Hiking in Cape Town
“There is probably no more spectacular place in the world than Cape Town…” Sir Edmund Hillary described it best.
As the second largest city in South Africa and universally acknowledged to be one of the world’s most beautiful places, there is a lot to discover at Cape Town.
Your feet will walk, and your eyes will wander through hikes taking you past fresh water streams and waterfalls, to dams and picnic spots, up and down valleys, and all around the breathtaking landscapes of the Cape peninsula. Caress the gentle climate, smell the natural freshness and enjoy the best views while staying away from the crowds.
Premium hiking sites abound in the area. Hot spots for hiking are Silvermine Nature Reserve, Chapman’s Peak Drive, Cape Point Nature Reserve, Peers Cave, Elsies Peak, Kalk Bay Caves, just to name a few. Or follow the shipwreck trail, undulating coastal paths or hike to the sacred rock sites on the slopes of Table Mountain.
It is advisable to hike with a guide, who will be pleased to share with you interesting information about the hike sites, the biodiversity of the flora and the fauna, the birdlife, and the natural history of the region.
Whether it’s your first time blazing a trail, or you’re an experienced hiker looking for some source of inspiration, Cape Town has what you seek, from easy strolls through the forest to more daunting climbs up mountains.
Cape Town abounds of hiking locations, a few of which we introduce to you below:
Hiking The Cape Town Floral Region
Owing to its status as one of the world’s richest areas for plants in terms of diversity, density and number of endemic species, the Cape Floral Region is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Despite representing less than 0.5% of the area of Africa, it is home to nearly 20% of the continent’s flora. With almost 10 000 plant species, more than two-thirds of it is unique to the Cape Town Floral Region.
Unique plant reproductive strategies, adaptive to fire, patterns of seed dispersal by insects, as well as patterns of endemism and adaptive radiation found in the flora are of immense value to botanical science. This world heritage site also displays outstanding ecological and biological processes associated with the Fynbos vegetation—which you will find nowhere else in the world.
The Fynbos plants make up about 80% of the species in the Cape Floral Kingdom, with the general appearance of a shrubby, fine-leaved plant community. Trees are not usually found in a pure stand of Fynbos; otherwise, they can be considered as invaders. Using less water than exotic tree plantations and agricultural crops under irrigation, this plant species is therefore, of high economic importance in the region.
If you are a plant lover, the Cape Town Floral region will be your paradise on Earth. There are more varieties of indigenous plants in the Cape Floral Kingdom than in any other place of the same size on the planet!
This extraordinary assemblage of plant life and its associated fauna is represented by a series of 8 protected areas covering an area of 553, 000 ha:
- Table Mountain National Park
- Cederberg Wilderness Area
- Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area
- Boland Mountain Complex
- De Hoop Nature Reserve
- Boosmansbos Nature Reserve
- Swartberg Complex
All of the 8 areas are found on the Western Cape region, except Baviaanskloof, which is on the Eastern Cape region. The Western Cape is renowned for being one of South Africa’s most beautiful natural kingdoms boasting lush indigenous forests and majestic mountain ranges. Each of the areas is beautiful, and special in its own way. Find below what you can expect from them:
You cannot come to Cape Town and not visit the Table Mountain. The Table Mountain is undoubtedly Cape Town’s most famous mountain, with a network of over 550 walks and over 1000 climbing routes up on it alone. It forms part of the Cape Floral Kingdom.
Table Mountain is a wilderness area so security is paramount. Overlooking the city and urban areas of Cape Town, the excellent hiking trails will take you through attractive and scenic mountainous landscapes. The charm of Table Mountain, one so peculiar, comes not only from its famous silhouette but equally from its diverse natural habitat that ensures there is always something to explore.
The highest point on the mountain is Maclear’s Beacon at 1086m (3563ft), names after Sir Thomas Maclear who built the cairn in 1865 as a trigonometry point. From up here, you can see down the Cape Peninsula, east across to the Winelands and Hottentots Holland mountains and north to the pointed Devil’s Peak. From the beacon, following the easy path across the top to the cable car station, you can wander around the magnificent lookout points built into the cliff top—make sure not to miss looking down over the city bowl and out to Robben Island, it will take your breath away!
Down the mountain, the Platteklip path is the most direct, and probably most-used, route if you still are looking for some excitement to enjoy. It’s a steep zigzagging descent, often via steps, beginning beside the cable car. Or you might want to take the cable car itself. As the cars rotate as they move, you will be able to contemplate the panoramic views of the bay and the mountainside.
The interesting thing about The Table Mountain is its convenience and suitability: a gentle stroll or a serious hike, whatever your skill level, there will surely be something for you.
This is the quickest and most direct, although quite strenuous, walking route to the top of Table Mountain. In a few hours one can walk up the Platteklip Gorge which has well-maintained stone steps to the top of the mountain. Once at the top, you can admire the majestic view of the sandy beaches, lush forests and the beautiful city stretched out before you.
Hoerikwaggo Table Mountain Trail
For a longer stay, go on the luxurious three day Hoerikwaggo Table Mountain Trail. This hiking trail is guided, portered and catered for and links the cultural history of Cape Town city with the natural heritage of Table Mountain.
Relatively short and dramatic, the Lion’s Head is a long time favourite—and highly recommended. Lion’s Head is the domed peak projecting into the skyline between the City Bowl and Camps Bay. The view is gloriously panoramic and even more admirable during sunset and sunrise times: stretching over the harbor, the Twelve Apostles, Camps Bay, Devils Peak, Signal Hill and the Cape Flats.
Originally a service path for maintaining pipes leading from the high reservoirs, this track starts at Kloof Nek. It is an easy flat contour path above Camps Bay with lovely views and linking the paths leading to the Twelve Apostles ridge.. It is possible to ascend the mountain from this side, but be sure to be accompanied by an experienced drive.
More interesting walks start from Kirstenbosch up Nursery Ravine or Skeleton Gorge. Stroll through the lush and exquisite Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. Shaded by indigenous forest, the Skeleton Gorge remains cool even in the height of summer. Tree identification tags are also provided for the east of hikers. Skeleton Gorge ascends from the 310 m contour path above the Kirstenbosch Gardens and takes approximately 3.5 hours to complete. As you climb, the vegetation becomes steadily sparser and once at the top of the gorge, you will realize that Table Mountain’s tabletop is anything but flat.
The Garden Route is a 5 day coastal trail passing through three nature reserves between the Wilderness and Knysna. Its natural beauty, shimmering lakes and indigenous forests are well famous. You will have an amazing opportunity to hike through rain forests, along secluded beaches and watch the impressive birds. Knysna has an abundance of forests, lakes and estuaries. The Harkerville and Elephant hiking trails will guide you along these magnificent forests.
Whales Watching Trails
The Southern Right Whale migrates its way to the Western Cape every year to mate, calve and feed. Proud to be the whale-watching capital of the world, the Hermanus hiking trails and the De Hoop Whale Hiking Trail—renowned as one of the best whale-watching spots—provide the excellent opportunity to witness the glory of these gigantic animals.
There are numerous other paths on and around the mountain that you can explore. Walking maps are available from the two Cape Town tourist offices and also from the Kirstenbosch bookshop.
What is particular and popular about the Cedarberg Wilderness region is its unique rock formations, bushman paintings, game and mystic mountain ranges. There is a variety of way to get there and explore these wonders on unmarked, well maintained footpaths. Among the popular day hikes are the Wolfberg Cracks and Arch, Sneeuberg and the Maltese Cross. The Sevilla Rock Art Trail is a 4km hiking trail, we mention it because it’s special: on this trail, you can visit 9 extraordinary sites of rock art left behind by the San people who inhabited the area for 1000's of years.
Groot Winterhoek Wilderness Area
The Grook Winterhoek Winderness area is another of the wonders of the Western Cape. It lies about 120 km north of Cape Town, situated in the Grook Winterhoek mountain range, found north of Tulbagh and east of Porterville.
With its extraordinary rock formations (mainly of the Table Mountain sandstone), vast lands of unspoilt fynbos, and elegant mountain panoramas, rock pools appearing so pure that you wouldn’t want to jump in for fear of tarnishing them, this area is a place of absolute exquisiteness. The greater Grook Winterhoek conservation area is of 30 608 hectares, of which 19 200 was declared a wilderness area in 1985. The conservation of mountain fynbos and wildlife is of particular importance for clean water supply to the Cape metropolis and the west coast.
What is particular about this area is that it is the African antelope’s kingdom, abundant with different species, for instance, grey rhebok, klipspringers and grysbok. Sometimes, leopard, caracal, mongoose, and wild cat can also be found together with a few rare lizard species, particularly the southern rock lizard (Australolacerta australis). Among the estimated 100 bird species are the endemic Cape rockjumper and raptors like black eagle, jackal buzzard and goshawk.
The landscape is rather rugged and mountainous, with altitudes that can go up to 2 077 m above sea level. Though mountain fynbos is the main vegetation, but a great variety of rare and threatened endemic species can be found, such as the Sorocephalus scabridus (from the protea family). Red disas and species of the erica add colour and charm to the rich green layouts.
Various Bushman paintings and examples of rock art believed to be between 300 and 6 000 years old are present here, indicating that the place was once host to the San and Khoi people. You will also find the earliest farms to be registered (among which the Perdevlei, the Louws Legplek, Kliphuis, De Tronk, etc). Old tracks that used to cater for the transportation of farm produce are still visible above Driebosch and Weltevrede today. Among relics of the past, you can also find stone graves of early Portuguese (who all, arguably, died of flu) at De Tronk.
As you might gather from the name, it is absolutely cold in winters in Groot Winterhoek: be prepared for the heavy frost and rains!
Boland Mountain Complex
In relation to Cape Town, the Boland Mountain Complex extends between 40 and 80 km northeast to east, extending over an area of 285 000 hectares. It has five independently established components, namely the Kogelberg and Limietberg State Forests, the Hottentots Holland, Jonkershoek and Assegaaibosch Nature Reserves. Kogelberg, with its 150 endemic species, is a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The north half of the Boland Mountain Complex just east of Cape Town lies in north-south ranges running parallel to the Atlantic Ocean.
Boland Mountain Complex has 1,600 plant species, 150 being endemic. This richness is due to the wide variety of macrohabitats and microhabitat mosaics resulting from the range of elevations, soils and climatic conditions, including the co-existence of winter-rainfall species with summer-rainfall species from further east.
De Hoop Nature Reserve
De Hoop Nature Reserve is one of a kind, one of the few reserves that make your outdoor experience complete. With an area of about 34 000 hectares, the reserve lies in the Overberg region, east of Bredasdorp, and is only 3 hours’ drive away from Cape Town. It can be reached either from Bredasdorp or Swellendam.
Sea, sand, and land will create the ambiance of the ideal holiday for hikers, cyclists, bird watchers, and during the winter and early summer months, whale watchers. You will be surrounded by the rare fynbos plants emanating its peculiar floral sensation, wading birds on the shores of the vlei (an area of low marshy ground feeding a stream) and the Potberg Mountains, home to a colony of endangered Cape vultures. With its 86 mammal species, (including the rare bontebok and Cape mountain zebra, eland, baboon, yellow mongoose and the occasional leopard), and more than 260 species of migratory birds, De Hoop supports a variety of life forms.
Adjacent is the De Hoop Marine Protected Area, extending three nautical miles (5 km) out to sea. It is one of the largest protected marine areas in Africa, harbouring a fascinating marine biodiversity. Dolphins and seals are usually found in the waters off the coast, while the southern right whales calve and mate in the sheltered bays every year between May and December. A minimum of 250 species of fish can be found in the area. De Hoop is also important for the conservation of lowland fynbos as it has the largest conserved area for this rare vegetation. The Bredasdorp / Agulhas and Infanta area has an estimated 1500 plant species, over 9 000 found in the Cape Floristic Region.
Boosmansbos Nature Reserve
20 km north of Heidelberg in the eastern Langeberg mountain chain of the Western Cape Province lies the Boosmansbos Wilderness Area of 14 200 hectares. Boosmansbos, which means “angry man’s forest”, derives its name from a resident hermit of the early 19th century, known to frighten off youngsters who came close to his apiaries. Boosmansbos was declared a Wilderness Area in 1978 and a World Heritage Site in 2004 (as part of the Cape Floral Kingdom). It is man-aged in order to maintain its natural systems and safeguard its pristine environment.
The elevation point reaches 1 637 m at Grootberg peak, located at the center. The area conserves mountain fynbos, special ones like Erica, Everlasting species and the rare Aloe decumbens, and valley forest. Among the forest tree species, you will find some important ones such as Red Alder and Sickle-leaved Yellowwood Stinkwood. Mammals inside the reserve include grey klipspringer, rhebuck, grysbok, mongoose, baboons, leopard and genet. Given 184 species of birdlife recorded, you will found variety to enrich your trip: black, martial, booted and crowned eagles, redwinged and redneck francolins, and many more.
Of an immense area of 112 000 square kilometers, the Swartberg Complex is yet another of the 8 beauties of the Floral Region. It extends from 260 to 450 km east-northeast in relation to Cape Town. The Swartberg Complex consists of 3 reserves, which had been established in 1978-80: Groot Swartberg, Swartberg East State Forest/ Nature Reserves and Gamkapoort Nature Reserve.
88 of 102 Broad Habitat Units are defined for the country, and two of them are found in the Swartberg Complex, namely, the Karoo Mountain and Little Karoo. The fauna in the Swartberg protected area reflects its location close to the fynbos-Karoo interface with species such as grysbok Raphicerus melanotis, grey rhebuck Pelea capreolus, among others.
Gamkaskloof (also known as 'Die Hel') is an isolated valley lying in the Swartberg mountains, which for more than a hundred years, has been home to a self-sufficient farming community. Its unique cultural heritage is one that will remind you of the times when man used to be in total communion with nature.
Hiking in this area of the Floral Kingdom can be tough, but it is a very rewarding experience. The scenery is so spectacular that one cannot forget for a lifetime. The road from Beaufort West to George when it traverses the Meiringspoort Pass in the Swartberg Mountains must rank as one of the most scenic routes in South Africa. As one walks up the mountains, the panorama that opens out is simply magnificent. In winter and spring, these peaks can be snow covered.
The Swartberg Mountains are part of the Cape Fold Mountain range, an area abundant with Proteas which look absolutely beautiful when in bloom.
The Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve, another World Heritage Site, is one exhibiting the wild nature of Cape Town. Of an area of about 209 000 hectares, it extends in the valley between the Baviaanskloof and Kouga Mountain ranges, some 95 kilometers north-west of Port Elizabeth.
This reserve regroups seven of the eight biomes which can be found in South Africa, it is an area of wide biodiversity. A biome is a complex eco-system defined by specific vegetation and climate—it is an eco-system which is almost indigenous. You will find fynbos (famous for its exceptional contribution to the biodiversity of the Western Cape), sub-tropical thicket (a very palatable and nutritious veld type), Nama-Karoo Biome (a grassy dwarf shrubland), grassland, savannah and forest.
Numerous sites offering fine quality San cave art have been discovered in this region. San rock paintings are among the oldest forms of art of the entire African continent, given that the earliest hunter-gatherers in southern Africa were the San people who were also known as the ‘Bushmen’ (a term now considered derogatory). Widely considered as the best model for the hunter-gatherer lifestyle throughout the Stone Age, it is believed that the history of the later Stone Age is the same as that of the San. These ancestors have inhabited southern Africa for more than 100 000 years. Damaging the rock art, an ancestral heritage, is an offence; all rock art is protected by the National Monuments Act.
Till now, 200 heritage sites of cave art have been located in Baviaanskloof; this figure is estimated to represent only 10 percent of those in the area. The San rock art is a mirror image of their beliefs systems and cultural practices—it is a great opportunity to let the men of history convey their message to you.
Definitely, wilderness and Rock Art are the crowns of Baviaanskloof. Some trails will take you through rare native and unique cedar groves, beautiful streams and pools, the exciting Cedar valley, incredible waterfalls and the most impressive kloofs. There is so much to discover and to learn in this region that hiking it can sometimes take up to 5-6 days.
Other hiking areas in Cape Town:
The Silvermine Nature Reserve
The Silvermine Reserve is one that is worthy of attention. It covers a large area of hillside behind Kalk bay, is cluttered with caves, and offers you beautiful views across to Simon’s Town and towards Cape Point.
Boyes Drive is the high road running above Kalk Bay and St. James. Nearby a lighthouse, it is the route leading to the Silvermine Reserve, which you will access after a flight of stairs.
There is a clear path heading right off through the brush and across wooden footbridges. This path leads to two resting points, the first one known as Weary Willy’s for its convenient sit-on-me boulder.
Take an all-seasons hike through rare indigenous forests to the most delightful viewing positions surveying the Peninsula. If you are taking the route along the central stream, you will reach a mountain reservoir, one that defines its peaceful and tranquil surroundings. You will find yourself in divine communion with nature.
Opposite the entrance to the Silvermine nature reserve, you will find the Waterfall route. During winter, the volume of water that pours over the waterfall is a must-see. The route touches the mountain edges above Muizenberg, Kalk Bay and Fish Hoek, surrounded by a very quiet place.
Three routes will take you to the Silvermine East on the other side overlooking Muizenberg. The view will definitely be magnificent, but you will also encounter interesting rock formations and bountiful of untouched fynbos in the area.
Uphill, you will find a collection of boulders made for snacking on. This structure is called Hungry Harry’s and it marks the entrance to Echo Valley which bisects two rocky peaks. On the left is the Cave Peak while on the right, the Ridge Peak.
Looping around the Silvermine Reservoir, with its rooibos-coloured water that will refresh your senses, you can find the Elephant’s Eye—a large cave in the reserve. The eye of the Elephant is named so as with the help of a squint, you can find it resembles the head of these large mammals.
Cape Point Nature Reserve
The bustling and buzzing Cape Town is contrasted by a large and peaceful reserve an hour’s drive away. Cape Point is one of the most scenically spectacular parks in the whole of South Africa.
By far the most popular attractions in the reserve are the two peaks right at the tip of the peninsula: Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. Up on the lighthouse at Cape Point, the views are immense and you will get great panoramas of the ocean, both peninsula coastlines, mind-blowing cliffs, and the clean white sweet of Dias Beach far below. While all of these will surely be spectacular, they represent only a fraction of the enthralling natural beauty and wildlife of the Cape Point Nature Reserve. There are hiking trails on both coastlines so you can explore more of this beauty.
The Atlantic side is mostly flat beach walking, offering great views over the ocean and the occasional shipwreck. The False Bay coast, by contrast, has an exciting path: along cliff-tops, across footprint-free beaches and through thick fynbos. On your way, you will find lizards ‘sunbathing’ on the rocks, a variety of birds including the ostrich, and with a bit of chance, baboons, bontebok, eland and the mountain zebra. Over 1200 species of vegetation and birds such as the Cape Siskin and Cape Sugarbird are found in the reserve. In some areas, you can even spot antelopes while dotted along the wild beaches, there are many shipwrecks you can explore.
Hiking in the Cape Point Nature Reserve all around requires good stamina. There are many trails in the park, lovely beaches and cliff areas, and just so much to discover!
Peers Cave, Fish Hoek
Discovered by Victor and Bertram Peers, and consequently named after them, the Peers Cave is a low shelter looking east and wholly protected from the north-east winds, under the buttresses of a small group of hills in Fish Hoek. It is isolated from the main Kalk Bay range, looking out immediately above and opposite to the entrance of the Kalk Bay Pier. When sea levels were higher than they are today, the valley used to be a sea passage that separated the Cape Peninsula into northern and southern islands.
The cave’s frontal span is 110 feet and it is 36 feet deep.Today, the floor of the cave is many feet above that of its initial level. This cave is practically mid-way between the Indian and the Atlantic oceans. Fish Hoek was engraved in world history with the discovery of a fossilized skeleton inside Peers Cave in 1927. Fish Hoek Man’s skull had the largest brain area of any skull its age found up until that time. It is estimated to be about 12 000 years’ old.
Peers Cave, a short climb, an easy stretch up the dunes, offers not only picturesque views across the valley, but also an insight into Stone Age history. You can reach Peers Cave from either Fish Hoek or Ou Kaapse Weg.
Chapman’s Peak Drive
You gotta do Chappies.
‘Chappies’ is local for the Chapman’s Peak Drive, one of the most famous landmarks of Cape Town, with 9 km and 114 curves of stunning scenery bringing you from Noordhoek to Hout Bay, or the other way around. Enjoy one of the most spectacular marine drives in the world and Cape Town’s most rewarding Toll Road along 9 km of sheer paradise: the Atlantic Ocean on the one side, mountains—the southerly extension of the Constantia Berg (593 m high)—on the other.
The Chapman’s Peak Drive is really a must-firsthand experience no matter the number of times you have seen it in adverts of, for instance, your preferred top car brands commercials, or in movies. Watching pictures and living in them are two totally different experiences. You will surely want to step in this paradise and have a look around. Do not forget your camera, it will help you treasure the panoramas.
Tremendous roadwork has been undertaken on the Chappies. Its opening is the culmination of one of the most innovative road engineering projects to be undertaken in South Africa, underlying the spotless beauty of the place. Perhaps try off with a half-day tour if your time is limited, but do take a full day trip if you want to make the most of your visit there!
The drive and spectacular vistas are only part of the thrill—there are also a few interesting things to do along the way. With 3 major picnic areas and 45 picnic areas with small tables situated on the Hout Bay side, you can sit back, relax and have your favourite meal while admiring the Hout Bay Harbour from up the main and highest view point. In addition to this, there are many hiking trails through the Silvermine Nature Reserve and the Cape Peninsula National park for you to discover the South African lands on foot. This is as well a fun base jumping spot (call Abseil Africa) and a real photography heaven.
If the grandeur of the Chappies starts to intimidate you, you can visit Hout Bay and Noordhoek, which are both small country villages on either side with warm friendly atmospheres. Near the Hout Bay end of the drive, you will find a bronze leopard statue perched on a rock nearby. Having been there since 1963, it is a reminder of the wildlife that once inhabited the area’s forests, which has now, largely disappeared. You can stroll to the local shops and restaurants. What is particular about the Hout Bay harbor is that it is one of South Africa’s most active fishing harbours, no wonder offering many ‘fish n chips’shops and places to have beer. Alternatively, if you are looking for some engaging activity, go sail on the boats and yachts or try some of the exciting water sports offered.
Every year, two major events take place: the Pick’n’Pay Cycle Tour in March and the Two Oceans Marathon in April.
Elsie’s Peak Walk gives way to magnificent views of Fish Hoek, False Bay, Glencairn and Simon’s Town. With clear weather, you can see all the way to Hangklip.
The trail can be accessed either from Glencairn Heights or Fish Hoek on the other side. Though the route is steep in places, it is an easy one up.
If you are starting this walk from Fish Hoek, you can expect to find yourself in a flower kingdom. Ranging from the pretty painted lady Gladiolus dibilis, Hebenstretia, Geissorhiza to the fresh Crassula fascicularis, the strange-looking Polygala and the soft and velvety Serruria villosa, the large white daisies to the purple Felicia and the bright orange Gazania pectinata the fuzzy Trachyandra hirsutiflora to the cute and tiny Nemesia affinis, the lovely yellow Moraea and Ixia odorata and the abundant yellow pincushions and the blue moraeas, and so many more, you will find wild flowers everywhere. The Salvia africana-caerulea is known as the blue sage, and like other savage varieties, is believed to have medical qualities.
At the summit, you will be accompanied by the fragrance of the Coleonema Album, confetti bush. You will be astonished to discover that the sweet honey smell actually comes from the leaves and not the flowers! Accompanying the mass of fragrance will be masses of the Erica imbricate, a rather distinctive black and white erica variety.
Where flowers abound, birds wander… as part of the birdlife, you will have the company of the Malachite Sunbirds, lesser double collared Sunbirds and many more.
Kalk Bay Caves
Kalk Bay is a fishing village one the coast of False Bay and a suburb of Cape Town, but it is also full of natural treasures.
The biggest and most enthralling cave is the Boomsland cave. Interestingly enough, because of its so mythical appearance, it used to be called Aladdin’s Cave in the early part of this century. It is dark and long (about 506 meters) and full of bats. The huge dark chamber reigned by silence and adorned with a ray of light as small as a candle simply looks magical… almost Disneyworld-type. The Kalk Bay Caves is richer than that actually, more than just a visit, it certainly pays off to know their amazing history.
One of the most intriguing things about the Kalk Bay caves is that they exist, unlike other caves formed in rocks that easily get dissolved in water. Limestone, dolomite and other carbonate based rocks tend to dissolve easily. The Kalk Bay mountains are made up of the quartzitic sandstone, on the contrary, which is less likely to dissolve. Given the low pH of the water runoff from Fynbos on the Cape Peninsula mountains, it is quite possible that vegetation contributed acidity to the high levels of water available during the wet period.
Stone tools and shell middens found on Trappieskop and at Clovelly Cave indicate that humans have been using these caves for more than a century back.
There is a pit to the south of the entrance chamber of the Muizenberg Cave, known as Leslie’s Grotto. Local legends have it that a dog had fallen down the pit and its body had washed up on Muizenberg beach!
Of the discoveries made by the famous Johan Meyer was Oread Halls. He found a small hole in the ground, and with his two friends, managed to rig the entrance with a rope ladder, discovering three chambers. One of them ended in a very narrow passage, and the two came to be known as Annie’s Hall and the Grand Hall. On their next visit, two of the friends opened a second entrance to the cave through a narrow crack in Annie’s Hall.
Another rumor surrounding the history of these caves is one of the South African Spelaeological Association (SASA). Apparently, someone had pushed their way through the narrow passage at the end of Ronan’s Well. After tackling the passage, one of them added some 20 yards of length to the existing 75 yards, which led to many more chambers and extended the known caves to 1200 ft. A decade later, another member of the SASA could figure out that a boulder choke in Ronan’s Well was very close to another cave known as Robin Hood’s Cavern. After undertaking work to remove the sand and boulders, the long-awaited second entrance to Ronan’s Well was finally created.
Hiking Guidelines and Precautions- because we want your safety!
It is prudent to always have water on you, so carry a bottle with plenty of drinking water and keep filling it up from the streams along the way. Food and snacks will be a plus.
For your hikes, wear a comfortable pair of walking shoes and a thick pair of socks. Wearing long trousers will protect you from scratches while walking through thick bush.
It is preferable to wear and carry suntan lotion, a hat, sunglasses, a torch and also a first aid kit for your own safety precautions. Walk as couples or in groups, it is always safer. If you are only one person, then certainly take a guide with you.
Choose your routes well. Besides the places that are to be visited, they are also categorized depending upon levels of ability, fitness and experience.
In the unfortunate and rare case that you happen to get lost, do not panic. If you can retrace your steps, however, do not walk into the unknown. It will make it difficult for your guide to find you back. Remain where you are and call for help and certainly do not descend an unknown ravine.
And don’t forget your camera, there will be plenty of picturesque sites along the way!