Best Cape Town Hiking Trails For Beginners

Cape Town is the ultimate hiking mecca. Boasting a variety of beautiful and thrilling hiking trails, ranging from beginner to advanced, there is something for every avid hiker at heart. Even if you’ve never hiked a day in your life, Cape Town’s thriving hiking scene welcomes you with open arms.

Here are some of the best Cape Town hiking trails for beginners that you should absolutely add to your Cape Town hiking adventure bucket-list.

#The Pipe Track Hiking Trail | Table Mountain

Best Cape Town Hiking Trails For Beginners - Pipe Track

  • Difficulty: Easy level of difficulty
  • Level of fitness required: Low – Moderate level of fitness required
  • Start point: The junction of Tafelberg Road and Kloof Nek (you can park your car in the Kloof Nek parking lot)
  • End point: Camps Bay
  • Average time to the top: 2 – 4 hours (depending on your fitness and experience level) | The route is easy-going, although it becomes slightly tougher after passing by Slangolie Ravine.
  • Approximate route distance: +/- 6km
  • Pet-friendly: Yes. However, Table Mountain National Park is under the jurisdiction of SANParks. This requires that dog-walkers have a Level 1 My Activity Permit (R305 per year).
  • Child-friendly: Yes

The Pipe Track is the perfect Table Mountain hiking route for beginner hikers as well as those looking to enjoy a more relaxed and laid-back hiking experience. The Pipe Track follows a path adjacent to Table Mountain between Kloof Nek and Kasteelpoort. While the Pipe Track hiking trail does not go all the way to the top of Table Mountain, it does circle around the mountain.

The track hugs the side of Table Mountain’s sandstone cliffs and travels through the western slope ravines. This gives you the perfect opportunity to tick an amazing hiking experience off your Cape Town bucket-list all while admiring a magnificent view of Lion’s Head, the Atlantic Ocean, Twelve Apostles mountain range, the beautiful Mother City, and beyond.

A major bonus for first time hikers is that the Pipe Track hiking trail is a pretty easy and effortless route and is generally all on the flat. Unless you choose to start the hiking trail from Camps Bay, then the initial climb will require some effort, however it is still very doable.

**Click here to find out everything you need to know about the Pipe Track Table Mountain hiking trail.

#Kloof Corner Hiking Trail | Table Mountain

Best Cape Town Hiking Trails For Beginners - Kloof Corner

  • Difficulty: Easy – moderate level of difficulty
  • Fitness level required: Low – moderate level of fitness required
  • Start point: Tafelberg Road
  • Average time to the top: About 20 – 40 minutes each way (depending on your fitness level)
  • Approximate route distance: +/- 1.5 km
  • Child-friendly: Yes
  • Pet-friendly: Yes. However, Table Mountain National Park is under the jurisdiction of SANParks. This requires that dog-walkers have a Level 1 My Activity Permit (R305 per year).

Besides being one of the most popular trails in the city, Kloof Corner is easily one of the best sunrise and sunset spots in Cape Town. Making a sunrise or sunset hike up Kloof Corner a bucket-list worthy experience. Besides its sought-after sunrise and sunset status, Kloof Corner is known as one of the easiest hikes on the Table Mountain chain. While it certainly has a few steep sections, overall it is a short and simple hike with a wide and stable path. This makes Kloof Corner a great choice for kids, beginners and hikers of all ages, fitness, and experience levels.

The path up Kloof Corner starts off with a gradual incline. After a fairly straight section you will begin to zig-zag your way up the side of Table Mountain. After about 20 – 40 minutes of hiking / climbing stairs you will start to close in on your final destination. Once you reach the top, turn right and make your way around the corner – Welcome to Kloof Corner! It’s known to get quite windy up there so make sure you choose a good, sheltered spot. This way you will be able to enjoy the fruits of your hiking labor and the magnificent view of Camps Bay, Lion’s Head, the City Bowl, and Atlantic Ocean in front of you.

**Click here to find out everything you need to know about the Kloof Corner Hiking Trail.

#Boomslang Cave Hike

Best Cape Town Hiking Trails For Beginners

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Fitness level required: Low – Moderate level of fitness required
  • Start point: Boyes Drive – Echo Valley
  • End Point: Boomslang Cave above Kalk Bay
  • Average time to the top: Approximately 2 – 3 hours (depending on your fitness and experience level)
  • Approximate route distance: +/- 3.9km
  • Child-friendly: Yes

The famous Boomslang Cave hike is considered one of Cape Town’s more adventurous hikes. As it’s a relatively easy hike, it is perfect for novice hikers, families with kids, or adventure seekers looking for something exciting to do in Cape Town. As long as you don’t mind dark enclosed spaces of course. Found above Kalk Bay, Boomslang Cave tunnels right through the mountain – making it quite a thrilling experience to tick off your bucket-list.

To get to the starting point of the Boomslang Cave hike, you can either drive or take the train to the Kalk Bay Train Station and head up Boyes Drive where you will find the sign for Echo Valley. This marks the start of your Boomslang Cave hiking adventure. From there it is a relatively easy climb as you simply follow the path through Echo valley for about an hour until you reach Boomslang Cave.

This is where the real fun and games begin! You will need to get down on your hands and knees to enter the cave – this might be the perfect time to mention that the right hiking attire is paramount when taking on Boomslang Cave, mini skirts, white pants, and dresses are most definitely not ideal for this adventure – you are hiking and crawling through a cave after all!

After a bit of shuffling and navigating your way around, the cave will open up into a larger chamber. As it can get pretty dark inside the cave, taking a headlamp or torch along is a great idea to help you explore the labyrinth of tunnels within the cave before coming out the other side. Once you make your way through the cave you will be well rewarded for your efforts and daring adventurous spirit with a breath-taking view over the Noordhoek valley and the vibrant False Bay Coastline.

#Lion’s Head Loop Hiking Trail

Best Cape Town Hiking Trails For Beginners - Lions Head Loop Hike

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Fitness level required: Low level of fitness required
  • Start point: Turn left at the Lion’s Head base
  • Average time to the top: Approximately 75-minute walk (depending on your fitness and experience level) | Extremely fit individual can easily conquer it in record time
  • Approximate route distance: +/- 5.26km
  • Child-friendly: Yes
  • Pet-friendly: Yes

The Lion’s Head loop is the perfect Cape Town hiking trail for novice hikers or beginner trail runners. Mostly flat with very little uphill, the Lion’s Head loop is an easy hike that can be thoroughly enjoyed by every member of the family irrespective of your fitness or experience level. This walking/hiking trail circles the base of Lion’s Head, passing through veld, pine forests, and protea forests. This gives avid nature lovers the incredible opportunity to explore the rich biodiversity and flora the base of Lion’s Head and the Table Mountain National Park has to offer. As an extra bonus, you will also be able to enjoy magnificent ocean views during certain part of the hiking trail.

To start your Lion’s Head loop hiking adventure simply turn right not left at the base of Lion’s Head. The path is fairly self-explanatory as it basically follows the base of the mountain. This makes for an easy and relaxing hiking experience. The only thing to be mindful of when embarking on your Lion’s Head loop hike is the abrupt descent to the road in the last quarter section of the hike. Just be sure to exercise sufficient caution, especially if you have young kids or dogs accompanying you on your hike. Other than that, it promises to be an enjoyable and exciting hiking experience and fun-filled family day out exploring the beautiful Cape Town outdoors.

#Cape Of Good Hope Trail | Cape Point

Best Cape Town Hiking Trails For Beginners

  • Starting point: Cape Point main parking area | Follow signs towards Cape of Good Hope
  • Distance: +-3.5km | 2-3 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy

Boasting unsurpassed views over the pristine Diaz Beach and rugged western shoreline, the Cape of Good Hope Trail is undeniably one of the best Cape Point hiking trails. It’s accessibility and easy-going nature makes it a popular hiking trail among beginner and avid hikers alike.

The Cape of Good Hope Trail takes you along a well-maintained and marked boardwalk towards the famous Cape of Good Hope sign, located on the rocky shoreline below. We highly recommend you hike all the way to the very end of the trail as it leads you right to most southern point of the Cape Peninsula.

Not only will you be well rewarded with sensational views, but the fact that you reached the most South Western corner of Africa means you’ll proudly be able to tick something thrilling off your Cape Town adventure bucket-list.

#Lighthouse Keeper’s Trail | Cape Point

Best Cape Town Hiking Trails For Beginners

Photo credit: Cape Point South Africa

  • Starting point: Behind upper funicular station |Park at the Cape Point main parking area and walk to the station or save energy and take the funicular.
  • Distance: +-2km | 1 hour return
  • Difficulty: Easy

As most visitors to Cape Point are eager to see the renowned old lighthouse atop Cape Point, the Lighthouse Keeper’s Trail is often overlooked. Little do they know they’re missing out on one of the most beautiful trails in the reserve.

The Lighthouse Keeper’s Trail is a relatively short and easy-going hike that runs just below the Cape Point lighthouse. The trail starts behind the upper funicular station. From there you will follow a narrow, but well-established walkway that will lead you along a path and a sheer cliff-face towards the lesser-known new Cape Point lighthouse.

On your trail you will pass plenty of historical bunkers and fortresses which were used as strategic observational points throughout Cape Point. The Lighthouse Keeper’s Trail also boasts a fascinating perspective of the old Cape Point lighthouse which towers several meters above, as well as beautiful Cape fynbos scattered along the trail.

#Gifkommetjie Trail | Cape Point

  • Starting point: Gifkommetjie parking area | Follow signposts upon entry into Cape Point
  • Distance: +-5.5km | 2 hours return
  • Difficulty: Easy

Following the south western shores of Cape Point, the Gifkommetjie Trail boasts beautiful views of Cape Point’s unspoilt shoreline, lush green dune vegetation, open pans, and marshes.

The versatility of the trail makes it a fantastic option for the moderately fit looking to enjoy a good hike while still covering a fair amount of distance. It is also great for beginner hikers eager to get out and explore the vast beauty of Cape Point.

As the Gifkommetjie Trail is in an often-overlooked region of the nature reserve, it offers hikers the ultimate hiking escape away from large crowds.

#Phyllisia Circuit | Cape Point

  • Starting point: Gifkommetjie parking area | Follow signposts upon entry into Cape Point
  • Distance: +-7km | 3 hours return
  • Difficulty: Easy

Although the Phyllisia Circuit is a slightly longer hike than all the other Cape Point hiking trails, it’s worth every extra km. The Phyllisia Circuit trail departs from the Gifkommetjie parking lot. From there, you will follow a circular route that takes you parallel to the western Cape Point coastline, showcasing spectacular panoramic views right throughout, and returns along the shore.

As with many of Cape Point’s bucket-list worthy hiking routes, the Phyllisia Circuit trail is another sensational hike that is too often-overlooked. However, this is great news for avid hikers, keen adventurers and explores, as it gives them the perfect opportunity to escape the large crowds and immerse themselves in the unapologetic natural beauty of Cape Point and discover everything it has to offer. Even on some of Cape Point’s busiest days, the Phyllisia Circuit trail offers hikers the ultimate sense of tranquilly and peace in one of the most beautiful settings.

#Shipwreck Trail | Cape Point

Best Cape Town Hiking Trails For Beginners

Photo credit: Cape Point South Africa

  • Starting point: The trail starts and ends at the Olifantsbos parking area

The Cape Point Shipwreck Trails are undoubtedly some of the most popular and best Cape Point hiking trails for hikers from all walks of life. These unique trails depart from the Olifantsbos parking area, with each one offering a different perspective and enthralling insight into the early days of the many Cape Point maritime events. Cape Point has an intriguing, albeit somewhat sombre, maritime history, and the shipwreck trails at Cape Point take you right to the heart of the action. The shoreline is littered with wrecks from years gone by, and still to this day their presence on the peninsula’s beaches make for a mesmerizing journey into an altogether different era.

There are two main variations of the famous shipwreck trail:

#1 Thomas T. Tucker Trail | Shipwreck Trail | Cape Point

Best Cape Town Hiking Trails For Beginners

Photo credit: Cape Point South Africa

  • Starting point: The trail starts and ends at the Olifantsbos parking area
  • Distance: If you opt to retrace your steps from the Nolloth, the route is an easy 3km & should take approximately 90 minutes | The inland route is 5km & will take approximately 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy – moderate

The Thomas T. Tucker Trail is the most accessible and shortest of the Shipwreck Trails. Staring at the Olifantsbos parking lot, you will follow a well-marked trail outlined with yellow markers. This trail will guide you through the endemic Cape fynbos, all the way down to the beach. We highly recommend that you make a few stops en-route to the beach to search for untouched marine life in the jagged rock pools.

Once you reach the beach, continue along the pristine, yet often isolated stretch towards the prominent wreck of the SS Thomas T. Tucker. Boasting a prominent history, the SS Thomas T. Tucker is possibly the most photographed wreck at Cape Point, and the birdlife that has taken up residence on the hull of the old ship makes for great photo opportunities.

After making your way past the Thomas T. Tucker wreck, you will find the Nolloth. The Nolloth was wrecked in 1965 and makes for a great resting point. If you still have some hiking energy left in your tank and you’re keen to continue your thrilling Cape Point Shipwreck hiking adventure, you can choose to follow the inland ridge past the Nolloth wreck and make your way back to the Olifantsbos parking area, or continue on to Sirkelsvlei.

#2 Sirkelsvlei Trail | Shipwreck Trail | Cape Point

  • Starting point: Olifantsbos parking area or by proceeding past the Nolloth and following the signs from the inland ridge
  • Distance: 7.5km return walk should take approximately 3 hours
  • Difficulty:  Easy

If you’re a shipwreck enthusiast, the Sirkelsvlei trail is perfect for you. You can make your way to the Sirkelsvlei Trail in two main ways – You can either reach it by proceeding past the Nolloth and following the signs from the inland ridge or from the top of the Olifantsbos parking area alongside the boom. The path from this direction will quickly split into two, with each of these routes leading back to the original starting point at the Olifantsbos parking area.

The Sirkelsvlei Trail is a pristine and rugged hiking route that has successfully braved the harsh Cape Point elements over several years. This sought-after Shipwreck trail takes you along a stunning loop all the way up to the Sirkelsvlei pan, which is the largest body of water in the region still fed by fresh underwater springs.

The stark Cape fynbos found along the Sirkelsvlei Trail makes way for reed flats, which are often punctuated by sightings of the rare red hartebeest, bontebok, and a multitude of birdlife. If you’re keen for another adventure, you have the option of visiting the Staavia Edge which is located along the route. From there, you will be able to spot the Olifantsbos Cottage.

#Table Mountain Contour Path

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Fitness level required: Low level of fitness required
  • Start point: Numerous entry points on Tafelberg Road / Kloof Corner
  • Average time to the top: +/- 1 hour
  • Approximate route distance: About 5km from Kloof Corner to Platteklip Gorge

The Table Mountain Contour Path is a pleasant, low effort, easily accessible hike or trail run (for the fitter bunch). Besides being a lovely outdoor hike that can be enjoyed by people of all fitness and experience levels, the Table Mountain Contour Path boasts beautiful sweeping views of the glorious Mother City, Atlantic Ocean, and Lion’s Head.

You can join the Contour Path hiking trail from numerous entry points along Tafelberg Road. One of the best routes is to park at Kloof Corner, hike the 20-minute trail up the path to the contour path then turn left and carry on for as long as you like. This flat path will eventually join up with the famous Platteklip Gorge Table Mountain hiking trail, but it also continues all the way to Newland’s Forest and beyond.

When hiking the Table Mountain Contour Path how long you want to hike and how far you want to venture is entirely up to you and how much you’re keen to explore and discover. You can turn back at any point and simply retrace your steps or descent to Tafelberg Road.

#Lions Head Hiking Trail

Best Cape Town Hiking Trails For Beginners

  • Difficulty: Easy – moderate
  • Fitness level required: Mild – Moderate
  • Start point: The Lion’s Head hiking trail starts at the car park on Signal Hill Road. Follow the trail which circles around the mountain to get to the top.
  • End point: The end point of the hike is the Lion’s Head Summit. Once you reach the summit, make your way down the same way until you reach the initial starting point.
  • Approximate route distance: The total length of the trail is 5,5 km (3,4 miles) both ways
  • Average time to the summit: Between 1 – 3 hours (depending on fitness level)
  • Total elevation: 669 meters (2,195 feet)
  • Best time to hike: Sunrise & sunset

There are two routes that lead to the Lions Head summit – The left route, also known as the spiral route, and the right route, which is the steeper, more challenging route.

Left Route: The easier, safer spiral route – Advised for beginner hikers

The left route is also known as the spiral route. This route is considered the safest and easiest way to reach the Lion’s Head summit. The trail going up Lion’s Head is referred to as a screwtop / spiral, which essentially means that you will be circling the mountain in order to get to the top. Not only does it make for an easier hike, but it provides you with incredible panoramic views all the way throughout. Lion’s Head isn’t known as one of the most beautiful hiking trails in Cape Town for nothing.

If you choose to take the gentler spiral route on the left, you will follow a roundabout footpath that will lead you to the summit, avoiding all the challenging climbs, steep ascents and descents as well as the chains and ladders altogether. The Lion’s Head spiral trail is the recommended route for first-time hikers, anyone that’s afraid of heights or has a below average level of fitness, as well as families with young kids and / or dogs.

Right Route: The more challenging route

The route to the right is perfect for avid hikers, thrill seekers and adventurous souls looking to experience an exhilarating hike up Lion’s Head. This route is far more challenging than the spiral route and is not recommended for the faint-hearted or those afraid of heights. As it’s a faster, steeper, and more challenging hike to the top, you will need to conquer a variety of steps and make use of chains and ladders to reach the summit.

You will also need to negotiate with a few sheer rock faces, which is bound to get all the thrill seekers excited! Once you reach the summit, you will have the opportunity to roam free at your own leisurely pace, take it all in, enjoy the fruits of your labor and admire the spectacular view – it is truly sensational.

Best Cape Town Hiking Trails For Beginners

View from the top of Lion’s Head

Click here to find out everything you need to know about hiking Lions Head.

#Elephant’s Eye Cave | Constantiaberg

Top 10 Secret Caves to explore in Cape Town

Photo credit: Willem Van Zyl

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Fitness level required: Low level of fitness required

The Elephant’s Eye Cave is located within the Table Mountain National Park, just outside Cape Town in the Silvermine Nature Reserve. It is one of Cape Town’s more accessible caves, making it perfect for an adventure-filled day out with friends and family. Named Elephant’s Eye because of its shape, which from the right angle reveals something similar to the eye of an elephant, this cool Cape Town cave is not only relatively easy to reach, but offers hikers and adventurers spectacular views all the way through.

While the Elephant’s Eye Cave may not be one of South Africa’s most majestic or historically-significant caves, it is one of the most fun caves to visit because you can set off on your own cave adventure without the guidance of an expert guide.

The hike to reach the cave is relatively easy, except for the last part which is fairly steep. However, it is still very do-able, and no expert hiking skills or experience is required. Even though you may be panting a bit, you will be well rewarded for your hiking efforts with a spectacular view from inside the cave. Another great thing about the Elephant’s Eye Cave is that it’s big enough to sit back, relax and enjoy a cave picnic paired with stunning views over the False Bay coast.

**Tip: The Elephant’s Eye Cave hike is a pleasant hike, provided that you do not start your hike in the mid-day summer heat as there is limited shade along the way. Make sure you take sunscreen, a hat, and enough water along, as well as a picnic basket to make the most of this Cape Town cave and hiking adventure. Good hiking shoes and attire is also important.