Moderate – High
Moderate – High
530m: from 297m to 827m
Kloof Nek & walk along the Pipe Track | Theresa Avenue in Camps Bay
Upper Table Mountain Cableway Station
2 – 3 hours up & +/- 2 hours down (depending on the rout)
When hiking the Diagonal Path up Table Mountain, you can choose between two different starting points. You can either start your hike by parking at Kloof Nek and walking along the Pipe Track for about 3 km. From Kloof Nek it will take about 45 minutes to reach the start of the trail. Or you can start your hike at Theresa Avenue in Camps Bay. If you choose to start at Theresa Avenue it will take you approximately 20 minutes to reach the start of the trail. If you’re coming from Theresa Avenue then you will need to turn left (towards the Cable Car) once you reach the Pipe Track.
The start of the Diagonal Path up Table Mountain from the Pipe Track is signposted, and the path is reasonably clear. The hike starts out fairly steep with zig-zagging steps leading you almost all the way to the half-way mark. This part of the hike is considered extremely taxing and requires a certain level of fitness to conquer all the steep steps. After the initial zig-zags there is a short vertical rock step before the path continues right to below one of the Diagonal Path’s hidden gems, the Porcupine Cave.
The Porcupine Cave is more of a rock overhang than it is a cave, but nevertheless it’s a super cool place to stop for a bit, catch your breath, soak it all in and capture a few amazing snapshots of the incredible views and surrounding scenery.
Once you reach the Porcupine Cave, you will make your way around the Porcupine Buttress. At this point the path starts to level out. Don’t get too comfortable, the fun and games are about to begin – this is bound to get all the avid hikers and thrill seekers super excited! Heading up Porcupine Ravine is a real scramble. It is steep and involves a fair bit of climbing (you will need both hands free to do it).
After you’ve put your super scrambling skills to the test, follow the path along the riverbed for about 20 minutes. Keep a lookout for a path that heads over the river and up to the right. It is a fairly clear path, but only if you know to look out for it. Once you’ve located the right path, continue to follow the trail around Jubilee Buttress. The Diagonal Path up Table Mountain finishes with a climb up Barrier ravine after descending into Red Gods valley. Once you reach the Valley of the Red Gods, you are free to explore the top of Table Mountain.
When descending Table Mountain, you can choose between various descending Table Mountain trails. Descending via Kasteelpoort hiking trail is a popular choice, especially because it will feel like an absolute breeze after your steep climb up Diagonal. To get to Kasteelpoort you will need to turn right and walk along the short path that takes you in the direction of Hout Bay. From there you will find clear signposts along the path that will lead you in the right direction.
Since Blinkwater ravine became too dangerous for hikers and was closed, the Diagonal Path is the first way up the Atlantic side of Table Mountain from Kloof Nek along the Pipe Track. For this reason it has become a very popular route among avid hikers. However, the Porcupine Ravine watercourse often gets washed away by winter rains. Great care needs to be taken when hiking this route during this time. If the conditions of the hike are too dangerous, it should be avoided.
TIPS FOR HIKING THE DIAGONAL PATH UP TABLE MOUNTAIN
- It is important to ensure that you are fully prepared to take on and conquer the Diagonal Path up Table Mountain as well as make the hiking experience as safe and enjoyable as possible. This includes wearing good hiking shoes and proper hiking attire as well as taking plenty of water, sunblock, a hat, and something warm along. Cape Town is notorious for its unpredictable weather – even if it looks like a sunny day, take that jacket with you anyway.
- While the Diagonal Path up Table Mountain offers hikers an epic climb and a spectacular summit view, hikers still need to take extra care when navigating the route.
- The hiking route can become incredibly wet and slippery, especially after heavy rainfall. It is important for hikers to pay extra attention on foot placement all the way throughout the hike.
- It is known to get extremely windy at the top, so make sure you hold onto your caps, and everything else too! If conditions become too dangerous, do not risk it. The wind is far stronger than you realize.
- If you are planning on taking a cable car down Table Mountain after your ascending hike, it is vital that you plan and time your hike appropriately / properly to avoid missing the last cable car down – Ultimately leaving you stranded.
- While the Diagonal Path up Table Mountain is a relatively tough and challenging hiking trail, requiring a great deal of stamina, and focus to reach the summit, be sure to take a moment (or a few) to enjoy and revel in the sheer excitement and beyond incredible nature of the entire experience as well as admire the untamed natural beauty and abundance of indigenous flora you’ll find along your route – You are hiking in the glorious Table Mountain National Park after all!
KNOW WHAT TO DO IN AN EMERGENCY
In the event of an injury, threatening weather conditions or an emergency, stay in one place and find a spot that offers some form of shelter. In the case of an injury, do not move the injured person unless they are in a dangerous position. Don’t leave the injured person alone or unattended. If possible, send two people for help (depending on the number of people you’re hiking with), while someone remains behind to supervise. When you do go looking for emergency help or assistance, make sure you take detailed notes of where the injured person is, as well as look out for landmarks to navigate your way back to the spot.
In the case of a snakebite (Table Mountain National Park is home to prolific wildlife and reptile species), immobilise the person immediately and lay them flat on their back. Do not give them any food or water. Get help and most important keep the victim as calm as possible – one of the top factors in the progression of snakebite symptoms is shock and adrenaline.
In the event of contact with the blister bush (a plant resembling common celery) cover the area from sunlight. This will avoid skin irritations and the eruption of blisters.
If you get lost anywhere along your hiking route, stop, and retrace your steps. If you can’t find your original path, move down broad, open slopes. If conditions become more threatening as you go, revert to taking shelter and seeking help.
IMPORTANT EMERGENY NUMBERS
Visitors are urged to take all the necessary safety precautions when hiking or exploring secluded areas. Your safety should always be top priority. Those venturing into the Table Mountain National Park should have the following emergency numbers on hand:
- Emergencies: 021 480 7700
- Table Mountain National Park: 021 957 4700
- Wilderness Search and Rescue: 021 937 0300
@safetymountain is also an incredibly useful resource for hikers. This free safety tracking service allows you to notify local trackers of your contact details, intended route and travel time via WhatsApp. You are also able to provide hourly updates on your progress as well as notify trackers when you are safely off the mountain.