain is a wonderful adventure not to be missed when you are in Cape Town. The mountain rises over one thousand meters from sea level and offers stunning views of the surrounding city, ocean and mountain range. An experienced hiking and nature guide will give you a deeper insight into the wonders of the Cape Floral Kingdom and natural history of the mountain. Various hiking routes are offered and tailored to the clients' fitness level and preferences.

Price: Z3,220

Min age: 0

Rating 4.85 / 5 [28 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Table Mountain Half Day Hike: Platteklip Gorge

Cape Town

Table Mountain Half Day Hike: Platteklip Gorge
Zig-zag your way up the fastest route to the summit of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa. This is the same path used before the cable-way was built. Look back at postcard views of Table Bay, Robben Island and down town Cape Town. This is the iconic way up the 7th Natural Wonder of the World. Enjoy time on the summit with many viewpoints and photo opportunities, grab a bite to eat or drink at the cafe on top and experience the cable-way back down the mountain.

Price: Z1,650

Min age: 10

Rating 4.75 / 5 [8 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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Destination guides

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Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Cape Town

Western Cape, South Africa

Aerial view of the whole city at dusk

A vibrant, multicultural city with dramatic scenery, adrenaline adventure galore, Africa’s best art scene, golden beaches world-class wine regions and outstanding gastronomy. All in the shadows of the mighty Table Mountain.

Round-ups

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Round-ups that include this experience

China travel at Great Wall. Tourist in Asia walking on famous Chinese tourist destination and attraction in Badaling north of Beijing. Woman traveler hiking great wall enjoying her summer vacation.

From traversing sand dunes, to walking on glaciers, through canyons, up mountains and along ancient city walls, here’s our round-up of the world’s best walks. Each walk can be tackled in a day or less with a moderate level of fitness and no technical ability.